Yes, the rock’n’roll Citizen Kane… a dark horse for a romantic award if I ever saw one!
But that’s not why I chose it. I really, really love Bryan and Curt’s big moment doing the interview. It’s a moment of visual poetry about the phoniness of stardom (Bryan reading his answers off cue-cards) and the intrusiveness of the paparazzo (the way the flashbulbs burst in on their genuine moment). And it’s romantic as all hell– for Oscar Wilde’s beautiful words as much as anything else in the scene.
Brian is being interviewed at the height of his Maxwell Demon-mania, and even though director Todd Haynes isn’t very good at putting believable estranged couples in his movies, the wedge between Brian and Mandy is actually pretty seamless, but you know that the wedge is firmly driven in here. And yet it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the scene. Anyway, Curt Wylde interrupts the interview with champagne for him and Brian. Brian gives the press one flippant line, and then turns all his attention to Curt.
Curt quotes Oscar Wilde and says, “The world has changed because you are ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
They kiss. And then flashbulbs jolt them out of their moment. You can see in their faces that they’re startled and annoyed by this intrusion.
What makes the scene so romantic, at least to me, is that all the showbiz phoniness, which is the two characters’ lives at the moment, is forgotten. Utterly and completely. And the Curt Wylde plot of the movie is one spot where Brian Slade comes out looking better than Charles Foster Kane. Brian definitely loved Curt. It’s foggy whether Kane really loved Susan, or if he was just tired of Emily.
But back to Velvet Goldmine… it’s a genuine moment with beautiful (if somewhat inappropriate, considering they were describing The Picture of Dorian Gray) words. And it’s sad when the moment ends (not to mention the imagery is gorgeous in all its glitter), even with the kickass soundtrack following the moment’s end. So, it stands at the top of my list of Romantic Movie Moments. Check it out here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETC5CG4tpAI).