Sweet nothings: a quiz
So, to join in the Valentine’s Day frenzy, here’s a quick quiz. Everyone has a favourite romantic chick flick quote. In Sleepless in Seattle, Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell snuffle into their tissues together over the closing dialogue in the 1950s classic An Affair to Remember. Others can’t hear the word “ditto” without welling up. Some of the much-loved quotes below are poetry, while some, despite their power on screen, seem downright corny on the page. See how many you recognize. A clue: nearly all are taken from their film’s closing moments (often accompanied by a grand swell of iconic music), when the hard-fought battle for love is either lost forever or at long last won. The answers come at the bottom.
1/ “I can’t let him go. I can’t! There must be some way to bring him back. Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow. But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do? What is there that matters? … Tara! … Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!”
2/ “ButI’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now,now… Here’s looking at you kid.”
3/“This can’t last. This misery can’t last. I must remember that and try to control myself. Nothing lasts, really. Neither happiness nor despair. Not even life lasts very long. There’ll come a time in the future when I shan’t mind about this any more, when I can look back and say quite peacefully and cheerfully how silly I was ... No, no! I don’t want that time to come, ever! I want to remember every minute,always, always to the end of my days!”
4/“OK, life’s a fact. People do fall in love, people do belong to each other – because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.”
5/ “I’m not letting you get rid of me … I love you. You complete me.”
“Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello.”
6/“I might be the only person on the face of the earth who knows you’re the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer – Spence – and in every single thought that you have, and in how you say what you mean and how you almost always mean something that’s all about being straight and good – I think most people miss that about you. And I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good. About me. Is that something that’s bad for you to be around, for you?”
7/ “I want to tell you with my last breath … I have always loved you. I would rather be a ghost, drifting by your side as a condemned soul, than enter heaven without you. Because of your love … I will never be a lonely spirit.”
1/Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) in Gone With The Wind (1939), just after Rhett (Clark Gable) has stormed out, curling his lip with the immortal words “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
2/Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) saying goodbye at the airport in Casablanca (1942).
3/ Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) trying to forget in Brief Encounter (1945).
4/ A raindrenched Paul (George Peppard) to Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961).
5/ Jerry (Tom Cruise) and Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) in Jerry Maguire (1996).
6/Melvin (Jack Nicholson) paying Carol (Helen Hunt) what he calls "a compliment" in As Good As It Gets (1997).
7/Li (Chow Yun-Fat) to Yu (Michelle Yeoh) in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).