Who says Valentine’s Day has to be all about flowers and candy? We can all name feature films about romance and passion, but real life is so much more nuanced. There are so many nonfiction films that show “real” love stories about people from all walks of life in real relationships that it can be hard to keep track, so in keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s a roundup of some POV staffers’ favorite documentaries about love:
Anne del Castillo, our director of development and special projects, loves Speedo: A Demolition Derby Love Story by Jesse Moss. “Speedo is just a regular guy who, like everyone else, has big dreams. We see him trying to balance family obligations with personal ambitions, and come to find that his efforts pay off, and sometimes there is a happily ever after.”
Irene Villaseñor, Youth Views manager, admires Southern Comfort by Kate Davis and Elizabeth Adams. “It’s a bittersweet love story between a transexual man and a transsexual women living in Georgia. Lola and Robert meet and fall deeply in love during the last year of Robert’s life before he dies of ovarian cancer. The film also reveals how transphobia impacts their lives — Robert shares how dozens of doctors refused to treat him out of fear for how others would respond to a transgendered patient being in their care. What the film says about love is that no matter what the conditions are in your life, it is still possible to be in a close and loving relationship. From a universal love for humankind perspective, the film shows that it’s not enough for transgendered people to have access to the medical technology that enables them to change genders, but access to quality care and treatment for medical issues that arise after their transition, as well.”
And Eliza Licht, director of community engagement and education, says she’d like to watch For Better or for Worse, a movie about five couples who have been together for more than 50 years.
Chris White, our director of programming and production, couldn’t limit himself to just one or two. He recommends Sweet Old Song by Leah Mahan: “It’s a love story for all ages — good music. good art. good lovin’.” He also recommends The Smith Family by Tasha Oldham, a tale of betrayal, Mormons, AIDS and ultimately, true love, and La Boda by Hannah Weyer, a beautiful film about migrant life, girlhood and wedding plans.
But the road to true love isn’t always picture perfect — POV’s series producer Yance Ford points out that the recently released Crazy Love by Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens is a compelling film. “It’s about the darker side of amore. It recounts the story of Linda Riss and Burt Pagach. Linda is a spitfire beauty and Burt is the loser obsessed with her. Long story short — Burt and Linda date and break up. Burt is insanely jealous (and just plain insane) and hires a thug to throw acid in Linda’s face. Linda is blinded by the attack but holds no grudges. Sixteen years later the two are married and living it up. If this doesn’t inspire you to stick out the hard times, nothing will.”
And films about love don’t necessarily have to be about romantic love. Anne also recommends Lomax the Songhunter by Rogier Kappers — “It’s a different kind of love story about one man’s passion for music and his journeys to the ends of the earth to find it. As we meet the musicians and singers Alan Lomax recorded, it’s hard not to fall in love with the people, places, traditions and cultures that he captured.”
But there are so many more… What are your favorite films about love?