Top 10 Foreign Movie Romances

Inspired by The Inbetweeners movie visit to Greece, we pick our favourite

In The Inbetweeners Movie, the horny, hapless heroes decamp to a Greek island for a summer holiday in search of – as the sex-obsessed Jay would succinctly put it – “clunge”.

While the four lads might be expressing their desire for a foreign romance more crudely than others, the trials and tribulations of the overseas love affair has long been a favourite of film-makers and, for the most part, movie audiences.

With that in mind, has decided to recall ten of our favourite movie ‘foreign affairs’, all whilst daydreaming on a beach chair, thoughtfully twisting a garish cocktail umbrella in our overpriced glass of Sex on the Beach:

Romancing The Stone (1984):

When nerdy romance writer Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) travels to South America to rescue her kidnapped sister, she enlists the help of Jack Colton, a dishy American shyster on the ground (Michael Douglas – hey he was dishy back in the day). She finds him repugnant, so naturally we know they’ll be getting it on in no time. For his part, Jack thinks nothing of getting into Joanie’s cobweb-encrusted pants to get to a priceless gem, literally and metaphorically. It all ends happily ever after on a yacht in the middle of a Manhattan street.

Out of Africa (1985):

Danish aristocrat Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) recalls the days when – and here we’re going to try to phonetically render Meryl’s mad accent – “she haaad ah faaarm in Affffrica”. Well you would too if you managed to bed Robert Redford’s big-game hunter (oh er!) behind the back of your boring Baron – in every homophonic sense of the word – husband. Rob even washes her hair in the bath and reads her poetry. Puts that evening when you fed your lady double Fat Frogs in the pub and bought her a 4-in-1 special on the way home into perspective now doesn’t it?

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)/Notting Hill (1999):

Fit American birds in London, Andie McDowell and Julia Roberts, couldn’t resist the bumbling charms of Hugh ‘Fuck-Fuck-Fuckity-Fuck-Fuck-Bugger’ Grant in these two romantic comedies that always win you over despite your best attempts to be cynical. Of the two, we prefer Julia’s movie star character Anna, though we do have a soft spot for Andie, mainly for her line ‘Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed’, which she delivers with all the emotion of a malfunctioning talking clock.

Before Sunrise (1995)/Before Sunset (2004):

Neurotic American student Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets headstrong French girl Celine (Julie Delpy) on an overnight train to Budapest. They stop off in Vienna and spend the night talking and arguing, and, as they part ways, agree to meet again in six months in the same place. We might never have known whether or not that meeting went ahead (spoiler alert: it didn’t) if not for the sublime sequel, which finds the characters encountering one another 10 years later in Paris.

The English Patient (1996):

It’s probably best not to focus too much on the affair between Africa-based Brits Count Laszlo (Ralph Fiennes) and his married lover Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas), seeing as how, you know, that ends with her expiring on her ownsome in the desert and he dying slowly from horrible first degree burns. It was illicit fun while it lasted, but we’d rather pin our romantic hopes on the Count’s Italy-dwelling nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) and her British-Indian fella Kip (Naveen Andrews).

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998):

Damaged divorcee Stella (the stunning, though frankly terrifying, Angela Bassett) travels to Jamaica for a restorative holiday. She quickly wins the heart of local toyboy stud Winston Shakespeare (Taye Diggs: ‘fine thing’ doesn’t do him justice). It’s all wonderful, and the pair end up getting married, plus it’s nice to know the story is based on the true experiences of author Terry McMillan. We should point out though that, in reality, Terry’s lover boy turned out to be gay, and that they’ve since divorced.

Lost in Translation (2003):

Disillusioned actor Bob (Bill Murray) and bored, neglected young newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) bond while jetlagged out of their minds in Tokyo. Their relationship remains platonic, but a real connection is made, and their interaction is overwhelmingly tender and affectionate. FYI: if you really want to know what Bob whispers in her ear at the end, you can find a sound-amplified video of the scene on YouTube. But would you really want to ruin the magic?

The Holiday (2006):

Yes, it’s pure tosh, but somehow this festive house-swap romantic comedy has won me over (albeit after a snifter or two of port) every time it has been on TV for the past few Christmases. LA workaholic Amanda (Cameron Diaz) goes to stay in depressed Iris’ (Kate Winslet) storybook English cottage and promptly shacks up with her brother (Jude Law). Iris, meanwhile, gets the short end of the stick in LA by bagging Jack Black. Really? That doesn’t seem fair. Personally Iris, I’d have taken my chances with the lovely old fella next door instead.

Leap Year (2010):

The Holiday is Citizen Kane compared to this abomination, but, movie masochists that we are here at, we can’t seem to tear our eyes away from the burgeoning Irish-set romance between marriage-obsessed American visitor Anna (Amy Adams) and Oirish charmer Declan (Matthew Goode: his face, and the character’s name, being the only good things about the film).

Sex and the City 2:

Last, and by all means least, how can we forget pop culture’s four favourite clothes horses (now now, be nice), specifically Samantha (Kim Cattrall) who, during the course of their Jihad/World War III-baiting trip to the Middle East, meets dashing Dane Dick Spurt (seriously, that joke made it into the script of $100m Hollywood movie). Having just about avoided being stoned to death for their overly-friendly behaviour on their first date – now there’s a premise for the rumoured/threatened Sex and the City 3 if there ever was one – Samantha finally manages to get laid by her foreign hunk on the bonnet of a car on the beach back in the good old US of A.

Words – Declan Cashin 

*The Inbetweeners Movie is out now.