I have never known a conventional Valentine’s Day. The first time I celebrated it was in Colorado. Both of my roommates, being in relationships, had dates the night of February 14th and were out of the house. I stayed behind, absent a date, ordered Chinese take-out, and popped in a movie. It was an act of kindness toward myself, and somehow deeply fulfilling. A few years passed before next observing the holiday. This time, while living in an old farmhouse just north of town, a Valentine’s Day dinner for a number of my single friends was spontaneously planned and executed the the day of. All told, there were upwards of 18 of us, eating lasagne and drinking wine in the soft glow of lamplight. Then, just a couple of years ago, married now, my wife and I–together with another newly wed couple–held a Valentine’s steak dinner in our home, surrounded by candlelight and by friends both single and married.
I suppose these are among my favorite ways to celebrate the holiday of love, by honoring another form of love beyond eros (i.e. romantic love): that of philia, the love between friends. And to that list, the Greeks added two other forms of love: storge (the love that exists in the family or in a community) and agape (self-sacrificial love).
If this Valentine’s Day involves dinner and a movie–with your significant other, with friends, or with family–consider viewing one of the following films, all of which inspire one to love better, to love more. Below is a “Top 10” list of Film for the 14th of February. Each notes the forms of love embodied in each feature. What would you add to the list?
To the Wonder: Agape and Eros
Braveheart: Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge
Jane Eyre: Eros, Philia, and Storge
Crazy Heart: Eros
A Walk to Remember: Eros, Storge
The Sound of Music: Eros and Storge
The Notebook: Eros
Legends of the Fall: Eros and Storge
Les Miserables: Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?: Storge