Molly Burch on Romance Movies and New Album Romantic Images

Local singer-songwriter reveals her favorite rom-coms and rom-drams


Photo by Jackie Lee Young

Amid the moonlit synth of her new song "Games," Molly Burch explains: "Everything I ever knew about love, I learned from watching movies." The yearning, disco-dusted track joins the local artist's fourth album, Romantic Images, unveiled last week via Captured Tracks.

"I thought a lot about impostor syndrome – or losing the plot," she says. "I tried to get away from fixating on what other people think and wanting things for the wrong reasons."

The musical black sheep in a clan of moviemakers, the California native grew up with open access to the family laser disc collection. During quarantine, armed with her film buff father's list of top 300 movies, she gravitated toward early romances of the 20th century. On Romantic Images, she applies the cinematic styles of undying devotion and openheartedness to the effort of self-love.

"It is a romantic album, and all my albums are, even if they are not specifically about love relationships," she adds. "I acknowledged where I was at in my journey with self-confidence. Turning 30, so many years of work were put into loving others and people-pleasing."

Burch says production duo Tennis "bridged the gap" between her early live-captured alternative and the glossy pop of January single "Emotion," a collaboration with Wild Nothing. The Austinite celebrates Romantic Images Sept. 18 at Mohawk with Christelle Bofale. Ahead of nationwide touring, the singer-songwriter shares her top rom-coms and rom-drams throughout history.


It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night (1934)

Crossing movies off my dad's list, I found myself very focused on the Thirties and Forties romances. This is seen as sort of the first rom-com. Strangers meet on a train and are bickering the whole time, but they go through this crazy journey together.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Jimmy Stewart is almost a Bernie Sanders type – this idealistic, young guy who comes to D.C. and does an epic filibuster at the end. (But, I think we should abolish the filibuster). I love that he's oblivious to the fact that he and Jean Arthur are falling in love. She knows the whole time.

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

For an older movie, this one felt so modern to me. Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and John Howard are in a kind of love triangle; all three guys are in love with Katharine Hepburn.


The Shop Around the Corner

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

So, I had a major crush on Jimmy Stewart during quarantine. You've Got Mail was based on this movie, and it's very cute. One of many "enemies in love" stories on this list.

Brief Encounter (1945)

I watched a lot of movies for the first time last year, and this was my favorite. Two people meet at a train stop, both married, and they keep meeting. I won't tell what happens.

Baby Boom (1987)

Working girl Diane Keaton inherits a baby and ends up moving to Vermont. Really cozy – Eighties, in the winter, snowing. My stepmom is always like, "What do you think the word cozy means?" Because I also find Mare of Easttown and true crime to be very cozy. It's complicated.


When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally ... (1989)

This is my all-time favorite. Ugh! It's the ultimate "friends first" – years and years of friendship and falling in love. It's set in the perfect time period and shows seasons so well, like fall in New York. My No. 1 I could watch over and over, and I have.

Defending Your Life (1991)

Albert Brooks dies and goes to this place, not heaven, where you basically have to go on trial. It's one of those stories where a shitty guy learns from a woman, Meryl Streep, and wants to be a better person. It's really funny.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Nora Ephron's so-iconic rom-com, the classic "meet me there." I love how Meg Ryan falls for Tom Hanks through hearing him talk on the radio.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This is such a passionate, simple story and so beautifully shot. I also wanted to add some lesbian romance in my very hetero list.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Molly Burch, Captured Tracks, Christelle Bofale, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur, The Philadelphia Story, Cary Grant, John Howard, Katharine Hepburn, The Shop Around the Corner, Brief Encounter, Baby Boom, Diane Keaton, When Harry Met Sally ..., Defending Your Life, Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Sleepless in Seattle

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