The most romantic time of the year is just around the corner, so it’s time to cozy up with your loved ones, or by yourself, and dive into these heartwarming Valentine’s Day rom-coms.
Notting Hill (1999)
Starting off with a classic — Notting Hill takes place in London, England. It follows the story of William Thacker, a travel bookstore owner played by Hugh Grant. Thacker’s life turns around when famous American actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) appears in his shop. Classic English humour and interactions between Thatcher and his roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans) make this 1999 film worth the two hours.
I don’t know about everyone else but I’m obsessed with every character that Hugh Grant plays, and William Thatcher is no exception. Grant does an amazing job captivating the audience into believing he really is an innocent, hopelessly romantic bookstore owner. As much as I loved this character, I was also slightly jealous of him because I, too, wanted to own a bookstore in the most beautiful part of London. Acting alongside Grant is Julia Roberts with her classic 90s haircut. The two actors do a lovely job portraying an awkward but delicate love story that leaves viewers wanting more.
Love, Simon (2018)
From the producers of The Fault in Our Stars (2014), this heartfelt coming-of-age story is a must-watch.
Love, Simon has been one of my favourite rom-coms since I first saw it in theatres in 2018. The film centres Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he navigates his sexuality and a complicated romance as a 17-year-old high school student. When Simon falls for an anonymous classmate online, he must figure out if this relationship is worth coming out to his parents and other classmates.
One of my favourite features about this movie is the acting. I truly feel like I am watching a 17-year-old boy, despite Robinson being 22 when the movie was filmed. His portrayal of a high school student was spot on while also being an extremely relatable watch for anyone in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as it highlights the struggles of young queer relationships. No matter how you identify, this movie also features numerous other important topics such as friendship, identity, and all the struggles that come with being a highschooler, while remaining lighthearted and humorous. If you’re looking for a thoughtful watch this Valentine’s day, Love, Simon is the film for you.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
For those who haven’t seen this iconic 90s rom-com, you’re in for a treat!
10 Things I Hate About You follows two polar opposite sisters navigating high school and relationships. Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is the popular youngest sister in the Stratford family. As Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) enters his first day at his new high school, he falls in love with Bianca. Unfortunately, her strict father permits her to date under one condition: her ill-tempered, stubborn sister Kat (Julia Stiles) must go out with someone too. To solve his problem, Cameron asks Patrick (Heath Ledger) to help him by taking Kat out on a date.
This fun, upbeat rom-com is such an easy watch. Although unexpected, it might leave you teary-eyed in the end, but it’s worth it. These fun and loveable characters will make you wish there was a sequel to these fantastic love stories. Relatable yet humorous, 10 Things I Hate About You is a film that has something for everyone.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
A classic Netflix-original rom-com, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before gained a ton of popularity after its release in 2018.
Adapted from the eponymous novel by Jenny Han, the film follows the story of Lara-Jean Covey (Lana Condor), a hopeless romantic teenage girl. Lara-Jean writes five love letters to all the boys she has ever had a crush on. One day someone mails her letters without her knowledge and her life descends into chaos. In an attempt to cover for herself and make sure her current crush doesn’t know she likes him, Lara-Jean asks Peter (Noah Centineo) for help. Peter and Lara-Jean start to “fake date,” but things take a pleasant turn.
This heartwarming film had couples dressing up as Lara-Jean and Peter for Halloween. With the major theme of coming of age, this rom-com focuses on relatable teenage experiences and loss. It’s not only the relationship between Lara-Jean and Peter that is heartwarming but also the relationship between Lara-Jean and her family and friends. Since its release, this Netflix original is still one of my favourites! It’s a feel-good, comfort type of movie that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.
If you like this movie, good news… it’s a trilogy!
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Moonrise Kingdom is not your conventional rom-com. Directed by Wes Anderson, this movie takes on an eccentric view of a love story between two 12-year-olds. Using Anderson’s visual-oriented narrative style, Moonrise Kingdom observes Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) as they create a pact to run to the wilderness together in the summer of 1965. Their decision strikes chaos across the island as various authorities try to hunt them down while a violent storm is on the rise.
Although Moonrise Kingdom is fun to watch, Anderson’s incredible cinematic shots make this movie so captivating. His use of angles, lighting, props, and setting, create well-balanced and visually appealing scenes. This quirky take on childhood love also features bright colours and music that will leave you smiling from ear to ear this Valentine’s Day! With a hilarious script, including witty humour and physical comedy, Moonrise Kingdom is guaranteed to make you laugh.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Ending the way we started, Sleepless in Seattle is another iconic 90s rom-com. After the death of his mother, Jonah (Ross Malinger) calls into a radio show to find his father a new wife. Jonah’s father, Sam (Tom Hanks), gets on the phone to talk about his feelings, and a journalist named Annie (Meg Ryan) living in Baltimore hears him and falls in love. Unsure where this will lead, Annie writes Sam a letter hoping to interview them for a story. The plot takes a turn when Annie asks Sam to meet her at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day.
This Academy Award-nominated film was created by the queen of 90s rom-coms, Nora Ephron. Ephron has written other rom-com classics like When Harry Met Sally (1989) and You’ve Got Mail (1999), both starring Meg Ryan, and what a great choice. Meg Ryan never fails to flawlessly execute her roles as 90’s heartthrobs, and Sleepless in Seattle is no exception! This touching love story is embedded with a script you can’t take your eyes off and is definitely a must-watch for this Valentine’s Day. It will have you laughing, crying, and laughing again three seconds later.