Thrilling confessions, unexpected coincidences and heartbreaking breakups. Romantic movies are exciting to watch because of these things that both detach themselves from real life but also embody it in a way that makes it relatable but avoids being weighed down by reality. They’re even perfect for a day where you need a pick me up or if you just want to spend some quality time with a loved one.
But let’s be honest, romantic movies are a dime a dozen, so much so that you can pretty much pick them out from any spectrum and there are many to choose from throughout the decades. So let’s take a chance to run down some of the best romantic movies to watch for those nights where you just want to cuddle up with your significant other and welcome the new year.
Must Love Dogs
This romantic movie from 2005 stars Diane Lane and John Cusack in a story that’s a charm to watch. The story revolves around Sarah, a woman in her 40s who has recently gotten divorced and is trying to find a way to meet new people. Throughout the movie, she goes through different methods of dating and socialising, ending with meeting Jake, a man whom she bonds with over their shared experiences and their love for dogs.
While the movie itself is light on romantic drama and tension, both of the main actors give excellent performances and are fun to see on screen, making it a great movie to watch even for the boys as it wouldn’t be categorised as a typical ‘chick flick’.
Be ready to whip out the tissue for this movie and men may groan at the title but most will admit that The Notebook is an excellent romantic film. The Notebook tells the tale of a couple in love and the trials and tribulations they go through during their lives – from their chance meeting as teenagers up to their slowly vanishing relationship as one of them deal with Alzheimer’s in their old age. This movie is great to witness the grand romance of the two leads while also learning to appreciate the little things we have in our real lives.
We take a more comedic turn with this next entry. Trainwreck is a great romantic comedy that explores and spoofs the clichés associated with such movies all while making the best of it, aided mainly by its leads Amy Schumer and Bill Maher, who are an absolute riot. It flips the script around by focusing on the female lead, a woman who refuses to settle down after seeing her parent’s disastrous divorce. Of course, she ends up meeting a physical therapist who, while appearing plain and dull at first, ends up opening up to her and making her reconsider her stance.
This movie puts its focus squarely on its comedy throughout most of the film, and while it features a handful of genuinely dramatic moments, it never becomes too grim or distances you from its comedic roots for too long. If you want a quick and laugh out loud comedy that likes to twist the old romantic clichés then you can’t go wrong with this one.
The Lake House
Based on the South Korean movie Il Mare, The Lake House stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in this romantic movie that spans time as the two leads ‘meet’ each other through letters left in the mailbox of the house that they both live in separate years. They continue this correspondence for 2 years but when they try to meet up in Kate’s (Sandra Bullock) present time, Alex (Keanu Reeves) does not show up and they try to figure out what had happened.
Friends with Benefits
If Trainwreck focused on making fun of romantic comedy clichés, then Friends with Benefits outright mocks it to no end. The story stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and focuses on a couple of friends living in New York. The two have recently become single but are so tired of the drama that comes with relationships that they decide it’d be easier just to start sleeping with one another since they’re so close already.
Of course, things aren’t easy, and before too long they start to develop real feelings for one another, feelings that neither of them wants to acknowledge due to them knowing the flaws of each other.
It all sounds more severe than it is and the story takes a time to handle the whole topic of changing friendships with enough depth, so much so that the characters mock the romantic comedies they like so much during the movie. If you want a meta-story that takes a more realistic look at romantic movies but also delivers on what it means to be one, then this one won’t fail you.
Sleepless in Seattle
We dial it back a bit to a classic movie from the 80’s, back when both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were still relatively new names. Sleepless in Seattle was one of the films that kickstarted their carries, owed mostly to the stellar and touching performances they both deliver.
The story revolves around a widowed man and an engaged yet unhappy woman, and the story of how their lives get twisted up after the man’s 8-year-old son convinces his father to talk about his previous wife on a talk show. Hearing this, Meg Ryan’s character ends up accidentally sending a letter where she proposes that the two meet at the top of the Empire State Building on Christmas.
There are a lot of elements in this movie that are dated today, in fact, Sleepless in Seattle set up a lot of the clichés for romantic comedies of this type (the same ones that movies like Trainwreck and Friends with Benefits mock). However, the fact that it’s such a classic is also a reason for why you can’t afford to miss it or rewatch it for those melt-your-heart moments.
Fools Rush In
Matthew Perry is mainly known for his role as Chandler on Friends, but at the height of the show’s popularity, he starred in a small but beautiful romantic comedy along with Salma Hayek.
Fools Rush In follows the life of Alex Whitman, a white collared architect who is sent to Las Vegas to oversee the construction of a new casino. There he meets Isabel Fuentes, a Mexican woman that he ends up having a one night stand with. Unfortunately for the two, Isabel ends up pregnant and while the two are initially hesitant, they decided to give their relationship a try to see if they’re cut out to be parents and a couple at the same time.
Fools Rush In stands out because, while it jokes around about how two strangers who have a one night stand could possibly fall in love, it does emphasise that love can be found in the strangest ways if we open ourselves to these possibilities. It also highlights that the most wonderful bond is also through being parents, welcoming new life into the world.
Of course, there are still many, many more romantic movies to choose from out there (decades worth), so if there are any you feel we forgot to mention or that you want to recommend yourself, feel free to tell us in the comments below.
Photo Credits: Seeker401, Lisa Renee Jones, JoBlo, Zack & Nick’s Culture Cast, Youtube, Mean Maureen, Studio Mao