With Valentine’s Day falling midweek this year, there’s no need to scrabble around for a last-minute booking at a restaurant or risk a headache at work Friday morning! Instead, turn your home into your own entertainment space for the evening.
Home cinemas might be known for bringing action movies to life, but they work on so many other levels too. Romantic movies are made more immersive in the close-up to the first kiss, more passionate in the thundering rain, and more chaotic in those not-so-perfect wedding scenes. This year, ditch the overpriced Valentine’s menu and stay in with our collection of romantic movies.
For the classic romcom
Anything with Richard Curtis in the credits is guaranteed to have at least one of these three ingredients: a clumsy pair of star-crossed lovers, fake snow, or Hugh Grant. Bridget Jones’s Diary attains this on all counts, telling the tale of hopeless singleton Bridget and her hilarious love triangle between her own Mr Darcy and her megalomaniac boss.
Step back even further in time and we have the genre-defining Four Weddings and a Funeral, starring you-know-who alongside a hall of fame of British comics, plus a rain-soaked Andie MacDowell. Now is a great time to revisit this 90s classic, as the cast are reuniting for Comic Relief!
For the old romantic
Fans of old romantics and classic movie quotes alike simply cannot miss Casablanca. If you’ve not seen this iconic Humphrey Bogart blockbuster, you’ve probably heard the line about all the gin joints in all the world. This wartime tale tells the story of American expat Rick Blaine (Bogart), who is tasked with assisting his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband out of the country – but it soon becomes evident that those embers still burn. Here’s a little trivia for you: the line “play it again, Sam,” is never uttered in the film!
If classic one-liners are your thing, however, rewind to 1940 with Gone with the Wind. An epic two-parter which sees protagonist Scarlett (Vivian Leigh) dealing with the trials and tribulations of love, it is perhaps most famous for Clark Gable’s unforgettable line “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
For the not-so-fairy-tale
Nothing says brutally honest like the first conversation we see between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. As Harry unapologetically tells Sally that heterosexual men and women cannot be friends, we learn that, even after 10 years of friendship, he’s right in this case. As the film chronicles Harry and Sally’s own failed relationships, they learn that they had each other all along – with some very memorable scenes along the way.
If you’re looking for something with a less conventional ending, try Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn in The Break Up. Rather than starting with a blossoming love story, this one shows what love is like after happily ever after, and why it’s not always a fairy tale. The two find their own happiness, but don’t expect any wedding bells.
For a break from the norm
As Hollywood becomes more progressive, so too do the Oscar-winning titles, and the whole romantic genre in general. Tales of forbidden love have been commonplace since Romeo and Juliet, but only recently are we starting to see this in a modern light. Brokeback Mountain challenged traditional love stories in 2005, chronicling 20 years of a forbidden relationship between a ranch herder and a rodeo cowboy in the 60s. In 2013, French film Blue is the Warmest Colour picked up several awards for its depiction of two female students meeting and forming a relationship as they navigate their way through adolescence and young adulthood. Later, in 2017, Call Me by Your Name picked up the Academy Award for Best Screenplay as a coming of age tale exploring two young men’s struggle with societal norms.
For the tearjerker fans
Makeup is ill-advised if you’re putting on any of these flicks this Valentine’s Day. Multiple Academy Award Nominee A Star Is Born is out now on DVD, recounting the story of a struggling artist (Lady Gaga) who is propped up by a fellow musician (Bradley Cooper), whose own personal struggles ultimately doom their relationship. The incredible soundtrack only adds to the emotion with this one!
Another genre-defining classic, but with plenty of tears, is 2004’s The Notebook. A flashback tale depicting young love in 1940s South Carolina, Noah tells the story in present day, highlighting how only the truest of loves will stand the test of time. Ten years later, The Fault in Our Stars took us through the journey of two lovers without time on their side. As adolescents Gus and Hazel Grace fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group, the two must battle through together to honour their final moments.
For the Galentine’s
If the idea of a romantic movie night fills you with dread, try an anti-Valentine’s night instead! Hollywood has given rise to many a blockbuster about female empowerment, including Legally Blonde, which crushed stereotypes, Thelma and Louise, which showed us the true value of our friendships, and for something really out there: Kill Bill. This last one should be just as popular for gentlemen who love a good revenge flick.
Whether it’s tearjerkers or belly laughs you’re after, there’s a movie for every taste throughout the ages. Sit back, relax and enjoy from the comfort of your home this Valentine’s Day.