Valentine’s Day – a holiday that is both loved and loathed in equal measure depending on your relationship status – is once again upon us. If
you’re planning on spending February 14 snuggled up with a good movie, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a downright cynic, we’ve got suggestions just for you.
If you’re in the mood for some Valentine’s Day romance and whimsy here are your best choices.
(Please note: if you’re hoping to forget about love and romance altogether, these film options will likely make you want to throw popcorn at the screen, ugly cry or both. Sound like you? Skip to the second section.)
1. Love Actually
Sure, this 2003 rom-com classic is also on our list of favorite Christmas movies, but that’s just because it’s so darn perfect. With performances of some of the best Britain has to offer – Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman and the late Alan Rickman – this movie is undeniably charming. Chock-full of hopeless romantics, Love Actually is capable of warming even the coldest of hearts.
2. Pretty in Pink
If you enjoy your romance with a side of amazing 1980’s fashions, this John Hughes masterpiece starring Molly Ringwald is a must-see. Andie Walsh lives in the dingy part of town, but attends high school in a rich area. When she meets and falls for Blaine – one of the rich kids – she must choose between following her heart and staying loyal to her friends. In true high school romance fashion, everything comes to a head on the night of the prom. The moral of this feel-good story: being true to your heart trumps social class divides.
This whimsical, musical love story starring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is a musical for people who don’t like musicals. While the storyline is pretty straightforward – two strangers fall in love through music – the soundtrack and the understated performances make this a really lovely movie to watch if you’re in the mood for love.
4. La-La Land
If you’d actually like to leave the house on February 14, catch a screening of this Oscar-nominated film at your local movie theater. While the colorful, over-the-top musical sequences are what make this movie great to watch on the big screen, the real draw is watching Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s characters fall in love. Their romance is sweet, charming and ultimately, realistically bittersweet.
While this may seem like an odd choice for the “best” column, this film about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with a Siri-like woman who is part of his phone’s computer program (Scarlett Johansen), is the perfect choice if you’re feeling a little disillusioned with modern romance. You may be striking out online, but at least you’re trying to date actual humans. You hope?
If you’re feeling pretty snarky about Valentine’s Day this year, here are some of the best of the worst movies to watch. Warning: these movies will kill the romance, so watch them solo or with friends – preferably while in sweatpants, eating and drinking something delicious.
6. Blue Valentine
Want to be reminded of how painful and heartbreaking love can be? This film starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is basically like watching an autopsy of a real relationship gone bad. From jealousies, fights and other vitriols, Blue Valentine peels back the layers, taking us to places that are uncomfortable and perhaps a little too close to home. It’s pretty much the worst date movie ever, but it’s perfect if you want to have a good cry.
7. Requiem for a Dream
Described as “bleak,” “harrowing” and “hard to watch,” Requiem for a Dream is sure to kill any feelings of romance dead in their tracks. There’s a love story here between Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto’s characters, but their relationship is so dysfunctional and drug-addled that it’s unlikely you’ll get any warm and fuzzy feelings watching it unfold.
8. The Hurt Locker
If you’re looking to avoid romance on the 14th, watch this one for the title alone. While it’s not exactly romantic, the plot line is compelling. Set during the Iraq War, the film focuses on a War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team who are targeted by insurgents with booby traps, remote control detonations and ambushes. Sure, Jeremy Renner loves his wife, but he loves diffusing bombs even more.
9. Fatal Attraction
Feeling cynical about relationships? Watch a thriller about a relationship that’s pathologically dysfunctional. Two words: bunnies and boiling water – two things that should never appear in the same sentence, but inevitably end up paired together when Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) and Alex (Glenn Close) begin their romance. If you’re looking for a an excuse to never date again, this is it.
10. 50 Shades of Grey
I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t this a steamy love story?” Yes, in theory, but it’s hilariously terrible. Simply put, Christian Grey is such a horrible boyfriend that you spend half of the movie trying to figure out why we’re supposed to find him appealing. He’s controlling, emotionally distant and he sells his girlfriend’s car without asking her first. This is only good to watch on Valentine’s Day if you’re willing to have a few drinks and laugh all the way through.