Valentine’s Day is a divisive holiday, you either love it or hate it (or you’re indifferent to it, which is fair). Some people love to love, live for flowers or want all the chocolate. And some … some want nothing to do the whole “holiday,” and are just here for the discounted candy on February 15th. So for both sides of the Valentine’s Day debate, and to the indifferent ones just here because they’re bored, allow me to give some movie recs for your day of love or anticipation of discount chocolate.
If you want that matchmaking magic, try …
Hitch — It’s a rom-com classic, is it not?! Will Smith at his best, trying to help hopeless, awkward sad sack Kevin James to get the girl. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s romantic and we all watched it every time it became available on Netflix. Remember the dancing montage to Usher’s “Yeah!”? Or the allergic reaction shocker? How about the perfect end credits wedding dance? It’s a perfect romantic comedy which still holds up.
If you would rather see miserable people try to pair up to survive, try …
The Lobster — Colin Farrell stars in this dystopian black comedy as a man desperate to find a partner to live life with. Not bad, right? There is the whole problem of having only forty-five days to find your soulmate or else you get turned into an animal, but surely Colin Farrell of all people can handle that. The film is somewhat Stanley Kubrickian in its execution, and at times too weird to handle, but it’s Colin Farrell. He can handle it.
If you want your Ryan Gosling fix, try …
The Notebook — Ah, yes, The Notebook. One of the early installments of Nicholas Sparks’ reign of terror, this film stars Gosling and former flame Rachel McAdams as young lovers who are separated by outside forces only to reunite due to their passion or stalking or something. Basically, every Nicholas Sparks book and film. But the movie has legs and is still considered a super-popular romance flick and helped seal Gosling as a heartthrob. It’s also really kinda quotable. I bet you can quote it right now, can’t you? It still isn’t over!
You know what, fuck Ryan Gosling, I want to see that asshole suffer!
Blue Valentine — See, if you really feel like dying on Valentine’s Day, this is the movie for you! Starring Gosling and Michelle Williams, the film follows the beginning and end of a couple’s relationship. Often brutal in its flips from the happiness of their first days to the distance of their desperate final days, the film seeks to rips your heart out, stomp on it, set it on fire and then dance on the ashes. The final scenes will leave you feeling a bit dead inside.
Looking for two souls who seek to find and protect each other with the power of their love?
The Princess Bride
Another classic. This fairy tale is another insanely quotable movie and you can probably catch it playing on TBS right now if you looked. Westley and Princess Buttercup, the two forever soulmates, are separated until Westley and his scrappy crew run off to rescue her. Not too corny and not too sappy, The Princess Bride is the perfect amount of comedy and romance, and the epitome of the fairy tale. You want some fantastical romance? As You Wish.
Is two souls looking to find and protect each other with the power of their weapons more your speed?
28 Days Later — The always underrated Cillian Murphy gets the ultimate meet-cute with Naomi Harris when she saves him from super fucking fast zombies on the streets of London. They are constantly at odds with their opposite personalities (he’s an optimist, she’s a realist!), but always find time to save each other. They even grow to like each other. They should probably date, if not for, you know…the super fucking fast zombies chasing after them, oh my god.
Ya like love triangles involving quirky women?!
The Bridget Jones series — You can take your pick of Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (spoiler alert: Don’t.), or Bridget Jones’s Baby. Each tale involves the odd duck known as Bridget Jones, who looks to have It All: the career, the man, the life. It of course doesn’t go as planned and she’s often caught between Hugh Grant playing Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth playing that dream man you fantasize about whom he’s played once or twice before. It’s a fun series.
Want your love triangles with a bit more internal crises and heartbreak?
Take This Waltz — Michelle Williams is back on this list, with another tale of romantic woe. Williams plays a quirky, restless woman who is unhappy in a happy marriage (it makes more sense as you watch the film, trust). She has her life shaken when she feels an undeniable attraction to her neighbor across the street. With strong performances across the board from Williams to Seth Rogen as her clueless but sweet husband (yes, that Seth Rogen), the film will have you cringing, hiding, but ultimately enthralled. And always a sucker for powerful endings, Williams in Take This Waltz is no exception, with the final shot both ambiguous and haunting.
So that’s a handful of some of my favorite romantic and fuck-love films. I would fucking LOVE to get some recommendations for whatever mood this Valentine’s Day and the days after will bring. Happy pre-discount chocolate day!