Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and what better way to spend the evening than cuddled up next to your sweetheart with a romantic movie marathon? These are my Top Five Romantic Comedies for Valentine’s Day.
5. He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)
After the success of Love Actually (which does not make an appearance on this list because it’s more of a holiday film) there were a series of ensemble films that tried cramming an all-star cast into one interlocking story. Where Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011) failed, He’s Just Not That Into You excelled. I’ll admit, when I first heard the idea of a film based on the self-help book, I was not enthusiastic. I was quite pleased when I discovered the filmmakers had taken the concept of the book and applied it to well-developed characters, representative of different types of relationships. Including one where Bradley Cooper got to play yet another self-absorbed d-bag. The result is a delightful story that follows these characters, some sympathetic and relatable, others less so, as they explore the ups and downs of love.
4. 27 Dresses (2008)
This is the best Romantic Comedy of the last ten years. It was made when Katherine Heigl wasn’t one of the most hated actresses in Hollywood. It’s the story of a perpetual bridesmaid who butts head with a commitments writer who is anti-marriage. Heigl’s character, Jane, is very feminine and has notions of a fairytale romance but is also grounded. She’s in love with her boss yet doesn’t try to sabotage his relationship with her sister (well, until the very end but for pretty fair reasons at that point) but rather agrees to help plan their wedding. Her flaws come from her inability to say “no” and for always putting others before herself. She is a pushover and Kevin (James Marsden) is the first person to tell her this, and not take advantage of it. They point out each other’s faults and that’s why they clash at first. Slowly they grow to understand why the other is the way they are. They not only learn to accept that but also champion it.
3. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are perfect in this film. This is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and the main couple spends just about two minutes on screen together, exchanging only about ten words. Most of the romance comes from Sam Baldwin’s (Hanks) sweet memories of his dead wife (if you don’t cry when he tells Dr. Marcia what was so special about his wife, then you have no heart) but there is also the inexplicable draw Annie (Ryan) feels towards him. She’s sensing a bit of that “magic” Sam references and follows it all the way to New York, and the Empire State Building (On Valentine’s Day, no less) to meet him. It’s such a romantic thought to think that two people who are total strangers can feel like they’re destined to cross paths. It’s completely unrealistic but that’s the charm of movies like this; they sell the audience a wonderful fantasy.
2. Moonstruck (1987)
Cher and Nicolas Cage star together in this hilarious film about a woman who falls for the brother of the man she has recently agreed to marry. There is romance, humor, a story of brotherly love broken and renewed, and a message of family loyalty and strength. Everything you could ask for in a Romantic Comedy. It’s the characters though that really make this such a great pick. They are admittedly, a little over the top but that’s what makes them entertaining and memorable. No way would a story like Ronny’s be as funny in real life but Cage’s ridiculously outrageous performance makes it laugh out loud funny. Cher’s performance was so impressive she won an Oscar for it.
1. When Harry Met Sally … (1989)
Another Meg Ryan film makes its way onto the list. What can I say? She’s the Rom Com Queen, and this movie is perfection. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal are excellent together in this classic, showing great chemistry both moments of comedy and as romantic interests. I absolutely love Billy Crystal’s performance, and think Harry’s speech to Sally at the end of the film is the best part of the film. He explains how her quirks are the things he loves most about her, and the fact that he wants the rest of his life with her to start immediately. It is the kind of thing every romantic comedy has been trying to recreate since the film came out in 1989. He said it perfectly and it’s the sort of confession that not only gives the apology but also proves the sincerity of it. He isn’t saying sorry just to get out of a bad situation. He truly loves this woman and he doesn’t want to wait one more second to show her that.