Yep, it’s that time of year again. The most romantic (or most annoying) day of February, depending on what you’ve got going on this year. In honor of V-Day, NBNtertainment prepared a cheesy list of rom-coms that’ll warm your hearts whether you’ve got a valentine or just a couple galentines.
And yes, Rosamund Pike appears in not one but TWO of these movies. You’re welcome.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
When Harry Met Sally is the perfect movie. Not the perfect rom-com, the perfect movie. It has the idyllic young-person location of New York City, the all-star cast – including a young me’s first exposure to Carrie Fisher outside of Star Wars – and, perhaps most importantly, the witty and perfect dialogue that only comes out when two people really know and love each other.
That’s what this movie is all about for me. It’s the ultimate “friends-to-lovers” story. Two people who have only known each other through absolutely insane random encounters. Stories that you tell your friends in passing conversations, despite their lasting impact on you. Finding a common ground and becoming closer than you ever have with someone. It’s about having someone who hears through your rants that ultimately mean something more – despite how stupid that wagon wheel coffee table may be – and knowing that, as the film so sweetly concludes, you want to spend the rest of your life with just that kind of person.
Also, at one point Billy Crystal said he can’t get over the fact that his date went to Michigan State and he hates this because his ex went to Northwestern. "They’re both Big Ten schools,” he said, which is the ultimate representation we need. Go ’Cats.
– Coop Daley
Me Before You (2016)
The story begins with our bubbly protagonist Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke), who goes by “Lou,” when she loses her 10-year job serving as a waitress at a cafe and embarks on a desperate search for a job to support her family. By a stroke of luck, Lou finds herself at a castle-like manor to work as the caretaker of Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a once successful banker whose life changed two years prior when an accident left him paralyzed.
Lou’s optimistic outlook clashes with Will’s cynical attitude, giving birth to light-hearted banter. Despite their different personalities, the two fall in love and become important drivers in each others’ lives. As a sucker for cheesy romances and a lover of the sunshine and grumpy trope, Me Before You cracked me up on multiple occasions, made butterflies swarm in my stomach and left me with a pile of tear-soaked tissues.
However, a criticism I must give – besides its cliche love story and predictable plot – is how it depicts ableism and alienates people with disabilities.
The movie leaves out a few key details from the book that offer more diverse perspectives on life with quadriplegia. In solely focusing on Will’s experiences, it implies that such a life is not worth living and that the only escape is through suicide. As one of few movies with a lead character having quadriplegia, the portrayal of disability is disappointing, and the film could have provided multiple perspectives for better representation.
– Michelle Sheen
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
All you 1995 Colin Firth miniseries stans can leave right now. The 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s iconic, timeless, showstopping and absolutely enthralling classic Pride & Prejudice is THE cinematic masterpiece to enjoy with your partner (or friends, you do you) on Valentine’s Day.
If you don’t already know the plot to Pride & Prejudice, it’s about a middle class family in Regency-era England with a doting yet aggressive mama who wants her girls to go get that bag by marrying wealthy men. Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley) isn’t like other girls though, because she wants to get married for love. She meets Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) and instantly dislikes him. Hijinks ensue: ballroom dancing, handkerchiefs thrown at regiments, a gazebo – you get the picture.
Between the whimsical classical score of the movie, the chemistry between Macfadyen and Knightley and the absolutely stunning visuals of the English countryside, this story does period romance enemies-to-lovers like no other. Macfadyen is one of few actors who can bring that necessary emotional depth to Darcy, and Knightley can do no wrong. Every scene in this movie is iconic, and by the time the movie is over I am always in shambles. Don’t even get me started on the hand flex scene…
– Ali Bianco
Mr. Darcy’s little hand flex in ‘pride and prejudice’ (2005) RT if you agree pic.twitter.com/kQymbmH8Rw— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) May 1, 2020
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
The 1998 film You’ve Got Mail directed by Nora Ephron is one of the best rom-coms ever made. I watch it at least four times a month. I watch when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I'm tired – pretty much whenever. The premise of the movie is simple: The internet is just becoming a “thing.” Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) are emailing each other without knowing they are real life nemeses. Kelly owns a quaint New York bookstore, while Fox owns a big bad bookstore threatening Kelly’s livelihood.
I won’t spoil the ending, although I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself as it is a classic enemies-to-lovers narrative. I will say that I firmly disagree with the notion that Joe is a bad guy who destroys Kelly’s life. I think Kelly needed to be pushed out of her life of comfort to truly see her potential. The movie has multiple subplots with different lessons that you can take from them, but at its core it’s a love story, and a movie not just to be watched on Feb. 14 but every day.
– Naya Reyes
Gone Girl (2014)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. IMDb describes this movie as a drama, thriller and mystery – no mention of rom or com anywhere. But trust me when I say this is the most romantic film I’ve ever seen. This is a heartwarming movie about charming, small town Missouri boy Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his search for his darling wife Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike) when she suddenly disappears from their home on their oh-so-special fifth wedding anniversary.
You’ll go from thinking one spouse is a sociopath to then thinking it’s actually the other spouse who’s the sociopath and then back again the whole time, and that’s what makes the couple a perfect match. This movie explores all the questions you should address with your partner: Could you cheat on the person you love? Could you forgive the person you love? Could you kill the person you love? Could you kill for the person you love? Settle in for a cozy movie night with Gone Girl on your screen to test the answers. You’ll come out of the evening closer than ever before. And after all, what’s romance without a bit of mystery?
– Hope Cartwright
Thumbnail graphic by Jaharia Knowles / North by Northwestern.