Look, we know Valentine’s Day is just a capitalist invention to sell overpriced flowers and gifts no one really needs, but we’re in the third national lockdown and anything to break away from another daily walk and a zoom-call with your friends is much needed. So whether you’re single or locked inside with your significant other, a good ol’ romantic comedy is never a bad shout. And, while we will forever love Notting Hill, if you’re like us and have seen it one too many times, here’s a round up of our other favourites that you may not have seen yet.
For when you want to go old school: It Happened One Night (1934)
Often credited with being the first true romantic comedy, It Happened One Night is the ultimate enemies-to-lovers story about a snobbish socialite who falls in love with a reporter. Not only is it perfect for those who have watched every romantic-comedy from the 1980s onwards, it is also a genuinely great film: it is one of only three films in history to have won all five of the major Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress and Best Screenplay).
For when you want to both cry and laugh: The Big Sick (2017)
You may have heard of The Big Sick already, but for those that haven’t watched it yet: please do so now. Starring Kumail Nanijani and Zoe Kazan, the story is based on Nanijani’s own, real-life love story. It is a film that manages to be original, hilarious and full of heart at the same time. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day where you want to feel every emotion at once, it is a truly great film that managed to finally break-away from the long line of average-at-best romantic comedies.
For when you want something unconventional: Amelie (2001)
While Amelie has now become a classic, it might not be the first pick to watch on Valentine’s Day, and we beg to differ. It is a film packed with love and romance, and shows one of the most romantic cities in the world at its very best. On top of that, it’s joyfully surrealistic and has a beautiful score, which makes it perfect when you’ve grown tired of the same-old romantic comedy and want something that’s a little bit different.
For when you want something realistic: Frances Ha (2012)
Written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig? That should be enough to persuade anyone. But for those that need a little more convincing: Frances Ha might be one of the most realistic romantic comedies out there, and one that is about so much more than just romance. Starring Gerwig herself, it portrays the life of a 27-year-old dancer whose life is slowly turning into a bit of a mess. Relatable to pretty much anyone living in a big city in their twenties, it is a film that is real while also offering enough heart and joy to make you a bit more hopeful for the future.
For when you still want some Richard Curtis: About Time (2013)
Richard Curtis might be the king of romance films, and About Time is one of his more lesser-known features. With an all-star cast of Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy, it centres around a family in which the men can travel back in time, and re-do the moments in their lives they messed up. And in true Curtis-fashion our main character uses this to make the woman of his dreams fall in love with him. Brilliantly awkward with a beautiful twist, it is a film any Notting Hill-fan will love.
For when you want a noughties classic: 13 Going On 30 (2004)
The noughties might be the decade that produced the most rom-coms, but sadly most of them seem to be almost identical. One that stands out of the bunch is 13 Going on 30, however. Cheesy, but irresistible: it is the ideal noughties throwback and features a young Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner and one of the most iconic dance-scenes in film history.
For when you want something queer: Imagine Me & You (2005)
While most romantic-comedies are sadly still very white and very straight, the genre is slowly (very slowly) becoming a little more diverse. One film that was quite ahead of its time in this regard is the 2005 rom-com Imagine Me & You. The story centres on Rachel who, during her wedding ceremony, notices a woman who she befriends and later falls in love with. One of the more underrated romance films, it features a great cast (Lena Heady, Matthew Goode, need we say more?) and is perfect if you’re sick of another straight love story.
For when you want something incredibly British: Submarine (2010)
A classic coming-of-age, Submarine is romantic, sweet and packed with dry British humour (with a script penned by comedian Richard Ayoade this may not be so surprising). It is a film that is still as hilarious and relatable when you’re older as when you’re in your teens, and is a perfect Valentine’s Day pick for when you want a British classic. And if you’re not convinced just yet: Alex Turner wrote the original songs for the film and that alone makes it worth a watch.