The 5 Best Rom-Coms to Watch on Valentine’s Day

By: Anna Cox

Romantic-comedies are arguably one of the most popular kinds of movies for young adults, but in recent years, the genre has been lacking the pizzazz that it used to have. For such a simple concept of a movie, they are extremely hard to pull off. But, once upon a time, romantic-comedies were the hottest genre to pick for your next movie watch. And with the day of love just around the corner, you may be craving a funny watch that also pulls at those hopeless romantic heartstrings of yours. So, whether you’re with a loved one or all by your lonesome, these are the five best rom-coms to watch on Valentine’s Day:

5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Do you know what the worst trope in romance movies is? The ugly duckling trope. You know, when an undesirable girl takes off her glasses and lets down her hair and all of the sudden she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. She started dressing trendy and now everyone likes her. So, in movies like these, the girl needs to change her physical appearance in order to be seen as valuable. But, My Big Fat Greek Wedding takes the “ugly duckling” trope and completely changes the execution. My Big Fat Greek Wedding follows a thirty-year-old woman named Toula who’s a part of a large and stereotypical Greek family. Toula is unsatisfied with the life that she has reluctantly accepted with her family, so she starts to take steps towards goals of her own. She gets a job at a travel agency, enrolls in the local college, and even starts exploring with her appearance. She stops wearing her glasses, accepts brighter clothing, and adapts an all-around confidence not seen in herself before. This newfound confidence leads to her meeting a man who is (gasp) not Greek. At first, her family does not approve, still seeing her as some sort of child that needs to stay in the realms of a traditional Greek marriage, but she continues on with the relationship. This movie is about personal growth and how to weave your own familial traditions into your new traditions. But, these themes of family are not the only reason I love this movie. Even though Toula does slightly tinker with her appearance, she doesn’t get rid of any of her features that are ethnically different from western beauty standards. She keeps her curly hair and still embraces her Greek heritage, all while adapting to her fiance Ian’s traditions. 

The relationship dynamic between Toula and Ian is also very unique for a rom-com. They communicate their way through issues and see each other as equal adults. As a couple, they see Toula’s family not accepting Ian at first as an obstacle, not a deadend. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was an important movie that showed a character with mature relationships, both with her significant other and herself.

4. Down With Love (2003)

The best thing a movie can do is make fun of itself. Or, in the case of Down With Love, other movies. Ever watched a Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie and felt like the same thing always happened? Down With Love understands and uses that to make a satirical rom-com that directly pokes fun at the silly rom-coms of the 1960s. Catcher Block, played by Ewan McGregor, can have almost any girl he wants, but when Barbara Novak, played by Renée Zellweger, publishes a feminist book discouraging women from falling in love until they are treated equally to men, that entitlement is threatened. So, Catcher comes up with a convoluted plan to make Barabra fall in love with him, disproving her whole book so that he can write an exposé on her. But, in the process, he falls in love with her–shocking, right? But, Barabara is not upset when Catcher admits his plan to her because she knew all along. In fact, she led him into this trap. Barabara explains in a almost three-and-a-half-minute monologue that she wrote the book to get his attention, knowing that he would do something like this because she was in love with him. Makes total sense, right? 

Down With Love is an interesting rom-com in the fact that it is sort of the “anti” rom-com. With great comedic timing, a stacked cast, and even a random musical number, Down With Love is sure to keep your attention. 

3. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

Although How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is quite a basic answer for one of the best rom-coms, that does not make it any less amazing. I mean, it’s popular for a reason, right? Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson play the ambitious Ben Berry and Andie Anderson who are both set on achieving the ultimate level of success in their industries. Andie wishes to write political columns in the magazine she works for, being tired of the vain life of writing in the “How-To” section. Her editor agrees that if she writes a great article about why guys lose interest in their partners so quickly, she can write whatever she wants. So, as Andie is on the search for a man to enchant and the drive away within 10 days, she finds Ben Berry. BUT, what she doesn’t know is that Ben is trying to get his advertising company to work with a popular diamond brand. His boss questions his ability to market engagement rings to be people who are in love, so Ben agrees that if he can have a woman fall in love with him in 10 days that he can be head of the diamond brands advertising, leading him to Andie. The movie shows both of their antics to reach their goal, but also shows the biggest obstacle of all to Andie’s plan: they are falling in love. With scenarios that read like an old SNL skit and a drunken performance of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days has cemented itself in rom-com history as one of the best and most iconic watches for Valentines Day.

2. Roman Holiday (1953)

I know that some people are turned off by old movies, but trust me when I say that Roman Holiday is truly exciting throughout. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck came together in 1953 to create rom-com excellence, setting the tone for the genre in the years to come. Princess Anne, played by Hepburn, is tired of her repetitive and busy life plagued by her royal duties. Joe Bradley, played by Peck, works for an Italian newspaper and is tasked with getting an interview with the princess, but when Anne sneaks out of the castle and ends up at his small flat, his plans change. Promising his publisher a juicy article about the Princess’ personal life, Joe takes her on a day filled with typical tourist things in Rome, all while not telling her that he knows of her true identity. And, even though this movie was followed by a trend of other cliche romantic-comedies where the guy gets the girl, Anne and Joe do not end up together. The movie shows a single day where two people find each other, fall in love, and go their separate ways. It is a unique perspective on the romantic-comedy with clever humor and a believable love story.

1. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

When Harry Met Sally is a basic answer for the best rom-com, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right answer. People love When Harry Met Sally and for good reason, too. The movie stars Billy Crystal and Meg–queen of the rom-com–Ryan. Taking place over the span of a decade, we see Harry and Sally fade in and out of each other’s lives. This movie is not the most exciting, but that is what I love about it. It takes mundane things like going to lunch with your friends or having an awkward conversation and makes it into something special. Harry and Sally live boring lives and their relationship is the most exciting thing to them. The chemistry between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is so good that should be the standard for all future romance movies A movie about conversations can fall flat very quickly, but When Harry Met Sally always manages to keep the audience engaged. It is cheesy when it needs to be and it is the ultimate rom-com. When Harry Met Sally is considered a modern classic for a reason and anyone who watches this movie will surely understand.

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