Are rom-coms the best thing to be watching on Valentine’s Day when you’re Bridget Jones level single and still waiting on Meg Ryan’s luck in love? Who can really say, but as you scroll through countless photos of rose bouquets, over-sized teddy bears and sickly sweet declarations of love on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’d happily accept the familiar, warm embrace of a rom-com. Although the genre hasn’t been quite so prevalent to our screens as it was in the 90’s and early 2000’s, there’s no shortage of wonderful (and admittedly, sometimes wonderfully awful) rom-coms out there to choose from. So, if you’re overwhelmed by choice or simply too distracted by the sweet song of that pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough in the freezer you told yourself buying had nothing to do with your relationship status, here are ten movies to accompany that big old box of chocolates you totally didn’t gift yourself.
Who: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Keiynan Lonsdale, Alexandra Shipp
What: This adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s YA best seller, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda follows Simon Spier, a teenager keeping a secret. The truth is, Simon’s gay. When his secret falls into the wrong hands, Simon’s forced to face his friends, family and classmates as he comes to terms with his sexuality.
Why: It’s a mainstream high school rom-com starring a gay teen that’s not a tragedy. It’s funny, relatable, heart-breaking and utterly adorable.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Who: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo
What: Netflix’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA best seller of the same name follows Lara Jean Song Covey during the aftermath of her secret love letters being exposed to, you’ve guessed it, all the boys she’s loved before.
Why: It’s aesthetically stunning, features fake dating, wonderful sibling relationships, an Asian American family at its core and too many swoon worth moments to count. Plus, if Lana and Noah’s chemistry has you feeling forever alone, Lara Jean’s envy inducing worthy wardrobe is the perfect inspiration and excuse for some retail therapy.
Who: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman
What: Raised by their eccentric witch aunts in a close minded small town, two witch sisters live with a curse which threatens to prevent them to ever find lasting love.
Why: Because sometimes you want to watch a rom-com that’s less rom-com and more a movie about two sisters using magic to cover up the murder of an abusive demon boyfriend.
Set It Up
Who: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Lu, Glen Powell, Taye Diggs, Pete Davidson
What: After two corporate assistants decide they’d had enough of their intense bosses, they hatch a plan to match-make the pair in hopes of gaining some free time.
Why: It’s cheesy, fun, falls into every rom-com cliché imaginable, ends exactly how you’d expect it to and therefore delivers everything you could want from a rom-com.
10 Things I Hate About You
Who: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
What: New student Cameron has fallen for the popular girl at school, Bianca, who’s father has banned her from dating until her strong-willed older sister, Kat, does the same. In order to get around her father’s strict rules, Bianca attempts to set her sister up with high school bad boy, Patrick.
Why: It’s a classic in every sense of the word and because, no matter your relationship status, who doesn’t want to watch Heath Ledger serenading ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ to the accompaniment of a marching band flash mob?
The Incredible Jessica James
Who: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd
What: On the rebound from a break-up, Aspiring New York playwright, Jessica James, strikes up a friendship with Irish guy, Boone.
Why: It’s funny, original and has a cast of characters you’ll instantly root for. It’s also not too mushy, if mush is something you’re looking to avoid.
Crazy Rich Asians
Who: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina
What: Based on Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel of the same name, Crazy Rich Asians follows Native New Yorker, Rachel Chu, as she travels to Singapore for a wedding, where she’ll meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time. Little does she know, she’s about to step into the world of Singapore’s most affluent. It turns out being the girlfriend of Singapore’s most sought after bachelor hinders your chance of a peaceful vacation.
Why: Not forgetting the importance of this movie being the first rom-com to start an all Asian cast and an Asian-American lead in 25 years, it’s hilarious, romantic, intense and will make you want to run away to Singapore asap. Plus, with the amount of money being thrown around throughout this movie (think stunning dresses, jewellery that’d set you up for life and parties you could only dream of) you’ll forget all about your single status and start worrying about your financial one instead.
Who: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Ali Michalka, Patricia Clarkson
What: After a white lie about losing her virginity spreads through her high school like wildfire, clean cut high school student Olive, decides to use the school rumour mill to her social and financial advantage.
Why: It features the best parents in movie history, Emma Stone is brilliant as always and we must refuse to let Netflix’s ‘You’ taint the perfection that is Penn Badgley as Woodchuck Todd.
Who: Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Collin Firth, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Dominic Cooper Stellan Skarsgård, Christine Baranski
What: Set to the soundtrack of some of Abba’s greatest hits, bride to be Sophie decides to invite all three of her possible fathers to her wedding, in the hopes of finding her real father. She doesn’t, however, tell her mother that three of her ex’s are about to join them on their Greek island home.
Why: Because there’s literally nothing better than singing Abba at the top of your lungs in pyjamas whilst planning your move to a Greek island to distract you from your singledom or, equally, show you why being single is a hell of a lot simpler.
Before We Go
Who: Chris Evans, Alice Eve
What: Stuck in Manhattan for the night, two strangers embark on an evening of unexpected adventures forcing them to face their fears and regain control of their lives.
Why: It’s romantic, warm and quietly funny, whilst also reminding you that sometimes romance isn’t as perfect as most rom-coms would lead you to believe. It’s understated, unassuming and wonderfully genuine. Chris Evans also both stars in and directed it, so… Chris Evans.
Who: Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson
What: Life long, wedding-obsessed best friends, Liv and Emma, become rivals when they plan their weddings at the same time, on the same day, in the same venue.
Why: Sure, it’s seemingly about weddings and romance and all that mush but at its core, it’s about female friendship in all its (slightly malicious?) glory. It’s pure, light-hearted rom-com goodness at its finest and we’re still mad it didn’t get the sequel it clearly teases.