Movies To Make You Laugh, Cry, and Everything in Between
Valentine’s Day — or what some people like to refer to as Singles’
Awareness Appreciation Day (or the day after Galentine’s Day, if you’re Leslie Knope) — is coming up. And hopefully you didn’t forget to buy your loved one a present, or plan whatever it is you two do together.
We’ve compiled a list of romantic movies ranging from the serious and heart-wrenching to the funny and charming in honor of the holiday. One movie for every year from 2000 leading up to 2013. Maybe you and the S.O. are planning a night in? Consider one of these movies.
Warm Bodies (2013)
In a post-apocalyptic future, zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) meets human Julie (Teresa Palmer), and rescues her from his fellow zombies. The love connection grows from there as Julie begins to reawaken the humanity within R. Although it falls in the same paranormal romance category as Twilight, this is not a tale where vampires show their sparkling abs to impressionable young human girls. Instead of an “epic” romance, the movie, based on Isaac Marion’s novel of the same name, shoots for comedy. (In theaters now.)
2 Days in New York (2012)
An interracial couple, Mingus – whose name incites a few jokes – and Marion, living in New York City have to deal with Marion’s eccentric French family coming to stay with them for two days. The couple, played by comedian Chris Rock and the film’s director Julie Delpy – also of the Before Sunrise franchise – are both divorcées who have one child each from their previous marriage. The film is also a sequel to the 2007 romantic-comedy 2 Days in Paris, which starred Adam Goldberg as Delpy’s love interest. With the arrival of Marion’s family, the couple are put to the ultimate test. Will their relationship survive?
Russell (Tom Cullen) is a lonely guy who only has one true friend, a fellow foster kid. He thinks he’s comfortable with his small apartment and his dead-end lifeguard job, until he has a one-night stand with Glen (Chris New). The next morning, the two guys get to talking and fall in love over the course of a weekend. Each one has his own hang-ups in the love department: Russell is not yet fully comfortable with his sexuality and Glen has trust issues from an ex, but together they move on in the face of big career changes. What makes this movie great is its matter-of-fact Before Sunrise approach to documenting true love.
Sanam Kapoor, the daughter of Bollywood mega-star Anil Kapoor (who appeared in the Tom Cruise blockbuster Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol just last year), stars in this modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma – set in India. As the original story goes, Aisha believes she’s the perfect match-maker – especially where her friends are concerned. However, meddling in other people’s lives doesn’t have the intended consequences she foresaw. In true Bollywood fashion, the movie rounds off with a dance sequence set to “Gal Mitthi Mitthi“. It’s a cute movie, highly recommended.
Medicine for Melancholy (2009)
Medicine for Melancholy is the story of two black twenty-somethings living in San Francisco – Angela (Tracey Heggins) and Micah (Wyatt Cenac) – who have a one-night stand. Despite their differences, they end up spending the following day together – navigating San Francisco and trying to understand how their own racial identity plays a role in the city. “I hate this city, but I love this city. San Francisco’s beautiful. You shouldn’t have to be upper middle-class to be apart of that,” Micah tells her at one point in the film. It’s a thoughtful, enlightening film.
A Frozen Flower (2008)
A Korean period film dealing with forbidden love and epic tragedy. Under pressure to produce an heir and thus protect the Goryeo, the King charges his young lover/general Hong-rim with the task of impregnating the Queen — whom the King has no interest in whatsoever. Hong-rim’s relationship with the Queen grows, however, and the consequence of their affair proves deadly. There is plenty of court intrigue, sex, romance, and violence.
Jab We Met (2007)
A Bollywood romantic-comedy, the film’s main characters Geet (Kareena Kapoor) and Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) meet on a train. Aditya is dealing with recent heartbreak, while Geet is on a journey to see her boyfriend and elope with him. Initially, Aditya is annoyed by the talkative and hyperactive Geet but her infectious personality quickly grabs a hold of him and he finds himself falling deeply in love with her. When the train leaves without them, the unlikely duo set out to reunite Geet with her boyfriend, but Aditya finds it’s not so easy to let her go.
The Painted Veil (2006)
This period piece set in the 1920s is about a couple in turmoil – Walter Fane (Edward Norton) and Kitty Garstinl (Naomi Watts). Walter is head over heels for the vivacious Kitty, and she accepts his marriage proposal – although she doesn’t return his affection. When he learns about her infidelity, it’s either divorce (granted her lover agrees to marry her) or go with him to a small, remote village in China where Walter has volunteered to help with the cholera outbreak. Unexpectedly, Kitty finds herself falling in love with her husband for the first time.
My Summer of Love (2005)
Wealthy, mysterious Tamsin (Emily Blunt) and tomboy Mona (Natalie Press) are two teenage girls living in Yorkshire who fall in love over the course of a summer. The relationship between them is intense, but there is more to Tamsin than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Mona has to deal with her born-again Christian older brother Phil (Paddy Constantine) and his theatrics. My Summer of Love is absolutely haunting and beautifully filmed. This one is a must-see, especially if you’re a fan of Emily Blunt as she gives one of her best performances in this movie.
Saving Face (2004)
Wilhelmina (Michelle Krusiec), nicknamed ‘Wil’, is a surgeon who has to deal with her unwed mother (Joan Chen) coming to live with her after she’s shunned by her Chinese-American community for getting pregnant. Though her mother has apparently known for years that Wil is a lesbian and even ends up meeting Wil’s girlfriend Vivian (Lynn Chen), in the course of the film, she refuses to acknowledge this fact. The movie follows Wil’s struggles between balancing her duties as a daughter and as a girlfriend, and also having to come to terms with who she is.
Love Me If You Dare (2003)
The French dark comedy “Jeux d’enfants” chronicles the cat-and-mouse relationship between a pair of friends, played by real-life couple Marion Cotillard and Guillaume Canet, as they go from childhood to adulthood. The game of dare that they started as children begins to escalate to dangerous heights as the stakes become greater and greater the more they play. The question is whether they’ll ever admit their true feelings for one another.
In this offbeat romantic-drama set against the back-drop of BDSM, Secretary explores the unusual relationship between a boss (James Spader) and his employee (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Unlike a certain book that I won’t mention, Secretary does a good job of showing the relationship dynamic between a so-called “dom” and “sub” without getting into abusive territory. (Also, James Spader was pretty hot back then.)
My Sassy Girl (2001)
My Sassy Girl starts off as any love story usually does in which boy (Cha Tae-hyeon) meets girl (Jeon Ji-hyeon)… Scratch that. Instead, boy meets very drunk, ill-tempered, and slightly unhinged girl. In a sense, she’s the quintessential manic pixie dream girl but with a penchant for violence. The movie is full of charm and delivers plenty of laughs. One word of advice: do yourself a favor and don’t watch the American remake with Elisha Cuthbert.
Love & Basketball (2000)
Childhood friends and rivals Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) share one love: basketball. They grow up with the dream of becoming professional basketball players. As they get older, a romantic relationship blossoms between them, as do their skills in the sport. When they find out they’ve both been accepted to USC, it seems as though all their dreams are coming true – but both Monica and Quincy have a few more difficulties to overcome both on the court and with each other before they can get their happy ending.
What are your favorite romantic movies? Let us know in the comments!