Pop Culture

The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Movie Rec List

We are rapidly approaching the most romantic holiday of the year, and it’s time to indulge in all the romance flicks you can find. Call me cheesy, but Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.

We are rapidly approaching the most romantic holiday of the year, and it’s time to indulge in all the romance flicks you can find. Call me cheesy, but Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. After the chaos of the holiday season, people get back into their mundane daily lives, and Valentine’s Day is a nice reminder to let the people you care about know that you love them. Valentine’s Day can be celebrated by anyone – teenage couples who celebrate every monthly (or weekly) anniversary, married couples who have been in love for decades, best friends, families and every relationship in between. With all that this year has already thrown at us, we could all use a little extra dash of love.

Whether you’re madly in love, heartbroken or just happy to be here this Valentine’s Day, this movie recommendation list contains only the funniest, cheesiest, most epic and heartwarming of love stories. 

“Love, Rosie”

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

Starring: Lily Collins and Sam Claflin

I’m starting off the list strong with one of my personal favorites. “Love, Rosie” is the age-old story of right person, wrong time. Childhood best friends Rosie and Alex are inseparable, and their chemistry is undeniable. When it comes time for them to make their university plans, an unplanned pregnancy throws Rosie’s life completely off the course she imagined for herself. While Alex moves from their hometown of Dublin, Ireland, to the United States for school, Rosie is left behind with a low-paying job, chaotic family and baby. As Rosie and Alex grow up, their lives head in different directions, but somehow they keep finding their way back to each other. This movie is the perfect slow burn best-friends-to-lovers flick that will warm your heart and remind you that if it’s meant to be, it will be.

“Valentine’s Day”

Where to watch: Netflix, HBO Max

Starring: Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathawy, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Emma Roberts, and Bradley Cooper

“Valentine’s Day” isn’t a movie that’s going to win any Academy Awards, but it’s the perfect cheesy romance movie that fulfills all the cliches you’d expect from a rom-com. This movie features multiple intertwined love stories that unfold over the course of Valentine’s Day. This flick covers all the varieties of love: a child’s first crush, a new lovesick teenage couple, an elderly married couple, a closeted professional football player, a dramatic love triangle and even a military mom just trying to get home for the holiday. “Valentine’s Day” portrays all the madness of ordinary people and couples trying to make it through the holiday. If you’re looking for casual viewing that doesn’t require tons of focus and brainpower to get through but still gets the job done, this is the movie for you.

“About Time”

Where to watch: Netflix

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, and Rachel McAdams

The first time I ever watched this movie was on Christmas Eve in 2019. I had no idea what to expect, but by the end, I was shedding more than a few tears. This movie follows Tim, a young man who grapples with the newfound knowledge of a hidden family secret: all the men in his family can time travel. Tim learns to utilize this gift and soon enough, he meets a girl. As if love wasn’t complicated enough already, time travel turns it into a whole new game. Tim’s life is shaping out perfectly, and if it doesn’t, he just goes back in time to make sure that it does. Soon enough, Tim’s time traveling catches up with him, and the consequences of changing the past are far more drastic than he could have ever imagined. This movie is a truly beautiful lesson about appreciating your relationship with the ones you love while you have them, not just romantic partners. Tim’s story is a touching chronicle of navigating grief, loss and learning to live every day like you’re living it for the last time.

“Definitely, Maybe”

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz, and Elizabeth Banks

“Definitely, Maybe” is a touching story told through the lens of a father explaining his past relationships to his young daughter. Will Hayes, played by Ryan Reynolds, chronicles his tragic history with love to his daughter Maya, changing the names of his past lovers throughout the retelling. Maya spends her father’s tale trying to discern which of his past flings could be her mother. Will’s rehashing of his past leads to some unexpected realizations. This movie is a reminder that it’s never too late for love and that absence can make the heart grow fonder.

“How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days”

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Starring: Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey

This movie follows young journalist Andie, who is inspired by a new article idea to date a man and do anything possible to get him to break up with her in ten days. Advertising professional Ben finds himself in a similar predicament with his boss, making a deal that he can have a relationship with a woman for ten days, leading up to a big event for the company. The two happen across each other and thus begins a chaotic ten days. Andie spends her time being the worst girlfriend imaginable, waiting for Ben to give up, but Ben refuses to back down from the challenge. Neither party knows of the other’s ulterior motives. As the days go on, they start to form a real bond, and their secret arrangements will turn out to be much more inconvenient than they anticipated. This film is a comical and heartwarming film and may have a few tips to pick up if you’re trying to lose someone by February 24.

“10 Things I Hate About You”

Where to watch: Disney+

Starring: Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In this cheesy high school romance, sophomore Bianca is frustrated because her father won’t let her date until her anti-social, uptight older sister Kat does. Bianca knows that the odds of Kat starting to date are tragically low, and employs the help of a few classmates to find someone to date her sister so that she can go out with a crush of her own. They finally settle on “bad boy” Patrick to win Kat over, and weeks of drama ensue. The boy that Bianca is after, wealthy senior Joey, pays Patrick to go out with Kat in hopes that the girls’ father will lift his restrictions. This seemingly perfect arrangement threatens to collapse at any moment, ruining the facade they have created for Kat and ending Bianca’s chances of dating for good. Throughout the scandal and mischief, Kat might actually learn to branch out of herself and trust others, so long as she doesn’t find out what the truth is. This movie is young, cheerful, dramatic and encompasses the drama and urgency of high school romance perfectly. 

“Silver Linings Playbook”

Where to watch: Netflix

Starring: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence

“Silver Linings Playbook” is a more realistic and raw love story. After spending months in treatment for his bipolar disorder, Pat moves back in with his parents due to fallout with his wife and children before his institutionalization. Pat’s father has dreams of opening his own restaurant and hopes to make the money to finance this dream with illegal bookmaking and betting on Philadelphia Eagles games. Pat spends his days just trying to navigate through the world with his new diagnosis; he meets Tiffany, a beautiful widow who promises to get him closer to his wife if he’ll be her partner in an upcoming dance competition. Unlike most romance movies, this movie isn’t cheesy or filled with tropes. It is a sometimes heartbreakingly realistic tale of love in the real world. Pat’s journey isn’t an uncommon one. It’s riddled with financial difficulties and mental health issues, and it offers a hopeful perspective on navigating love despite these circumstances.

“Notting Hill”

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Starring: Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts

Another one of my favorites, “Notting Hill” is the moving story of a London bookshop owner who falls in love with a famous American actress. When actress Anna Scott comes into William Thacker’s travel bookshop, it sets off a series of events that bring the two together again and again. Anna and William begin a romantic love affair, and all is seemingly perfect, but soon enough, the cracks in the foundation begin to show. The two live drastically different lifestyles, and this is made apparent through various challenges the couple face together. It’s up to them whether they’re willing to weather the storm together or if their differences are just too much to handle. This movie is touching, sweet, comedic and shows that true love is worth fighting for. “Notting Hill” will also be the perfect fuel to your celebrity crush daydreams. 

“Life As We Know it”

Where to watch: HBO Max

Starring: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel

“Life As We Know It” portrays the bonds that can form from unthinkable traumas. Holly and Eric have mutual friends, a young married couple, that keep them in close contact. However, due to a horrid first date experience, Eric and Holly hold intense grudges against each other.. Despite their issues, they come together to support their friends and their newborn daughter. When a tragic accident occurs, Eric and Holly are thrust into parenthood when they discover that they were named as their friends’ infant daughter’s caregivers. As the two struggle to rearrange their lives to care for newly orphaned Sophie, they begin to form a close relationship. However, parenting is no walk in the park. When they begin to face challenges as parents, their already fragile relationship is strained, and it’s up to them to figure themselves out so that Sophie can have a stable, safe childhood. This movie shows the beautiful bonds that can be born of tragedy and the rocky road to recovery through grief and loss. 

“La La Land”

Where to watch: Hulu

Starring: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

“La La Land” is a romantic tale for the more musically-inclined viewers. Aspiring actress Mia and struggling jazz pianist Seb cross paths and form a bond over their shared career turmoil. The two spend more time together and get to know their hopes and dreams, and as they grow closer, they experience the trials and tribulations of struggling artists. Their relationship is challenged when they come across new opportunities, and they struggle to stay true to themselves. This movie is a musical lesson about the impact of all the people you meet along the way when you’re finding your place in the world and the magical feelings of love and inspiration.

“Love, Simon”

Where to watch: Hulu

Starring: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, and Jennifer Garner

“Love, Simon” features a high school student, Simon, who is in the closet and struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Throughout his internal conflict, he has a loving,  attentive family and a close friend group, both of which remain oblivious to his struggles. One day, he learns of another closeted student at his school, who confessed online under the pen name “Blue.” Simon begins to correspond with him using the pen name “Jacques.” Simon and Blue talk all the time and grow very close;all the while, Simon is attempting to weed out who Blue could possibly be at his school. Simon navigates his online romance, drama with friends and the normal stresses of high school life all while trying to figure out how to come out. This movie is hilarious, devastating and uplifting and paints a picture of the struggles and triumphs of being in the closet in high school.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love”

Where to watch: HBO Max

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, and Marisa Tomei

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is the ultimate combination of romance and comedy. When middle-aged father Cal goes through a divorce, he befriends a womanizer, Jacob, at the bar. Jacob teaches Cal how to flirt and pick up women. Cal begins to make progress with women and hooks up with quite a few before he reunites with his wife. Cal’s new lifestyle has him reflecting on his time with his wife, and he has to make a decision about the kind of life he wants to continue to lead and the example he wants to set for his young son, Robbie. Robbie is experiencing a romance turmoil of his own while he tries to deal with his crush on his 17-year-old babysitter. Hilarity ensues, and this movie reminds us of the changes we’ll all go through as we age and how some people will always be the right person, no matter the mistakes.

“Call Me By Your Name”

Where to watch: Hulu

Starring: Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer

“Call Me By Your Name” is the tale of 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver. Oliver is an American graduate student who is the assistant to Elio’s father, an archeology professor. Elio’s father invites Oliver to stay with the family at their home in rural Northern Italy for the summer to help him with his paperwork. Over the course of the summer, Elio and Oliver form a deep connection and spend the months growing closer. This movie is almost hypnotic: the soundtrack and setting are intricately chosen and romanticizes this summer in Italy perfectly. This is a story of growth, awakening and maturity. Elio and Oliver’s bond affects them both profoundly and changes the way Elio sees the world.

“Pretty Woman”

Where to watch: Apple TV

Starring: Richard Gere and Julia Roberts

“Pretty Woman” is a classic movie about a corporate businessman, Edward, who hires Vivian, a prostitute, to be his wedding date. Vivian and Edward grow closer over the six-day event, leading to some people growing suspicious of Vivian. As Edward grows fonder of Vivian, he struggles to communicate his feelings. Vivian is an important character to remember as we come up on Valentine’s Day. She embraces her femininity, but this does not prevent her from being strong, independent and assertive. This is an important lesson for people who identify as female to remember, especially around holidays like Valentine’s Day: femininity and strength are not mutually exclusive. Femininity and strength are complementary.


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