I have a confession to make: I love love movies. It has to do with sports stories for my favorite genre of film. Why? Because it makes me warm, excited and optimistic. Even as a professional critic, the films that elicit a strong and emotional response are the ones that excite and delight me the most.
Classics like The history of Philadelphia to 90s favorites like Notting hill and modern masterpieces like La La Land, romance is a weird genre to criticize because even when the movie is bad, it’s pretty darn likable.
If you watch it with the right person, almost any movie can be the right one. This, in fact, is part of the shared magic of the movies. My girlfriend and I love to watch movies together – even the bad ones, and for our Valentine’s Day in quarantine, we stay home, cook brunch, and watch romance movies.
So which one is right for you? The truth is, if you and your special someone are excited about it, there is no wrong choice. If you are single, you are in luck! There is no debate on which to choose! (And many are still enjoyable. I’ve reviewed a lot of love movies for Oakville News over the years, most of which I’ve watched on my own.)
But if you want suggestions, I have four categories to get you started. Hope this can inspire a fun date night out for Valentine’s Day. Somewhere on my favorites list, there’s one I’m sure you’ll love.
THE HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS
- Casablanca (1942)
- roman holidays (1953)
- Love story (1970)
All three titles are among the most famous and quintessential love stories. Oddly enough, I wonder if they’ve stood the test of time because they all have great storylines, but also because their stars have such great chemistry and their endings are all somewhat similar. And if you haven’t seen Casablanca, you’re missing out on one of the greatest movies of all time.
Each of the titles in this category is available for rental on various services.
- When Harry meets Sally (1989) – on Starz
- Notebook (2004) – on Netflix and Starz
- Dirty dance (1987) – on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Starz
- Titanic (1997) – on Netflix
When most people think of Hollywood blockbusters, they are the ones most people imagine. But if you haven’t seen them, I would say they have in common their high level craftsmanship.
Dirty dance is a really well written story. When Harry meets Sally is that really funny. Titanic is technically exceptional. And (I reluctantly admit it) Notebook is romantic – but I still hate the brunch scene.
All titles here are available on the services listed above and for paid rentals.
21ST CENTURY FAVORITES
- The big sick (2017) – on Amazon Prime and Crave
- Eternal Sunshine of the Flawless Spirit (2004) – on Starz
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – on Starz
- Carole (2015) – on Amazon Prime
Eternal sun and Carole are perhaps the two best movies on this list if you’re celebrating a sad, sad, or bitter Valentine’s Day – they celebrate the joys of being both together and apart. As for Game book and The big sick, these two comedies are sharp stories with great castings and a big heart.
These titles are available on the listed services and in paid rental. The Big Sick is also available for free with CBC Gem.
These are the really new titles, but not only among the romances of recent years, but also among the best films of the period. They present love in radically different ways, but show off the best romance modern cinema has to offer. By clicking on the headlines here you can read my past reviews for both A star is born and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Alone Portrait is available for paid rentals. A star is born is available for paid purchase.
All of these are great choices. Just remember the one really wrong choice: the catastrophic 2010 set piece Valentine’s day. Suggesting this hypocritical, not funny, boring and confusing movie is a great way to get dumped on February 15th.
What are some of your favorites? Let us know!