7 rom-coms to watch with a partner or a pal this Valentine's Day

Feb 7 2020, 11:31 pm

This article was written by Kendall Bistretzan

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the holiday of heart balloons and Hershey’s Kisses.

Of course, you can cringe at every couple or scoff at the notion of consumerism, but where’s the fun in that? Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and whether you’re single or in a relationship, you may as well enjoy Cupid’s big day!

For those who aren’t so crazy about big crowds or big prices, we’ve put together a list of seven rom-coms that are sure to make you believe in love.

The best part? They can be enjoyed with a partner or with your friends! Plus you can avoid that pesky “I don’t know, what do YOU want to watch?” conversation.

About Time (2013)

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighly
Where you can watch it: Netflix

At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) is told that the men in his family can travel through time. Tim cannot use these abilities to change the world, but he can use them to land the girl of his dreams.

The love story between Tim and Mary (Rachel McAdams) is quirky, charming, and just plain lovely. You’ll root for delightfully awkward Tim to succeed, knowing full well that with his time travel, he’ll get it right eventually. But what really makes About Time stand out is its beautiful depiction of familial relationships, particularly between Tim and his father (Bill Nighly). If you want to cry with your besties or make your partner get in touch with their emotions, this is the movie for you.

The F Word (2014)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver
Where you can watch it: Prime Video

Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) thinks he’s out of luck when it comes to dating. Then he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan), a charming young animator, who happens to already have a boyfriend. The two become instant friends, share a deep connection, and, over time, can’t help but wonder if the love of their life is right in front of them.

This movie follows the framework of nearly every romantic comedy ever. What saves it from fading into oblivion are the stellar performances by its star-studded cast. Radcliffe, three years free from the Harry Potter franchise, makes the seamless transition from child-star to magnetic adult with real-world problems. Kazan’s heartfelt performance mixed with her character’s own oddities prove she can hold her own as a leading lady. She and Radcliffe have undeniable chemistry. Also, Adam Driver plays Wallace’s roommate, and any movie with Adam Driver gets a few extra quality points. It’s a predictable but enjoyable show.

The Big Sick (2017)

Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Helen Hunt, Ray Romano
Where you can watch it: Prime Video

Based on a true story, The Big Sick follows Kumail Nanjiani as he struggles to balance his culture and family-life with his girlfriend, Emily (Zoe Kazan). But when Emily is put into a medically induced coma due to a mystery illness, Kumail must come to terms with his own feelings – and Emily’s parents.

Hello again, Zoe Kazan!

This film is heartfelt, charming, and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Helen Hunt and Ray Romano are particularly captivating as the scared and angry parents of Emily. This movie finds humour in the darkest of times, but also knows when to be authentically vulnerable. So, whether you watch it with a partner or a pal, you’re sure to enjoy the scene where Kumail screams over the four slices of cheese he wants on his burger, because The Big Sick manages to make even its most absurd moments relatable.

Love, Simon (2018)

Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel
Where you can watch it: Crave

Teenager Simon Spier wants a good love story. The only problem is that he hasn’t told anyone that he is gay. When Simon strikes up a pen-pal relationship with a student known only as “Blue,” he has to come to terms with his identity in moments that are painful, hilarious, and completely life-changing.

Sometimes it takes movies like Love, Simon to remind us why we maybe don’t actually miss high school. Seriously though, it manages to capture the beauty and pain of adolescence, the vulnerability of young love, and as an added bonus, Jennifer Garner delivers a mom-ologue that will move you to tears.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish
Where you can watch it: Netflix

To get over boys, Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) writes them love letters, but she never mails them out. Her love life goes from imaginary to completely chaotic when all five letters get mysteriously mailed out at once.

Girl character and boy character pretend to be in a relationship but actually develop feelings for each other along the way? Yes, please! Is this movie a little bit trope-y? Sure. But it is also a fresh take on the typical rom-com relationship dynamic. Lara Jean learns a lot about love throughout the movie but never changes who she is. Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) is “cooler” than Lara Jean, but still manages to portray the heartfelt compassion that most teenage boys have, but are rarely depicted with. So, get ready to exchange knowing glances with your partner during scenes that are positively bursting with chemistry or giggle with your friends when Peter is being extra adorable. You’re in for a good time either way.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh
Where you can watch it: Apple TV

Native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is thrilled to be accompanying her long-time boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. More importantly, she will be meeting his family for the first time. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family is rich. Not regular rich – crazy rich. To make matters even more complicated, Nick’s mother wants him to marry a nice family girl, and Rachel is not what she has in mind.

Golding makes a fine love interest, but the real power of the film is in its all-around spectacular performances by its ladies. The mahjong scene is one of the most compelling movie moments from 2018 and makes the lead-up to the film’s climax even direr. This movie is an absolute treat in any setting, with any person.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Starring: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves
Where you can watch it: Netflix

Childhood best friends Sasha and Marcus have a falling out in their late teens and don’t speak for 15 years until they reunite as adults. Sasha is now a successful celebrity chef and Marcus is a struggling musician who still lives with his dad. Despite having little in common, their old spark reignites, leaving them wondering if a relationship will ever be more than just a “maybe.”

This movie is romantic, sure, but it doesn’t forget to be funny in the way that rom-coms occasionally do, and more importantly, it stays true to the heart of the story. It avoids certain clichés that are better left in the past: Sasha’s glasses never come off and she doesn’t sacrifice her drive or success to appease any of the men in her life. This movie celebrates culture, love, and friendship, making it an enjoyable flick for any crowd. (Also, every person should experience Keanu Reeves in this movie because he is an absolute treat.)

Now that you have some excellent movies to choose from, what are you waiting for? Grab some chocolate and your favourite person, and get ready to chill.

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