Ah, Valentine’s Day.
The most special day of the year where you and your significant other celebrate the love, friendship and admiration you no doubt have for each other. Or perhaps it’s that fateful day where you finally profess your undying devotion to that special someone you’ve been pining over? Or maybe it’s the day you simply hide in bed eating ice cream and curse all those people who like to show off their seemingly “perfect” relationships on social media?
Regardless of how you feel about it, Valentine’s Day is definitely a unique day, and it’s one of my personal favourites because it gives me the perfect opportunity to relax at home and watch some romantic movies.
That’s right. For those who think that I only write about Christmas and Halloween movies, think again, because I’ve gone out of my way to review 10 romantic movies that hopefully you all will enjoy.
Quick note, you won’t find any obvious picks like The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle, or Ghost on here, mainly because I always try to choose films that generally fly under the radar and deserve some much needed recognition.
With that said, here we go!
10. Heartbreakers (2001)
Heartbreakers is an underrated romantic comedy about a mother/daughter team who seduce and scam wealthy men out of their money. There’s a lot of funny moments, especially the banter between Sigourney Weaver and Ray Liotta, and the romantic scenes between Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jason Lee are actually quite touching as they start to fall for each other. If you’re looking for a light and funny rom-com to start your night, I recommend this one.
9. Princess and the Warrior (2000)
This German film starring Franka Potente is really hard to find, but it’s well worth the time spent tracking it down. If you don’t mind reading subtitles, I promise you will be entranced by the story of two strangers who are destined by fate to meet and fall in love. Part love story, part melodramatic thriller, it has deep underlying themes about things like the true nature of love, guilt, fear, redemption, and ultimately salvation. The directing and cinematography are also superb.
8. Thrashin (1986)
It’s basically Romeo and Juliet with skateboarding. I mean, how cool of a concept is that? Josh Brolin stars as Corey Webster, a rad dude from the valley who falls for the younger sister of rival skateboarder Tommy Hook, whose gang “The Daggers” are a bunch of dirty punks from Venice Beach. The romance is off the charts, the 1980s skateboarding scenes are fun and inventive, and there’s an intense downhill race at the end that still holds up today.
7. The Science of Sleep (2006)
Gael Garcia Bernal plays Stephane, a young man who moves back to France to be closer to his recently widowed mother. While there he falls for the girl of his dreams who lives across the hall. This film is all over the place and is loaded with dreamlike surrealism and creative practical effects from director Michel Gondry. It’s really a wonderful rom-com with lots of light and dark moments, and you’re never entirely sure if Stephane is awake or dreaming. Again, give it a watch if you don’t mind reading subtitles.
6. Untamed Heart (1993)
This is the first Christian Slater movie to make the list, and it’s a great one. Slater plays a shy dishwasher who falls in love with Marissa Tomei. One day he tells her that he doesn’t have a normal heart, he was actually born with a baboon heart instead of a regular one. Bizarre, romantic, and quite painful in its conclusion, Untamed Heart is a beautiful trip back to the early ‘90s that is well worth experiencing again, or for the very first time.
5. Bed of Roses (1996)
The second Christian Slater movie on the list is a romantic drama about a career-driven woman who meets a florist who’s fallen for her after seeing her for the very first time. It’s a sweet film about how true love can bring two people from different circumstances together that might never have crossed paths otherwise.
4. Eight Days a Week (1997)
This one’s a teen comedy about a high school grad who’s so determined to win the girl of his dreams that he literally camps out on her front lawn for an entire summer just to prove his love. Be forewarned, this one has a lot of American Pie style humour in it, so if you’re easily offended you might want to skip it and watch something a little less crude.
3. The Fountain (2006)
The Fountain is a surreal, sci-fi romance about a physician’s quest to defeat death. There is no easy and concise way to describe this movie as it’s basically three stories rolled into one, but the main part is about a man’s love for his wife and his determination to save her from terminal cancer. Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz are particularly strong here as the married couple and it has some amazing visuals from director Darren Aronofsky.
2. City of Angels (1998)
I can’t write a movie list without adding a Nicolas Cage film, and my pick this time is City of Angels, a beautifully romantic drama that deserves more recognition than it gets. Cage plays Seth, an angel on Earth who’s never experienced what it’s like to be human. He ends up falling in love with a doctor, played by Meg Ryan, and Seth has to decide whether or not to make a life-altering decision. This movie has a really good message behind it about how we all should appreciate more of what we have here on Earth while we still have the time to do so.
1. The Big Blue (1988)
What more can I say about The Big Blue? It’s my favourite film of all time and it’s about a guy named Jacques Mayol who spends his time competing against his friend Enzo in free diving competitions around the world. He ends up meeting a girl named Johana and they fall in love, though as the story unfolds, Mayol is never entirely sure if he’d rather swim with the dolphins or be committed only to her. It’s a touching romantic drama with serious themes about love, friendship, life and death. I recommend everyone watch it once. Check out the three-hour director’s cut if you want the ultimate experience.
Tyson Whitney is the editor of the North Island Gazette newspaper in Port Hardy