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A Valentine's Day List, Part ♥: Best Relationships & Romance Movies

  • Jan 19, 2010
Okay, well, I'm the least likely person to make a big hoopla about any holiday, especially Valentine's Day. However, in a silly attempt to lighten up and do some more fun lists I figured, "what the heck?" So, here I present you with my favorite "date movies", in other words, films about romance and relationships. Some of these films are light-hearted comedies, others are sentimental melodramas, and some of them are deeply insightful portraits of heartache. So, whether they remind you of loves lost or help you to rekindle that fading romance, I hope you enjoy my weirdest list yet! By the way, these films are presented in no specific order. Also, I will be posting two more lists like this before February 14.
DVD front
This 1968 classic film features the best cast of any attempt to adapt Shakespeare's famed romantic tragedy to the screen. Between the wonderful acting, sweeping romantic musical score, and the classic dialogue by England's greatest playwright, this film is sure to stir up feelings of youthful romance.
See the full review, ""Cupid, He Rules Us All"".
This 2000 drama-comedy takes place in France, which is always pleasant for me since I have a fetish for women with European accents (LOL!), and features a superb cast of character actors (Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina, Lena Olin and Carrie-Anne Moss). The charming cast, cute story, and all the scenes of making scrumptious chocolate confections make this a must-see date movie.
Phantom of the Opera (2004 movie)
The classic Leroux horror story was turned into an excellent romance/mystery musical by Andrew Loyd Webber and this film is an incredible movie based on that musical. The film features an awesome cast lead by the beatific Emmy Rossum (the best reason for men to watch this film, besides the music of course) and Gerard Butler (Leonidas from 300). Sappy, but in a great way.
See the full review, ""The Music of the Night"".
DVD front
Certainly not a film that would immediately spring to mind as a date movie, but this one is a perfect flick to see with your date because it features great acting, smart direction, a moving score, brutal action, and a believable love story. Anyone looking to get their fix of adventure and romance should look no further than this classic 1992 film.
See the full review, "Passion and Danger in the Frontier Days of Olde".
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Not at all a typical romantic comedy, not by any means. First of all, Jim Carrey delivers one of his best performances as does Kate Winslet. Secondly, the film was written by unorthodox screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation.) and directed by Michel Gondry, so you know that the film will be brilliantly original. Thirdly, it has a bittersweet quality to it as it looks at how broken relationships can be mended while examining the way our memories shape who we are.
See the full review, "Broken Hearts = Fractured Minds".
Love Actually (Widescreen Edition) (2003)
Sweet 2003 romantic comedy about a group of people and how their love lives interconnect at Christmas (I know it's more of a Christmas film for adults, but it makes a great date movie too). The film is skillfully directed and features a stunning all-star cast (YAY for Keira Knightley).
Say Anything
Cameron Crowe's realistic romantic teen comedy stars John Cusack and Ione Skye (daughter of folk singer Donovan) as lovers separated by their separate cliques and by her overbearing father. If any guy wants to see the importance of being respectful while being persistent in pursuing the woman of his dreams, he must see this film. The classic scene in which Cusack stands outside Skye's window playing over and over the song they made love to is a classic.
DVD front
Rob Reiner's classic romantic fantasy is a perfect date film. It has humor (slightly warped, the way we like it), romance (both tragic and humorous), adventure (albeit irreverant) and a great cast, all of whom are enchanting. This film also features some of the best lines in recent cinema history, however, if a woman tells you to go away, replying "As you wish," won't score you any points.
See the full review, "True Love and High Adventure in the Land of Florin".
My Best Friend's Wedding
This romantic comedy film boasts an awesome cast lead by Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, and Rupert Everett. The film manages to break free of most of the cliches that we've come to expect (Roberts doesn't get the man of her dreams in the end) and adds a sexy edge to the genre (I'll never look at ice sculptures the same way again). Plus, what a perfectly silly and fun soundtrack!
Lost in Translation
This 2003 serio-comedy stars Bill Murray as a washed up actor and Scarlett Johansson as an unhappy newlywed, who meet each other in Tokyo. While trying to adjust to the seismic cultural shock, they fall in love yet never actually consummate their feelings (which is perhaps the film's greatest strength). The film is bittersweet, but with great acting, writing, music, and direction, it provides viewers with food for thought and bit of romantic longing, which always heightens mutual attraction on a first date.
Edward Scissorhands
This unexpected fish-out-of-water comedy from director Tim Burton shows off the director's sensitive side and showcases great performances from Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. The story is essentially the cliche tale of a gentle yet misunderstood outsider who falls in love with the town beeauty, but can't be with her. The scene in which Depp as Edward makes snow from a giant black of ice while Ryder dances in it is gorgeous. The film also has a memorable soundtrack by Danny Elfman.
As Good As It Gets
This film defies just about every convention of a romantic comedy. Jack Nicholson stars as an isolated, bigoted, obsessive compulsive writer of romance novels, who's never been in love and ends up taking a roadtrip with his gay neigbor (Greg Kinnear) and the waittress he's in love with (Helen Hunt), both of whom despise him. The film features one of the best scenes in recent year in which Jack delivers the line "You make me wanna be a better man." Classic!
Shakespeare in Love
This completely fictional and somewhat anachronistic look at young Shakespeare's love life is a masterpiece, despite being a revisionist history. The cast is amazing, especially Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench both give extraordinary performances. At times, a litte raunchy and silly, the film is worth seeing with your loved one if for no other reason than it will make you appreciate Shakespeare's writing more while bringing you together in the process.
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Because, this film manages to take the classic French fairy tale and place it in a historical context. Set during the Renaissance, the film adds a feminist edge to the classic folktale and breathes new life into it with a series of comic incidents. The cast is also great and features Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston. This one really appeals more to female viewers, than men, but Barrymore in a highly-stylized angel dress is a must-see.
Away From Her
This sensitive drama is easily one of the most touching films I've ever seen about the lives of the elderly and their attempts to cope with the aging process. Julie Christie plays a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease, who falls in love with another man while in a nursing home. Gordon Pinset plays her loving husband, who will do anything to help his wife remember their marriage and preserve her happiness. This is mandatory viewing for anyone in a serious relationship.
The Notebook
For starters, it makes a great companion piece to Away from Her. Okay, so it's overly sentimental and miscast, but the story is rather charming and Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams have awesome chemistry on-screen.
50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD
This is easily Walt Disney's greatest achievement in terms of animation quality and storytelling. The entire film feels like a medieval tapestry or stained glass window come to life in all the beauty imaginable. A terrific romance and milestone in animation. And with Tchaikovsky's amazing music, you can't help but fall in love with this picture.
Beauty and the Beast (1991 movie)
Because it's the best Disney animated film since Sleeping Beauty. Easily, one of the most visually dazzling, sophisticated, and shamelessly romantic animated films ever. Perfection in every sense!
A Walk in the Clouds

Plenty of romantic scenes between Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón that light up the screen, plus a wonderful supporting cast and great scenery. Stomping on grapes for wine is now officially much sexier than before. This film will likely have the guys groaning at times, but most women I know love it.

The Graduate
Because, although it's essentially about dysfunctional relationships, it has some wondefully touching and humorous moments. Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are spectacular. Besides being controlling and manipulative, I actually think that Mrs. Robinson is one of the more sympathetic characters. Also best soundtrack ever!
Well, other than Keira Knightley is drop-dead hot, the acting here is amazing. James McAvoy is great and Saoirse Ronan gives one of the most amazing performances from a child actor. A terrific romantinc tragedy with moments of such brutal realism juxtaposed with a heightened, almost surreal, sense of lust and love.
Dear Frankie
A sweet film about how a mother will do anything to protect her deaf son from the truth and about how romance can bloom between the most unlikely people. Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, and Jack McElhone are stunning as they give their characters complexity and believability.
The Fountain
One of the most surreal, trippy, and transcendent experiences I've had at the cinema. If you're interested in Eastern philosophy, genetic research, reincarnation, time travel, and Mayan history, then this film will intrigue you to say the least. Certainly a challenging film, but one that will encourage good discussion between couples.
See the full review, ""The Road to Awe"".
The Wedding Singer

Adam Sandler
and Drew Barrymore star in this riotous romantic comedy that looks at the life of a wedding singer, who's recently been left at the altar, but has fallen in love with a waitress, who is already engaged to a real jerk. One of the few Sandler comedies that I have actually laughed during and certainly his most accessible. The '80s music is a blast too.

Special Edition DVD cover

Robin Williams
gets to stretch his dramatic muscles while softening the comedy in this dramatic film about soul mates trying to reunite after death. Visually, one of the most impressive films of the 1990s and one of the most thought-provoking and touching as well.

See the full review, "The Afterlife Envisioned?".
Before Sunrise
A unique film that follows two strangers (perfectly played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) as they walk together through the streets of Europe, discuss their lives and fall in love. The film climaxes as they make love and then promise to meet each other again in six months.
Before Sunset
The superior sequel to Before Surise...
The film takes place nine years after the two met and it turns out that they didn't meet six months later as planned. Hawke's character has become an author and his latest book is a fictional take on his affair with Delpy's character, who is now married. As the two spend the day together and discuss their lives, their love for one another is rekindled.
movie poster
As a heterosexual male, I'm beginning to worry how many times Ethan Hawke appears on this list... LOL! This is a classic film about pretensions and angst that really says a lot about my generation. Hopefully, there's hope for us. Anyway, the film features some great music, snappy dialogue, and strong acting.
Moulin Rouge
Because this film has some of the sexiest dance scenes and an amazing soundtrack. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor light up the screen and their chemistry is hot. Wonderfully quirky film with a nice combination of comedy, romance, and tragedy.
Harold and Maude
One of the most unlikely and heart-warming romantic comedies ever. the film follows a disechanted and highly creative rich young man who falls in love with an eccentric, free-spirited, 79 year old woman. A little bit of a dark comedy about death with touching scenes of true love, and a killer soundtrack by Cat Stevens. This film is a must-see, along with The Graduate.

What did you think of this list?

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June 25, 2010
BEST LIST OF ROMANTIC MOVIES EVERRRR. I know I'm commenting on this out of nowhere, since it was posted a long time ago. But seriously, this tops all lists of Valentine's Day flicks. Thank you, thank you!
June 25, 2010
Um, thanks.
January 21, 2010
I've seen 8 of the 15 new ones that you've added, and I love them all! :D
January 20, 2010
No love between the draculas? Hmmm, what happen on Valentines Day for them, do they go on diet? :D Just kidding... great list you've here. Saw many but how about What Dreams May Come & Serendipity? U don't like them? I love those 2 :-) & also Just like heaven :-) They are my Top 10 Romantic Movies!
January 20, 2010
Funny you should mention those first two movies, because they're on my next list. : )
January 20, 2010
I've been experiencing these "coincidences" 3x today alone! It's incredible how these things work!
January 21, 2010
I added "What Dreams May Come" and 14 others. I haven't seen "Serendipity" recently enough to recall what I thought though.
January 20, 2010
I love Chocolat! It is one of my favorite movies actually, I think I've seen it three times. The first was a girls night in, with real chocolate and all :) 
January 20, 2010
It's a marvelous film and easily the best movie of its year. Glad you enjoyed it as well.
January 19, 2010
pah. Best Valentine's day movie date I've had was with KIll Bill LOL! nice list.
January 19, 2010
LMAO! If your idea of a date movie is a Tarantino flick about a pregnant female assassin who gets shot in the head by her ex and then awakes from a coma and goes on a vengeful killing spree before offing her ex and being reunited with her child, then you've got some issues with your love life. ; )
January 19, 2010
I like women who are as twisted as me :-) LOL!
January 19, 2010
*shakes head* ;P
January 20, 2010
It's sad isn't it? LOL!
January 20, 2010
wait till you see my "must do's" on Valentine's...
January 20, 2010
Horror movie material, I'm sure... LOL!
January 20, 2010
uh-uh. you'll be surprised.
January 20, 2010
Okay, now everyone's officially scared.
January 19, 2010
This is not a "weird" list, Count! :P  You've got some truly wonderful films here and I loved reading all of your explanations. I know this list is a bit out of your norm, but I dig it! Thanks for creating this list! :)
January 19, 2010
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