The 7 Rom Coms that won't make you Vom
Vicki Notaro on what to watch tonight, even if you're allergic to the mere premise of V-day
Whether you're single, paired up or in a relationship with your iPhone (cough, Joaquin), it's difficult to decide what to do on February 14th. Your missus might be dying to see Sleepless In Seattle in Cineworld this evening, or your single mates could be trying to round everyone up for an Anti-V-day. Even if you decide to eschew the occasion by staying in, chances are you're going to end up in front of the box, you may as well attempt to celebrate the night that's in it. However, if you or yours have a sensitive stomach, suffering through the schmaltz associated with Valentine's Day can be hard.
Luckily, we've compiled a little list of romantic films that won't make you, your significant other or your pet dog feel like throwing up. So go on, let a little love in to your life tonight – just not so much that you'll spoil your dinner.
1 When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Not only one of the best romantic films ever made, this is arguably one of the best films about human relationships of all time. Nora Ephron's script is so tight and still completely on point 25 years later. Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal's chemistry bubbles beautifully under the surface and its New York backdrop is dreamy. Plus the segments featuring real couples telling their true love story will get you right in the gut. Honest, funny, moving and completely palatable even for cynics.
2 500 Days Of Summer (2009)
If it's quirk, hipsters and a male perspective you're after, this one's for you. But as the voice-over tells us right at the beginning, while this is a story about love, it's not a love story. Join Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom on his journey of joy and misery in loving Summer, the 'manic pixie dream girl' du jour in the form of Zooey Deschanel. The soundtrack is cracking, costumes cute and while there are a lot of feelings, it's not sick-making.
3 You've Got Mail (1998)
Meg Ryan appears again, solidifying her status as the rom-com queen and this time alongside her partner in lurve Tom Hanks. Only one of their flicks could make this list; We went with You've Got Mail over the almost equally great Sleepless In Seattle because it's more charming and the obsolete technology is hilarious. Dial up anyone? Still, all of the questions it raises are relevant in this age of online dating and the concept is a winner.
4 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
An entry from the teen canon was essential, and it was a toss up between this retelling of The Taming Of The Shrew and Emma revamp Clueless. Shakespeare beats Austen this time, thanks to believable performances from Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles (the former's rendition of Can't Take My Eyes Off You edging it), the age-old prom device and equal appeal to both genders. A must for anyone longing to relive the 90s from the safe distance of the 21st century.
5 Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
An all-star cast (Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling) and a twisting story about love, sex and playing the field, this film manages to avoid cliché admirably while trodding the well-worn path of infidelity, divorce and mid-life reinvention. The only annoying part is an enamoured 13-year-old boy and his naïve proclamations about love. Some might find it sweet, but not the easily-irritated kind.
6 Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen may be making headlines at the moment, but his neurotic, warts and all take on love is all at once poetic, beautiful and terrifying. It boasts some of the best one liners in rom-com history as affable yet basically effed up Alvy Singer navigates a relationship with the eponymous Annie, played by Diane Keaton. Allen reportedly based the movie on his own romance with Keaton which definitely adds an edge to the film, and the 70s threads and stark cinematography are dazzling. See also: Manhattan (1979).
7 Beaches (1990)
Okay, so it's not strictly a rom-com. It's more of a dram-mus-tragi-com with a dash of maternal melodrama thrown in. However, it's one of the most amazing films about the power of platonic love and female friendship ever made. If you're having a night in with the girls, this is just the tonic to the usual Valentine's guff, and you'll even get a nice stress-relieving whinge out of it. PS - men don't hate it. Films To
Pretty Woman –
Offensive, skewed fairy tale at its core
Dirty Dancing –
Few men will forgive enduring this chick flick
The Notebook –
Dehydration inevitable from bawling
Blue Valentine –
Don't be misled by the title; profoundly depressing for the day that's in it
Oft misquoted, lots of war, frustrating ending
Day & Night