In the past, we might have gotten dressed up, gone on a fancy date, and booked a hotel room with our significant others, or maybe treated ourselves to a nice dinner. Given the ongoing pandemic, Valentine’s Day is going to look really different this year, since the safest way to celebrate is at home. While tons of cute at-home date ideas have been circulating during the past year, one of my personal favorites is a movie night. There’s no lack of Valentine’s or romance movies available for streaming. So, snuggle up with whoever you’re planning on spending the evening with – even if it’s just yourself – and check out these underrated romance movies – because I know you’ve already seen The Notebook a thousand times.
- The First Time
If you’re looking for a very typical teen romance, you’ve got it here. The First Time follows protagonist Dave, a high school senior who spends his time pining away over his unattainable best friend, Jane. Enter Aubrey, a junior from a different high school. She has an older, boring boyfriend who doesn’t really care about her. Dave and Aubrey meet and have an instant connection that sends them into a complicated, romantic whirlwind that helps them learn what it’s like to fall in love for the first time.
- Before Sunrise
This movie tells the story of a man and woman who meet on a train. They make the spontaneous decision to get off the train and spend an evening together in Vienna, even though they know that it’ll likely be their only night together. (Sidebar: is anyone else sensing a theme? How do these characters fall in love so fast? Tell me your secrets!!). The plot is minimal in that not much happens between the characters except walking and talking over the course of the evening, but if you get attached to the characters, you’re in luck! Before Sunrise has two sequels, Before Sunset and Before Midnight that follow up on the characters’ lives years later after their fateful meeting on the train.
- What If
What If (Called The F Word in some countries) follows med-school dropout Wallace as he tries to hide his attraction to his new friend Chantry, who’s already in a long term relationship with her boyfriend, Ben. Over time, Wallace and Chantry’s relationship grows given their undeniable chemistry, but, of course, their story is not without its twists and turns. The movie works to answer the question, “What if your best friend is also the love of your life?”
This film follows Eilis, an Irish woman, as she moves to Brooklyn in search of a job. In Brooklyn, she meets and falls in love with Tony, a local. But when her home life catches up to her, Eilis is forced to move back to Ireland and choose between the life she built in Brooklyn or the life that waits for her in her hometown.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
If you’re into historical romantic-dramas, this is for you! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society takes place in 1946. The plot follows Juliet, a writer in London who exchanges letters with residents of Guernsey Island. Juliet intends to write a book, and she visits Guernsey and forms a bond with the residents. As Juliet entangles herself in the life of the residents, she learns about the book club they formed when the island was under German occupation during World War II. I get that this doesn’t really sound like a romance movie, but trust me, it’s in there.
Available on: Netflix
- Set it Up
We love an office romance! Set it Up is about Harper and Charlie, two overworked and underpaid assistants, who team up and devise a sneaky plan to trick their workaholic bosses into falling in love. Harper and Charlie reason that once their bosses get involved with each other, they’ll ease up the workload and give them both time to pursue their dreams or to take a break. In typical romance movie fashion, though, the romance comes through where Harper and Charlie least expect it.
Available on: Netflix
- Hearts Beat Loud
So, this isn’t a pointedly romantic movie, but I had to include it on this list because it’s definitely full of love. Hearts Beat Loud follows Frank, a Brooklyn record store owner, who tries to convince his daughter Sam to leave her dreams of studying pre-med at college and start a band with him after their song unexpectedly goes viral.
Sam is reluctant. She wants to spend time with Rose, her girlfriend, and study to be a doctor, but Frank insists on forming the band. Sam and Frank both write songs about the things they love. Sam about her girlfriend, and Frank about his business. This movie is refreshing in that Sam’s sexual orientation isn’t the big turning point or the focus of the movie. Instead, it’s love in different ways.
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