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10 Must-See Romance Movies To Watch That Aren’t The Notebook

As our first COVID-ridden Valentines Day passed, the list of festive activities dissolved once more. Hence, we were once again called to celebrate the holiday pandemic-style: with a movie marathon.

As much as I love The Notebook, I think it is time for us to collectively move along and appreciate some of the other classics that I enjoyed over Valentine’s. Fortunately, I’ve watched all the movies, read all the books, and seen all the blogs — so you don’t have to. Here are the top ten must-watch romance movies to enjoy with your social bubble.  

10 Things I Hate About You

Dark Knight Rises fans will be shocked to see Heath Ledger in one of his earlier roles—the ‘bad boy’ love interest in the 1999 classic 10 Things I Hate About You. A star-studded cast, featuring Allison Janey, Gabrielle Union and Joseph-Gordon Levitt, shine in this high school romance where Patrick (Ledger) tries to win over the mean, uninterested, and unavailable Kat (Julia Stiles). If enemies to lovers aren’t your thing, rest assured: this movie follows the stories of a few odd-ball couples.

WARNING: you might start being mean to men in hopes that Heath Ledger shows up.

How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Journalist Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) commits to becoming an overly attached, annoying girlfriend for a column, while Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) makes a bet that he can make any woman fall in love with him. She is trying to make him run and he is trying to make her stay. The bets are on. What could go wrong? This 2003 romantic comedy is a hilarious must-see for a girl’s night in.

WARNING: you are going to want to dye your hair blonde and start thrift shopping, again.

Me Before You

Quirky Louisa (Emilia Clarke) is hired as a friend and caretaker for handsome, rich, and paralyzed William (Sam Claflin). Fun outfits, adventure, and a slow burn romance ensues. If you are sad about not having a partner, this is the movie to watch. It will probably make you so upset that you will never want to have feelings for anyone ever again, lest such a tragedy repeats itself. 

WARNING: tears are unavoidable—choose your watch day wisely.

The Longest Ride

Potential blooms when professional bull rider Luke (Scott Eastwood) gifts his cowboy hat to girl-next-door Sophia (Britt Robertson) at a rodeo. An encounter with a neighbour allows stories across generations to collide, teaching the young lovers some important lessons. Nicholas Sparks originally authored the novel, so The Longest Ride is guaranteed to be a movie you come back to. 

WARNING: you might end up watching this movie every time you have more than two glasses of wine.

Someone Great

Three best friends living in New York City overcome heartbreak and loss when one of their own is wounded after a devastating break-up. Self-discovery, friendship, and maturation follow when Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) copes with the loss of her years-long relationship with Nate (LaKeith Stanfield). This movie manages to perfectly encapsulate both the heartbreak of losing a partner while celebrating the freedom and friendship such loss nurtures.

WARNING: check in on your friends who love this movie.

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen basically wrote the handbook on the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope with her original 1797 novel, but it’s a tale as old as time and it hasn’t aged a day. If you liked Bridgerton, Pride and Prejudice is for you. This is a tale of love overcoming social status, gossip, and well, pride and prejudice.

WARNING: your standards for relationships and confessions of love will increase exponentially.

Friends With Benefits

Romantic and independent Jamie (Mila Kunis) makes a feels-free deal with funny, laidback Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and they agree to hook up without getting emotionally involved. You can predict the ending—except it’s better than you imagine because it’s hilarious, cheesy, and not without a few hiccups.

WARNING: take this one with a grain of salt.

The Proposal

Canadian citizen Margaret (Sandra Bullock) is at risk of being deported from the U.S. and her American assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) needs a promotion—their solution? Get married! This slow-burn relationship develops into one of the funniest rom coms to date, as the couple tries to fool their friends and family into believing they are in love before receiving a swift dose of reality.

WARNING: do not try this at home, even though it worked for my immigrant (still married!) parents.

Endless Love

Watch Endless Love at your own risk—FOMO is guaranteed. This movie chronicles the ups and downs of falling in love the summer after David (Alex Pettyfer) and Jade’s (Gabriella Wilde) high school graduation. If you’re looking for rollercoaster dramatics paired with romantic adventures, look no further. I prefer the 2014 remake, but the original 1981 film features Brooke Shields as the leading lady.

WARNING: will make you miss high school, even though high school is absolutely nothing like that.

Little Women

Amy loves Laurie, Laurie loves Amy’s sister Jo, and Jo loves herself. It’s a mess. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women details the journey of four sisters through love, heartbreak, and growing up with a phenomenal cast. Laurie (Timothee Chalamet) delivers an Oscar-worthy monologue to a distressed and undecided Jo (Saoirse Ronan), which is sure to get you way more invested in the movie than you care to admit. 

WARNING: you are going to throw your popcorn at the screen in anguish and distress.

Why spend evenings in lockdown alone when you can escape somewhere else for an hour and twenty minutes with the trope of your choice? Get in your pyjamas, cue the facemasks, and bring on the chocolate. Time for movie night!

Lauren Stokes is a double major in journalism and political science at Carleton University.
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