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7 Romantic Comedies That Set My Expectations For Love Way Too High

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carthage chapter.

Hey, it’s me again with another article about love and romance. Are we surprised? Because I’m not! A while ago I wrote an article about being a hopeless romantic, so this is sort of me back-tracking. Romantic comedies are truly the reason I am the way I am, and my impossible expectations for love stem from these movies. Although it’s said that the older the movie is, the better, I’m going to address the rom-coms that shaped (and possibly lied to me about) my views on love.

The Notebook

A classic early 2000s romance that I can’t NOT address. Although not truly a rom-com, this movie just gave me the standards that just cannot be met today. Noah wrote Allie a letter every day for a year, and I’m out here lucky if I get a text back within a day. Plus, Ryan Gosling. Need I say more?

Friends With Benefits

This movie defined for me what “friends with benefits” means. Needless to say, I was once again disappointed with my high expectations. In my experience, guys tend to forget the “friend” part of this relationship agreement and think it’s okay to text me at 3 AM to come over and call that a hangout. In this movie, the two best friends get lucky and end up falling in love. I guess that’s too much to ask in real life??

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Although I’d never want someone to read my personal journal (hi mom I know you have!), this movie is centered around essentially peeping into Bridget Jones’s diary and personal life. I heavily relate to the main character, who is constantly being bombarded by relationships, marriages, and people questioning why you’re not doing either. Hard to believe that two men fight over her but hey, I’m still waiting for it to happen in real life.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

This classic, writer-as-the-main character really embodies the rom-com formula. The over-worked girl who lacks a steady man in her life but seems unbothered. Kate Hudson plays the confident and independent Andie Anderson (creative name btw). While she dates to get research for her article, she falls in love unexpectedly, shocking! No matter the cliché and predictable plot, I still drop everything to watch this movie when I get the chance.

10 Things I Hate About You

Personal favorite right here. An unexpected match is what I live for with rom-coms. Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles have amazing chemistry in this movie, and it’s hard not to fall in love with Heath Ledger’s character. Filmed in 1999, the movie makes me feel nostalgic for a high school experience I didn’t even have. And the iconic list of “10 things I hate about you” gets me every. Single. Time.


This movie is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. I did my senior thesis on Emma, so I’m no stranger to the themes that go beyond a rom-com. Not to say that you should watch this movie instead of reading the book, because both are fantastic, but if you’re looking for a rom-com that’s more than just finding love and having it be the “end all” message for the movie, I highly recommend this movie.

Sixteen Candles

I have to end with a John Hughes movie. These are classics that, in my opinion, should stand the test of time. My mom loves this movie, I love this movie, and I’ll make sure my own daughter loves this movie one day. Sixteen Candles gives me the nostalgic vibe that 10 Things I Hate About You also gave me and I love it. Being the shy, quieter girl in high school, I was ready and almost waiting for my Jake to bring my flowers randomly, and ride off into the sunset.

Love them or hate them, but rom-coms have made more of an impact on culture than we think. With the classics reminding us of a time of how people fell in love before social media, or after with movies like Friends With Benefits and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The concept of relationships and hook-ups has drastically shifted, but movies are here to call out the culture and transform it.

Ali Jagielo

Carthage '19

Ali is a senior at Carthage College majoring in English with a double minor in Communications and Public Relations. She is originally from Westmont, IL, but wishes to one day live in Chicago. She is a proud member of the Beta Lambda chapter of Chi Omega here at Carthage. When she is not working or in class, she loves to spend her time reading, watching Netflix, or going on adventures with her friends.
Jane Eckles

Carthage '19

Jane graduated from Carthage College in May 2019 with a degree in English and Secondary Education. She is from Merced, California, which is close enough to San Fransisco for her to confirm that the City by the Bay is her absolute favorite. When she's not teaching or writing articles, she can be found collecting any book she can get her hands on, watching Netflix, staring mindlessly into the void, or napping.