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5 Romantic Films vs. 5 Friendship Films to Watch This Valentine’s

Whether you have a romantic date planned this Valentine’s Day or are spending it with friends, or are even having some time to yourself, this list of ten romantic comedy movies will help you to feel the love. From themes of love and marriage to ones of friendship and fun, these ten films are all wonderful choices for a bit of escapism from your day-to-day life.

 1.    You’ve Got Mail

“I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.”

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are the perfect romantic comedy pairing. This film is an absolute classic from 1998, and I think it’s also a rather underrated film. People often talk about Sleepless in Seattle, but I think the beauty of this film needs to get more recognition. You’ve Got Mail is based on The Shop Around the Corner, from 1940, which itself was remade in 1949 with Judy Garland in the starring role, as In the Good Old Summertime. I just love this film; the comedy of the storyline and the rivalry within the movie makes the ending so much sweeter. Also, living in the time we do now, the reliance on email will give you a nice throwback to simpler times.  

 2.    Sweet Home Alabama

“The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back.”

I basically adore Reese Witherspoon. She is such an amazing actress and takes on such incredible roles. In Sweet Home Alabama from 2002, Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) returns to her hometown to get a divorce from her childhood sweetheart, so she can marry her dreamy fiancé (played by Patrick Dempsey). Not only does this film have the charm of being set in an Alabama town, but seeing how Melanie slowly returns to her Southern roots and becomes immersed in town life again makes this film such a feel-good watch. Josh Lucas plays Jake, Melanie’s childhood sweetheart, and is a great character, who I fall in love with each time I watch this film. This film will certainly not fail to disappoint you.

 3.    Mannequin

“Didn’t I tell you? You’re the only one who can see me like this.”

If you haven’t seen ‘Mannequin’, honestly give it a try. The premise of the film sounds pretty ridiculous, but it is such a feel-good film, released in 1987. Starring Kim Cattrall, this film tells the story of Emmy, who has the ability to time-travel. Andrew McCarthy plays Jonathan Switcher, a young sculptor who cannot seem to hold down a job. Emmy appears in Jonathan’s life in the form of a mannequin which he has made with his own hands. A love story ensues, one in which Emmy is invisible to everyone but Jonathan. Although a relatively odd premise, the film is wonderful to watch.

 4.    Two Week’s Notice

“Before you came into my life I could make all kinds of decisions, now I’m addicted I have to know what you think. What do you think?”

Hugh Grant is a staple for any good romantic comedy, and this 2002 film in which he starred with Sandra Bullock is no exception. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a lawyer who is hired by George (Hugh Grant). However, George expects more from Lucy than just her law advice and begins to become reliant on her to organize his entire life. These characters have very differing morals, especially regarding the power of the rich. But, eventually, as in most romantic comedies, everything works out and the journey to get there is one full of laughter. This film is mentioned less often than many of Hugh Grant’s and Sandra Bullock’s contributions to the romantic comedy genre, but it shouldn’t be forgotten as it is equally as great. 

5.    What if?

“Because if it’s too simple you’ve got no reason to try, and if you’ve got no reason to try you don’t.”

Watching Daniel Radcliffe play anyone other than Harry Potter is always an odd sensation, but in this film from 2013, he takes on the role of Wallace who is unlucky in love. Across from Daniel Radcliffe is Zoe Kazan as Chantry, who often takes on roles in more quirky movies, just like this one. Chantry and Wallace hit it off straight away, but Chantry is in a long-term relationship, leaving Wallace pining for her and them just as friends. Alongside their budding relationship, we follow the relationship of two of their friends, and this film is great at showing different kinds of romances.

 6.    The Other Woman

“You screw me, I screw you back. I’m a lady like that.”

The Other Woman, from 2014, is one of my all-time favourite, feel-good films. The basics of the plot are this: Carly (played by Cameron Diaz) discovers that her perfect boyfriend is actually married, and is a liar and a cheat. This discovery, in turn, leads to his wife, Kate, finding out about their affair. Traditionally, the movie industry often demonizes the “other woman” and idealises the wife, but in this film, the characters know who the real enemy is – Mark, the cheating husband/ boyfriend. The two pair up to get revenge on him and the comedy ensues from there. This film is a great reminder of the strength of women and the bonds of female friendship, and how when women work together, they can achieve anything. Even if their aim is to bring down a cheating man.

7.    Legally Blonde

“Hi. I’m Elle Woods and this is Bruiser Woods. We’re both Gemini vegetarians.”

Reese Witherspoon will forever be remembered and revered for her role as Elle Woods in the 2001 film Legally Blonde. Although this film begins with heartbreak, instead of marriage, and Elle originally sets out to regain Warner, the film becomes about so much more. The determination and strength that Elle shows while in pursuit of a place at Harvard Law School, and the intelligence and skill that she demonstrates whilst she is there is inspiring. We also see the power of friendship within this film, as she bonds with Paulette, helping her get custody of her dog, and find happiness – never forget the famous “bend and snap” scene. This film is so well-loved that it has become a popular musical, which I would recommend to any musical fans or ‘Legally Blonde fans. And if you didn’t get enough of Elle Woods whilst watching the first movie, try a turn at the second one, as more Elle Woods is always a good thing.

 8.    The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

“To us. Who we were, and who we are. And who we’ll be.”

Based off of the book of the same name, this film from 2005 tracks the stories of four best friends who are forced to spend a summer apart. Having found a pair of jeans that seems to magically fit them all, they send the jeans on to each other throughout the summer, alongside updates about what they are doing without the others there. What I find most inspiring about this film is not only the beauty of friendship that we witness within the film, but also the fact that the four main actresses have remained best friends in real life. This film is a great summer watch, but can also bring sunshine into the rest of your year.

9.    Bridesmaids

“Here’s a friend standing directly in front of you, trying to talk to you, and you choose to talk about having no friends.”

Although Bridesmaids is partly centred around the planning of a wedding, the main focus is on the importance of friendship. This 2011 film sees friendships becoming strained due to life getting in the way, but it also sees friendships grow and heal, and new friendships bloom. This film is hilarious and also moving at points, and it shows how important it is to have good friends in your life. Beyond this, you cannot fault the stellar cast of the film. Even when a wedding is being planned, friends are going to be there to help and will find their own ways of providing support, especially when times get tough.  

 10.  Miss Congeniality

“I am in a dress, I have gel in my hair, I haven’t slept all night, I’m starved, and I’m armed! Don’t *mess* with me!”

Another Sandra Bullock classic, from 2000, is ‘Miss Congeniality’. She plays Gracie, an FBI agent who disobeys orders and is forced to go back to desk duty for a while. While on this job, she is told she is going to enter the Miss United States competition, due to fears that there is going to be a bomb at the contest. Gracie is as far from the perfect candidate for this as is possible, but is eventually convinced to do her duty and take on the role of Miss New Jersey. Gracie learns important lessons about friendships in this film, and it is the camaraderie of the female characters that always sticks in my mind. Oh, and also the fact that she is just badass.

English and History student at University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus. I spent a year studying abroad at University College Cork, Ireland.
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