Rom-Coms for Romantically Deprived 20-Somethings

Valentine's Day recently passed, and as the Love Actually saying goes: "love is truly all around us". We are constantly being bombarded with social media images, music and movies about romance. However, from my twenty years of life I have yet to experience this celebrated feeling of love. I haven't had a heartbreak, been in a love triangle, or even had an enemies to lovers relationship, therefore I don't always find these tropes relatable or entertaining in movies. Especially when it comes to teen rom-coms, as someone who has surpassed the age to experience young adolescent love.

But you can still enjoy rom-coms despite having a non-existent love life. If you are a romantically deprived 20-somethings, I have compiled a list of non-sappy rom-coms that you are sure to enjoy watching on Valentine’s Days and beyond.

  1. 1. Bridesmaids

    At the top of the list is a comfort film that I rewatch almost every Valentine’s Day, or even when I want a good rom-com. If you are a single friend among a group of married and/or in-love people you might relate very strongly with the protagonist of Bridesmaids. Annie is a 30-something woman experiencing rock-bottom. Her career is not going well, her business failed and she has just gone through a bad breakup. The only stable thing in her life seems to be her best friend Lillian who is thriving in life, happily engaged and has asked Annie to be her maid of honour. Bridesmaids is a feel-good, funny and wholesome movie about how we can sometimes feel out of sync with life's timeline and that's okay!

  2. 2. 500 days of Summer

    ”This is not a love story" is the disclaimer made at the beginning of the film to warn the audience that they can't expect to see a cliche fairytale ending to this rom-com. 500 days of Summer' follows a guy named Tom and a girl named Summer who date for a while until things just don't work out. The movie is set in a non-chronological order going through Tom's memories of the relationship. I absolutely love this movie as it captures how we sometimes set high expectations for the people we admire, either romantically or platonically and it's really not their fault when they don't meet those expectations. Not everyone that enters our lives is meant to stay in them forever and part of growing up is recognizing that figures like Summer aren't terrible people.

  3. 3. Lars and the Real Girl

    This romantic dramedy doesn't quite embody the cheerful, lighthearted aspect of other films in this list but it's guaranteed to pull at your heart strings. Lars and the Real Girl is a movie about unconventional love and mental health struggles. Lars, played by Ryan Gosling, is a lone wolf that struggles to form strong romantic connections with any woman. His brother and sister-in-law want to see him in a relationship and continue to ask about his love life. One day Lars orders a life-size doll on the internet and introduces her as his girlfriend Bianca. As advised by a doctor, Lars' family and community go along with his delusions treating Bianca as his real girlfriend in hopes that he will grow out of it and start to desire stronger human relationships.

  4. 4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

    This is a movie about finding love and growing up in a traditional and conservative family. Toula is a 30 year old woman who works at her family's Greek restaurant. She falls in love with a man named Ian, the only problem is that he isn't Greek. Toula continues to cover up Ian's identity from her overbearing conservative family who will never accept a non-Greek man. As someone who has grown up with a similar family dynamic and struggles to navigate my identity as a first generation South Asian and a Canadian, I can totally relate to Toula. This is just a laughing-fest of a movie that I think you will enjoy watching whenever you need a pick-me-up!

  5. 5. Bridget Jones’s Diary

    If you have a diary, you are automatically the main character of your story. In Bridget Jones’s Diary, a 32 year old woman who starts keeping a diary, writes about all the things she wishes to happen in her life. As she begins doing this she notices a shift in her love life, as two men begin vying for her affection. While this is definitely not at the top of this list, it's definitely a film I find myself rewatching on Valentine’s Day.

I'm sure at some point in my life, I will experience the love of Shakespearean plays or Nicholas Sparks novels. A love that people describe as falling head over heels for, like their heart is glowing and I'm sure I will later understand what heartbreak feels like as well. And when that happens I can go back to these sappy films and enjoy them all the more.