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High School Romantic Comedies to Watch this Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air, but so is COVID. This Valentine’s Day, magical dates are limited by restrictions. Unless you want to stand under someone’s window with a boombox (which is COVID safe, just saying), watching movies over Zoom is probably one of the simplest dates. Alternatively, watch a romantic comedy with your roommates or by yourself to get yourself in the Valentine’s Day spirit. 

A fun side effect of lockdown—at least for me—is intense nostalgia, so I’ve compiled this list of favourites to help you narrow down your options to the classics. Curl up with some snacks and enjoy the holiday with these high school romantic comedies.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999).

This movie is one of my favourites. One of the only good things to come out of William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You is about sisters Bianca and Kat and their overprotective father. Bianca is only allowed to date when Kat does, but Kat is… prickly, to say the least. A boy who wants to date  Bianca turns to Patrick, the scariest boy in school, to ask Kat out. The movie is full of hijinks and has aged pretty well, all things considered.

Watch for… the iconic bleacher scene and a young Heath Ledger.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018).

Based on the novel by Jenny Han, this movie centres a teenage girl named Lara Jean whose love letters get sent out to all of her previous crushes by mistake. One of them, Peter Kavinsky, has recently broken up with his girlfriend and asks Lara Jean to fake date him to make her jealous. Featuring beautiful cinematography and tropes galore, this movie is a fun, breezy watch. (Don’t watch the sequel, though. It wasn’t good.)

Watch for… the pining, Noah Centineo and the line, “Is that Peter Kavinsky?!”

The Half of It (2020).

Directed by Alice Wu, this film is about an isolated teenage girl named Ellie who is befriended by Paul, a jock/puppy dog. Paul asks Ellie to help him woo another girl at their school, who Ellie is secretly in love with. After some prodding, she agrees to write love letters for Paul. Wu handles the coming-of-age themes beautifully. All in all, a very good time. 

Watch for… the friendships, LGBTQ+ plotline and the importance of self-love.

Love, Simon (2018).

Another young adult novel adaptation, Love, Simon follows the coming out story of Simon, a closeted American teenager pursuing an online correspondence with “Blue,” a boy who attends Simon’s school. While I wish movies would focus on queer plotlines that aren’t exclusively about coming out of the closet, this movie is sweet and heartfelt. 

Watch for… a painfully relatable teenage boy and nice wholesome family feels.

Bonus: Someone Great (2019)

While this movie isn’t about high school, it is a coming-of-age movie with a love story at its heart, albeit maybe not the one you’re expecting. This movie focuses on Jenny, an ambitious music journalist who breaks up with her boyfriend right before moving across the country. Brokenhearted, Jenny meets with her friends to have one last day of partying in New York City. 

Despite the breakup, Jenny and her boyfriend love each other dearly, as do Jenny and her friends. This movie may not be as feel-good as the others, but it’s still worth a watch. 

Watch for… Gina Rodriguez, heartfelt friendships, and the importance of saying goodbye.

I hope at least one of these suggestions spark your interest! Adult rom-coms are fun, but high school movies will always have a special place in my heart. Something about the nostalgia, heightened drama and feelings, and the tropes really does it for me. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Eli Mushumanski is a queer Writing and English Honour undergrad in their fourth year at the University of Victoria. They specialize in fiction and poetry. Their work has been published by The Albatross, The Warren, and Flare: The Flagler Review, and they are a fiction editor at UVic's literary journal, This Side of West. When not caught up by schoolwork or reading, Eli plays Stardew Valley and chats with their mom on the phone.
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