6 Romance Films To Watch If You’re Painfully Single This Holiday Season

COVID-19 has not helped the anxieties of being alone during the holiday season. With the pandemic, a lot of us are becoming lonelier than ever. For singles, this holiday season has been especially tough to the extent that one is not able to safely be with friends and family. And now, as we have officially entered the holiday season, I offer us, fellow lonely souls, some films that bring comfort (or a feeling of catharsis) during this strange time of our lives.

  1. 1.  Pride and Prejudice (2005)

    This film adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel has always been my cure-all. The cinematography alone is compelling in its beauty, even gorgeousness. But it is the fast, yet tender, pacing and brilliant acting, particularly Kiera Knightely’s strength and dignity through adversity, that keeps us riveted to our couch or bed, and feeling both protected and inspired. Even friends of mine, who are, sadly, not Jane Austen fans, are deeply in love with this film. The evocation of early 19th Century British topography is heightened with a soundtrack that naturally brings a sense of peace, love and most of all, inspiration to explore and conquer. This film reminds us not to panic, and for God’s sake, don't settle. 

  2. 2.  In The Mood For Love

    Most of you have not seen this one, but please know this is an iconic film which literally defines yearning. Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood For Love is set in 1960s Hong Kong and chronicles the brief relationship between neighbors Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who realize their respective partners are having an affair with one another. This film is incredibly tender and intimate, but it will also will leave your soul on fire at the end. This is a story about love, sure. But, it is also about betrayal, missed opportunities and the unforgiving nature of time, all rendered with beautiful cinematography which heightens our sense of reality. This film makes us think of the human condition as if we were worldly philosophers.  Director Wong Kar-wai is highly renowned, and has also inspired the newest, brightest directors in the industry, such as Barry Jenkins, who directed Moonlight (Oscars’ Best Picture in 2016). Yeah, this is a dare. You need to find and watch this one.

  3. 3. The Broken Hearts Gallery

    I already can tell this 2020 rom-com is going to be a Gen-Zers’ classic. This adorable film follows Lucy, who dreams of being an art curator-- but also happens to be an emotional hoarder. After her boyfriend dumps her, Lucy finds herself creating a pop-up space for items from previous relationships. The film features a relatable messy protagonist, with the classic “friends to lovers” romance film trope.

  4. 4. Palm Springs

    This year’s sci-fi rom-com broke a lot of genre walls, and assumes you understand time loops and have seen Groundhog Day (1993). Well, even if you haven’t seen that Bill Murray classic, you can figure out what’s happening. This film stars the hilarious, yet adorable Andy Samberg and the charismatic Cristin Milioti, who is allowed to be just as messy and flawed as Samberg's character. This film will make you laugh yourself silly and is also incredibly heartfelt. This film may most compellingly speak to our pandemic moment, as the feeling of time not mattering, and days repeating, feels very real while we sit in quarantine, trying hard to keep track of time. 

  5. 5. Roman Holiday

    I bet you thought I’d go for some Meg Ryan film by now. No. Let’s really go back in time. This truly classic film will give you something to talk about with grandma after she figures out Zoom. For me, I admit I’m so sad I can’t travel right now, and so this film is a perfect choice for romantics who wish to see the world from the comfort of their own home. Roman Holiday stars Gregory Peck as an American journalist in Rome, who falls in love with a depressed, runaway princess, played by Audrey Hepburn. Neither of them are honest with their identities when they meet, nor when they spend time together in the city of Rome. The film is definitely romantic, while it provides us a traveling tour of Rome. And really, you want your romantic tour guide to be a young, worldly, handsome Gregory Peck.

  6. 6. Her

    This is a truly sci-fi rom-com where technology, not physics, drives the narrative. In this pandemic, a lot of single people have relied on technology to protect us from abject isolation. Some of us have turned to dating apps and Zoom dates to maintain human connection of a romantic nature. No other film captures how technology and isolation affect our life like Spike Jonze’s Her, and how human connections and bonding continue to fight to break through any technology, including artificial intelligence technology.  This is a film which is very complicated to describe, but you can feel safe in your conveyor belt as you glide through the next two hours. I think the film is perfect for anyone feeling alone right now. It reminds us, in a roundabout, but powerful way, of that classic romantic film trope that sometimes a lasting love is someone you’ve known for a long time and maybe right next door.

I know life might feel horribly bleak right now. Trust me, being alone during COVID-19 lockdowns and shutdowns is hard. It’s getting colder and, with a looming second, and more severe, lockdown likely coming, it’s hard to see an end to all of this before any vaccine arrives--hopefully by the end of this coming spring. I therefore hope these films can help you through this holiday season. Stay inside if you can, and please stay safe.  Let Lizzie and the other romantic story characters guide us through this winter, and through this pandemic.