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Ten Movies to Watch on Valentine's Day.


Valentine's Day is a polarizing holiday, to say the least. Relationships aren't easy, and a lot of us have been burned before. Some people don't like to be overly sentimental, and others don't want to be the center of attention, both of which feel mandatory on this particular holiday. It's also hard to deal with the social media bragging that occurs on Valentine's Day (and I absolutely have been guilty of that, so to all my friends, I'm sorry).

To top it all off, unlike with other holidays, it's hard to have any Valentine's traditions. How can you when you're single one year, coupled the next, and seeing someone different the third? I'm happy to be past that particular life stage, and have moved over into the quiet yet satisfying camp of steady commitment. I love my husband, and he has helped me to gradually overcome the (minor--I think) cynicism I developed as a result of my past relationships. I really believe if you keep an open heart, you can eventually heal from most of the scars horrible relationships leave. So for me, Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate. Even if I weren't happily married, I would still feel that today was a great day to celebrate my family and friends, who are wonderful and supportive and fun. Love is a wonderful thing, no matter who it's for. I think self-love is also pretty important. The most important kind of love, you might argue. So, whether you're with your friends, your family, your significant other, or just spending a cozy night with yourself, you should indulge a little today. Enjoy a glass of wine or piece of cake. Listen to the music you love. Read a favorite book. Settle in for a good movie.

If watching a movie tonight sounds like a good idea, here are ten suggestions, broken down by various rather silly genres I have identified. Sorry, but since it's Valentine's Day, I have stuck with that theme, as well as the general theme of love, throughout my list. (Notice, however, that the movie "Valentine's Day" did not make the cut. There's a reason for that. I actually saw this film in theaters back in 2010. On Valentine's Day. I've never seen so many men looking so defeated. And the movie was pretty bad.)

Ten Valentine's Day Movies to Watch Tonight:*

*Probably don't watch all of them tonight, though.

If you like extremely cheesy chick-flicks:

Watch He's Just Not That Into You

I love this movie. I can't help it. And I think it contains the most important relationship advice of all time. If someone likes you, they will make time for you. They just will. This doesn't mean you should dismiss someone if they don't immediately text you back, but it does mean that if they never make an effort, you should move on. And yes, it really is that simple.

If you want to cry. A lot.:

Watch Blue Valentine

Despite its, er, lack of optimism, I also love this film. Its cinematography is impressive, and its characters are rich and real. Love doesn't always end as beautifully as it begins, but this story makes all parts of love seem beautiful.

If you want to cry even more, but be oddly satisfied with why you're crying:

Watch The Notebook

Sure, it doesn't end the way you might want, but isn't this what all love aspires to? Also, if you couldn't tell, I like Ryan Gosling.

If you hate Valentine's Day and like Diehard:

Watch A Good Day to Die Hard

This movie premiered on Valentine's Day 2013, which is when I saw it. If you want to catch up with John McClane and see what explosion he narrowly escapes next, you're in for a real treat. Also, the number of plot twists in this film is beyond impressive. (Note: you should invent a drinking game while you watch this movie. The fifth Diehard installment is not a cinematographic gem.)

If you grew up in the '90s and are any fun at all:

Watch Clueless or 10 Things I Hate About You

Both of these films have become cult classics, and for good reason. They portray spunky female leads being themselves and making things happen. And they're hilarious. And they have great love stories. (Well, except for the sort of creepy but assuredly legal Alicia Silverstone/Paul Rudd ex-sibling thing.)

If you grew up in the '00s and are any fun at all:

Watch 500 Days of Summer

Fun and whimsical, this movie will make you love Joseph Gordon-Levitt even more. (And obviously I already do, since this is the second of his films on my list.) It's a refreshing take on the urban love story, and its last-minute ending will please even the most traditional romantic.

If you love cartoons and/or history:

Watch Anastasia

This movie changed my life. Yes, it's rife with historical inaccuracies. Yes, it's a bit insulting to re-write a tragic mass murder and turn it into an animated film for children. But there's something truly magical about the rich color and fabulous music of this movie. (I am very excited to see this on Broadway once it premieres, by the way.) And the love story, despite being animated, is pretty awesome, too.

If you're classic and a bit of a martyr:

Watch Casablanca

This film really tells of two love stories. And they're both beautiful, though some of us have a hard time accepting a nontraditional happy ending. But, as my husband likes to point out, this movie ended the way it should have. And I have to agree with him. All I can say is thank God I met my Humphrey Bogart before my Paul Henreid. (I'm actually not trying to suggest I have a Paul Henreid. I definitely don't.)

If you believe in true love:

Watch When Harry Met Sally

This movie is great. Billy Crystal? Meg Ryan? Carrie Fisher? (Sadness.) A great cast, a great storyline, and a great ending. Can men and women be just friends? Probably, but this movie doesn't do a very good job of proving it. Still, by the end of this film, you'll be smiling. And isn't that great?

If you believe in true love and just love in general:

Watch Love Actually

I know this is more of a Christmas movie, but I think the opening sequence says it all. Love actually is all around. This movie makes me laugh, makes me cry, and always leaves me feeling great. It's about friends, lovers, husbands, wives, parents, children, families--our situations are all unique, and our pasts are varied. But when it comes right down to it, we all want the same thing. (And thankfully, both Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are able to have it in this movie. Because sometimes, I feel like it's one or the other.)

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy your night, whether or not you decide to watch one of these movies. If anyone watches all ten (really eleven, because my "If you grew up in the '90s and are any fun at all" category had two suggestions), please contact me, because you deserve a trophy.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Danielle

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