On Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but get a little lovey dovey, and I want a movie that follows suit. That said, I don’t want some sappy love story where the girl eats boxes of chocolates until she gets a boyfriend or a girl who quits her job—where she is a bitch, natch—when she finally settles down. I want something where the girl holds the reigns, at least some of the time. Here are some of my favorite romantic movies that won’t make you puke or raise your feminist hackles (too much):
Notting Hill (1999). I re-watched Notting Hill last night, and was pleasantly surprised at how Julia Roberts’ character, Anna Scott, called all the shots in courting bumbling Brit, Will Thacker (Hugh Grant). While it’s a little hard to swallow the poor, famous movie star angle the movie spins at every turn, Grant and Roberts definitely have chemistry and London plays a delightful supporting character. I was also impressed by Will’s group of friends, who were actually used to enhance the plot, not only to encourage Will to go-get-her.
Saving Face (2004). This movie pairs two Chinese-Americans, one a doctor and the other a dancer. A Chinese mother’s dream to be sure. Except for the fact that both partners are women. Poignancy, with some hilarious missteps, ensues with doctor Wilhemina tries to keep her girlfriend Vivian a secret from her mother. Wil’s mother, Hwei-lang Gao (Joan Chen) has her own struggles as an unwed, older mother pregnant with a new baby.
Wall-E (2008). I cried alone while watching Wall-E on an international flight, so that says a lot about the emotional relevancy of a twitching piece of metal. Wall-E is adorable, as is his love for the object of his affection, EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator). You’ll never doubt a robot’s ability to love after watching this movie—are you ready for the responsibility of getting your laptop a valentine?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). One of my favorite movies of all time, Eternal Sunshine escaped the typical romantic comedy clichés in a huge way. Featuring Jim Carrey as Joel Barish and Kate Winslet as Clementine Kruczynski, the movie follows the couple as they try to erase each other and cling to each in an innovative psychological erasure process. You’ll never cherish your memories—even the bad ones—more.
What are your favorite romantic movies that don’t make you cringe?