If you're anything like me (and you should really kinda hope not, I'm neurotic as hell), you probably have these times when you need to stop everything you're doing and just watch a feel-good, over-the-top, nothing-will-stop-true-love romantic comedy.
Wait. This isn't just me, right? Because I don't care who you are, these movies are awesome. Even if your favorite isn't on my list--if it's not, that's what the comments are for: feel free to tell me what I missed and what your absolute favorite is, and why--that doesn't mean it's not awesome. I very, very rarely find a romance that I don't love whole-heartedly. Hallmark Christmas movies that follow the same formula in every movie? Yes. Please. (Even if I do kinda, maybe, sorta wish there'd be a little bit of cursing involved, and an actual badass alpha male and some window-steaming sex on screen. What can I say? My characters have ruined me for tame love stories.)
So, like my other list posts, I'm going to limit myself to five. I wasn't going to. I even posted on Facebook that I was, because there were just too many. I couldn't do it. The more I started narrowing my list down, the more I started remembering movies that I hadn't seen in years that I loved, and then I started wondering what other movies I'd forgotten about, until I ended up with this huge, ginormous, overwhelming list. Surprise, right? This was my final list if you were wondering.
But then, I was talking to my youngest, and we decided to break it down into more categories than just Romantic Comedy.
And the criteria for Romantic Movies To Watch When You Want To Fall In Love (also known as Eden's Favorite Romantic Movies (with HEA) of All Time) are:
*Happy endings are a must. Don't @ me on this, if it doesn't have a happy ending, it isn't a romantic comedy. I don't care what Shakespeare said.
*By happy endings, I mean the main couple are together forever in the end. I know that not all happy endings require a love interest, but that's not what we're doing here, okay? So again, don't @ me.
*Just like in my book lists, no TSTL main characters allowed. Main characters must be likable enough for me to want to watch more than once.
**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links from Amazon. I earn a small profit from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
My Top 5. If I HAD to pick a Top 5.
1: Much Ado About Nothing
If anyone ever asked me to name one movie to define the term 'romantic comedy', it would be Much Ado About Nothing. Hands down.
There are honestly no words to describe how much I love this movie. It's everything. It's funny (yes, it's Shakespeare, I said what I said). It's charming. And the romance in it is absolutely freaking perfect.
In case you haven't seen it, or read the book, let me tell you about this movie. Beatrice and Benedick don't like each other. At all. Not even a little bit. Their family and friends call it a 'merry war' between them, but let me say again--these two do not like each other.
Unfortunately, Benedick and his friends are staying with Beatrice and her family for the next week until his friend, Claudio, marries her cousin Hero.
So her family and his friends decide to play matchmaker, conspiring to convince Beatrice and Benedick that the other loves them desperately.
I can't tell you how perfect Emma Thompson is as Beatrice, or Kenneth Branagh as Benedick. They were actually married at the time, which just ads to the fun of their banter.
Add in Denzel Washington as a prince, Keanu Reeves as his scheming half-brother, and Michael Keaton as the (ridiculous) leader of the night watchmen who (somehow) stumbles upon the ruse to break up Hero and Claudio, and you have a cast that can't do anything wrong.
But back to Beatrice and Benedick. You know that term 'opposite's attract'? I'm sure it was created for these two. Theirs is a war of sarcasm and insults (and I'm positive this is part of where my snarkiness comes from), but the love they feel for the other doesn't just surprise them both, it's so huge you can't help but feel it, too. I mean, with lines like this:
"I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?"
"I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest."
You can't help but swoon and fall in love with them.
Plus, it includes lines like these, for when you need to laugh out loud:
"I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me."
and my all time, favorite quote:
"I would eat his heart in the marketplace."
.Watch this movie when you need to laugh, believe in love conquering all, enemies becoming lovers, and happy endings defeating evil. You won't be sorry.
*Eden's note: There is a 2013 version from Joss Whedon that I haven't seen yet. I have it on very, very good authority it's just as charming and enchanting as this version, and seeing as how it's Joss Whedon and all of his favorite actors, I'm sure it is. I just love this version so much, I'm hesitant to watch any other one.
To buy, click on the gif below!
2: The Princess Bride
Okay, I don't really have to tell you about this movie, right? You've already seen it and agree that it's one of the. best. movies. ever. made.
Even if you haven't seen it (gasp!) you probably know what it's about. That Princess Buttercup falls in love with her stable boy, Westley, who is then killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, except there is no Dread Pirate Roberts, and her sweet Westley isn't really dead? And on their way to their happy ever after, they join forces with Inigo Montoya, Fezzik the giant, and seek the help of Miracle Max and his wife (NOT a witch) Valerie to defeat the evil Sicilian Vizzini, and Humperdink, the six-fingered man?
This movie is so much a part of my identity that I'm not sure I can accurately imagine anyone who hasn't seen it. I love it too much. It's part of the reason I write fantasy romance. It's part of the reason for my sarcastic, sassy side. It's part of the reason I never believe the bad guys are really the bad guys until I see it for myself. It's the reason "As you wish" will never be words to me any more than "Always" will be.
If you haven't watched it yet, please do it soon. Then come back here and tell me what you thought, because one of my goals in life is to make sure everyone loves this movie as much as I do.
*Eden's note: If you haven't read the book yet, YOU MUST. Because it includes lines like this:
“you were already more beautiful than anything I dared to dream. In our years apart, my imaginings did their best to improve on you perfection. At night, your face was forever behind my eyes. And now I see that that vision who kept me company in my loneliness was a hag compared to the beauty now before me.” –Westley
Enough about my beauty.” Buttercup said. “Everybody always talks about how beautiful I am. I’ve got a mind, Westley. Talk about that.”
Watch this one when you need to believe in True Love, and magic, and fairy tales with their happy ever afters, and a love that not even death can destroy.
Click the gif below to rent or watch!
3. Imagine Me & You
I know most people probably haven't heard of this movie. And don't bother reading the reviews for it, because most of them just called it another boring rom-com. But since that's what this list is explicitly about, I don't think that's a bad thing.
What I love about this movie is that it isn't traditional. And while I normally avoid movies (especially in my romantic comedies) that glorify cheating, I watched this one anyway. And I'm so glad I did.
Rachel's marrying the love of her life, Hector. She's thrilled. He's amazing. (I'm not being flippant here, she really is thrilled because Heck really is amazing.) They're absolutely perfect together. Nothing is going to come between these two, ever.
But as Rachel is walking down the aisle, she glances over and catches sight of Luce, the florist. And that quickly, and yet that slowly, everything in Rachel's life shifts.
It's too easy, and waaaay too common in movies that involve cheating or falling for someone else, for the spouse to 'deserve' being cheated on or left. They're a closet bully, the sex is bad, he/she's been cheating for years. Whatever. But it gives the person in love with someone else the justification to be with them. They're then seen as the strong one who deserves to be with their soul mate, the victim to their spouse's bullying/cheating/bad sex.
Imagine Me & You doesn't do that. I meant it when I said Heck was amazing. He really, truly is. A good guy down to his toes, who wants nothing more than to love Rachel all of his life. He worships the ground she walks on, and he'd do anything to make her happy.
Because her husband isn't some abusive control freak, Rachel doesn't just take the 'easy' road, cheating on Hector now that she found real love. She agonizes. She wants to be near Luce as much as she knows she shouldn't be. She tries to make her marriage work, because her feelings and her heart aside, she does not want to hurt him, ever.
And Luce doesn't try to sneak in and cause problems in their relationship. She is crazy about Rachel from that first glance in the chapel, but you don't come between a couple. Ever.
There's no bad guy in this movie. There's no one to blame for the marriage falling apart. No one sets out to deliberately hurt anyone. It's a story about falling in love with someone in an instant, your soul connecting with theirs, a connection that isn't dependent on gender or sex but that person and their soul, and how much it can hurt even when you never knew you could feel so much.
I can't. I can't tell you guys how much I love this movie. It include quotes like this from Luce:
"I think you know immediately. As soon as your eyes meet... Then everything that happens from then on just proves that you have been right in that first moment. When you suddenly realize that you were incomplete and now you are whole..."
and my favorite:
"You're a wanker, number nine!"
Watch this movie when you need to believe in soul mates, and love at first sight, and true love conquering everything.
Click the gif to rent or buy
4: Say Anything
Say the name Lloyd Dobler to any girl of the 90's and literal heart eyes will probably start flashing in their eyes, In Your Eyes will start playing in the background, and their forgotten crush on John Cusack will rush back to the surface.
"She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."
"What I really want to do with my life - what I want to do for a living - is I want to be with your daughter. I'm good at it."
I mean what girl wouldn't full-on swoon at the idea that the only thing Lloyd freaking Dobler wants to do with his life is to be with you?
In case you are one of the few people who have never seen this and have no idea of the impact it had on 90's girls, here's the rundown. Wait. The tagline for the movie sums it up perfectly:
She's got every thing going for her. He's going for her with every thing he's got.
She's their high school valedictorian. She's rich, with everything she wants within grasp, including a coveted fellowship in England. He's poor, a kick boxer who lives with his sister and nephew. They have nothing in common, but love each other anyway, against all odds.
Plus: he kicks glass out of the way for her! *sighs*
When you need to believe in opposites attract, that the girl with everything can fall for the boy with nothing, and that true love means living your entire life for your partner, you need to watch this.
Click the gif to rent or buy.
5. Benny & Joon
I don't know what to say about this movie if you've never seen it. I mean, yeah, it's Johnny Depp at the height of his 90's hotness, and Aidan Quinn with all his moody broodiness, and I don't care what anyone says, I wanted Mary Stuart Masterson's wardrobe from this movie.
I also happen to think that I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) should be my theme song. If you've forgotten how awesome it is, go listen to here it here.
If you are one of the few that's never seen that movie, I want you to go watch it now, as soon as possible. This list is about movies that make you want to fall in love, and this movie does this a million times in a million ways.
Sam's an unwanted outcast. He lands on his cousin's doorstep, and the guy can't wait to be rid of him. So he bets him in a poker game with Joon, without her big brother and caretaker, Benny, knowing. Against all of Benny's instincts, he gives in to Joon and takes Sam home with them when she 'wins' him. (Yeah, this could have gone way darker had it not been handled so wonderfully.)
While the movie never puts a name to Joon's disability, it's heavily hinted at schizophrenia. Again, this could have been a train wreck if not handled so well, but the writers don't just focus on all the ways her illness impacts her life negatively, it shows how beautifully she sees the world around her and how much she wants--needs--to love and be loved. But running contrary to her feelings for Sam are her brother's feelings of duty, his need to sacrifice his life and happiness to take care of his sister. Like Imagine Me & You above, the writers could have made Benny the bad guy--abusive, controlling, using his sister's illness against her. But these two genuinely love and adore each other, even when it becomes very, very clear that they can no longer live together.
As for Sam and Joon? They're perfect. Imperfect. Perfectly Imperfect for each other. He's unwanted and unloved, with so much love to give, just searching for someone who can see past his weirdness and his quirks to the unloved boy underneath. He sees Joon's mental illness, but he doesn't use it to define her or excuse her. It's no more important to him than the color of her eyes or the fact she paints. It makes her different, like him. And Joon...she's been waiting for someone to see her as more than her diagnosis. She's a woman, with needs and feelings, no matter what her brother wants to believe. (In his defense, he's a big brother.)
I love this movie for so many reasons. Because it teaches us that love doesn't stop because of our mental illnesses. That our depression, or anxiety, or whatever is wrong with our brains doesn't mean we aren't lovable, and capable of great love. That the quirkiest, weirdest ones out there are just as capable of love as wide as the ocean as any neurotypical person out there. Maybe more, because they know what it feels like to be unloved and alone.
Click on the gif to rent or buy!
What about you? What are your favorite romantic movies? Have you seen any on this list? Which would you add or remove, and what would you exchange it with? Let me know!
Top 5, Paranormal Romance, Must Read Paranormal Romance Series