Snuggle up and watch a movie this frosty Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day because love and romance are beautiful things, but I also don’t think you should wait or be told when to be nice to that special person in your life.

Here are some movie suggestions for the ‘big day’. Nothing says romance like coming off a Super Bowl hangover! — who scheduled the big game on Valentine’s Day Eve?

This list is not ‘The Best Romantic Movies Ever’. Not at all. If you want me to praise The Notebook you will be waiting a long time. This is a list of different romantic movies that I think are well-made. Some classics are mixed in with movies you probably haven’t seen, but I think you should.

The streaming services for each are listed; they can also be found on the iTunes and Google stores, respectively.

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Synopsis: Everyone assumed that Sasha and Marcus would wind up together, except for Sasha and Marcus. Reconnecting after 15 years, the two start to wonder—maybe?
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Stars: Ali Wong, Randall Park
Streaming Service: Netflix

This movie was a recent hit on Netflix. It worked for so many reasons. Ali Wong and Randall Park are hilarious. It’s a sweet film, and it shows that the success of Crazy Rich Asians wasn’t a fluke.

Beyond the Lights (2014)

Synopsis: The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Danny Glover
Streaming Service: Hoopla

We have seen many movies where the ‘big star’ meets the ‘ordinary person’. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It works here. I enjoyed Mbatha-Raw and Parker in this film. We don’t get a typical love story with this one. This one comes with some more realistic bumps along the way.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Synopsis: Everyone assumed that Sasha and Marcus would wind up together, except for Sasha and Marcus. Reconnecting after 15 years, the two start to wonder–maybe?
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
Streaming Service: Cineplex

I said this isn’t a ‘Best of’ list , but this is one of my favourite films. This was made at a time when the only shows that were comfortable exploring same-sex themes were Six Feet Under and The L Word . . . it wasn’t as common as it is today. Sure, I could use phrases like ground-breaking to describe this film for which Ang Lee won a Best Directing Oscar, but to simplify, this is one of the best movies ever made. It is highly regarded as a movie that should have won Best Picture, but the Academy was too uncomfortable for that.

It tells the story of two men who had deep feelings for each other but were in a world where they couldn’t express it. Heartbreaking, beautiful, and a cinematic triumph.

Good on Paper (2021)

Synopsis: After years of putting her career first, a stand-up comic meets a guy who seems perfect: smart, nice, successful, and possibly too good to be true.
Director: Kimmy Gatewood
Stars: Iliza Shlesinger, Ryan Hansen
Streaming Service: Netflix

As much as I would like to recommend Love Hard, that romantic Christmas movie on Netflix, I shouldn’t. Since it’s not the holiday season, I won’t mention Love Hard . . . on Netflix (wink, wink).

Instead, look at Good on Paper, as it has similar themes. A woman meets a man who seems too good to be true. Does that sound like anyone’s online dating experience? If so, you may enjoy this comedy.

Hitch (2005)

Synopsis: A smooth-talking man falls for a hardened columnist while helping a shy accountant woo a beautiful heiress.
Director: Andy Tennant
Stars: Will Smith, Eva Medes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta
Streaming Service: Netflix

Everyone needs dating assistance at some point! Enter Hitch! This was a sweet film where Will Smith plays an advice expert of sorts who coaches men to assist with their love lives, but what happens when he decides to get in the game? The result is a very sweet date movie.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

Synopsis: Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stockbroker who her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah persuades to take a well-deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica.
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Stars: Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King
Streaming Service: Cineplex

Society has shown us that it is ok for men to be with younger women. I am not sure if society sees it the other way around, but don’t tell Stella because she is about to get her groove back. Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs shine in this film. Bassett plays Stella, who meets a younger man and sparks fly . . . You go, girl! This is a classic. If you haven’t seen it, now is the time.

I Carry You with Me (2020)

Synopsis: Ambition and societal pressure propel an aspiring chef to leave his soulmate in Mexico and make the treacherous journey to New York, where life will never be the same.
Director: Heidi Ewing
Stars: Armando Espitia, Christian Vasquez
Streaming Service: Cineplex

My favourite movie of 2020. Based on a true story, this movie explores the story of two men in love in Mexico. Their relationship is frowned upon at home, and they want to emigrate to the U.S. and build a life together. Gorgeous cinematography, great acting, and a beautiful story.

Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2003)

Synopsis: A high school ‘loser’ pays a cheerleader to pose as his girlfriend so he can be considered cool.
Director: Troy Byer
Stars: Nick Cannon, Christina Milian, Steve Harvey
Streaming Service: Netflix

This is an underdog story. Cannon plays Alvin, the school ‘nerd’, who falls for Milian’s ‘Paris’. They strike a deal where she pretends to be with him to help his ‘cred’. It’s a cute date movie with high school themes that still resonate today.

Love Simon (2018)

Synopsis: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, friends, and classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and accept his identity.
Director: Greg Berlanti
Stars: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford
Streaming Service: Disney Plus

This was a great movie. It’s unfortunate that in 2022 there are still people who, for whatever reason, can’t express who they are. What I liked about this film are the multiple love stories. While our protagonist is trying to keep who he is a secret, there is someone who is his secret admirer.

Lover’s Rock (2020)

Synopsis: A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance, and music.
Director: Steve McQueen
Stars: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Michael Ward
Streaming Service: Prime Video

Part of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, this is a film that takes place over the course of one night at a house party. The main characters are two people meeting for the first time. You find yourself rooting for ‘Martha’ and ‘Franklyn’. A lot of people who talk about this film will mention the soundtrack: on point; the costume design: on point; but don’t lose the fact of the love story at the centre of it all.

Monday (2020)

Synopsis: A spark on a Friday can lead to a sizzling weekend fling, but what happens when you get to the inevitable Monday?
Director: Argyris Papadimitropoulos
Stars: Sebastian Stan, Denise Gough
Streaming Service: Apple TV

This movie showed Sebastian Stan could do much more than just be ‘The Winter Soldier’. In this movie, he plays a DJ who meets a girl, and they . . . get together. Those DJs! But what starts as a fling could be more . . . or could it? A complete departure from anything I’ve seen him in before, but this was a fun film. It’s passionate, adventurous, and Valentine’s seems like the perfect time to check it out.

Notting Hill (1999)

Synopsis: The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.
Director: Roger Michell
Stars: Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts, Rhys Ifans
Streaming Service: Netflix

How do you describe a classic? This is one of my favourite romantic comedies. The main characters Roberts and Grant portray are amazing, but the supporting cast is just as incredible. If you haven’t seen this film, your movie education is incomplete, and if you have seen it . . . it may be time to watch it again.

The Big Sick (2017)

Synopsis: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.
Director: Michael Showalter
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Streaming Service: Prime Video

Rarely do we get a Pakistani character in the lead of a rom-com, but here we are. Did I mention this multi-award-winning film was a hearty combination of funny and serious? Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, were nominated by the Oscars for their script, which has one of the best ‘spit out my drink’ lines in recent memory. A beautiful story of two people who want to be with each other, but obstacles keep getting in the way.

The Mountain Between Us (2017)

Synopsis: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Stars: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Beau Bridges
Streaming Service: Disney Plus

How do I describe and entice you to see this movie? Hmmm, I got it.

Stranded on a mountain with Idris Elba! . . . or . . . stranded on a mountain with Kate Winslet?

If you need more, this is an entertaining film, and while not the best work either has done still enjoyable to watch.

You would think when you are fighting the elements it wouldn’t be a romantic film . . . well . . . you’d be wrong.

Valentine’s Day (2010)

Synopsis: Intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break up and make up based on the pressures and expectations of Valentine’s Day.
Director: Garry Marshall
Stars: Julia Roberta, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradly Cooper
Streaming Service: Cineplex

Before Adam McKay was assembling ensemble casts of Hollywood A-listers (Don’t Look Up), a guy by the name of Garry Marshall was effortlessly doing it. The late Garry Marshall directed hits like Pretty Woman, Frankie, and Johnny, but it’s his film that shares the name with this article that makes this list.

Intertwining stories with couples at different stages in their relationships and an overall love theme make this an enjoyable film. Actors wanted to work with Marshall because he created such fun, beautiful films. His talent is missed, he passed in 2016, but his classics live on.

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

Synopsis: Book superstore magnate Joe Fox, and independent book shop owner, Kathleen Kelly fall in love with the anonymity of the Internet, both blissfully unaware that he’s trying to put her out of business.
Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey
Streaming Service: Crave

Let’s end on a classic, shall we? At one time, Meg Ryan was considered the go-to for romantic comedies. Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally etc., but this was my favourite. Reuniting with her Sleepless in Seattle co-star, Hanks, this is an incredibly beautiful film. Nora Ephron’s adaptation of The Shop Around the Corner brings in a new element, the internet!

She owns a small bookstore while his family runs a chain of big bookstores looking to put her out of business. All the while, they communicate online, not knowing they are talking to each other.

The movie works, and years later, I’d still recommend it.