Today: February 29, 2024

Top Five Romantic Movies

Ah, the romantic comedy, it’s an enduring genre that truly has stood the test of time. Many of us have grown up with classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or colourful musicals such as Easter Parade or My Fair Lady. These movies capture the beauty of romance. They have idealised ideas about finding ‘the one’; Boy meets girl on a chance encounter, boy and girl must overcome obstacles to be together, girl is eventually swept off her feet – cue long, lingering Hollywood kiss.

Ah, the romantic comedy, it’s an enduring genre that truly has stood the test of time. Many of us have grown up with classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or colourful musicals such as Easter Parade or My Fair Lady. These movies capture the beauty of romance. They have idealised ideas about finding ‘the one’; Boy meets girl on a chance encounter, boy and girl must overcome obstacles to be together, girl is eventually swept off her feet – cue long, lingering Hollywood kiss.

Romantic comedies today adopt a similar plot structure. However, the ‘boy meets girl’ part is shown to be decidedly more difficult. Modern romantic comedies take a more cynical view of the trials and tribulations of finding someone to love. Misha Wallace delves deeper into the cutting nature of today’s romantic comedies.

No.1 – Bridget Jones (2001)

When Bridget Jones was adapted to the big screen from Helen Fielding’s book of the same name, it seemed to define an entire generation of thirty-something women haunted by their loudly ticking biological clock and ‘smug married’ friends. Bridget, played by Renee Zellweger, is single and desperately looking for love. She’s overweight, her biological clock is ticking and she records her hopes, dreams, frustrations and failings in a journal. She also sleeps with her philandering boss, blinded by his charm. She then meets a handsome family friend, the aptly named Mr (Mark) Darcy (Colin Firth), a man she immediately detests, but who she comes to realise is just the kind of man she was searching for all along.

Bridget’s search for love demonstrates how hard it can be to meet people in a modern society and the stigma once attached to single men and women of a certain age, while simultaneously liberating them to embrace their singleness – which if we’re to believe Bridget, will eventually lead to love. After all, she makes many mistakes along the way, but she still gets her man in the end!


Our favourite Bridget Jones scene.

No. 2 – Must Love Dogs (2005)

This very modern romantic comedy delves into love in the age of the internet, with a forty-something women seeking the man of her dreams. Like Bridget Jones, Sarah (Diane Lane) is looking for love and finding it increasingly difficult. She thought she had found her man for life, until he left . Spurred on by her interfering family, she decides to try online dating. After some bizarre and unsuccessful dates – including accidentally answering her own father’s personal add – she comes to realise that the first man she met online, Jake (John Cusack), is actually the man for her. Like Bridget, Sarah struggles through the trials and tribulations of finding ‘the one’ but she too gets her man in the end; proving that in this day and age you need to kiss (or flirt online) with a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

No. 3 – Hitch (2005)

Will Smith plays Alex Hitchens (Hitch), a ‘date doctor’ who trains men unlucky in love in the art of wooing the opposite sex. However, he is shown to struggle himself when it comes to finding love. For example, when he meets the stunning Sarah (Eva Mendes), his elaborate choice of date venues fall apart and his silver tongue fails to empress, so Hitchins begins to question whether his way is the right way to find love. Hitch contradicts the idea that one can just be ‘lucky in love.’ The idea of paying for help to find ‘the one’ provides an interesting insight into the difficulties of finding a sustainable relationship nowadays. Using a date doctor to coach you in the art of dating is especially contrived. This way of finding a relationship is an extreme and typically modern solution that is shown to also be a failing one, as in the end, Hitch gets his girl just by being himself.

No. 4 – He’s Just Not That In to You (2009)

We all remember that scene in Sex and The City where Miranda over hears two ladies talking about a man who isn’t calling and informs them that ‘He’s just not that into you’ – well this is similar to that, but with 120 minutes worth. In He’s Just Not That In to You, a movie actually inspired by a self-help book, Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) is looking for love and sets out on a series of fruitless dates. She repeatedly misinterprets the signs that these men are not interested in her, thinking that they are. This is until she gets some much-needed advice from Alex (Justin Long). As he helps her to be ‘in the know’ about what men really mean when they text but never call or continually give her false hope, they eventually fall for one another. Gigi inspires the other characters in the movie to tackle problems in their own relationships. He’s Just Not That In To You shows that love is now a complicated game and the importance of reading between the lines and what it means to understand the opposite sex – and how all of this can lead to difficulties in finding love.

No. 5 – Bridesmaids (2011)

Bridesmaids is the most recent on this list and arguably the most successful and unique, but perhaps that’s because it’s not primarily about love but friendship. Annie (Kristen Wiig) is yet another character who is unsuccessful in love. Her boyfriend left her when she lost her business and since then she’s been having casual sex with a disinterested man. Although this film is primarily about friendship amongst women, as Annie struggles with the mammoth task of organising her best friend’s wedding against the interference of another friend, Annie’s loneliness and struggle to find love is paramount. She eventually meets Nathan (Chris O’Dowd) and despite turning him down, realises her mistakes and gets her man. Bridesmaids also demonstrates – as does Sex and The City – that while seeking love in the fast paced world of today you need good gals by your side – from the trials and tribulations of the early stages down to orchestrating the madness of your big day!

Yesterday’s Holly Golightly is today’s Bridget Jones. The modern-day man or woman who is looking for love can relate to the characters and their plights. These movies tell us that it can be hard to find ‘the one,’ with many opportunities to make mistakes along the way, yet the message they give is still one of hope. It may be tough to find someone to love, but they are out there and we just have to find the means to do it – and these days there’s plenty. While the lonely hearts in these movies have to overcome more obstacles than your average love story protagonist, in the end, they sure do get their ‘happily ever after.’

Misha Wallace - Social Media Editor

From the age of 4, Misha Wallace became transfixed by movies like Halloween and The Birds from behind the couch, unbeknownst to her family. This has developed in to an obsession with fantasy and horror films (and a considerable number of cheesy 80s and 90s flicks – but she will not be judged). If she was a character in a film she'd be the girl at the end of a horror movie, doused in blood but grinning victorious. Email: misha.wallace@filmjuice.com or find her any time of the day or night on FilmJuice social media.

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