The best rom-coms of all time to give you that fuzzy feeling
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, 2018
Who: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Meryl Streep What: Five years after the original film came out, Mamma Mia is back with another extravaganza of Abba-fuelled, feel-good fun as Sophie prepares to open Hotel Bella Donna. True to its name, we’ll be watching it again and again and again. Defining Moment: One word: Cher.
Crazy Rich Asians, 2018 Who: Gemma Chan, Constance Wu, Henry Golding What: Get ready to see the film of the year, ahead of it’s cinema release! Based on the best-selling novel, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan shows the only thing crazier than love is family.It’s so great even Chrissy Teigen is OBSESSED! The story follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Henry Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh) taking aim.
Defining Moment:[/b] As the first modern love story with an all-Asian cast and an Asian-American lead in TWENTY-FIVE ENTIRE YEARS, it features a wealth of talent from Gemma Chan (Humans) to Ocean 8’s hilarious, Awkwafina.
The Big Sick, 2017 Who: Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan What: Loosely based on Kumail’s real life, the plot tells the story of his relationship. After meeting in one of his stand-up shows, Kumail and his wife Emily – a Pakistani comedian and an American student – start to fall in love. As the relationship evolves, Kumail worries about his family’s tradition and how his parents are constantly trying to set him up with Muslim women, regardless of his relationship with Emily. *Spoilers ahead*… Emily and Kumail break up but obviously the movie and their love story doesn’t end there. Defining Moment: When Emily falls ill and you really start to see Kumail and his girlfriend’s parents start to bond. To be fair, the whole plot is a defining moment when you’re defying the cultural stigma for love.
About Last Night, 2014 Who: Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, What: When funny man Bernie drags his friend Danny on a double date to impress the woman he’s dating (Joan), Danny quickly falls for her best friend – successful business woman, Debbie. The two hit it off from the jump and despite receiving warnings from their friends, end up rushing into a relationship where things quickly turn sour. Meanwhile Bernie and Joan provide all the LOLs with their on-again-off-again relationship. Defining Moment: This is definitely more com than rom (thank you, Kevin Hart and Regina Hall) but we can’t help but swoon at the cute moments between Danny and Debbie – especially that first weekend they spend together. The defining moment has to be at the end when they get back together… ish.
About Time, 2013 Who: Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson What: At the age of 21, Tim Lake discovers a family secret – the men in his family can travel through time. He decides to use his newly found gift to get himself a girlfriend and soon meets Mary. They’re quick to fall in love and start a life together. However, Tim soon realises that even time travel can’t prevent the painful things in life. Defining Moment: The touching moments between Tim and his dad before he’s gone for good. Prepare to weep.
How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, 2003 Who:Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey What: Arrogant ad exec Benjamin (McConaughey) bets his colleagues he can make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. Meanwhile, women’s mag writer Andie (Hudson) reckons she can get a guy to ghost her in the same time frame (um, sometimes you don’t even need ten days Andie). When they unwittingly pick each other as the object of their respective wagers, it’s a battle of wills. Defining moment: Andie’s every-trick-in-the-book approach to putting Ben off: teddies on her bed, pretending to be a picky eater, marching him to couples’ counselling. Yep, so wrong on the gender stereotype front, but Hudson and McConaughey are adorable together. Sorry, not sorry.
The Holiday, 2006 Who:Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black What: Who doesn’t love The Holiday? Fed up and needing a change, British journalist Iris (Winslet) swaps homes with LA movie trailer producer Amanda (Diaz). Iris befriends Miles (Black) but he already has a girlfriend, while Amanda meets Iris’ brother Graham, but he keeps disappearing to take mysterious phone calls from other women. Defining moment: The scene when Graham first meets Amanda and they have instant chemistry.
When Harry Met Sally, 1989 Who: Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal, Carrie Fisher What: Whip-smart Nora Ephron-scripted classic that poses the question: can a man and woman every really just be friends? Sally (Ryan) and Harry (Crystal) think they can, as they navigate crappy romantic relationships with others while maintaining their own friendship. Defining moment:That orgasm scene. Giving women everywhere reason to look pointedly at their boyfriends, since 1989.
Maid In Manhattan, 2002 Who:Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson What: Marisa (Lopez) is a single mother working as a maid at a fancy Manhattan hotel. Cleaning the room of flashy socialite Caroline Lane (Richardson), she tries on a Dolce & Gabbana coat and bumps into high-profile politician Chris, who falls for her on sight. They spend the day together with Marisa pretending she is a fellow hotel guest… Defining moment: Marisa’s ten-year-old son saving the day by asking Chris at a press conference if people deserve second chances.
She’s All That, 1999 Who: Freddie Prinze Jr, Rachel Leigh Cook, Anna Paquin, Paul Walker, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe What: When Zack (Prinze Jr) and Taylor (O’Keefe) – the dead certs for prom king and queen – break up, Zack bets he can transform any girl into his winning date. Even high school geek (read: arty and clever, but unpopular) Laney Boggs (Leigh Cook). Defining moment: In typical high school movie style, Laney is already gorgeous beneath her paint-spattered overalls and glasses, but her appearance at the top of the stairs in an LBD, to the tones of Sixpence None The Richer’s Kiss Me, is still an amazing film makeover moment.
13 Going On 30 Who:Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer What: Jenna (Garner) gets mean-girled by the popular clique at her 13th birthday party, and wishes she could escape high school and be ‘thirty and flirty’. The next day she wakes up aged 29, with an amazing apartment and a job at her favourite magazine, but with no idea how she got there. When she tracks down her 13-year-old self’s BFF Matty (Ruffalo), who’s grown into a total hottie, it turns out they haven’t spoken to each other in years. She ditched him after her 13th birthday party to become the queen bee of the mean girls. Defining moment: The 80s soundtrack is awesome, and the dance routine to Thriller tops the lot.
Never Been Kissed, 1999 Who:Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Molly Shannon What: Journalist Josie (Barrymore) goes undercover at her old high school in order to befriend the cool crowd and write a story on youth culture. Defining moment: Josie trying to forget her horrific high school experience and yelling “I’m not Josie Grossie anymore!”
Notting Hill, 1999 Who:Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant What: A chance encounter in West London between the most famous movie star on the planet, Anna (Roberts), and indie bookshop owner William (Grant) leads to a romance that must bear the scrutiny of the world’s media. And his eccentric friends. Defining moment: When William’s flatmate Spike (Rhys Ifans) styles out opening the front door to a wall of press, while wearing only a pair of greying underpants.
10 Things I Hate About You, 1999 Who: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik What: An edgy, modern update of The Taming of the Shrew, transported to 90s America. Bianca (Oleynik) isn’t allowed to date Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) until her feminist older sister Kat (Stiles) starts dating. But Kat isn’t interested. So Cameron pays high school bad boy Patrick (Ledger) to woo her. Defining moment: Heath Ledger’s super-swoonworthy rendition of [i]Can’t Take My Eyes Off You[i].
Love Actually, 2003 Who:Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman What: You either love this Richard Curtis movie or hate it, but either way, it’s a Christmas classic. There are nine story threads, all relationship based, that evolve over the festive season. Prime Minister (Grant) is falling for his tea girl (McCutcheon), Mark (Lincoln) is in love with his best friend’s wife, Juliet, (Knightley), and Harry (Alan Rickman) is cheating on his wife Karen (Thompson) with a younger woman. Defining moment: Mark’s note card love messages for Juliet. You’ll either find it desperately romantic, or think ‘WTF mate, she’s married to your best mate!’
The Proposal, 2009 Who:Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Betty White What: Workaholic Canadian exec Margaret (Bullock) discovers her visa has lapsed and that she’s going to be deported from the States, so she forces her assistant Andrew (Reynolds) – who hates her guts – to marry her. To make their engagement look convincing, they have to act as a couple. Defining moments: The singing bits. Margaret rapping Lil Jon’s Get Low in the woods with Betty White, and Andrew singing It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z.
Bridget Jones’ Diary, 2001 Who:Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant What: The original – and the best – Bridget flick, based on Helen Fielding’s sublime, relatable and hilarious bestseller. Singleton Bridget (Zellweger) wants to lose weight, kick the fags and find a non-fuckwit boyfriend. Easier said than done. Her options are currently commitment-phobe Daniel Cleaver (Grant) and aloof goody-goody Mark Darcy (Firth). Luckily her mates are there to swig Chardonnay with while she figures things out. Defining moment: Pre-mobiles, everyone could relate to Bridget’s landline faux pas, answering ‘Bridget Jones, wanton sex goddess’ to her mum.
Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994 Who:Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas What: Definitive Richard Curtis romantic comedy with Hugh Grant as the posh bumbling Charles. He meets American Carrie (MacDowell) at a wedding and they sleep together together, before spending the next few years having a series of missed opportunities. Defining moment: The movie that made everyone fall in love with Hugh Grant and Richard Curtis. And grow to hate Wet Wet Wet’s cover of Love is All Around.
Sleepless In Seattle, 1993 Who:Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks What: Widowed Sam (Hanks) is still grieving 18 months after his wife’s death, but his son Jonah wants to find his dad a new wife. He calls a Seattle radio show about it and Sam is inundated with offers from women around the country, including Annie (Ryan). She impulsively writes asking him to meet her at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day. A series of missed meetings and miscommunications follow. Defining moment: Co-written (again) by Nora Ephron, both the one-liners and the schmaltzy moments are excellently drawn. Annie: “Destiny is something we’ve invented because we can’t stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.”
Clueless, 1995 Who:Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy What: A modern reworking of Jane Austen’s Emma, transporting the action from rural England to modern day Beverly Hills. Cher (Silverstone) plays the role of meddling, matchmaking Emma, trying to set up her single friend Tai (Murphy) with school douche Elton. Defining moment: Introducing the phrases ‘As if’ and ‘Whatever’ to us Brits. Possibly the world’s most quotable movie ([i]Mean Girls[i] aside, obvs).
27 Dresses, 2008 Who:Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Ackerman, Ed Burns What: Perennial bridesmaid Jane (Heigl) is secretly in love with her boss (Burns), but when he meets her sister (Ackerman) they fall in love and get engaged, with Jane the obvious choice for maid of honour. Then cynical but handsome wedding reporter Kevin (Marsden) tricks her into spilling all the details about the weddings she’s been bridesmaid at, and uses the information for a snarky story. Defining moment: Jane’s bridesmaiding activities have taken her on an odyssey of truly terrible dresses. And it makes for an epic trying-on montage sequence.
Bridesmaids, 2011 Who:Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm What: Annie (Wiig)’s cupcake business is failing and her lovelife sucks, but when BFF Lillian (Rudolph) asks her to be maid of honour at her wedding, she wants to do it well. She ends up in competition with fellow bridesmaid Helen (Byrne) over who is Lillian’s best friend. Defining moment: The food poisoning scene. Poo gags = never not funny.
Legally Blonde, 2001 Who:Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis What: After getting dumped, pink-obsessed sorority girl Elle Woods (Witherspoon) follows her ex-boyfriend (Davis) to Harvard law school to try and win him back. But after winning an internship with a respected attorney, it turns out she’s not as ditzy as everyone thinks she is. Plus, his assistant Emmett (Wilson) is a much hotter prospect. Defining moment: Elle educating her friend on how to woo a man, using the trusty ‘bend and snap’ technique.
Bruiser Woods is basically an American national treasure. Check out more iconic movie pets we wish we owned.
Jerry Maguire, 1996 Who:Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr What: Smooth talking sports agent Jerry (Cruise) has a moral epiphany over his soulless career and starts his own agency, vowing to take a more personal approach to his clients. He takes with him Dorothy (Zellweger), the one person from the office who supports his crusade, and just one of his former clients Rod (Gooding Jr). He and Dorothy start dating but working round the clock for his business comes between them. Defining moment: For the rom, it’s got to be the ‘You had me at hello’ scene; for the com, it’s the ‘Show me the money’ scene. Obviously.
You’ve Got Mail, 1997 Who:Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan What: Post Sleepless In Seattle everyone wanted to see Hanks and Ryan onscreen together again. Directed again by rom-com queen, Nora Ephron, the pair play New Yorkers who have an online romance via email (this is way before the days of Tinder), unaware that they are business rivals: she owns an independent book shop, he heads up a string of chain mega bookstores. Defining moment: All the seriously retro technology moments that the romance hinges on.
There’s Something About Mary, 1998 Who:Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Matt Dillon What: Ted (Stiller) had a disastrous date with Mary (Diaz) in high school, and years later is still hung up on her. He hires a private eye (Dillon) to track her down, but he falls in love with her too. As does everyone else that Mary meets. They all try to win her heart while battling a series of ludicrous obstacles. Defining moment: Either the ‘hair gel’ or the genitals caught in flies scenes. Grossout slapstick at its finest.
Sweet Home Alabama, 2002 Who:Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey What: Southern girl Melanie (Witherspoon) has moved to New York and become a successful designer. After getting engaged to the mayor’s son, Andrew (Dempsey), she has to go back to Alabama to get a divorce from her secret, estranged husband Jake (Lucas) – but he’s not playing ball. Defining moment: The flashback scene where a young Jake tells a young Melanie he wants to marry her when they grow up, so that he can ‘kiss her anytime he wants’.
50 First Dates, 2004 Who:Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler What: Henry (Sandler) is a serial dater until meets his perfect woman, Lucy (Barrymore). Unfortunately she suffers from short-term memory loss, meaning every day is a blank slate and she can’t remember Henry chatting her up. Cue Henry wooing her afresh every day. Defining moment: When Henry and Lucy spend the night together, she wakes up with her memory wiped and what she thinks is a stranger next to her. So she beats the shit out of him with a lacrosse stick.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2002 Who: John Corbett, Nia Vardalos What: Noula (Vardalos) bucks family tradition by falling in love with non-Greek Ian (Corbett, aka Aidan from SATC). They begrudgingly accept him when he agrees to convert, and then the wedding planning begins with gusto. Defining moment: Noula’s dad introducing Ian to the extended family, and all their children are named Anita, Diane and Nick.
The Five-Year Engagement, 2012 Who:Emily Blunt, Jason Segel What: On their one-year anniversary, chef Tom (Segel) proposes to Violet (Blunt). She says yes but each time they try to set a date, something – a new job, relocation – gets in the way. As time passes, they start to wonder if perhaps their marriage isn’t meant to be. Defining moment: Tom’s best man (Chris Pratt) delivering his speech at the engagement party – a song all about Tom’s previous lovers.
The Wedding Planner, 2001 Who:Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Judy Greer What: Super-successful wedding planner Mary (Lopez) is saved from a runaway dumpster by off-duty doctor Steve (McConaughey). They go on a date and it’s only when her next client introduces her fiancé that she discovers Steve is actually engaged to someone else. Mary has to continue planning their wedding, while battling her feelings for Steve. Defining moment: Mary and Steve accidentally knocking a nude statue’s, ahem, package off.
Knocked Up, 2007 Who: Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Jason Segal What: Stoner Ben (Rogen) has a one-night-stand with successful, uptight Alison (Heigl) and she gets pregnant. They decide to make it work and raise the baby, despite having nothing in common and barely knowing each other. Defining moment: A relatively unknown Kristen Wiig as Alison’s TV boss, ‘encouraging’ her to lose weight once the baby is born. “We just want you to be healthy – by eating less.”
Muriel’s Wedding, 1994 Who: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths What: Muriel (Collette) loves two things: Abba, and the prospect of getting married. But she’s stuck in a dead end job in Australia and has never been on a date. In an attempt to leave her boring life behind, she defrauds her parents and heads on an exotic holiday, before moving to Sydney with a fellow misfit from high school (Griffiths). Defining moment: A+ use of an ABBA soundtrack.
The Break Up, 2006 Who:Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn What: An anti-rom-com that starts with Brooke (Aniston) and Gary (Vaughn) splitting up and refusing to move out of their shared condo. Good real estate is hard to find. As the split becomes more acrimonious, they employ more elaborate means of driving the other one away. Defining moment: The fight scene over doing the dishes. Which would be even funnier, if it wasn’t quite so relatable.
Big, 1988 Who:Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins What: Josh is a teenage boy who makes a wish on a carnival machine to be older. The next day, he wakes up as an adult (Hanks), and has to live as one until he can track down the carnival machine and reverse the spell. He gets a job and falls for one of his co-workers (Perkins), who – thankfully – doesn’t know he’s a child in an adult’s body when she kisses him (or it would be more weird than it already is). Defining moment: The F.A.O Schwartz floor piano dance scene. You’ll want to fly to New York immediately and recreate it.
Crazy Stupid Love, 2011 Who:Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, What: Middle-aged Cal (Carrell) is thrown back into the dating pool when his wife (Moore) asks for a divorce, but he makes a new friend, Jacob (Gosling) – who’s a major league pick up artist – and he teaches him how to seduce women. They’re great mates until Jacob starts dating Cal’s daughter Hannah (Stone). Defining moment: ‘Defining’ is right. When the Gos whips his top off, Hannah asks if his abs are photoshopped. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008 Who:Mila Kunis, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Kristen Bell What: When Peter (Segal) gets dumped by Sarah (Bell), he goes on holiday to Hawaii to get over her. Chatting up the hot, cool girl receptionist (Kunis) should help with that. But it turns out his ex is on holiday there too, with her ridiculous new musician boyfriend Aldous Snow (Brand).
[b]Defining moment:</b > Aldous crooning his cock-rock anthem Inside You.
(500) Days Of Summer, 2009 Who:Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt What: Another anti-rom-com, which for the gender reversal alone deserves an honourable mention. The whole time romantic Tom (Gordon-Levitt) and quirky Summer (Deschanel) are dating, she tells him she doesn’t believe in true love and won’t define their relationship as a relationship. After it’s over, heartbroken Tom tries to work out what went wrong. Defining moment: The opening credits. Scott Neustadter wrote the film in response to getting dumped.
Friends With Benefits Who:Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake What: Art director Dylan (Timberlake) and hot shot head-hunter Jamie (Kunis) meet when she recruits him for a job at GQ, and end up brokering a deal to be fuck buddies. But then their feelings get in the way (they should watch When Harry Met Sally). Defining moment: Emma Stone’s brief cameo. If only we could be so badass when breaking up with someone.
Trainwreck, 2015 Who:Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, John Cena What: The woman finally gets to be the fast-talking, hard-drinking, monogamy-rejecting hot mess here, as writer Amy (Schumer) sexes her way around New York. Until she meets sensible, nice guy doctor Aaron (Hader), that is. Defining moment: Amy’s attempt to get her beefcake sort-of boyfriend Steven (Cena) to talk dirty in bed.
The Wedding Singer, 1998 Who:Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler What: Be-mulleted 80s singer Robbie (Sandler) dreamed of being a rock star but now belts out other peoples’ hits at wedding receptions. Meanwhile, Julia (Barrymore) waits tables at the same events. They’re both with other people until Robbie is jilted at the altar and Julia starts to wonder if she’s engaged to the wrong man. Defining moment: Robbie playing a song he wrote to Julia, half of which he wrote while he was with his ex, and half after she dumped him.
Annie Hall, 1977 Who: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton What: Nervy NY comedian Alvy (Allen) falls in love with kooky Annie (Keaton), and we see the relationship’s rise and fall. Considered one of the most influential comedies of all time. Not to mention a fashion ‘moment’. Defining moment: Allen, at the top of his game, delivers great lines like: “That sex was the most fun I’ve ever had without laughing.”
My Best Friend’s Wedding, 1997 Who:Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney What: It takes Michael (Mulroney) announcing he’s getting married for his best friend Julianne (Roberts) to realise she’s in love with him. And she has just days to usurp his affable, girl-next-door fiancé Kimberly (Diaz). Defining moment: You’ll find Kimberly’s off-key karaoke rendition of I just Don’t Know What to do with Myself so sweet that you’ll hate yourself a bit.
Serendipity, 2001 Who:Kate Beckinsale, John Cusack What: Jonathan (Cusack) and Sarah (Beckinsale) meet by chance in Bloomingdale’s, New York. Wanting to leave a future relationship to fate Sara writes her number in a book, which she sells to a second-hand book store the next day – and makes Jonathan write his number on a $5 bill which she spends. If they’re meant to be together, they’ll find the items one day… Defining moment: The ice-rink scene. Gets us every time.
The Wedding Date, 2005 Who:Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams What: Kat Ellis (Messing) is a single New Yorker who travels back to her parent’s home in London for her little sister’s (Adams) wedding to be her maid of honour. Kat’s ex-fiance will be there (he’s the best man) and she doesn’t want to go alone, so she enlists the services of professional male escort (Mulroney) who pretends to be her boyfriend. Defining moment: The gut-wrenching moment that Kat realises her ex-fiance cheated on her – with her sister.
Runaway Bride, 1999 Who:Julia Roberts, Richard Gere What: The Pretty Woman duo reunite as Maggie, the serial wedding-day bolter, and Ike, the reporter who is writing a story about her and her string of ex-fiancés.
Defining moment: The many last-minute wedding escapes Maggie makes. Plus the ‘how do you like your eggs?’ scene, a metaphor for Maggie working out who she is and what she wants from life. So profound.
Funny Face, 1957 Who: Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire What: Old-time musical and a true classic. Dick Avery (Astaire) is a big-time fashion photographer. Jo Stockton (Hepburn) is a shy bookshop clerk, who is briefly roped into one of Dick’s shoots when they need an ‘intellectual’ looking woman. When Dick develops the photograph he sees something special in Jo’s face and whisks her away to Paris to become a top model. Defining moment: The Givenchy wedding gown Hepburn wears down the catwalk. (In fact, there are so many gorgeous gowns in this film).
No Strings Attached, 2011 Who:Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher What: Emma (Portman) and Adam (Kutcher) are two friends who make a pact to have a ‘no strings’ arrangement – just sex, nothing else. Definitely not love. (If this sounds very similar to the premise of Friends With Benefits, then yes, you’d be right). The inevitably of what happens next might be blindingly obvious, but an ace supporting cast – Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig, Lake Bell – means that the journey is a lot of fun. Defining moment: Emma and Adam’s very ‘2011’ moment, swearing their fuck-buddy pact on an iPad bible. #somodern
The Truth About Cats And Dogs, 1996 Who:Uma Thurman, Janeane Garifalo, Ben Chaplin What: Clever-but-not-traditionally-pretty Abby (Garofalo) is a vet who hosts a radio show called The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Agreeing to a blind date with Brian (Chaplin), a caller to her show, she bottles it and persuades her not-as-clever-but-prettier friend Noelle (Thurman) to go and pretend to be her. But both women end up with feelings for Brian. Defining moment: There is a great, dry script throughout. Noelle – “Together we make the perfect woman” Abby – “No, you and I combined make the perfect political prisoner. What we do really well is act self-righteous and starve.”
Along Came Polly, 2004 Who:Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller, Debra Messing What: Straight-laced insurance man Reuben Feffer (Stiller) has just returned from his honeymoon where he caught his new wife Lisa (Messing) having sex with the scuba diving instructor. Back in New York he runs into kooky old schoolmate Polly Prince (Aniston) – they’re total opposites but can she make Reuben loosen up and take some risks? Defining moment: Reuben proving his ‘wild side’ to Polly by eating food off a New York sidewalk.
Failure To Launch, 2006 Who:Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew McConaughey, Zooey Dechanel What: Tripp (McConaughey) is a 35-year-old man-baby who still lives at home with his parents. They hire Paula (SJP) an ‘expert’ who dates men to give them the self-esteem boost needed to finally move out. Problem is, she ends up falling for Tripp, for real. Defining moment: The paintballing date. (NB This is never a good date idea).
Pretty In Pink, 1986 Who: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Andrew McCarthy What: Brat Pack 80s gem. Andie (Ringwald) and best friend Duckie (Cryer) are picked on by the rich kids. Duckie is secretly in love with Andie, but when cool guy Blane asks her to prom, she says yes. There’s nothing like a love triangle – and plenty of people still think she chose the wrong guy. Defining moment: When Andie makes her own (pink) homemade prom dress.
While You Were Sleeping,1995 Who:Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman What: Lucy (Bullock) is a fare collector for the Chicago Transit Authority, with a secret crush on a handsome commuter called Peter. When he’s pushed onto train tracks by muggers, she saves his life, but he is left in a coma. At the hospital a nurse mistakes Lucy for Peter’s fiancé and introduces her to to his family. Falling for his charming family she doesn’t correct the mistake – but then she starts having feelings for Peter’s brother Jack (Pullman). Defining moment: When Jack proposes to Lucy (sorry, spoiler alert) by putting an engagement ring in the change tray of her booth at work.
Made Of Honor, 2008 Who:Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan What: Hannah (Monaghan) and Tom (Dempsey) have been best friends for a decade. Tom’s been harboring a secret love for Hannah, and he’s finally built up the courage to tell her. But before he can, she tells him she’s getting married – and she wants Tom to be her best-man/maid-of-honour. Defining moment: When Hannah tells Tom his rather clichéd declaration of love for her is ‘generic’.
Sixteen Candles, 1984 Who: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Schoeffling What: Sam (Ringwald) is turning sweet 16 – but her whole family have forgotten because her big sister is getting married the next day. Adding to her angst is an infatuation with hot senior Jake (Schoeffling), but complicating matters is geeky fresher (Hall) who is smitten with her. Defining moment: Quite literally, when Andie blows out her sixteen birthday candles at the end of the film.
Manhattan, 1979 Who: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton What: Alongside Annie Hall, this is one of Allen’s best rom-coms. Reuniting with Keaton, he plays Charles, a divorced comedy writer who falls in love with his best friend’s mistress (played by Keaton). Defining moment: The iconic shot where they chat on a bench by Queensboro Bridge. Beautiful.
Splash, 1984 Who:Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy What: Unlucky-in-love Allen (Hanks) finds the woman of his dreams when the girl who saved him from drowning twenty years earlier turns up in New York. Unfortunately, she’s actually only half woman, as she’s actually a mermaid. A gender flipped remake – with Channing Tatum as the merman – is currently in the works. Defining moment: Any of Hanks’ interactions with his badly behaved and hilarious brother Freddie (Candy), particularly the bar scene where they get wasted.
Something’s Gotta Give, 2003 Who: Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Amanda Peet What: Aging ladies’ man Harry (Nicholson, bien sur) goes to his much younger girlfriend’s (Peet) family beach house for the weekend, only to discover her mother (Keaton) is staying there too. Horror of horrors, he finds himself attracted to a woman closer to his own age. Defining moment: Any scene with Nicholson and Keaton verbally sparring. Their chemistry elevates the whole film.
Silver Linings Playbook, 2012 Who:Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro What: Pat (Cooper) has broken up with his wife, lost his job and just been released from a psychiatric facility. Young widow Tiffany (Lawrence) suffers from depression. When they meet, she offers to help Pat win back his wife if he enters a dance competition with her, but starts falling for him herself. Defining moment: The dance scene. Which is so far from a slick rom-com dance-off as it’s possible to be, but will thaw even the hardest of hearts.
Shaun Of The Dead, 2004 Who: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost What: Billed as the first rom-zom-com (romantic zombie comedy), Shaun (Pegg) has been dumped, but when London is overrun by zombies he gathers his friends together, and vows to save his ex from the undead and win her back. Defining moment: Shaun and his chums doing a quick zombie move tutorial, so they can pass for the undead and travel the streets undetected.
Say Anything, 1989 Who: John Cusack, Ione Skye What: Lloyd (Cusack) and Diane (Skye) start dating the summer after their high school graduation, knowing they’re on a deadline. Diane has a scholarship to a UK university lined up, while Lloyd has no plans for his future. Plus, her dad does not approve. Defining moment:That boombox scene. Even for generations too young to know what boomboxes are, it’s a bar-setting romantic gesture.
Roxanne, 1987 Who: Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich What: A remake of the classic French play, Cyrano de Bergerac, C.D. Bales (Martin) has a very large…nose. He falls for beautiful astronomer Roxanne (Hannah), but doesn’t tell her how he feels due to being sensitive about his aforementioned schnoz. Instead, he helps the less cerebral fireman Chris (Rossovich) write her love notes, so she falls for him. Or the person she thinks is writing the notes anyway. Defining moment: C.D. responding to a nasty nose joke with a rat-a-tat routine of his own much funnier hooter gags.
Overboard, 1987 Who: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell What: Rich-but-mean Joanna (Hawn) falls over the side of her yacht and loses her memory, whereupon carpenter Dean (Russell) gets his revenge by convincing her that she’s his wife and mother to his three kids. Gradually they fall in love for real. (Yeah, the premise is kind of troubling. The 80s was pretty messed up when it came to rom com storylines.) Defining moment: Joanna bollocking the butler for packing sub-standard caviar, before having to carefully manoeuvre her giant 80s shoulderpad out of the door in order to flounce out.
Chasing Amy, 1997 Who:Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee What: Written and directed by Kevin Smith, this is the hipsters’ rom-com of choice. Comic book artists Holden (Affleck) and Banky (Lee) meet Alyssa (Adams) at a comic convention. Holden falls for her – and even though she says she is a lesbian she gradually falls for him too. Defining moment: Holden and Alyssa’s breakup scene. Alyssa gives a masterclass in how to react when your apparently loving boyfriend tries to slut shame you over your sexual past.
Some Like It Hot, 1959 Who: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon What: When Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) see a mob murder, they do DIY witness protection by disguising themselves as women and joining a female band. Joe immediately falls in love with his new BFF, Sugar (Monroe), but can’t find the right moment to confess that ‘she’ is actually a ‘he’. Defining moment: Jerry – disguised as Daphne – attracts an eccentric millionaire suitor, whose final line of the film is also the best.
Enough Said, 2013 Who: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini What: Divorcee and single mother Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) starts a relationship with Albert (Gandolfini) but soon discovers that he’s her new friend Marianne’s ex-husband. She has to keep him a secret from her, and her friendship with Marianne a secret from him. Defining moment: The final scene. Which is all the more poignant because the film was released shortly after James Gandolfini’s unexpected death.
Mannequin, 1987 Who: Andrew McCarthy, Kim Cattrall, What: Artist Jonathan (McCarthy) is fired from his mannequin assembly job for spending ages constructing one work of art rather than reaching maximum production line efficiency. He spots his creation in a department store window, and gets a job there so he can be near his work. Then she starts coming to life – in the form of Kim Cattrall – but only when she’s alone with him. Defining moment: Window dresser Hollywood’s amazing array of 80s-tastic outfits.
They Came Together, 2014 Who:Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd What: A spot on and affectionate spoof of every rom-com you’ve ever seen and loved. Adorkable Molly (Poehler) owns a failing sweet shop that is going to be consumed by an evil corporate empire. The corporation send Joel (Rudd) to do their dirty work. Cue hate at first sight, before eventual love. Defining moment: New York City repeatedly being described as a ‘character in itself’ – the ultimate rom-com cliché.
The Philadelphia Story, 1940 Who: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn What: The night before her wedding, socialite Tracy’s (Hepburn) ex-husband (Grant) turns up, bringing with him a tabloid reporter who wants the scoop on her nuptials. As the ceremony approaches, Tracy is torn between her playboy ex, her tycoon fiancé, and the charismatic reporter. Defining moment: Tracy’s one liners. “You’re too good for me, George. You’re a hundred times too good. And I’d make you most unhappy, most. That is, I’d do my best to.”
What’s Up, Doc? 1972 Who: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal What: Four hotel guests have their identical overnight bags mixed up when they check in, and in the ensuing kerfuffle they become embroiled in jewel theft, hotel room destruction and other mistaken identity hi-jinx. Defining moment: Havoc-wreaking Judy (Streisand) appearing in nerdy Howard’s (O’Neal) bathtub, and her threatening to get out, causing him to trip over his own trousers.
Hitch, 2005 Who:Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James What: Relationship coach Hitch (Smith) is an expert at helping nice-but-shy men like Albert (James) gain the confidence to ask women out. But when Hitch meets gossip columnist Sara (Mendes), he can’t get his act together. Nor can he tell her that he’s a professional ‘date doctor’. Defining moment: Another dance scene. Hitch tries to teach Albert how to dance, but Albert’s idea of cool moves is on a par with Ross and Monica’s dance routine in Friends.
Groundhog Day, 1993 Who: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell What: Surly weatherman Phil (Murray) and his producer (MacDowell) are sent to Punxsutawney, where a groundhog emerging from its hole is said to predict the end of winter. After reluctantly covering the event, Phil goes to bed and finds himself repeating the day over and over again. Defining moment: Phil’s daily – and increasingly intimate – interactions with his former schoolmate Ned Ryerson.
How To Marry A Millionaire, 1953 Who: Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall What: Schatze (Bacall), Pola (Monroe) and Loca (Grable) want to marry rich men, so they set themselves up in a New York penthouse in order to attract the right kind of guy. But the scammers start getting scammed, and worse, falling for men without means. Defining moments: The Dorothy Parker-worthy quips about husband hunting: “Most women use more brains picking a horse in the third at Belmont than they do picking a husband.”
Not enough? No worries, we’ve compiled the 10 best alternative love films.
Love, Rosie, 2014 Who: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin What: Rosie and Alex are best friends who plan to move to America together for University. However, things get messy when Rosie falls pregnant and Alex, unknowingly, makes the big move on his own. They try to maintain their friendship (and secret love for one another) despite leading polar opposite lives, causing plenty of ups and downs.
Defining Moment: When Rosie finally gets to visit Alex in Boston and they have the best 24 hours together… before he ruins everything.