Love comes in all shapes, sizes, types and forms, all of which are worthy of celebration this and every Valentine’s Day. Luckily, there’s a plethora of options from the film world to share with whomever you have a special bond with, be it your significant other, friends, or family members. From charming comedies to heartbreaking dramas, check out some options to curl up with and toast to the thing that makes the world go ’round.
TO WATCH WITH FRIENDS
Yes, weddings are a beautiful union of two souls. They’re also a stress test for every relationship in your life. The wedding at the center of Bridesmaids puts the friendship of leads Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph in the pressure cooker, as it opens up their relationship to new people, including breakout scene stealer Melissa McCarthy. It’s a hilarious, raunchy and occasionally stomach-turning comedy that proves even when your friends’ lives change or move forward, the real ones never leave you behind.
Much like Bridesmaids, Booksmart features a friendship tested by a major life change. This time, high schoolers Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever embark on an all-night adventure to make up for a lack of high school partying before graduation. Though the girls have been BFFs for years, they find there’s still more to learn about each other and despite some ups and downs, by the time diplomas are handed out, they’re closer than ever in this hilarious and sweet comedy.
How to Be Single
Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann and Alison Brie all search for love in New York City, with varying strategies and results. At first glance, the movie seems to push forward the importance of finding a significant other, but takes a clever turn near the end leading some of the characters to find that love comes in many forms. With an excellent, sometimes wry sense of humor, the movie has relatable moments for everyone, no matter where they are in their quest for love—or just a good time.
I Love You, Man
Male friendship is often treated as a joke, and this movie leans into that stereotype to actually show why it’s important. When Paul Rudd’s character gets engaged, he realizes he has no male friends and struggles to find some until he meets Jason Segel’s quirky investor. Their friendship gets intense quickly, threatening the engagement, but all parties come together in the end, with a renewed appreciation for healthy male bonding.
Say it with us now, “Vegas, baby! VEGAS!” But Swingers is so much more than the oft-quoted road trip, which is intended to get heartbroken Mike (Jon Favreau, who also wrote the script) to move on from his ex, but ultimately fails. Mike’s friends have his back though as he falters in making new connections (like the painful yet funny voicemail meltdown), and with their support, he finally figures out how to move forward in his love life.
The lasting impact of friendship takes center stage in this coming-of-age comedy starring Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones and Taye Diggs. When Diggs' character goes missing ahead of his wedding, it's up to Epps and Jones to find him and get him to the altar. Along the way, the group recounts shared memories from their childhood in Inglewood, California, reminiscing on their awkward teenage years and the lessons that have taken them through life.
TO WATCH WITH SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
Great love can often be stifled by time and circumstance, as is the case for the women in Carol. Cate Blanchett is the titular Carol, who strikes up a quiet relationship with Rooney Mara’s reserved Therese. Their romance is constrained not only by the time period they live in (the 1950s), but their own class, age and personality differences.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
When Joel (Jim Carrey, in one of his best dramatic roles) decides to have his memories of his ex Clementine (Kate Winslet) erased after she’s already done so, he finds that love and memory aren’t as simple as black and white. To some, this sci-fi-tinged romance is a testament to the power of love. To others, it’s a bummer reminder of how hard it is to find that love. Ultimately, the story lands somewhere in the middle, working as a reminder that all relationships come with good and bad, and it’s impossible to have one without the other.
Love and Basketball
All's fair in Love and Basketball. This beloved classic stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as Monica and Quincy, respectively, two aspiring basketball players who share a passion for the game of basketball on the court, and eventually a love for each other. From childhood to adulthood, the film follows the pair through life's ups and downs -- and how they come together when their shared dreams threaten to tear them apart.
The sweeping story of Allie and Noah (Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling), soulmates from different sides of the tracks who find each other through all sorts of struggles is an all-time favorite for lovers. It would be quicker to name a scene in this tearjerker that isn’t a classic. The movie tugs at your heartstrings, sometimes painfully, but as with all great loves, the heartbreak and pain are worth it for the time, however long or short, you have with your one true person.
Silver Linings Playbook
A rom com with a healthy dash of drama, Silver Linings Playbook digs into the complicated nature of romance when faced with life’s very real difficulties. Bradley Cooper’s Pat and Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany both experience mental health struggles that they work through together as their romantic relationship unexpectedly builds. It culminates in one of the more charming dance scenes in history, a goofy, messy, slightly offbeat performance that works for them in their own special way–just like their romance.
TO WATCH WITH FAMILY
About a Boy
A sweet yet cheeky ode to found family, About a Boy truly proves that no man is an island. Hugh Grant plays a womanizing loner who ends up involved in the life of young Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), becoming a father figure and a better person in the process. As he embraces his new life, surrounded by people, he finds that human connection leads to all forms of love: familial, parental, friendly and ultimately romantic.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
When you marry someone, you’re marrying their whole family, and no movie shows that better than My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Based on star and writer Nia Vardalos’ own experience introducing her husband into her big, Greek family, this comedy became an instant hit with its relatable story of love working through culture clash. Every family has traditions, quirks or habits that may seem strange to an outsider, but once you find love in that family, you become a part of them too.
Crazy Rich Asians
The over-the-top lifestyles of Singapore's elite come as a bit of a shock to New Yorker Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) in Crazy Rich Asians when she accompanies her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) to Singapore for the wedding of Nick’s best friend. Thrust into the spotlight on her trip, Rachel must contend with a whole host of challenges -- including meeting Nick's disapproving mother (Michelle Yeoh). Rounding out the cast of this charming rom-com are Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina and Ken Jeong.
This tender coming-of-age story pulls double duty as a tale of learning to love your authentic self and finding love, both romantic and platonic, once you do. Simon (Nick Robinson) is gay, but hasn’t told his family and friends until a blackmailer threatens to do it for him. After he’s cruelly outed, Simon eventually finds freedom in loving who he is and sees that his friends and family love and support him too, allowing him to take a chance on romantic love.
Featuring an all-star cast (Jimmy Smits, Edward James Olmos, Esai Morales, Constance Marie and Jennifer Lopez), Mi Familia is the epic story of three generations of the Sanchez family’s triumphs and tragedies. Love and loss abound as the family moves from first-generation immigrants to second- and third-generation families that struggle to find their place among familial expectations and the world they grew up in. Despite their hardships, love brings the family back together over the years, and guides their path forward in an ever-changing landscape.