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Fourteen of the greatest rom-coms for Valentine’s Day

By Ansharah Shakil, February 12 2024—

The romantic-comedy is a genre that always holds a certain nostalgic appeal. Some of the best rom-coms, laid out below, capture the energy behind Valentine’s Day and what a romantic comedy should achieve. 

1. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

The cultural impact and longevity of When Harry Met Sally… ensures it remains the perfect rom-com. Its enchanting, timeless romance and lead performances of Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, alongside clips of elderly couples telling their love stories, illustrate the film’s portrayal of genuine human connection and love rooted in friendship. 

2. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Despite the dynamic duo of Meg Ryans and Tom Hanks having only two scenes together, Sleepless in Seattle is a classic rom-com, with its pivotal moment being a meeting on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, à la An Affair to Remember.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This is another movie set on Valentine’s Day, and it allows you to escape your own head completely, with its evocative score and brilliant depiction of love, loss and memory. 

4. D.E.B.S (2004)

D.E.B.S is a lesbian cult classic for a reason. Sweetly romantic and genuinely hilarious, it confidently straddles the line between homage and satire of romance and spy tropes.

5. 13 Going On 30 (2004)

13 Going On 30 remains a heartfelt, funny, wistful and touching film. Garner lights up the screen, and she and Ruffalo are magic together. 

6. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Sharply clever with an immensely talented main cast, this film never gets old. It contains two of the greatest teen romances — not to mention Heath Ledger’s Franki Valli serenade on the gym bleachers. 

7. Saving Face (2004)

The mother-daughter pair of Saving Face — their complex relationships with each other and their Chinese-American identities — elevate this already excellent rom-com further.

8. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) 

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s chemistry is undeniable, and the gazebo scene is the epitome of romance. 

9. Chungking Express (1994)

Combining a multitude of genres and stunning cinematography, this is a movie about love and loneliness depicting a whimsical romance that will tug at your heartstrings, especially during Faye Wong’s “Dreams” montage. 

10. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

This is exactly what a rom-com should be: incredibly entertaining and full of antics by leads with sheer star talent.

11. Clueless (1995)

Endlessly quotable and pure of heart, Clueless is deeply impactful on teen cinema, and Cher Horowitz is a match-making icon for the ages. 

12. Amélie (2001)

This unconventional rom-com portrays the life of shy and quirky waitress Amélie, patron saint of introverts, in a feel-good, fanciful fairytale with delightful production design including plenty of Valentine red. 

13. Pretty Woman (1990)

Much of this movie hasn’t aged that well, but it contains all-time movie moments, including the exquisite ending, and Julia Roberts’s distinctive magnetism is as appealing as ever. 

14. Crazy Rich Asians (2018) 

Though not without its faults, this is one of the best rom-coms of the 2010s. Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan and Michelle Yeoh are spectacular standouts in this nuanced, moving film.

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