Comforting Films, Vol. 2 : Valentine's Day Edition
SO, it’s Valentine’s Day, or some other widely celebrated occasion with a potentially growing twinge of inadequacy should you find yourself alone. (Is it just me or does everybody get engaged on Christmas??) I love love as much as the next person and while I’m happy for you all, nobody ever warned me that I’d one day need so much peppermint schnapps to get through my Instagram feed on December 26th. But hey, it makes a fantastic addition to my mocha latte so why am I really complaining?
On these days, or really any day I feel just a little bit too lonely or tired or sad no one’s currently out buying a Christmas tree just so they can hide a ring somewhere in a patty melt for me*, I like to think about the love happening everywhere else. The world is a dumpster fire but there’s something quite comforting in the fact that that never stops people from finding each other and falling in love. Thus, as is my happiness in life to see love bloom, my favorite comforting genre is the romantic comedy, where it’s nothing if not guaranteed to happen.
Whether in my cozy, giant bed or in front of my enormous television (seriously, I’m a catch PEOPLE), surrounded by warm candles and soft faux furs, there’s nothing so comforting for me like popping a favorite bottle of champagne on a casual Thursday night, or fine, Valentine’s Day if you must, and enjoying any of the list below. Olivia’s already beat me to a couple in her edition, namely Set it Up, a.k.a. the best argument for $5 pizza ever made, and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, which we all know belongs on every list forever. I don’t make the rules. Happy Valentine’s Day! Or, you know, Thursday, if you must.
Penelope — Probably my favorite ever. Set in an alternate London where everyone strangely has American accents, this modern day fairy tale follows Christina Ricci as the heiress to socialites Catherine O’Hara and Richard E. Grant. Unfortunately her own social life is stagnant, to say the least, thanks to a witch her family pissed off generations ago. Searching for true love she finds it in herself, the best moral of all. Finding a guy at the end is just the silver lining. Bonus points for a wonderfully fairy book aesthetic involving eccentric wardrobes, leafy shots of London in autumn, and newspaper offices straight out of the 1940s.
Love, Rosie — This one premiered on Netflix just last night, and of course I’ve already seen it. If watching two people perfect for each other struggle to figure that out over years of friendship is your thing, this fun, deep tale is the one. I don’t know if I cried over allergies or literally the whole thing, so I’ll leave that up to you.
Sleeping With Other People — Two friends perfect for each other and too dumb to see it part two, although these characters are older and so it’s slightly less angst, more two people actually developing a mature friendship and realizing they love each other at the end. Also has a killer soundtrack, including the greatest cover of an Elvis song ever.
Our Lovers — My favorite Spanish rom-com, set partially in a real life coffee/bar/bookshop. Why don't we have more of these in the world?! If you don’t speak Spanish the subtitles are worth it, if only to watch two really good looking people walk around in gorgeous scenery talking books and falling in love. My biggest gripe with this film is that I don’t live in that Spanish town so I can go around doing the same.
When We First Met — Another Netflix vehicle that came out last year, this follows the struggles of a young man perpetually in love with a girl who’s about to marry someone else. Not the happy ending you’d expect (in fact, I much prefer it to the one I initially expected), I enjoy this comedy for the lesson it provides; sometimes you just aren’t meant for the person you think is the love of your life and that’s okay too.
Blind Date — Similar to Our Lovers, the almost entirety of this courtship occurs as our two main leads remain complete strangers (OL keeps them so in hiding their identities and promising not to google each other, BD in figuratively keeping them blind, as they meet and communicate entirely through the paper thin wall joining their two flats having never met face to face). As expected, miscommunications in this arrangement lead to conflict, but the two make each other better in the end, and there’s nothing more rewarding than a love that makes you own up to your shit and fix it.
Not Another Happy Ending — The aesthetic!! Somebody take me to Scotland and wrap me up in tweed suits and a Wes Anderson approved wardrobe for all and give us an Indie publishing house and successful female writers under thirty and Stanley Weber being teased for being too French. Karen Gillan’s ridiculously oversized and natural light-filled flat on an unpublished writer’s salary with bonus cottage in the country to run away to is exactly the love of my life.
Heartbreaker — Romain Duris is like the Matthew McConaughey of French cinema, at least according to me, a veritably qualified film critic. Heartbreaker is the story of a commitment-phobic flirt whose career consists of breaking up relationships in the hopes of showing women they’re better off. Naturally he falls for a mark and we all know where it goes from there. Another great soundtrack (ignoring the cringe-y Dirty Dancing references) and setting, I’d watch it purely for the sweeping views of Monaco in the summer to get me out of these grey winter blues.
Sabrina — I’d be remiss not to include at least one Audrey Hepburn film, and Sabrina perhaps engulfs the best of the rom-com genre for me. New York setting? Check. Running away to Paris to get over a guy? Check. Building a career so pleasingly aesthetic it somehow affords you Givenchy Haute Couture? Check. Falling in love with a dashing not-evil tycoon and still somehow remaining friends with the other guy? Sure, why not.
Before Sunset — The entire Before trilogy is a masterwork in realistic love stories, and Before Sunset (the second in the series) is not only my favorite of the three but one of my favorite films in general. Celeste and Jesse have grown out of the precocious flirtation they had in Vienna nine years prior, but they still hold that immediate, comfortable connection that had me believing from the second she walked into Shakespeare and Co. that he was never going to get on that plane. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve rewatched this one and just go see for yourself.
*If you get this reference I am actually in love with you and you need to make it happen. If you don't, we can’t be friends again until you watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Raquel Reyes is Creative Director at The Attic on Eighth. She enjoys styling photo shoots, dramatic hair accessories, and old fashioned cocktails.