Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while grand gestures and lavish gifts can be wonderful, sometimes it’s the simple things that create the most meaningful memories.
One timeless and budget-friendly way to celebrate the day of love is by enjoying a cozy dinner and a romantic movie with your special someone. Whether you’re in the early stages of a relationship or celebrating years of togetherness, a well-chosen movie can enhance the romantic atmosphere and create lasting memories.
1. The Notebook (2004)
Adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ novel, “The Notebook” has become synonymous with romance in the film world. Set against the backdrop of a passionate romance between Noah and Allie, this movie beautifully captures the essence of enduring love and the power of one’s own memories. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams helps make this a timeless choice for a heartwarming date night.
2. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Rob Reiner’s classic romantic comedy explores the age-old question of whether men and women can truly be friends without romantic entanglements. Starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan as the titular characters, the film follows Harry and Sally through years of chance encounters and their evolving relationship. With its iconic scenes and memorable dialogue, this movie is a “must-watch” for a date night filled with laughter, heart and a touch of nostalgia.
3. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Based on the best-selling novel, this captivating story adds a touch of fantasy and science fiction to the romance. The film navigates the complexities of love when one partner is gifted with (or cursed by) an uncontrollable ability to time travel. Henry’s sporadic journeys through time create both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments as his wife, Clare, remains forever anchored in the present. The film explores the inevitability of destiny and the enduring power of the connections between two hearts.
4. Rear Window (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece offers a unique blend of suspense and romance. Starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, the film follows a wheelchair-bound photographer who becomes convinced he has witnessed a murder in a neighboring apartment. Amidst the suspenseful plot, a blossoming romance unfolds between the two leads. The voyeuristic nature of the story adds a thrilling element to the romantic narrative, making this one an excellent choice for a date night that involves cuddling up on a couch together.
5. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Jane Austen’s timeless classic gets a cinematic adaptation that continues to enchant audiences. Starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, this film captures the tension, wit, and undeniable attraction between the two protagonists. The lush landscapes and period costumes add to the film’s romantic allure, making it a perfect choice for a classic and sophisticated date night.
6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
This is a vampire love story that offers a uniquely atmospheric and stylish take on romance. Starring Tom Hiddleston as Adam and Tilda Swinton as Eve, the film explores the enduring love between two centuries-old vampires. With its evocative storytelling, compelling performances and a score that won an award at the Cannes Film Festival, this film is a captivating experience for a date night that ventures beyond the ordinary.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This movie has earned its place in cinematic history as a unique and mind-bending romantic drama. Jim Carrey portrays Joel, and Kate Winslet plays his former partner, Clementine. They are a couple who feel inexplicably drawn together – not realizing that they were once lovers who had a procedure to erase their memories of each other after a painful breakup in the past. The film’s non-linear narrative, coupled with the stars’ stellar performances, explores the complexity of love, heartbreak and the indelible nature of true connections that can’t be broken – even when you try.
8. The Birdcage (1996)
On a less serious note, this movie is a delightful romantic comedy that will leave you feeling happy for everybody in the end. Starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a flamboyant couple, Armand and Albert, the film revolves around their attempt to create a strait-laced facade when their son brings his fiancée’s very conservative parents home. The clash of cultures, combined with mistaken identities and a parade of hilarious scenarios, makes this film a heartwarming exploration of love, acceptance and the lengths people go for the ones they love.
9. The Princess Bride (1987)
For a perfect blend of romance, fantasy and adventure, “The Princess Bride” is a timeless classic that has earned “cult” status among its many fans. Directed by Rob Reiner, this fairy tale follows the quest to rescue Princess Buttercup and the true love that unfolds between her and farm-boy-turned-pirate, Westley. Filled with humor, memorable quotes and swashbuckling moments, this film is an excellent choice for a date night filled with laughter and nostalgia.
10. The Mummy (1999)
While this is probably not typical “romance movie fare,” the love story that is woven between an adventure that involves ancient curses, rival archeological teams and a deadly mummy is so worth watching that it has become a fan favorite from the 90s. Starring Brendan Fraser as the rugged adventurer Rick O’Connell and Rachel Weisz as the spirited librarian Evie Carnahan, this action-packed tale unfolds against the backdrop of 1920s Egypt. The film’s romantic undertones emerge as Rick and Evie embark on a quest (with a motley crew in tow) to thwart a resurrected villain.
11. Chocolat (2000)
This is (dare we say it?) a “deliciously enchanting” film that combines romance, magic and the love of fine chocolate. Juliette Binoche stars as Vianne, a mysterious woman who opens a chocolate shop in a conservative French village. As Vianne’s delectable creations begin to work their magic on the townsfolk, she finds herself entangled in a sweet romance with Roux, played to perfection by Johnny Depp. “Chocolat” is a celebration of indulgence, freedom and the transformative power of love, making it an ideal choice for a date night filled with warmth and sweetness.
When you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to celebrate the holiday, a good movie and a pizza can make for low-stress, no-fuss planning – and your special someone is bound to appreciate the time you spend together.