I have always been a hopeless romantic, watching the cheesiest of movies. However, over the years I have realised that most romantic movies normalise and even justify stalking, body shaming, and misogyny in the name of love. In many of them, the female lead has to transform herself physically to prove her worth. Then there are other movies, that have gaping loopholes, for example, the airport/train station chase scenes. How do the characters get past security? Or how do they encounter over-friendly security personnel who let them break the rules as if uniting lovers is a part of their job description? Thankfully, there are still many movies that tug at one's heartstrings while portraying healthy relationships. These are my favourite romantic movies that would make for a perfect watch on Valentine's Day:
"After all, I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her" – if this quote does not melt your heart, I don't know what will! Notting Hill is the love story of Anna (Julia Roberts), an American actor, and William (Hugh Grant), a bookstore owner in Notting Hill, London. What actually works for the movie is its self-deprecating humour. Both characters possess the ability to recognise failure and just take it in their stride. The most endearing scene is the dinner scene in which William, Anna, and his friends are fighting for a brownie for being the biggest underachiever. The songs, "When you say nothing at all" by Ronan Keating and "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone" by Bill Withers take the romance to another level. Moreover, almost everyone secretly likes a love story of a famous person and a commoner.
The movie, starring Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan in the lead roles, is a love story about two struggling people who want to make it big in life. This is a simple and charming narrative in which both Rahul and Seema get embroiled in a web of lies. They have to act as a married couple to convince his boss, Siddharth's (Aditya Pancholi) wife, and even Shah Rukh's mother (Reema Lagoo). The movie has a very practical story. The characters aren't one-dimensional. They have multiple layers. They are not sweet or meek as we see in many romantic films. Rahul is willing to bend his ethics to make his boss happy. Seema too initially is okay with being with a rich person as only he will be able to provide her a comfortable life. Juhi and Shah Rukh share an amazing on-screen chemistry. Both are ambitious and headstrong. Romance does not mean leaving careers and ambition behind. When I watched the movie, I was not rooting for them to have a long and happy married life, but also hoped that Seema and Rahul would eventually live in Galaxy Towers and Rahul would get his own office.
Imagine, making a person fall in love with you each and every day! The theme of the movie itself is so overwhelming. Lucy (Drew Barrymore) suffers from short-term memory loss as a result of a car accident a year ago and only remembers her life up to the night before the mishap. She has been living the same day (her father's birthday) since then. Henry (Adam Sandler) falls in love with her and finds out about her condition. He makes an extra effort to remind her about their love every day. One of my favourite dialogues is, "You erased me from your memories because you thought you were holding me back from having a full and happy life. But you made a mistake. Being with you is the only way I could have a full and happy life. You're the girl of my dreams… and apparently, I'm the man of yours." This scene itself is an unforgettable moment but her only wish only was that she had met him one day before the accident.
The movie is funny, inspirational, and romantic. The story follows Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a sorority queen and fashion major with an obsession for pink who is dumped by her boyfriend Warner (Matthew W. Davis) for being blonde. He says, "If I'm gonna be a senator, well I need to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn." She thinks that the only way to get him back is to get into Harvard Law School. She gets into Harvard, but Warner's toxicity does not end. He tells her that she isn't smart enough and advises her to do something valuable with her time. In school, she meets Emmett (Luke Wilson) who encourages her to work hard and use the power of being herself and put it towards the greater good. He trusts her and supervises her during the murder trial against the wishes of his boss (Callahan). The movie starts with a toxic romantic relationship but it ends with a sweet, heartwarming, and loving relationship between Emmett and Elle.
Vicky Donor touched on two serious subjects in one movie: sperm donation and the remarriage of a divorced woman. Ashima (Yami Gautam) and Vicky (Ayushmann Khurrana) fall in love. When they decide to get married, she tells him that she is a divorcee. He just calmly replies, "Jab se tumhe mila hoon, aadat si pad gayi hai." Even his grandmother approves of the match without any hesitation. "Nooksaan odha hoya, Vicky da fayeda" (His loss is Vicky's gain). The most romantic thing in the movie is the time and the space Vicky gives Ashima when she discovers that she cannot get pregnant. He truly loves her and never ceases to make her smile even during their difficult moments. Vicky's character growth was phenomenal. I never thought that a happy-go-lucky person like him would show so much depth.