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The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Ranking Valentine’s Day films

“Titanic” tops the list as one of the best movies to watch on Valentine’s Day. Filled with romance and heartbreak alike, the acclaimed film offers something for all viewers.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day of rich milk chocolate, a day of candles, the day of champagne & wine, bittersweet dinners, but most importantly, the day of love and companionship. When it comes to 14th of February, it’s a day to show appreciation to your significant other, but for a lot of people, it’s unfortunately a day that can make some folks feel left out due to being single or even heartbroken from a previous relationship, for that matter. But the one thing that includes everyone on this very divided day is the impact of watching cinema. Whether you’re down for a cozy night with dim lighting, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, and cuddling up with your significant other or not wanting to be reminded of what today is all about, Here are some Top 10 Films that everyone can enjoy on Valentines Day.


#10. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005): 

No relationship is perfect. There’s bound to be fight’s and arguments every now and then, and sometimes the best thing to do is sit down and talk it out. And then you got Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as the title characters in this film. It tells the story of a bored upper-middle class married couple who are surprised to learn that they are both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other and you can pretty much guess what happens next after. It blends together both elements of spy action and romance films in a way that comes off both exciting and has a lot of romantic tension between our main characters that ends up being quite hilarious as well. If you’re craving something action-packed but want something that invests deeply into the qualms of love, this 2005 film will definitely deliver on that and is perfect for both partners to view on Valentines Day.

#9. Shaun of The Dead:

Edgar Wright’s take on the zombie apocalypse is beloved by many cinema goers and horror fanatics, but quite a lot of people forget that it happens to be a rom-com that just so happens to involve the undead. British actor & comedian Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, a mild-mannered but dull sales manager based in London who faces the challenges of a breakup and his own personal life choices with his roommate, portrayed by the hilarious Nick Frost, during the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. Not only the first film, a part of the unofficial and how to properly satisfy the emotional needs and keeping a relationship exciting with  your fellow companion. Shaun and Liz’s relationship may not be as iconic compared to the rest of the relationships on this list, but it’s down to earth and an easy one to sit through that has a lot of good laughs and great zombie action & horror. This would also begin to truly set up the future of director Edgar Wright, later on down the line.

#8. Deadpool: 

A literal line stated in this is “Some of the best love stories start with a murder. And that’s exactly what this is: a love story”. If you’re looking for something hilarious, filled with superhero action, and is surprisingly romantic as well, no better place to look than to watch this film starring Ryan Reynolds as one of Marvel’s most iconic anti-heroes, The Merc With The Mouth, as he battles his way through thugs and other supervillains to rescue his lovely dame, Vanessa (portrayed by Morena Baccarin), from the man who was also responsible for disfiguring him as well. Not only did Marvel start to embrace some of its darker and more mature side, but it came out really well as a rom-com disguised as a superhero film that both companions can enjoy watching. It would also open up the way for more mature and R-rated superhero properties as well. Itching for some superhero fun but want to find something that both partners can enjoy? What better way to enjoy that than to watch this chaotic love story from Marvel.

#7. The Shape of Water: 

This is for sure not your average love story, and definitely one of the most unique on this list, but we cannot deny that visionary director Guillmero Del Toro, has a knack for both storytelling and building creature mythology and lore amongst his filmography. It tells the story of Elisa, a lonely and mute janitor who forms a unique connection to an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity at a top secret research facility in 1960s Baltimore. It not only won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but is enriched with deep themes, a conveying message on humanity, and has characters that are layered extensively. The best way to describe Del Toro’s films are essentially fairy tales that are made purely for adults and this film heavily follows that formula with the journey Elisa goes on. It also does a very good job at capturing the time period this film is set in and has a surprisingly sweet romance that is littered with interesting theories by the time you reach the end of it.

#6. Your Name:

Hopefully after hearing about this film, it will invest you into the genre of Anime. Regarded as one of the greatest anime films of all time, Makoto Shinkai delivers both an original and outstanding story between two teenagers who share a profound, magical connection upon discovering they are swapping bodies and things manage to become even more complicated when the boy and girl decide to meet in person. Whether or not you watch it in English or Japanese dub, most can agree that it’s filled with some of the most breathtaking visuals in animation and even has a gorgeous soundtrack that adds to the plot. The characters are bittersweet and it delves greatly into Japanese culture as well in some segments. Some scenes can be a little confusing to follow given the nature of the story, but by the end of it, you will for sure be moved to tears of joy with how beautifully crafted this is. Delivering both originality and shying away from cliches & familiar tropes, this anime is not only a great way to get into the genre, but is a great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

#5. Crazy, Stupid, Love: 

This film is not just hilariously bonkers because of what occurs throughout, but is surprisingly fantastic amongst its narrative. Steve Carrell stars as a middle-aged husband whose life changes dramatically when his wife (Portrayed by Julianne Moore) has an affair and calls for a divorce, resulting in him rediscovering his manhood with the help of a newfound friend & womanizer, Jacob, who is portrayed by versatile actor, Ryan Gosling, and learns how to pick up women at bars. It’s packed with a stacked cast from Kevin Bacon to Marisa Tomei, Emma Stone, and even John Caroll Lynch who deliver great comedy throughout and has an amazing amount of dialogue relating to shockingly deep themes of masculinity, communication, and evidently enough, what love means to a person. It even contains a surprisingly amazing ugly duckling transformation that you would never expect from Carrell’s career. When it comes to the genre of rom-coms, this is quite the perfect definition of it and is a film that many can enjoy, both with & without a companion in your life. And by the end of it, you will either be smiling or laughing really hard. 

#4. Casablanca: 

It’s almost impossible to mention the genre of romance films without mentioning this classic piece of the Golden Age of Cinema. Hollywood legend, Humphery Bogart, stars as Rick Blaine, an American expatriate nightclub owner who struggles to decide whether or not to assist his former lover and her fugitive husband, Ilsa Lund, who is portrayed by other Hollywood Legend, Ingrid Bergman, as they try to outrun and escape the Nazis in French Morocco. It’s a memorable tale about loyalty, trust, and sacrifice that blend extremely well together during its WWII period. It’s easy to grasp onto the characters and understand where they come from despite the circumstances that arise for them. It has a brilliantly written script that wasn’t afraid to tackle issues relating to the conflicts occuring with history at the time, without it being romanticized or glorified. A lot of the dialogue is smart and by the end of it, you’ll fall in love with what this film has to offer and appreciate this classic directed by legendary film director & pioneer, Micheal Curtiz. 

#3. (500) Days of Summer:

This one right here is perfect for the guys since it’s not just a love story, but a story about love. Regarded as one of the most realistic romance depictions within film, it follows Joseph Gordon Levitt as Tom Hansen, a hopeless romantic who after being dumped by the girl he believes to be his soulmate, Summer, portrayed by the marvelous, Zooey Deschanel, begins to reflect on their relationship to try and figure out where things went wrong and how he can win her back. Not a whole lot of romance films dive into the guy’s perspective in such a smart way that brings up deep but necessary conversations and actions with them regarding expectations and reality. A lot of discussions and arguments have been brought up with this film directed by Marc Webb (who is also known for The Amazing Spider-Man Duology), and it’s rightfully understandable due to how mature and realistic the writing is and how clever the dialogue is throughout. Although it shows how compassionate and sweet relationships can be, it examines the devastation that comes alongside it if not handled properly.

#2. The Notebook:

This one right here is purely for the ladies and when discussing the films on this list, this fan-favorite film was bound to show up when talking about love, romance films, valentines day, or even all the above. Ryan Gosling (who appears once again on this list) & Rachel McAdams star together as Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton, two young lovers that are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s bestselling novel. As cliche as it may sound and even appear throughout, its overall theme is that love overcomes many aspects and differences that make something or someone. It’s notable for pulling on the heartstrings and putting you in the feels, which is why this film fits February 14th so well and will be most emotional by the end of it. Whether you’ve seen it once or seen it a thousand times, The Notebook is a classic and beloved piece of cinema amongst the genre of romance. 

#1. Titanic: 

It would be a crime if James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster hit didn’t make the top of this list. Not only is it perfect for Valentine’s Day and one of the greatest, and for some, the greatest romance film of all time, but it’s truly a magnificent work of art for what it accomplishes, both visually & storytelling-wise even if you’re a fan of love stories or not. Blending together the genre of historical-period, romance, and disaster within this epic odyssey, it follows the tale of Rose Dewitt Bukater, a seventeen-year-old aristocrat (portrayed by Oscar-Winning Actress, Kate Winslet) who falls in love with the poor, but compassionate and optimistic artist, Jack Dawson (portrayed by Oscar Winning Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio), aboard the luxurious but unfortunately ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. Without spoiling it for those who have not witnessed this masterpiece yet, it shows great chemistry and an unforgettable romance between DiCaprio and Winslet on screen together due to the phenomenal direction Cameron took this film in. It’s also extremely gorgeous with its production set designs, and even costume designs as well. It’s another great tale that commentates on class differences really well, and also features not only a phenomenal cast of performances, but some of the most beautiful pieces of cinematography in film history and has one of the most iconic and greatest scores composed as well by the late but extremely talented, James Horner. Filled with amazing attention to detail and astounding ambition to its narrative, Titanic not only serves as one of the greatest love stories of all time, but as one of the greatest films of all time and is the ultimate choice to choose for this Valentine’s Day.

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