The Collegian
Sunday, June 04, 2023

Film Fridays | 10 movies to watch on Valentine's Day for singles, couples and everything in between

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Happy Valentine’s Day to those celebrating and Happy Friday to the rest! Whether you are ready to celebrate tonight with your partner or your friends, or you are just enjoying your independence, watching a movie is always a fun way to spend your night. 

I’ve made a list of 10 movies that celebrate love and life in honest, wholesome, funny ways. Whether you’re a cynic or a romantic, a realist or an idealist, I hope you find a movie to keep you company tonight and any other night.

Eat Pray Love (2010) is based on Liz Gilbert’s memoir and traces Gilbert’s (Julia Roberts) quest for self-discovery after realizing that her marriage and career no longer fulfill her. She takes a risk and embarks on a year-long journey to Italy, India and Indonesia in search of what she really wants in life. This is an empowering movie about the courage it takes for someone to admit that they are in an unhappy phase in their life and to seek new opportunities for change, growth and purpose.

La La Land (2016) is dedicated to “the fools who dream” and follows the story of two such “fools,” aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and dedicated jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), as they chase after their dreams in modern-day Los Angeles. With a beautiful soundtrack and a truthful love story, “La La Land” will not deceive you with a happy ending, yet it still won’t let you lose hope in life, love and your dreams.  

Call Me By Your Name (2017) takes us to the summer of 1983 somewhere in northern Italy, where a beautiful romance blossoms between Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a sophisticated 17-year-old young man, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old doctoral student and summer intern of Elio's father, a professor of Greco-Roman culture. To any broken hearts out there, “Call Me By Your Name” will remind you “[not to] kill [the sorrow and pain] and with it the joy you've felt” because “to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything... what a waste!”

The Big Sick (2017) is based on the true life and love story of Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani and American grad student Emily Gardner (Zoe Kazan) as Kumail figures out his true feelings and career while struggling with Emily’s mysterious illness and their families’ culture clash. “The Big Sick” will give you a good laugh and some optimism while remaining realistic about the struggles of human relationships when affected by matters of identity and culture. 

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018) follows the story of high schooler Lara Jean (Lana Condor) who writes letters to every boy she's ever loved. One day, her love letters are sent out to her former crushes and Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. It is a heartwarming and sweet Netflix rom-com that steps into the shoes of classic teen rom-coms but finally paves its own way. “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” the sequel of this movie, is out now on Netflix.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) takes us to early 1970s Harlem, where Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne) and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt/Fonny (Stephan James), two young lifelong friends and lovers, have to face Tish’s pregnancy while Fonny is wrongly accused of rape. A timeless and moving love story engaging multiple layers of love, “If Beale Street Could Talk” will remind you that “love is what brought you here” and to therefore trust love because love and humanity endure even in a divided and racially biased world of injustice and hardship.

Love, Simon (2018) follows the story of seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) who falls in love with a classmate who he chats online with and whose identity he doesn’t know. Simon still keeps it a secret from his family and friends that he's gay. When that secret is threatened, he must face everyone and come to terms with his identity. “Love, Simon” is a funny, heartfelt and sincere story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love, arguing that everyone deserves a great love story.

50 First Dates (2004) is one of my favorite movies by Adam Sandler, who stars as Henry, a committed bachelor who decides to leave the one-night-stands behind when he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore). Henry soon finds out that Lucy has a short-term memory loss which makes her forget who he is and how they fell in love. He is, however, determined to make Lucy fall in love with him all over again, each and every day. “50 First Dates” is one of the funniest and most tender rom-coms that will convince you that every day is a new day to live and love and is worth giving your all.

The Princess Bride (1987) is the name of the book a young boy's grandfather reads to him when the boy falls ill. The book involves a classic tale of love and adventure about the farmboy-turned-pirate Westley's (Cary Elwes) quest to save his childhood true love Buttercup (Robin Wright) after she gets kidnapped. If you’re sick of typical rom-coms, “The Princess Bride” has a refreshing and unusual mix of romance, comedy and fantasy and a myriad of life lessons about love, friendship and hope.

Up (2009) is an award-winning animated movie about letting go of the past and embracing the moment and the adventures that lie ahead. This movie follows Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, as he embarks on a journey to fulfill his lifelong dream of exploring South America and the forbidden Paradise Falls by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flying away. To his initial displeasure, Boy Scout Russell is also aboard. “Up” is a witty and touching movie that will make you appreciate the beauty of life that you have lived, the one you now live and the one yet to come.

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