Is there any holiday more controversial than Valentine’s Day? Whether you celebrate the annual day of love or consider it to be the biggest corporate money suck around, you can’t deny that Hollywood has bought into the concept. That’s why there are so many romantic movies out there.
Luckily, that also means there’s pretty much something for every single mood. Feeling anti-Valentine’s Day? No problem. Want to go all-in with the champagne and chocolate-covered roses? You do you. Looking for an old-fashioned laugh with your fellow single buds? We’ve got you.
Read on for 15 of the best Valentine’s Day movies to catch this February.
1. Meet Cute
FOR PETE DAVIDSON FANS
Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco team for this easy watch about a couple who have the ultimate first date. But when the woman discovers a time machine, she goes back to tweak her man, fix his problems and heal his past traumas to shape him into the perfect partner. In the process, she unknowingly alters what could have been a pretty nifty future.
If you love the traditional rom-com setup but have been waiting for someone to update it for this generation, Billy Eichner’s TIFF-selected comedy may be the thing you’ve been looking for. Bros is a modern gay love story featuring an all-LGBTQ+ cast (except for a guest star appearance by Debra Messing). It revolves around a podcast personality with a deep fear of commitment (Eichner), and the hot guy (Luke Macfarlane) who wins over his heart.
3. The Peanuts Movie
If you’re in need of a film the whole family can watch, Peanuts will appeal to nostalgic adults and cartoon-loving kids alike. The updated animation features Charlie and the gang on a quest to win the love of his life: the little red-haired girl. Meanwhile, Snoopy and his crew take to the skies to face their archnemesis.
4. The Wedding Singer
If you want a nostalgic romcom, this Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore-starring film covers you on multiple levels. Not only is it one of our favorite go-to romances when we need a pick-me-up, but it’s impossible not to have feelings when taking in the 1980s-inspired set, costumes and songs. If you’ve never seen the movie, Sandler stars as a heartbroken wedding singer who befriends one of the servers on the wedding beat, and he winds up helping her plan her wedding despite his better judgment.
5. If Beale Street Could Talk
FOR DEEPER MEANING
Love is at the center of this 2018 film from director and writer Barry Jenkins about a pregnant young woman named Tish (KiKi Layne) who sets out to prove that her love and childhood friend Fonny (Stephan James) didn’t commit the crime he’s serving time for. This movie landed Regina King an Oscar for best supporting actress and was nominated for best-adapted screenplay. While it’s not the traditional romcom many may seek on V-Day, it is a breathtaking story about love, perseverance and family.
6. Shotgun Wedding
FOR ACTION LOVERS
This Jennifer Lopez-led action romcom is about a destination wedding that’s hijacked by criminals, and all kinds of wild plot twists ensue. Catch the movie for the pretty locations and for J-Lo, but note that it also features a slew of notable supporting characters, including Josh Duhamel (who replaced original lead Armie Hammer), Jennifer Coolidge, Cheech Marin, Lenny Kravitz and D’Arcy Carden.
7. Cha Cha Real Smooth
FOR SINGLE PARENTS
It’s never too late to find love, whether you’re finding yourself or are a single mother with an autistic daughter. That’s the entry point to this 2022 festival flick, in which a party starter (Cooper Raiff, who also writes and directs), falls for a mom (Dakota Johnson) after bonding with her autistic daughter (newcomer Vanessa Burghardt). Leslie Mann and Brad Garrett also star in the feel-good flick about love, soulmates and new chances.
8. Bones and All
If you’re obsessed with horror but are still looking for a quasi-romantic pick, this 2022 film from director Luca Guadagnino will satiate you. Based on Camille DeAngelis’ 2015 novel, the coming-of-age story has been billed a “cannibal Romeo & Juliet.” It revolves around a young woman named Maren (Taylor Russell) with an appetite for human flesh. She’s an outcast until she meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a guy who shares her tastes. They bond and go on a cross-country road trip, with some bloody good results.
9. Don’t Worry Darling
TO FIGHT THE PATRIARCHY
There was a lot of ink spilled about the behind-the-scenes happenings of this Olivia Wilde-directed film, which took away from the flick itself. Now that the chatter has settled down, though, this 2022 movie is a great pick for anyone who wants a period piece that embraces feminism while pointing out everything that is wrong with the patriarchy and status quo. Florence Pugh and Harry Styles star in the story, which revolves around a 1950s housewife living with her husband in an experimental community.
FOR LONG MAKE-OUT SESSIONS
It seems as though everyone on the planet has seen this three-plus-hour-long movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. But with writer/director James Cameron making press rounds for his latest Avatar movie and once again defending that controversial door/panel scene with Leo, now seems like as good a time as any for a re-watch. Besides, if you want to schedule a long Valentine’s Day make-out session with your partner, this movie is long enough for you to practice all of those smooth moves.
11. Valentine’s Day
BEST CELEB CAST
This Garry Marshall-directed flick is the most on-the-nose pick on our list, but it’s impossible not to include it. The star-studded cast includes everyone from Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway to Jamie Foxx and Bradley Cooper. Essentially it’s an intertwining story of couples and singles living their best (and worst) lives in Los Angeles while dealing with the pressures of Valentine’s Day. In other words, almost everyone can relate to something in this movie.
12. Always Be My Maybe
BEST HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS
Anyone who has ever had a high school bud of the opposite sex will totally relate to this Nahnatchka Khan-directed Netflix film, which stars co-writers Ali Wong and Randall Park. It follows lifelong friends who reconnect after 15 years apart, as they ask themselves what might have happened if they just went for it back in the day. It’s an easy and lighthearted watch to be sure, but one of the main reasons to tune in is the cameo by Keanu Reeves as a heightened version of himself.
13. Isn’t It Romantic
BEST FOR ANTI-ROMANCE
Rebel Wilson stars in this anti-romantic comedy from director Todd Strauss-Schulson, which calls out every single trope from the genre and in the process, turns them on their heads. It’s another fun entry with strong performances from co-stars Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine and Priyanka Chopra, and it could be just the thing if you’re done with this whole romance and unrealistic expectations business.
BEST FOR SINGLES
Avoiding the day of love altogether while basking in your own awesomeness? We say good for you. We also suggest taking in this early Jon Favreau flick co-starring Vince Vaughn and Heather Graham. It’s all about an aspiring actor who has a hard time moving on from a breakup, but like all good male leads he’s got some misguided buddies to help him get over it.
15. The Notebook
BEST TRUE LOVE
If you’re all-in this Valentine’s Day and believe in the power of soul mates, this Nick Cassavetes-directed movie crushed the concept back when it debuted. (To this day some fans still ship co-stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling as a thing.) It’s romantic, idealistic and a total love story from beginning to end, which could be the sweeping mood you happen to be in this month.