The Best Movies for Valentine's Day

Rebeca Maia - February 14, 2017

For those of us who refuse to watch Love Actually for the umpteenth time. Disclaimer: most of these movies are kind of sad.

1.     The Before Trilogy

One of Linklater’s most famous endeavors, the Before Trilogy follows Céline and Jesse’s chance encounters throughout the years, nine years apart from the previous installment. Unlike his other well-known films, the series steers away from his native Texas, landing in different European backdrops for each film. Yet, some of his trademark Linklater features, such as the long improvised dialogues and gladly, Ethan Hawke. All in all, great for a movie marathon.

2.     Sidewalls (Medianeras)

Sidewalls is the perfect rom-com for the digital age. Set in contemporary Buenos Aires, this understated Argentinian gem reflects on how technology affects our relationships with the people around us, often distancing us from the real world rather than bridging the gap between us. Often melancholic, at times hitting too close to home, but just hopeful enough not to ruin your Valentine’s Day.

3.     Heartbeats (Les Amours Imaginaires)

Longtime friends Francis, played by director Xavier Dolan himself, and Marie become infatuated with Nicolas and proceed to fight for his affections during most of the movie. The cinematography is stunning and the characters are consistently endearing, making for a heartwarming, sad movie.

4.     My Golden Days (Trois Souvenirs de Ma Jeunesse)

In this movie, Arnaud Desplechin reaches back to his 1996 film My Sex Life…or How I Got Into an Argument to expand upon the story of Paul Dédalus. My Golden Days is told in three chapters: childhood, a trip to Russia in his teens, and the final and longest one, reminiscing about his first love.

5.     Mood Indigo (L’écume des Jours)

Based on Boris Vian’s famous novel L’écume des Jours (Foam of the Daze or Froth on the Daydream in English), this film brought to the screen many magical realist elements thought impossible to be translated into the visual medium. Directed by Michel Gondry, who also directed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the movie features Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou as its protagonists.

6.     Goodbye First Love (Un Amour de Jeunesse)

Yet another sad French movie. Mia Hansen-Love’s début follows15-year old Camille throughout her romantic experiences, focusing on her older boyfriend Sullivan.

7.     Her

If Sidewalls is an accurate depiction of our day and age, Her is a cautionary tale of what might result from the contemporary increasing pervasiveness of technology. Earning Spike Jonze an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2014, Her is worth revisiting for is beautiful cinematography and star-studded cast, which includes Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and most importantly, Scarlett Johannson’s voice.

8.     Annie Hall

You can’t go wrong with Annie Hall. This movie was crucial for Woody Allen’s transition from stand-up comedian to well-known director, containing several memorable scenes throughout all the film. Needless to say, it’s a great pick for Valentine’s Day, and pretty much every other day of the year.

9.     It Happened One Night

It’s been said that back in the day, Clark Gable was “lent” to Columbia Pictures (which was considered a small studio) by MGM for the role of Peter Warne as punishment for being too much of a diva. In an unexpected turn of events, It Happened One Night earned him the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, in addition to four other major Oscars. The film established the “screwball comedy” as a genre and is an overall feel-good black and white movie.

10.     La La Land

Haha jk but also why not

Rebeca Maia

Rebeca Maia is currently a junior majoring in Communication with a minor in Consumer Psychology. Before Penn, she lived in Recife, Brazil, where she was born and raised. Some of her favorite directors include Pedro Almodóvar, Paolo Sorrentino and Richard Linklater.