10 Different Valentine’s Day Movies

Valentine’s Day and movies seem to go hand in hand. The problem is, everybody watches the same thing year after year. The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Pride and Prejudice, Titanic…the list goes on. There’s a big variety out there; all kinds of movies for every type of person. Except nobody veers from what they know. So here’s a list of ten recent movies you can normally find to rent, and ones you probably haven’t seen or forgot about altogether. Not all of them are happy-go-lucky romantic getaways, but that’s what makes them “different.” Enjoy a night with your partner, or if need be, sit back with a drink and take in one of these movies by yourself. You can’t go wrong either way.

10.) I Give It a Year (2013) – This recent British film is the anti-romcom that its title implies. I Give It a Year has the brazen honesty of (500) Days of Summer mixed with the R-rated humor of a Judd Apatow comedy, and it’s a very funny movie that offers more than meets the eye. Should you remain unhappy for the sake of honoring your vows or should you throw another dart at the board of happiness, hoping for a higher score? I Give It a Year handles that topic with truthful sincerity and vulgar hilarity.

Where to watch: Netflix Instant

9.) Your Sister’s Sister (2011) – The only love triangle included on the list, Your Sister’s Sister takes ingredients from films of old and infuses them into a modern family scenario. A woman allows her best friend – a man she secretly loves – to mourn the loss of his brother at the family cabin. What she doesn’t know is that her lesbian sister is there to sort her life out as well. The three come together through alcohol induced sexual interactions and individual revelations. It’s a unique, offbeat, engaging movie.

Where to watch: Netflix Instant

8.) The First Time (2012) – A lesser When Harry Met Sally for the texting and indecisive millennials, The First Time succeeds because of its harmonized chemistry. While Britt Robertson and Dylan O’Brien are on-screen, everything works, because the two are so in stride, so perfectly matched. It’s a clichéd film to say the least, but you can’t stop watching and hoping for these two high schoolers to find themselves, and each other, amid the constant chaos of growing up.

Where to watch: iTunes ($2.99), Amazon Instant Video ($2.99)

7.) Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006) – Both the darkest and funniest movie on this list, Wristcutters: A Love Story is a highbrow metaphor for the extreme lengths we can sometimes go to for love. Located in an afterlife set aside solely for those who have committed suicide, Wristcutters acts as a reminder that warmth can still be felt and found in the coldest and darkest of places. It’s a road movie and black comedy, full of morbid humor and genuine sentiment. You’ve never seen anything else like it.

Where to watch: iTunes ($2.99)

6.) Like Crazy (2011) – The long distance relationship is a difficult and damning trick to pull off. Like Crazy is the story of a young couple – Anna from England and Jacob from L.A. – where they meet in college and fall in love. They’re not always together, let alone in the same country, but they are never apart, unable to shake their first true love affections for the other. With tangible sentiment and passion between leads Felicity Jones and Anton YelchinLike Crazy is a personal and realistic depiction of youthful intimacy.

Where to watch: iTunes ($2.99), Amazon Instant Video ($2.99)

5.) Blue Valentine (2010) – This film bleeds blue, from the picture itself to the unraveling lost love between the two main characters. Blue Valentine shows how we normally remember the past as the good ol’ days even when the present is slowly falling apart. You really have to care for and truly know yourself before you can reciprocate that endearment towards another person. Blue Valentine conveys that message with a candid brutality. It’ll make you swoon and rip your heart out in equal measure.

Where to watch: iTunes ($2.99), Amazon Instant Video ($2.99)

4.) Dear Frankie (2004)Dear Frankie, a tender little indie flick, is the kind of heartwarming film you can’t help but adore. A mother is constantly on the move with her deaf son, keeping their distance from her abusive husband. The mother, played by Emily Mortimer, has a dilemma due to the snowballing lies she’s told her son Frankie about his father. She enlists the help of a man (Gerard Butler in an impressive role) passing through town to pose as Frankie’s dad for a day. That’s where the beauty of the film begins. Love can come from the most unconventional and unexpected places. Dear Frankie is a memory aid to keep your eyes – and your heart – always open.

Where to watch: Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime

3.) Ruby Sparks (2012) – If you’re alone this February 14th, Ruby Sparks is the perfect film for you. After receiving universal praise for his first novel, the prodigious Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) is hit with writer’s block. That’s until an imaginary woman, the love of his life (played by the quirky damsel Zoe Kazan), enters his dreams. As he writes her, and their story, she becomes palpable and enters the real world. Yes, Ruby Sparks is a little out there, but it’s also a flawlessly executed inspection on what love is just as much as what it isn’t.

Where to watch: iTunes ($2.99), Amazon Instant Video ($2.99)

2.) Away From Her (2006) – The most heartbreaking entry on this list, Away From Her is a mature and insightful look at what true unconditional love really is all about. Gordon Pinsent gives a tearjerker performance as Grant, the husband to Julie Christie’s rapidly degenerating Alzheimer’s victim Fiona. Away From Her isn’t all bliss and roses, but it is real. It also has the most moving line of dialogue said in any of these movies. Grant says while picturing his young, brilliant and vibrant wife, “I never wanted to be away from her. She had the spark of life.” Now that’s romance.

Where to watch: iTunes ($10.99…it’s worth owning)

1.) The Before Trilogy – Comprised of three films, all set and shot nine years apart, The Before Trilogy is a triptych, a deep examination of love from its most simple to complex. Before Sunrise (1995) is a whimsical story of first fleeting romance and the uncertainty which follows. Before Sunset (2004) rejoins the former lovers, assuring us and them that those feelings weren’t temporary changes in heartbeat. They were still throbbing all those years. And the last installment, Before Midnight (2013)illustrates how the gushy glamour may fade, but true love doesn’t. One of the greatest trilogies ever made – and in my mind it’s easily the pinnacle – The Before Trilogy is our best, most honest contemporary romance.

Where to watch: All available on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video ($2.99 each)

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