For many of us in different parts of the world, this Valentine’s day it will undoubtedly be different from the previous one. Whether you find yourself in isolation with your partner, in a long-distance relationship or surviving this pandemic without ties, your plans are sure to have changed dramatically.
Confined to a home and online space that has become all too familiar, reinforcements will undeniably be needed to awaken the romance as February 14 arrives. In the past, you’ve probably booked a table at that new restaurant around the corner, orchestrated an upbeat outing, or chose to pamper yourself with a day at the spa or a soothing drink at your local bar. But, since all of this is out of the question at the moment, the best alternative to distract yourself is to immerse yourself in a movie and alternate realities that help us forget the physical and emotional limitations of our current situation.
This is why we decided to help you, developing an ideal watchlist for a period in which loved ones live complex, inexplicable, problematic and even uncertain situations.
1. Before the albto (1995)
Before Sunrise (1995)
© Castle Rock / Detour / Kobal / Shutterstock
This is one of Richard Linklater’s masterpieces and the first in a trilogy of films that follows the torturous relationship between an American boy (Ethan Hawke) and a French girl (July Delpy) in real time over 18 years. The two meet on a train and spend the night walking and chatting through the streets of Vienna, where they meet, flirt and eventually establish an electrical bond. Warning: the film is not for the faint of heart. From spontaneous travel plans to lively intimacy between strangers, it’s a punch in the stomach for our post-Covid lives, but it’s a film capable of resurrecting even cryogenically frozen hearts.
2. My best friend’s Wedding (1997)
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
© AA Film Archive / Alamy
It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day movie slate worthy of the name without sentimental comedy queen Julia Roberts. While Pretty Woman (1990) and Notting Hill (1999) remain favorites with the general public, this classic sees a young Roberts, charming as ever, wrestling with the feelings aroused by her best friend’s imminent marriage to her dad’s daughter (Cameron Diaz), which lead her to try to sabotage the union. She is a perfectly imperfect protagonist for any cynical viewer in her own heartfelt and chaotic comedy-drama.
3. In the Mood For Love (2000)
In The Mood For Love (2000)
© Jet Tone / Kobal / Shutterstock
There is no better time to indulge in the exciting works of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, and what better starting point than In the Mood For Love? Rich and full of warmth, the story is about two neighbors, both married, who find solace in each other as their respective relationships decline. Happy Together (1997) by Kar-wai is perfect for continuing on this path.
4. Falling Inn Love – Renovate with love (2019)
Falling Inn Love (2019)
© Nicola Dove / Netflix / Kobal / Shutterstock
Set in the New Zealand hinterland, Falling Inn Love – Renovate with love it represents the perfect balance between sweetness and self-awareness. The film meets a nervous city girl with a relaxed country boy and verifies that the theory of attraction between opposites is, in fact, reliable. With a comfortable ‘stencil’ build, a delightful Christina Milian and a captivating supporting cast, she is a modern non-sinful staple for any fan of romantic comedies.
5. Sylvie’s Love (2020)
Sylvie’s Love (2020)
© Landmark Media / Alamy
If spending so much time at home is not for you, Sylvie’s Love will transport you to a completely different era. The protagonists of this Amazon Originals are Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha, with a brief appearance of a Regé-Jean Page (the Duke of Hastings of Bridgerton) almost unrecognizable. Described by Thompson as a hymn to black women denied such roles in the past, is a Hepburnesque romance that transcends time, class and other obstacles, studded with jazz, nostalgia and good old languor.
6. A secret love (2020)
A Secret Love (2020)
© Courtesy Netflix
The only documentary on our list, A secret love reveals the true story of Pat Henschel and Terry Donahue, two women who have decided to come out and get married after keeping their love affair a secret, even from their families, for 65 years. Directed by Donahue’s great-grandson Chris Bolan, the film is an incredibly tender and heartbreaking reflection on their life and eternal love that has had to endure behind closed doors for so long.
7. Two Single Beds (2020)
Two Single Beds (2020)
© Courtesy Film 4
If like many of us you are looking forward to the release of Judas and the Black Messiah to get another dose of Daniel Kaluuya, this short is a mini ration that should help you in the short term. Written and directed by the Oscar nominee, Two Single Beds is an unassuming snapshot of two black Londoners stranded in Yorkshire on a cabaret night. In this little gem produced by Film4, the couple find solace in their one-night stand, an event almost on the verge of science fiction in the age of social distancing.
8. Malcolm & Marie (2021)
Malcolm and Marie (2021)
© Courtesy Netflix
Written and directed by Sam Levinson of Euphoria, Malcolm & Marie pairs Zendaya and John David Washington in a black and white film about a codependent relationship. The quick dialogue is like whiplash that traces the fiery discrepancies between a director and his girlfriend, following the premiere of his film. It will certainly not leave you calm and reassured, but the hostile energy will be familiar to all caged couples and to those forced to live together, making you grateful not to be under fire.
9. Yours forever (2021)
To All The Boys: Always and Forever (2021)
© Katie Yu / Netflix
Based on the most successful novel according to the New York Times by Jenny Han, the third and final installment of the trilogy that drove the little girls crazy comes at the right time. This time, lovebirds Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are grappling with the challenges of maturity: distance, university, social stress. The film promises its usual blend of romance, twists and turns, sisterly antics and classic teenage drama.