Whether you’re spending it with a long time partner, a new crush or even by yourself, our Queens have picked out 6 unique Valentine’s Day viewings for your date night. Ranging from stories that will make you feel mushy inside, to films that will make a good judge of character, cosy up this Valentine’s Day with these Netflix, Amazon Prime and GooglePlay picks.
(Available on Amazon Prime in the UK)
Odd choice for Valentine’s Day, I know, but let me tell you a story. I don’t get to see my boyfriend very often because he is still studying down in Cornwall where we met, and I’m up here in London. But whenever we do get a few nights together we always seem to watch animated films. Because they are beautiful, defy expectations, and offer a world of possibilities that live action film cannot reach.
One of these nights we watched Pixar’s Wall-E. A film about an adorable robot who was one of millions left to clean up Earth when it became uninhabitable. But after 800 years he’s developed a glitch: a personality. At the core of his quirks and curiosity is the desire for love and companionship, which he finds when a sleek, high-tech robot by the name of E.V.E appears one day in a probe. What follows is a complex series of events with a hard hitting environmental message, but this time, when I watched it all I saw was Wall-E chasing E.V.E across the galaxy and throughout all of her adventures for the simple reason that he had found her and never wanted to leave her side.
Wall-E may not understand everything that is going on around him, but he knows something that most people do not. Without love, any kind of love, friendship, family, romance, life is merely existence. It is a gift that the filmmakers at Pixar have to make us empathise with inhuman, and sometimes inanimate objects and Wall-E is no different. So if you’re looking for something different but not unfamiliar on Valentine’s Day, go watch a film with a sequence where two robots dance amongst the stars and we feel their love. –Mia Garfield
TRUE ROMANCE (1993)
(Available on Amazon Prime UK & GooglePlay)
When picking a film for a date with someone you’re trying to impress, particularly with straight boys, its important to let them know that you are cooler than they are. You will always one-up them on the movie-picking front. You are way above their level and have memorised the Gone Girl ‘cool girl’ speech like a mantra. And what’s more cool to a straight boy than a film written by Quentin Tarantino? Nothing.
True Romance, directed by Tony Scott, blends the slick level of action and violence expected from a regular Tarantino screenplay but with the soul and romance of anything but. Hailed by many as a cult film, the sheer iconic yet slightly edgy nature of your film choice will absolutely gain you points in your chosen partners mind. The film follows whirlwind lovebirds Clarence (Christian Slater in his prime) and call-girl Alabama (Patricia Arquette), who get married after one night of watching kung fu movies and eating cherry pie. A spanner is thrown in the works however when Alabama’s pimp, Drexyl, is killed by Clarence in a fit of rage for mistreating his girl. In his desperate attempt to escape the scene of the crime, Clarence picks up the wrong bag upon leaving, and instead of Alabama’s belongings, he picks up a huge bag of coke instead. With the mob hot on the lovers’ trail they will stop at nothing to shift the drugs and get out of town.
Now, when I say whirlwind romance I mean it. This pair are saying ‘I love you’ within the first 24 hours, Patricia Arquettes’ smooth-as-butter drawl is a complete scene-stealer actually just making you wish she was in love with you instead. Infinitely quotable, completely romantic and with even better trashy costumes you and your partner can dress up as, there is something here to make everyone believe in true romance. –Chloe Leeson
PADDINGTON 2 (2017)
(available on Amazon Prime in the UK)
For those unaware, this is the critically acclaimed sequel to the first Paddington film from 2014, but the first film isn’t required to appreciate this one. As our eponymous bear has settled into the Brown household, he sets his sights on a gorgeous antique pop-up book for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday and finds his calling as a window cleaner to save up enough money. But, one night, the book is stolen and in chasing the thief, Paddington ends up being framed for the robbery.
Co-written by director Paul King and Horrible Histories legend Simon Farnaby (who once again appears as a hapless security guard), the comedy is perfectly judged with multiple watches drawing my attention to little details like the excellent puns on McGinty’s newspapers. The hilarious script is delivered by a British ensemble full of familiar faces, including Sally Hawkins in some more PC underwater scenes and Hugh Grant embracing villainy after years as a rom-com love interest. Moving through London, the story unfolds with a bright, ornate aesthetic like a more accessible Wes Anderson film, complemented by Dario Marianelli’s soundtrack and a couple of cheery Caribbean calypso tunes, naturally.
As a dating amateur, I’m sticking to my comfort zone. The litmus test for most friends I make, this little bear is close to my heart, and brings out good humour in almost everyone. As my twin sister tells me, she would find it hard to accept the compatibility of someone for me who doesn’t love Paddington. As I am also quite quite small, optimistic and unapologetically British, this film is the best introduction to my personality, humour and idealistic world view and for anyone, a brilliant beginning to a relationship. –Fatima Sheriff
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)
(Available on Netflix Canada & GooglePlay)
At first glance, this film may appear to be just another cog in the wheel of romantic comedy with its quirky characters and uphill battles, but once you settle in with your blankets and press play, you’ll see how wrong that assumption is. Directed by David O. Russell, and based on the book of the same name, Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat (Bradley Cooper), who’s just been released from a mental hospital after assaulting the man his wife Nikki was having an affair with. Pat also happens to be bipolar, but he’s determined not to let his illness get in the way of patching up his rocky relationship with the alleged love of his life. Along his erratic, somewhat self-destructive journey to do so, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a charming, very honest woman who’s been struggling to deal with the aftermath of losing her husband. Though they constantly fight and yell and insult one another, they eventually strike up a bargain: Tiffany will help Pat try to win Nikki back if he agrees to enter a dance competition with her. What ensues is a highly dysfunctional yet genuine story of human rawness and vulnerability, and what it means to carry on in the midst of hopelessness. Silver Linings Playbook reminds us that life is messy and love is even more so. It teaches us to be grateful for what-or who-we have in our lives, to embrace the ugly parts of ourselves and to always look for that silver lining-even if it’s simply dimming the lights, switching on a movie and eating as much chocolate as you want on a particular day in the middle of February. –Kacy Hogg
SISTER ACT II: BACK IN THE HABIT (1993)
(Available on Amazon Prime UK & GooglePlay)
I suspect I’m a selfish girlfriend, or that I can come off as one from time to time. I tend to select for date night movies the films I remember loving best as a kid, and this practice doesn’t always translate to romance. It does, however stem from a genuine place. If I’m dating a person, why not present them with a full spectrum of my humanity?–they deserve all of it, and holding back isn’t really my thing. Ideally, we’d trade these childhood gems with each other, learning more and more about what shaped the people we’ve become as the relationship progressed, and seeing what old standbys continue to bring about the most joy.
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit falls squarely into this category, making it my pick for ultimate date movie. It has songs (forever in awe of Ryan Toby’s high note, truly), suspense (will underdog St. Francis Academy best undefeated Chapman Choir at the All-State competition and save its doors from closing??), and some truly cool cameos by 90s celebs (I see you, Jennifer Love Hewitt). Does it have romance? There’s a strange sort of chemistry between the Kathy Najimy-nun and the Brad Sullivan-priest, but it’s mostly unexplored. In short, not really, but that’s on me and my respective partner to bring to the table, right?
As a date night litmus test it’s practically perfect. What type of person sneers at an undercover nun musical-cum-thriller? A person I don’t want to date, that’s who. And its potential is limitless: if my date’s never seen it, no biggie–what better first exposure than a date? Making out after (okay, let’s be real–during) a Whoopi Goldberg vehicle is much more romantic, less perfunctorily bourgeois than after something steamier. If they’ve seen it before and know it by heart, even better: we can skip all the follow through and get married as soon as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” finishes playing over closing credits. –Juliette Faraone
(Available on Amazon Prime UK)
Face/Off stands in a category of its own – a so-bad-it’s-good movie that is actually not bad at all. Everything about it shouldn’t work – the scenery-chewing acting from both John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, the ridiculous concept, the completely unfeasible action scenes that contain the most Nicolas Cage-iness ever put on film. Yet, by some miracle, everything about it is perfect. The idea of Travolta avenging his son’s murder by surgically attaching his face to the world’s most dangerous terrorist (who somehow….missed and hit a much smaller child?) is so insane that it somehow completely works. I stand by the fact that Cage and Travolta in this movie are one of the most perfect castings ever put to film. If they made this in another decade, with other actors their age, neither their chemistry nor their ability to imitate each other could be matched.
Dates can be anxiety-provoking if you don’t know each other well, and I think Face/Off is a perfect ice breaker to get you chatting. Watching a drama is a gamble on your date enjoying it as much as you do, and watching a romance movie could be as awkward as watching a love scene with your parents if the mood isn’t right. The genius of Face/Off is that it is not a comedy by name, but seeing John Travolta doing an impression of Nicolas Cage doing an impression of himself is something that will guarantee a laugh, and the perfect amount of confusion to start friendly banter between the two of you to hit things off.
Sorry, Timothée Chalamet, but Face/Off still has the greatest peach eating scene of all time. Maybe if you watch this on a date, you can eat a peach too. If you know what I mean. -Bethany Gemmell
Categories: Anything and Everything