There are several rom coms, but few genuinely meet the genre’s basic requirements of being both romantic and humorous. All too often, this genre of film is guilty of generating unrealistic, one-dimensional characters and worn, predictable narratives, but there are rare gems – films that elicit genuine pleasure and warmth. We’ve compiled a list of ten of our best romantic comedies that we believe are worth your time.
1. When Harry met Sally
When Harry Met Sally by Nora Ephron will be remembered as one of the most adorable and humorous rom coms of all time, posing the perennial question, “Can men and women just be friends?” The film stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal as two friends who may or may not get together at the end and is famed for the most famous fake orgasm sequence in cinema history. The ease and simplicity of the characters’ relationship, along with brilliant, humorous banter, elevates this to the status of a great masterpiece.
2.Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four Weddings and a Funeral, the film that originally made Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant famous, contributed significantly to the persistent stereotype of the fumbling, sweet-natured Brit. Most of us are familiar with the plot: hapless, yet charming Charles falls in love with Carrie, a cutthroat American with an unexplained immunity to British weather. Along with the major romantic plot, we meet Charles’ pals, who make us laugh and, in one heartbreaking episode, make us cry. The implication is that love between friends is just as intense as love between lovers.
If chemistry, a strong script, and well-written characters are required for a good rom com, then Philadelphia Story is unquestionably one of the greatest. An engaging love triangle is formed by a brilliant cast of Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, and Cary Grant. Tracy Lord, a haughty, withering socialite set to remarry a fool, is going to married a moron when her ex-husband (Cary Grant), plainly still in love with her, employs an educated writer and a photographer to gatecrash the wedding as cousins. The characters definitely like each other – the romantic stand-off between Hepburn and Grant is brimming with chemistry.
4.As Good it Gets
In this opposites-attract comedy, a single mother and waitress (Helen Hunt) falls in love with a misanthropic, completely unlikeable author with OCD (Jack Nicholson). The plot follows the tried-and-true model of a nice woman helping a vile, unwilling man become a better person, but Nicholson’s magnetic performance, along with the film’s incisive screenplay and pleasant tone, propels As nice As It Gets into our top 10.
Despite its soppiness and cheese factor, watching Notting Hill is tough not to enjoy. This is a British fairytale created by rom com maestro Richard Curtis about a lowly bookshop owner (Hugh Grant) who, despite his low income, lives in well-to-do Notting Hill. He ends up having a brief, chance encounter with a Hollywood star (Julia Roberts), which begins disastrously, but as we all know, there is a second act. This is a joyful guilty pleasure, full of memorable one-liners and good supporting characters (Rhys Ifans and Hugh Bonneville).
6. 500 Days of Summer
Everyone can identify to parts of 500 Days of Summer – sometimes, no matter how much you admire someone, things simply don’t work out. The film is a malformed homage to all the love tales that don’t last, focusing on Tom, a failing architect (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for his boss’s secretary, an enigmatic, rather one-dimensional pixie girl (Zooey Deschanel, of course). To shorten a long story short, their romance is doomed because they share a mutual love of The Smiths and sneering at other people. Tom is devastated by the news and begins his post-breakup journey of moving forward.
7.Sleepless in Seattle
With Sleepless in Seattle, Nora Ephron delivers her typical wit, humour, and humanity to another film classic. Tom Hanks plays a grieving dad whose adorable son contacts a radio station to complain about his melancholy, insomniac father, who is then compelled to tell the world about his pain. The tragic story inspires every woman in America fall in love with him, even Annie (Meg Ryan), a feisty, demanding journalist.
8.10 things I hate about you
Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles co-star in a modern version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Yes, it’s a teen romance with all the familiar high-school stereotypes, from the resident handsome, yet moronic heartthrob to the bookish geek, but don’t let that put you off – its sharp-tongued script, 90s soundtrack and feminist undercurrent (when do you ever find a rom com lead seen reading Sylvia Palth in cinema now?), coupled with Ledger’s singing rendition of Just Can’t Take My Eyes Off You makes it well worthy of anyone’s time.
Bridesmaids, while not a classic rom-com at first look, does straddle both romance and humour. The video examines what happens when your oldest best friend gets engaged and the aftermath, from the horror and pressure of hen parties to the rivalry of bridesmaids. The major focus is female friendship, but Paul Feig’s comedy also includes a charming romance plot line involving our main protagonist (Kristin Wiig) and an Irish police officer (Chris O’Dowd).
Clueless, arguably the best Jane Austen adaptation of all time, is humorous, intelligent, and sweet. We follow Cher, a spoiled yet big-hearted It-girl who tries to set up her friends in a valley girl version of Emma. Despite her lack of self-awareness and inclination towards materialism, she’s appealing and humorous, finally finding her way to fulfilment and an appreciation for the vital things in life. It’s also worth seeing for the 90s fashion.