5 Non-Traditional Rom-Coms to Watch (or Not Watch) on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, it is a time to give thanks to your significant other. For others, it is a time to remind you that you are still, in fact, alone.
Love, as a theme, is one of the most commonly tackled themes in all of film. In fact, I can’t think of anything that outpaces romance. For me, this isn’t necessarily a good thing because with overuse comes the degradation of the final product. Now, romantic movies, particularly romantic comedies, seem to all stink.
Have no fear, though, because there are a few rom-coms (as they’re informally called) that think “outside the box.” Some of these are simply anti-rom-coms because they don’t necessarily celebrate the central couple within the story. They instead tackle love by presenting it in a more realistic (read: depressing) way.
In short, I had a tough time deciding how to categorize the rom-coms I actually liked, so “non-traditional” seems to be the best explanation because they’re simply different. Part of me wants to suggest these movies as perfect Valentine’s Day movies; however, the other part of me thinks this could really blow up in your face. So, be warned!
Here is the list:
I’ll be upfront with you, Waitress probably isn’t that “non-traditional.” The four that will follow this definitely are different, but hear me out: Waitress shifts the power to the female perspective – something we definitely don’t see enough. I’ll talk more about love lost and how that changes our outlook on love later on, but Waitress lends a hand to this concept as well.
As far as “non-traditional” goes, Beginners is a romantic-comedy unlike anything you’ve probably seen. With a premise that sees a 30-something guy (played by Ewan McGregor) who struggles to fall in love turning to his recently out-of-the-closet father (played by Christopher Plummer) for love advice, how can you call that like anything else? Sadly, Beginners went under the radar (despite getting Plummer an Oscar) back in 2010 but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek it out now.
When a movie bluntly starts with “This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story,” it’s a pretty good indication it’s a different kind of rom-com. In the case of Marc Webb’s (ya know, that guy that is directing all those Amazing Spider-Man movies) (500) Days of Summer, the story stays true to its intro. It is a story about love, yes, but it is more about love lost than anything else. Plenty of people can concede that sometimes you learn more from the ones that got away than the ones that didn’t. If you believe this, go rent (500) Days of Summer now…or keep reading this list.
When people ask me about my favorite movie, I always give a three-way tie. I admittedly have big gaps in my ongoing filmography, but I still think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the greatest movies ever made – modern or not. So why is it so great? Well despite a weird concept – one that includes literally deleting someone from your memories – the movie shows us how painful romance can be and, more importantly, how much pain we’re willing to endure to have that romance.
We probably wouldn’t have (500) Days of Summer without Annie Hall. Then again, we may not have a lot of movies without Annie Hall. Made back in 1977, Woody Allen’s most decorated film (yes, debate here) didn’t really break a mold per se, but started a whole new subset of films I consider to be the anti-rom-com. Allen’s film is also downright hilarious, but it’s the concluding moments that hit harder than almost any other movie I’ve seen…rom-com or not.
Some others I considered were Adam, Juno, Moonrise Kingdom, Punch-Drunk Love, and True Romance. Any others to add to the list? Comment below!
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