Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day, especially under dire national circumstances like the ones we’re dealing with in 2021. But even if you’re not into all the chocolate and roses and romance, there are many lowkey ways to enjoy the most romantic day of the year without the fanfare — and without leaving your house. If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, you don’t even have to spend any extra money. (Or you can just spend it on wine and takeout. Up to you.)
The platform’s catalogue includes an eclectic mix of classic rom-com, hidden gems, and sweeping romantic dramas. In case you missed it, what with the mess that was 2020, Prime also dropped several original films last year. One of the standouts, Sylvie’s Love, stars Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha as a young couple entering a passionate, tender relationship in the 1950s, and reconnecting years after they’re separated. Another, YA tearjerker Chemical Hearts, features Lili Reinhart and Austin Abrams as friends who become more and ultimately cope with tragedy. But if you’re in the mood for something a little less serious, Prime also has you covered with recent comedies like The Wedding Year and What Men Want.
No matter how much you’re looking to laugh, cry, or swoon — or any mix of all three — the movies on this list are guaranteed to sweeten your Valentine’s Day weekend.
There’s an immediate connection between aspiring producer Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a saxophonist and new employee at her father’s record store. However, with Robert on the brink of fame and Sylvie engaged to someone else, their passionate, emotional relationship might be doomed from the start. When their paths cross again years later, Sylvie and Robert learn that almost everything has changed — except, evidently, their feelings for each other.
The Wedding Year
Mara (Sarah Hyland) never wants to get married; Jake (Tyler James Williams) is ready to settle down. When their hookup turns into something a little more real, Mara starts to question her own views on relationships… and then wedding season rolls around, stirring up all her old fears and commitment-phobic tendencies. As Mara and Jake attend no less than seven ceremonies, their relationship is put to the test in surprising (and often funny) ways.
What If has a familiar premise: Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) immediately hits it off with Chantry (Zoe Kazan), only to discover she has a serious boyfriend. He decides to pursue a friendship, but as they spend more and more time together, Wallace finds it increasingly difficult to ignore his possibly-requited feelings. What If‘s plot might be straightforward, but the film is full of humour and warmth, and Radcliffe and Kazan shine as one of the most charming, underrated will-they-won’t-they couples in recent rom-com history.
What Men Want
Loosely based on the Nancy Meyers film What Women Want, this movie centres around Ali (Taraji P. Henson), a sports agent who drinks a spiked tea and wakes up with a newfound superpower (curse?) that lets her hear every man’s internal monologue at all times. What Men Want is mostly a comedy — and a mediation on sexism in the workforce and the sports world — but there’s a bit of romance, too, and anything starring Henson is worth the watch.
Lili Reinhart, who also served as executive producer, stars as Grace Town, a grieving new student who finds an unexpected companion in hopeless romantic Henry (Austin Abrams). Naturally, their friendship turns into something more — but Grace is hiding a secret from Henry. Reinhart told Refinery29 that she liked how this film wasn’t just “a niche 16-year-old drama,” but “raw and emotional.”
Set against the backdrop of Christchurch, New Zealand as the city recovers from devastating earthquakes, Eve (Camille Keenan) and Charlie (Dustin Clare), two exes expecting a child, must decide once and for all whether their relationship deserves another shot. This tender film takes place all over the course of one day.
The First Time
Dave (Dylan O’Brien) is seconds away from confessing his love to his best friend at a party. Aubrey (Britt Robertson), who attends a different school, overhears, approaches him, and tells him his technique needs some work. From there, the two end up forming a fast, tender, and genuine connection, and a love story unfolds that all takes place over the course of one weekend.
Based on a classic Sarah Waters novel, this Korean romantic thriller centres around Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim), a Japanese heiress, and Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim), a pickpocket hired by a con man to become Hideko’s handmaid. Although Sook-Hee’s job is to persuade Hideko into marrying the con man, the women’s feelings for each other start to grow in unexpected ways.
In one week, everything changes for carefree Elliot (Jeremy Allen White): he meets Mia (Maika Monroe), a regular at his sandwich shop, and he’s diagnosed with cancer. Elliot suggests Mia leaves him, but instead, she stays — and the two end up connecting on a deep level. When Elliot takes a turn for the better, though, both must confront other issues they’re facing, both as individuals and as a couple.
Say You Will
Another teen drama that might make you cry is Say You Will, a quietly powerful film about Sam (Travis Tope), a teenager trying to move forward and support his mother after his dad’s suicide. When he crashes his late father’s car and racks up debt, he’s forced to get a job at a local video store, where he reconnects with Ellie (Katherine Hughes), his fellow employee and childhood crush.
Here’s a movie to stream if you really feel like sobbing. Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy star in this film based on the true story of director Jonathan Cavendish’s parents. When Robin (Garfield) is hospitalized for polio and told he only has three months to live, he and his wife, Diana (Foy) decide to escape and spend the last moments of Robin’s life raising their son and helping other polio patients.
The Big Sick
Co-written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon and based on their real love story, The Big Sick follows Kumail (Nanjiani), a comedian, and Emily (Zoe Kazan), a grad student, as they quickly fall for each other. They break up just as fast, though, when Emily learns that Kumail’s parents won’t approve of her. But when Emily is diagnosed with a serious lung infection and placed in a medically induced coma, Kumail realizes how important their relationship was.
This romantic dramedy, based on a bestseller by Cecelia Ahern, tells the story of lifelong best friends Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin). Although they’ve been in love for years, a series of miscommunications prevents them from ever addressing their mutual feelings. Alex and Rosie float in and out of each other’s lives, constantly coming back to each other despite a death, an engagement, multiple pregnancies, and a lot of fun, tropey drama.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Nick (Michael Cera) is still reeling from a breakup; meanwhile, music-obsessed Norah (Kat Dennings) is fed up with her friends, especially stuck-up Tris (Alexis Dziena) joking about her single status. Norah pretends Nick’s her boyfriend to prove a point without realizing one small, crucial detail: Tris is the one who broke Nick’s heart. As it turns out, though, the faux pas might actually be the start of something real. There’s only one way for Nick and Norah to find out: embark on a night-long adventure around New York.
This is not exactly a movie to stream if you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted romantic comedy — but if you’re in the mood for star-crossed love, tears, and Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain is perfect. Jake Gyllenhaal and Ledger star as two cowboys who become involved in an emotional, decades-long affair after spending a summer working together on a ranch.
Based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, Juliet, Naked tells the story of Annie (Rose Byrne), a disillusioned woman trapped in an unfulfilling long-term relationship with a man (Chris O’Dowd) whose primary character trait is his obsession with reclusive rocker Tucker Crowe over anything (and everyone) else. When, in a fit of anger, Annie posts a negative review of a Tucker Crowe single, she’s surprised to hear from Tucker himself, and the two start up an ongoing, meaningful correspondence over email.
Letters to Juliet
This Amanda Seyfried flick is one of the most quintessential rom-coms in Amazon Prime‘s library. Sophie (Seyfried), an American in Verona, joins a group of romantics and Shakespeare fanatics who answer questions about love written to Romeo and Juliet‘s Juliet. When she finds a love letter from the ’50s, she decides to find its author (and maybe find love herself along the way).
Love & Friendship
Jane Austen fans, listen up. Love & Friendship isn’t one of the better-known Austen adaptations, but it’s one of the funniest, and available for free on Amazon Prime. Based on Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan, Love & Friendship centres around a widowed woman (Kate Beckinsale) who decides it’s time find a husband — and also someone wealthy suitable for her reluctant daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark).
Joey King shines in this coming-of-age dark comedy about a teenager whose life changes, in more ways than one, after her grandmother, Dotty (June Squibb), dies. On her deathbed, Dotty offers each of her family members some parting revelations and advice. Her last words for King’s Jamie? Instructions for how to give a blowjob. What follows is an unforgettable summer in which Jamie copes with family struggles as she starts up an unexpected romance with a seminary student (Jack Kilmer) and discovers her own sexuality for the first time.
Not Since You
If you’re looking for a film with multiple stories and perspectives (and you’re saving Love, Actually for Christmas), Not Since You, starring Desmond Harrington, Kathleen Robertson, Sara Rue, and more, might be a good bet. A group of college friends who graduated from school in New York in 2011 reunite years later at a wedding, and old relationships, romances, and conflicts are reignited.Credit: Original article published here.