To me, there is nothing more relaxing than popping in a romantic comedy with a glass of wine or some pizza + escaping into the lives of the movie’s characters. Rom-com, also known as chick flicks, is an underappreciated genre of film. Are they predictable and sometimes sappy? Yes! That is why we love them so much. My boyfriend says I don’t like to watch movies I haven’t seen. It’s not that I don’t like new films; it’s that after a long day of work, I want to watch something easy + that I know will have a happy ending. Chick flicks almost always offer that. So here is my ultimate list of rom-coms every millennial should watch.
Audrey Hepburn may one of the first darlings of romantic comedies. Movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s + Roman Holiday are classics that everyone should watch at least once. Another film from that same era that is a must-watch is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. They also say The Graduate + Love Story are classics, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Most people may not consider the late 80s/90s a “classic” time period, but in the rom-com world, it was the start of some great movies. Meg Ryan was killing the game with You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and Sleepless in Seattle. The Joy Luck Club, Dirty Dancing, What Women Want, and Fried Green Tomatoes were lighting up the big screen. Arguably the biggest chick flick of all time, Titanic, also came out during this time period. And you can’t forget While You Were Sleeping and Picture Perfect. This era has so many movies that should be on your rom-com watch list.
Nicholas Sparks Classics
When talking about classics, we can’t forget the kind of romantic comedies, Nicholas Sparks. His movies + books have been enchanting women for decades. Since they are all fantastic, I’ll encourage you to watch my top 4: The Notebook, Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember, and Dear John. These films are wonderfully written + wonderfully cast.
Julia Roberts Movies
If Julia Roberts isn’t the queen of the modern romantic comedy then I’m not sure who is. I could create a whole rom-com watch list based on her. She plays fierce, independent women in films like Pretty Woman + Erin Brockovich. And makes you cry in Steel Magnoilias+ Stepmom. You can also be challenged by films like Eat, Pray, Love + Mona Lisa Smiles. One of her most popular chick flicks is My Best Friend’s Wedding, however, I am not a fan of this film + want to know why no one cares Kimberly is throwing her future away for before-his-prime Dermot Mulroney.
Girl Power Films
Julia may have some great girl power movies under her belt, but she isn’t the only one. Legally Blonde + Wonder Woman are certainly just as inspiring. Miss Congeniality, which stars another rom-com queen is also a great contender to see a lead kick some butt. If you want to see some strong friends help left each other up, check out Sex in the City. There is also He’s Just Not That Into You + How to Be Single, two of my faves written by Busy Phillips’ hubby, Marc Silverstein. While not conventional “girl power” films, I am always inspired by 27 Dresses + Julie & Julia.
High School Darlings
When I was in high school, it felt like chick flicks were in their prime. While there aren’t a ton of rom-coms featuring high school kids, there are some great ones out there. The 80s brought us the Mollie Ringwald special with 16 Candles (somewhat problematic) + Pretty in Pink. The 90s/early 00s brought Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Love and Basketball, and Bring it On! Later in the decade we got instant classics like Mean Girls, She’s the Man, Easy A, and basically all of Hillary Duffs films.
Golden Era of Rom Coms
As I mentioned earlier, romantic comedies enjoyed a golden period when I was in high school. During my college years + early 20s, the films seemed to take a back seat to other genres, but I think the 2000s gave us enough quality to last until their recent re-emergence. They offered some great life lessons as well. While there are so many good choices, these are ten that I think should be on your rom-com watch list.
- Bridget Jones (all three)
- A Lot Like Love
- Devil Wears Prada
- Fever Pitch
- 13 Going on 30
- How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
- Sweet Home Alabama
- The Wedding Planner
- Two Weeks Notice
- Uptown Girls
Once the 2010s hit, there was somewhat of a lull in the high-quality chick flicks of the oughts, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t films to add to your rom-com watch list. Two of my favorite movies to come out in this period were Crazy, Stupid Love + The Vow. You also can’t forget dueling FWB films, Friends with Benefits + No Strings Attached. There were also the tearjerkers like The Time Traveler’s Wife, One Day, About Time, and The Big Sick.
Rom-coms with travel
Movies, like other art, can really inspire travel. Whether films are set in other places or just involve travel, it’s hard *not* to want to spend your next paycheck on airfare. Letters to Juliet + Under the Tuscan Sun had us packing our bags for Italy while Crazy Rich Asians has us heading over to Singapore. The Wedding Date (starring IN his prime Dermot Mulroney) + The Holiday had us jet setting to the UK, as did Love Actually, with a detour to France. The films with the biggest impact on my travel bug were Mamma Mia + P.S. I Love You. Greece + Ireland top my list.
Any rom-com watch list would not be complete without movies set in other times. Jane Austen would have no doubt been the highest paid chick flick author of all time if she’d been born in the 20th/21st century. Speaking of Austen, Becoming Jane is a top period rom-coms. Obviously, Kiera Knightley owns this genre with Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina, and Atonement. Dive into pre-Goop Gweynth Paltrow to check out Emma + Shakespeare in Love. You can’t leave Les Miserables + Marie Antoinette out of this conversation, either.
No matter what was on your rom-com watch list before, you have at least a few more movies to see now. Get watching!