When all of the perforations have been torn, the candy hearts bagged, and you turn your mind to more grown-up versions of Valentine’s Day while shaking glitter out of your hair, staying in may just come to mind.
Full disclosure: I have never enjoyed V-day. It’s on my list of “fake holidays that aren’t really a holiday but I have to do a bunch of stuff to pretend to celebrate.” I never enjoyed the pressure of it, right back to paper mailboxes and choosing the right pre-printed Valentine phrases to either encourage or discourage potential paramours (which is probably why the "I Love Lisa" episode of The Simpsons is my favourite V-Day tale).
This Sweet Love Note From a 4-year-old Says It All
I do enjoy love, and think it should be celebrated year-round, so here’s my list of great movies that celebrate love - of all kinds. And a few that celebrate the sisterhood instead, just in case it’s one of those years.
Whether you want to feel like you’re cramming because you didn’t read that whole Shakespeare play like you were supposed to and the midterm is tomorrow, or you were an English major, these versions of the Bard’s romances range from pleasant diversion to three-hankie weepers:
Can Kids Even Understand Shakespeare?
Much Ado About Nothing: try the 1993 version with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh (and the worst performance Keanu Reeves has ever given) for period feel, or the 2012 version by Joss Whedon for a film school feel.
Romeo and Juliet: Baz Luhrman’s version, hankies down, every time. It’s perfect. I remember seeing it in the theatre and being so invested and crying so hard I just had to sit quietly after the credits rolled to compose myself. Hubs swears he was so invested he thought that it might turn out differently at the end.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: 1999 version with Stanley Tucci as Puck. Sometimes it feels good to believe faeries may be interfering in your love life. This play also spawned the adorable quotation you see everywhere right now: “…though she be but little, she is fierce.”
Mama Mia: The musical farce soaked in ABBA is a silly romp about Meryl Streep getting her groove back, filmed on the Greek island of Skopelos, and features teal blue ocean waters, sun, and pretty much everything February in Canada is not.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back: I could recover from just about anything in Montego Bay, heartbreak included. Hot island boyfriend qualities/quantities may vary IRL.
French Kiss: If you have never seen this overlooked rom-com gem with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, it's just funny enough to excuse how adorable it is, and the globe-trotting plot featuring Paris and vineyards is swoon-worthy scenery.
Gone With the Wind: Clark Gable could heat all of Canada with the steam he generates with Vivien Leigh. And an outfit made from velvet drapes makes way more sense this time of year.
Outrageous Fortune: Bette Midler and Shelley Long team up in this women-scorned adventure that is the cool older sister of the current raunchy female buddy comedies.
First Wives Club: Bette again (she radiates strength!), this time forming a revenge-minded club with Goldie Hawn and Dianne Keaton.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Because who doesn’t want to believe in a magical pair of pants that fits everyone in a way that is flattering to their behinds? Oh, and friends. Ya gotta have friends.
Happy "Love Whatever You Wanna Love" Day!