Play Hard

12 romantic films to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day

Written by High Life North
Published 14.02.2020

By Christopher Kingston

Whether you’re happily coupled up or flying the flag for single women everywhere, there’s no denying the power of a good romantic film. They can restore faith in love in even the most cynical of hearts, or remind us that true love is hard work and a bit messy and sometimes isn’t worth the hassle. It doesn’t matter if you’re spending Valentine’s night in with your other half, grabbing your closest friends for a girls’ night in with plenty of wine, or cuddling up with the cat – whatever you’re up to, make sure you get these movies queued up.

The Notebook 

Based on the book of the same name by the king of romantic fiction Nicholas Sparks, this one has become a modern classic. What could be better than seeing Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams fall in love? Even if we have seen it many times before.

A Star is Born 

Bradley Cooper never fails to get our attention, so when we heard he was going to be not only directing, but starring in a film with none other than Lady Gaga, we knew it would be a firm favourite. Their chemistry is off the charts, and the music and lyrics have been playing non-stop since the film premiered – and how could we forget that Oscars performance?


An oldie but a goodie, Titanic is a romantic classic. Early 90s Leo will always have a special place in our hearts, and the love between him and Kate Winslet still gives us chills (pardon the pun). Despite the heart-breaking ending, Titanic will always be a timeless classic and the ultimate love story.


Based on the novel of the same name, Carol gives us a dramatic insight into what it was like to be gay in the 50s. Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett are incredible at depicting the drama and darkness that comes from forbidden love, and it’s easy to see why it was nominated for almost every award going with this beautiful depiction of just how far the world has come when it comes to love.

Dirty Dancing 

No romantic movie list would be complete without this gem. Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze’s chemistry lights up the screen, and who can forget that famous lift at the end that has been replicated at many a wedding, prom and slightly drunken date night ever since. (We do feel obliged to warn you not to try it – it never ends as well as you think).

La La Land

Ryan Gosling (a staple of all romantic films) plays Sebastian, a struggling Jazz musician who meets Mia (Emma Stone) a struggling actress. Set in Los Angeles, this is a homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The Shape of Water 

Bear with us here – this one might sound a little odd. It’s definitely dark and twisty, but it does in-fact centre on a romance between a woman (Sally Hawkins) and a dark, human-amphibian creature. We did warn you this was a strange one, but the visual effects are stunning and the story is shockingly compelling – you’ll definitely find yourself invested in this love story.

Call me by your Name 

Timothee Chalamet is the film world’s current shining star, and his depiction of Elio in Call Me By Your Name is no exception. This coming of age film shows first loves and deep romance, all whilst set in the incredible Italian Riviera.

Brokeback Mountain 

“I wish I knew how to quit you….” Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal play cowboys who slowly but surely fall for each other in this critically acclaimed movie. Widely credited with advancing queer cinema, Brokeback Mountain is beautiful and powerful, with impressive performances from both leads.


We needed to include an absolute classic in this list, and what could be more of a classic than a love story set in World War 2? Regarded as one of the greatest love stories of all time, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman play Rick and Ilsa, distant lovers who are reunited – in an iconic gin bar no less. Perfect for a rainy afternoon or a cosy evening in – even the most anti-romantic will be hard-pressed to not enjoy this.

When Harry met Sally 

Romance with a healthy dose of comedy, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal make this 80s movie equal parts charming, heart-warming and fun. We will never forget that iconic “I’ll have what she’s having scene” – I think we’ll have whatever it is too.

Notting Hill  

You really can’t go wrong with anything vaguely romantic that stars Hugh Grant. Four Weddings and a Funeral is another 90s Hugh classic, and both were directed by Richard Curtis, arguably the master of the British rom-com. It gave us one of our all-time favourite lines, too “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” – we’d be lying if we said we hadn’t imagined ourselves saying those exact words once or twice in our life.

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