A rom-com review: top ten rom-coms to watch

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A still from the 1989 film "When Harry Met Sally." Photo from imdb.com.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I will count down some of my favorite romantic comedies. Before I start gushing about James Marsden, I wanted to clarify a common definition of what a rom-com is. Usually, the narrative is light-hearted, mainly focused on a protagonist finding love. I also want to acknowledge that historically, the romantic comedy genre is not diverse. Most of my top rom-coms feature white heterosexual relationships, and this is something I hope changes as the genre progresses. Note that these are my personal favorites, so before you get mad on YikYak, hear me out! 

10. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (rom 8/10, com 10/10)

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is one of my absolute favorite rom-coms, mostly because there is no stressful relationship arc. The conflicts follow Toula Portokalos’s hilarious and wonderful family as both she and them try to navigate her newfound romance with John Corbett’s character, Ian Miller. 

9. “Enchanted” (rom 10/10, com 10/10)

“How do you know” it’s one of the best rom-coms? With a killer musical soundtrack, the stunning beauty of the cast and amazing chemistry between the couple, “Enchanted” is fantastic. Also, it completely goes against the tropes of regular Disney films. The princess is the hero in this one, true love is a bit more realistic and James Marsden as the prince defies any expectations anyone had for this film. 

8. “The Big Sick” (rom 9/10, com 8/10)

Many people may argue that “The Big Sick” isn’t exactly a romantic comedy, mostly because you’re left sobbing halfway through the movie. But the chemistry between Kumail Ali Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan is wonderful, and the fact that it’s based on Nanjiani’s real marriage is just the icing on the cake. Scenes that live rent-free in my mind: “Four cheese slices on a burger,” and “I’m overwhelmed by you.” I’m overwhelmed by the humor and the heart of this film, and I highly recommend it. 

7. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (rom, 10/10, com 8/10)

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” has it all: fake dating tropes, a comforting aesthetic and the hope that all of us can find our own Peter Kavinksy, or Lara Jean (whichever way you swing). You can tell the first film is directed by a woman compared to the following sequels, though I do appreciate the soundtrack of the final installment (I highly recommend “The Greeting Committee”). The characters are funny and relatable, and the love confession scene is one of my absolute favorites. 

6. “The Princess Bride” (rom 9/10, com 11/10)

“The Princess Bride” not on this list? Inconceivable! This is one of my favorite films of all time, and yes, I count it as a romantic comedy. The campy humor, iconic lines (“My name is Inigo Montoya”) and the kiss that leaves all other pure, passionate kisses behind makes me swoon. 

5. “10 Things I Hate About You” (rom 8/10, com 8/10)

“10 Things I Hate About You” is a classic hit now. With a young Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon Levitt, the film is a funny, cute and campy ride. Based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” the movie is so comforting to me. Go watch if you haven’t!

4. “27 Dresses” (rom 10/10, com 9/10)

Although Rotten Tomatoes has given “27 Dresses” 40 percent, I give it 100 percent and that’s what matters. The iconic “Bennie And The Jets” scene, the ugly dress montage and of course, James Marsden, make this one of my comfort romantic comedies. Not to mention the soundtrack (Corinne Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” Chaka Khan), the film follows a girl who has been a bridesmaid almost 27 times and a journalist who tries to write an article on this sensation. You can guess what happens… 

3. “What If (The F Word)” (rom 10/10, com 9/10)

In my opinion, this is a very underrated rom-com. Featuring Zoe Kazan and Daniel Radcliffe, it focuses on two people who try to be friends amidst the girl’s existing romantic relationship. The banter is incredibly witty and quick, the cinematography is beautiful and the soundtrack is so fun. It makes me want to try fool’s gold, which you can only know after watching the film.

2. “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (rom 10/10, com 10/10)

I re-watched “Bridget Jones’s Diary” recently, and I forgot how much I love this rom-com. It’s a modern retelling of the OG rom-com: “Pride and Prejudice.” Two hot men: Colin Firth and Hugh Grant and one hot woman: Renee Zellweger loosely reenact Jane Austen’s novel in a modern setting. Jones is a delightfully awkward and funny character, and it’s shown in one of the first scenes when she lip-syncs Jamie O’Neal’s “All By Myself.” One of the most iconic fight scenes in cinema history appears in this movie, and by the time we start to root for Colin Firth’s character, I’m already enamored with the winter vibes of this movie. It is funny and heartwarming— can’t recommend it enough. 

1. “When Harry Met Sally” (rom 10/10, com 10/10)

No one should be surprised that “When Harry Met Sally” is number one. It had to be this one. It is the quintessential, must-watch rom-com. First of all, the jazzy soundtrack makes you want to stroll through New York with headphones and dance to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald songs. The chemistry, the famous lines, “I’ll have what she’s having” and the cast of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, truly makes this movie. While it does ask an outdated question, “Can men and women truly be friends[?],” this rom-com is like a warm cup of tea on a rainy day. If you haven’t watched it, what are you waiting for? 

Additional reporting by Rebecca Salkin ‘24

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