Mark Twain once said, “Write what you know.” Well after spending 22 of my 27 years on this planet as a single woman, one thing I definitely know about is rom-coms.
As much as I have tried to dislike romantic comedies, I just can’t. Yes, rom-coms are often clichéd and always cheesy, but that’s part of the appeal! When so much of life is unpredictable, there’s comfort to be found in a predictable boy-meets-girl love story. What can I say? I’m a sucker for happy endings, the more unrealistic the better.
The right rom-com can cure your heartbreak and restore your faith in love, all in under 120 minutes running time. It’s quicker and cheaper than therapy and there’s usually a dreamy male protagonist to remind you why you should never settle for second-best.
So, whether you have sworn off mediocre men or are yearning for some lockdown lovin’, these 10 chick flicks are definitely worth a watch.
1. 10 Things I Hate About You
Of course my favourite film had to be first on this list. For any Shakespeare fans out there, 10 Things I Hate About You is a very liberal adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. In their attempts to date pretty, popular girl Bianca Stratford, three boys pay the school’s resident bad boy Patrick to date her sister Kat.
What teenage girl didn’t watch this flick and fall madly in love with Heath Ledger, while simultaneously wishing they could be a bad-ass like Kat Stratford?!
2. Bridget Jones’ Diary
Every woman in her 20s or 30s has felt like Bridget Jones at some point in their lives. As the most relatable heroine in rom-com history, Bridget Jones provides hilarity and cringe in equal measures as she finds herself caught up in possibly the most British love triangle of all time with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Some might say that Hugh and Colin are past their prime in the looks department, but I’m not convinced – there’s just something about Colin Firth in an ugly Christmas jumper that I can’t resist.
3. She’s All That
Zack Siler and Laney Boggs are the ultimate popular guy and nerdy girl pairing. After his girlfriend leaves him for a reality TV star, Zack makes a bet with his friend that he can transform the nerdiest girl in school into a prom queen. For those of you who aren’t already aware, in the rom-com universe ‘nerdy’ is really just code for a girl who looks like a model but happens to wear glasses. Nevertheless, I still love Laney’s makeover reveal and the chemistry between this couple is great.
4. Easy A
When Olive lies to her best friend about losing her virginity, rumours quickly spread around school and a web of lies ensues.
Even if you don’t typically like rom-coms, you should watch Easy A. The whole film is hilarious from start to finish, thanks to a fantastic cast and Emma Stone’s flawless comic timing. I guarantee you’ll be quoting this film for weeks after watching it.
Also Penn Badgley, of Gossip Girl and You fame, stars as Olive’s love interest and the great news is he’s back to playing a character who isn’t a serial killing psychopath, so it’s totally acceptable to fantasise about him again.
I fully acknowledge that I am probably one of the only people on this planet to find Amy Schumer funny but I really liked this film. I laughed a lot. The storyline follows promiscuous, commitment-phone Amy as she copes with her first ever serious relationship.
Regardless of whether you like Amy Schumer or not, it is refreshing to see an average-looking woman on screen for a change and it definitely makes the film more relatable.
6. Bend it like Beckham
Jess is a talented footballer who finds herself torn between her family and the sport she loves. The romance in this film definitely feels more like a side story rather than the central plot, but it works well. A feel-good story with lots of memorable moments and some brilliant quotes (“Lesbian? I thought she was Pisces!”)
I challenge any woman or gay man to not develop a crush on Jess’ coach Joe by the end of this film.
7. She’s the Man
This is another Shakespeare-inspired film, based on the play Twelfth Night. Viola disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian so she can progress her football skills at a new school. Naturally, she ends up falling for her brother’s hunky roommate played by Channing Tatum.
Rom-coms where the main character has to go undercover or conceal their true identity are definitely overdone and yet I still can’t get enough of them.
8. A Cinderella Story
This film single-handedly got me through my awkward teenage years. Are we really expected to believe that Chad Michael Murray couldn’t recognise Hilary Duff in that flimsy eye mask? Maybe he missed his last optician’s appointment, who knows. Questionable eye sight aside, I love Austin and Sam together and my heart skips a beat every time I watch that scene at the football match in the rain.
Make sure you prepare yourself for some hefty early-2000s nostalgia in this film, with a romance developed entirely through texts on flip phones and instant messaging that will take you back to your MSN days.
9. The Proposal
The most far-fetched storyline of them all. In a world where the boss you hate asks you to marry them so they can get a visa and for some bizarre reason you say yes, Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock make an amazing couple and have lots of chemistry onscreen.
The thought of a love-hate relationship in real life is my worst nightmare, but I can’t help but enjoy this dynamic in romantic comedies. When it’s done well, it’s so much fun to watch!
10. Drive Me Crazy
Ah, the classic fake relationship set-up where the two main characters have no choice but to pretend to everyone that they’re romantically involved in order to solve a problem, conveniently overlooking the hundred or so more straightforward solutions they could have considered.
I only discovered this gem a couple of years ago, but I would definitely recommend it. Melissa Joan Hart is adorable and very likeable as Nicole, and if you have a weakness for cute guys with curly-hair, this film is a must-see.
How many of the films on this list have you already seen? What is your go-to rom-com when you’re in the mood for a laugh or a cry? Let me know your recommendations.