Let’s be real, whether you’re coupled up for Valentine’s Day or not, there’s only one thing true at this time of year. Love in the movies is always better than real life. Sorry to any exes out there… But a good romantic-comedy will always trigger butterflies like nothing else.
There’s a certain magic about these films which real (is there such a thing?) love can’t replicate. Perhaps it’s because often what we see on film, we will never experience ourselves. There are very few things more romantic than the escapism which film brings us. But let us not forget how this magic is created… Oh yes, THE SOUNDTRACK.
Movie soundtracks are so underrated for the nostalgia they bring. With the tap of a Spotify playlist, you gain the ability to escape mundanity and enter full main character mode. Teleportation is less impossible and more possible with a good soundtrack. There’s no better time to tap into this power than this Valentine’s Day.
So, let’s begin and allow us to be your mode of transportation towards romance this weekend.
1. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
This is a controversial opinion, but someone needs to say it, this sequel is even better than the original. I know, I know, I know… A personal identity crisis occurred when this opinion formed in my brain but then with a quick Google search, it all made sense. Richard Curtis, aka the king of screenwriting rom-coms wrote this sequel. And thank god he did. He defied science by creating the only sequel ever to bring more joy than its predecessor. Perhaps it’s our yearning to be young Donna’s best friend or the performance of ‘Why Did It Have to Be Me’ on Bill’s yacht… Either way, the entire soundtrack of this film will make you want to do nothing except for runaway to Greece and fall in love with three different people.
2. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
A bold second choice and technically not a rom-com but Call Me By Your Name has got to be one of the most romantic movies to ever grace the screens. It’s arrived early on this list because the heartbreak after listening to its soundtrack might be too severe. It’s not all tragedy however, a clear highlight is The Psychedelic Furs’ ‘Love My Way’. This track’s feature in the film is sure to get you on the dancefloor. And whether that dancefloor be in the club or simply putting on your best attire to dance around your bedroom in… There’s no better time than Valentine’s Day to show love to yourself.
3. Someone Great (2019)
Netflix have certainly released some questionable and corny rom-coms of late… But credit is certainly due to their defense for reviving the rom-com genre from the dead. Someone Great is severely underrated as it makes the genre current, without being disgustingly cheesy (thank god). One scene stands out where the main character, Jenny, scrolls through old social media posts of her ex and ‘Supercut’ by Lorde plays. But that’s not all. Contrast this with another music highlight of when Jenny raps by herself whilst crying in her kitchen to ‘Truth Hurts’ by Lizzo. And that is how you make a rom-com modern!
4. Notting Hill (1999)
Are you fantasizing this Valentine’s Day about a famous/yet still kind of in arm’s reach person? Well then, Notting Hill is THE film for you. With a plot centred around a famous American movie star and an ordinary Englishman (note: this is a lie – young Hugh Grant is extraordinary) who fall in love, it’s pure perfection. And might I add, it is another one of Richard Curtis’ spells of screenwriting. When I first watched this film, I was so bewitched, I daydreamed about the plot happening to me, except for with Harry Styles for about 3 years… Alongside this, its soundtrack is oh-so-90s. Just watch the scene where ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ by Rona Keating for the couple’s first kiss and try not to swoon.
5. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
We all know the scene. Heath Ledger’s character, Patrick singing ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ to his love interest, Kat is a cinema classic. The best thing about this movie though is how bloody great both of the in-love characters are. There’s a part of me which crushes more on Kat than Patrick. She’s just so cool. Listening to this soundtrack makes you feel that cool, it places you into the body of a 90s skater, running late for class… All without the danger of actually breaking something whilst skating, god the power of music!
6. Love, Rosie (2014)
Whenever life throws a giant rock of heartbreak, this film always provides free therapy. It upholds the rom-com fairytale ending. And although, most of our unrequited loves will probably never show up unannounced, sometimes you need that hope. It’s the kind of hope which leads you to call every magazine stockists in Auckland to find the Harry Styles issue of Vogue… Anyways, Lily Allen’s feature on this soundtrack is so brilliant. When lead character, Rosie gets married to an evil boyfriend, ‘Littlest Things’ plays. But when – spoiler– she finds out he’s cheating, ‘F*** You’ plays. Ah, it really is the little things in life.
7. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (2008)
This one is such an oldie but a goodie. Film snobs are always talking about what makes a timeless classic and they’re always referring to obscure arthouse films but… My evidence for Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging being one is that a decade on, it’s just as funny and heartwarming. Plus, the cat is still as cute. The soundtrack is full of English indie-pop hits and more importantly, Peter Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’, aka the anthem to Gossip Girl (RIP to its Netflix presence </3). There is one tragedy to its soundtrack however, the fictional band, The Stiff Dylans in the film are actually fictional. Sigh, just listen to ‘Ultraviolet’ right here and you will understand.
8. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
As one of the first mainstream rom-coms with Asian representation, this film broke boundaries. And it was certainly not going to stop there, one of the stories behind its multilingual soundtrack is worth its own public holiday. Director, Jon M. Chu wrote a personal letter to the members of Coldplay asking to use their song ‘Yellow’, in a bid to reclaim the slur often used against Asians. And with their permission, this allowed for the Mandarin version which is featured in the film. And hey, if that doesn’t make your heart swell big enough this Valentines… Take yourself to the hospital because you might not have one.
9. Letters to Juliet (2010)
If a film begins with playing Colbie Caillat, it’s always going to be a winner. And if you’re unaware of who Colbie Caillat is, let me remind you of that phase in the early 2000s… One where beachy-ukulele-pop-bopping-songs such as Jason Mraz’ ‘I’m Yours’ were topping the charts. That’s where Miss Caillat had her hit ‘Bubbly’. Anyways, ukuleles aside, Colbie’s hit ‘You Got Me’ sets the perfect tone for the film’s dreamy setting in Italy. If Italy didn’t raise your senses enough, ‘Love Story’ by our lover Taylor Swift also features… And might I just add, fitting one particular scene better than Cinderella’s glass slipper!
10. Lady Bird (2017)
Before all the film critics argue against this being an indie film rather than a rom-com, let me break the myth, there are no blue-prints nowadays. It’s all about how a movie makes you feel. And like our first feature of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the main protagonist, Christine in Lady Bird has three loves. Two dumb boys and most importantly, her damn self. So yes, this is classified a rom-com. The highlight of the Lady Bird soundtrack is when the Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Crash Into Me’ plays. It’s art in the background as Christine reunites with her best friend, rather than her two love interests.
Lady Bird gives a rom-com worthy ending to this Valentine’s Day list because all in all, it’s just simply a day to show love.
Check out more perfect Valentines Day love songs here: