Some romantic films spark fantasies of finding your happy ending. Others take you through the emotional ups and downs of falling in love. The most magical of all transport you to a new life. This list of our favorite romantic comedies crosses decades and continents and leaves us thinking of one thing only — our next destination.
6. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Meg Ryan is a strong contender for queen of the 90s rom-com and Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks. But what we like most about Sleepless is how it romanticizes going the distance for love — literally. From Baltimore to a Seattle houseboat to the top of the Empire State on Valentine’s Day, writer and director Nora Ephron sends her characters coast to coast and back again for a chance at true love. This film could be a love letter to the red-eye flight.
5. Leap Year (2010)
Set your reminders. Once every four years, in anticipation of Leap Day, Amy Adams is defrosted and the world is permitted to enjoy a depiction of rural Ireland as if it were still 1956. From Dingle to Dublin via country roads and several pubs, we have to admit that this isn’t a bad travel ad for the Emerald Isle. We would be remiss if we didn’t give an honorable mention at this point to Gerard Butler’s startling attempt at an Irish accent in P.S. I Love You.
4. La La Land (2016)
La La Land opens with a scene that is quintessentially Los Angeles: a highway traffic jam. This is the site of our stars’ first fraught encounter and a metaphor for the film to come — both are stuck in artistic dead ends. As they try to help each other unlock their futures, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling sing and dance us around LA. We’re taken to Warner Bros. Studios, the Griffith Observatory, and Mount Hollywood Drive for that iconic tap dance as the sun sets on the city below. “Not much to look at, huh?”
3. Moonstruck (1987)
Nicolas Cage and Cher. We repeat: Nicolas Cage and Cher. That’s Academy Award for Best Actress winner Cher to you — for her performance in this very film as a bookkeeper from Brooklyn Heights. The course of true love doesn’t run smoothly for Loretta and Ronny, Cher and Cage’s star-crossed Italian-American lovers. Primarily because Loretta is engaged to Ronny’s older brother: Johnny. In the midst of the melodrama, there’s always a charm to the Brooklyn backdrop. And you can’t help but wish it were you being whisked off to moonlit Manhattan for a night at the Met Opera.
2. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
It would be a bold statement to say that BJD put London on the map. But BJD put London on the map. We can’t think of a single other film set in the city. (Notting Who?) All else is eclipsed by American actress Renée Zellweger’s English mess Bridget Jones. Nostalgic since the day of its release, watching Bridget bumble through London life captures all the irreverence of noughties Brit culture. From her Borough Market flat above The Globe Tavern to the Kensington Gardens brawl between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. We’d follow in Bridget’s footsteps any day.
1. Roman Holiday (1953)
What’s more Rome than a Vespa police chase? What’s more romantic than a kiss after a midnight dip in the Tiber River? And what’s more relatable than a princess escaping the responsibilities of royal life? The cute bizarreries of Audrey Hepburn’s films are exactly why we love them so much. Gregory Peck might question, “Well life isn’t always what one likes, is it?” But for a 118-minute romp around black-and-white Rome, we get to indulge in the fantasy that it could be anything and everything we like, and more.
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