There’s never a shortage of romantic movies – but a smart one is hard to come by.
Most romantic comedies follow one formula: conventionally attractive man and woman hate each other, they’re forced to spend time together, have a misunderstanding, get over said misunderstanding, realise they love each other, live happily ever after and then Kate Hudson makes two million dollars.
But once in a while, Hollywood delivers a love story with complex characters and a gripping storyline. Because god forbid I have to watch another romantic comedy where a beautiful actress on plays a ‘relatable’ character who falls over everywhere she goes.
1. When Harry met Sally (1989)
This was the movie that certified Meg Ryan's spot as the romantic comedy darling - and for good reason.
Written by Nora Ephron, a neurotic, iconic, smart New Yorker, the character Sally, shared Ephron's neurosis and didn't need to fall over everywhere to seem relatable - like most of the romantic comedies written today.
2. Bridget Jones Diary (2001)
Not only is Bridget Jones a relatable character, she is the 'relatable character'.
This movie is as much about Bridget learning to love herself, than it is her falling in love with Colin Firth's Marc Darcy. Not only is the writing smart and funny, but it has Colin Firth playing Mr Darcy again.
3. Pretty Woman (1990)
Director Garry Marshall may have betrayed us by giving us Valentines Day and New Years Eve (Big mistake, huge!), but he's also responsible for Princess Diaries, Beaches and Runaway Bride.
Throughout the movie, Julia Roberts (a prostitute and this movie has always been controversial because of that) discovers her worth. Although Richard Gere acts as her white knight at the end when he comes by her apartment with his limousine to "rescue" her - Julia Roberts actually rescues herself.
If you don't believe me, ask Billy Eichner:
4. Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca is an oldie that lasts through the ages. Unlike most old movies: it's fast paced. Like Inception, it has you arguing with your friends about what the ending meant. Plus, you can act smug and cultured when you tell your friends you watched Casablanca over the weekend.
5. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Not only does it acknowledge how bloody annoying weddings can be, it was the first major romantic movie that featured a homosexual relationship. Also, it stars Hugh Grant in all his bumbling, school boy charm and glory.
6. Love Actually (2003)
Forget decorating the Christmas tree or sitting on Santa's lap – watching Love Actually is the quintessential Christmas activity. It's been thirteen years since I first watched it in the cinema and I still can't believe Alan Rickman betrayed Emma Thompson like that.
The only thing you can fault Love Actually for is inspiring the American movies Valentines Day and New Years Eve.
7. Knocked Up (2007)
This isn't your typical romantic comedy - but that's it's charm. It features real relationships and hilarious dialogue. My favourite being: "Marriage is like an unfunny, tense version of Everybody Loves Raymond. But it doesn't last 22 minutes, it lasts forever."
8. Notting Hill (1999)
Sure, she was a superstar actress, but Julia Roberts was really just a girl, standing in front a of a boy asking him to love her. When it comes to formulated romantic comedies - this one takes the cake. But the film makes up for it when it comes to the amazing dinner party scenes, and any moment with Spike, the roommate and real star of the movie.
9. The Notebook (2004)
So smart isn't the first adjective used to describe The Notebook. However, it's scientifically confirmed (according to me), that if you don't cry while you watch this movie: you have no soul. Also, it has Ryan Gosling in a wet t-shirt, which makes for highly intellectual viewing.
10. Adventureland (2009)
Set in the 1980's middle America, Adventureland is an underrated independent movie with fantastically written characters played by Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds. The real selling point is Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader playing married co-workers in amazeballs 1980's outfits.
So there you have it, a list of romantic comedies that have you can laugh along with - not at.