Top Ten Romantic Comedies

Emma Farley


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk

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Guy falls for girl, guy gets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back, usually via a big chase to the right airport just in time for take off. Romantic comedies are usually totally predictable and full of clichés but is there really anything wrong with a film with a happy ending? I think that most of us can agree that love is a bitch (just watch Amores Perros) and relationships are difficult. When we watch a film we want reassurance that everything will work out ok. I may be slightly biased because I absolutely love a good rom-com but after seeing Just Like Heaven at the cinema I went home on a natural high, regardless of how cheesy it was – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! 

The big question on everyone’s lips is ‘what are the ultimate rom-coms?’ If you want a night in with the girls or a last minute gift for your girlfriend, just what is the perfect list to chose from?  In the following top ten list I want to remind you of the forgotten classics and introduce you to some great films that you might not have come across before. A definite must-have is Breakfast At Tiffany’s. It’s got everything you need – a good looking, sensitive, male, love interest; an über-stylish and classy protagonist and plenty of heart-melting and quotable moments. It’s the defining role of Audrey Hepburn’s career and also the most memorable. 

Speaking of Audrey Hepburn, what about the other (not related) Hepburn, Katharine? She starred in many a rom-com, mostly alongside her off-screen lover Spencer Tracy. My favourite of her films has to be The Philadelphia Story in which she appeared opposite other frequent co-star Cary Grant and James Stewart. This film is hilarious but also full of heart. If you take three amazingly versatile actors and add a fantastically witty script you get possibly one of the greatest films ever made. 

Let us continue our trip back in time to the classic Marilyn Monroe films. Sure, she was a bit ditzy in her roles as few people took a chance and gave her serious roles but Some Like It Hot is a favourite among men and women. Usually Monroe was a guy’s girl but here she shows qualities that most of us can relate to – she is looking for a perfect happy ending. Without stereotyping any girls reading this, isn’t that what we all really want? 

It is impossible to talk about romantic comedies without mentioning Working Title. Best known for financing and distributing British rom-coms (usually written by Richard Curtis and starring Hugh Grant), they have had an enormous amount of success with films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary (and the sequel), which all starred Hugh Grant, but my favourite has to be Notting Hill. It stars Hugh Grant  as a divorced bookshop owner who falls for a movie star played by Julia Roberts. Richard Curtis not only creates a beautiful picturesque London but he also gives us hope that we can have a happy-ever-after with the movie star of our dreams – what more can a girl (or guy) want? 

There are many princesses in the rom-com world – Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston – but the gal that really takes the biscuit is Hollywood starlet Meg Ryan and the crème de la crème of her romantic pairings is with Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. It is probably the ultimate romantic comedy – a barrel of laughs and soft and cuddly without being a total slush fest. 

Of course there is many a branch on the rom-com tree and I think that the Farrelly Brothers’s There’s Something About Mary is a worthy contender. Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon star in this laugh-a-minute gross-out rom-com. Men and women alike cringe in the bathroom scene (you know the one I’m talking about). 

Now, Lost in Translation was a bit hard for me to categorize but I think it is fair to call it a chick-flick, so I’ll include it here. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson are the unlikely couple who show us what it is like to meet someone and really connect without sex being any kind of an issue. It is guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear. 

There are many rom-coms that are far from being spectacular pieces of filmmaking but some are perfect for an entertaining two hours, like Down With Love. Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor star in a film set in 1970s New York. Everything about it is appealing – the acting talent, the witty screenplay, the costumes, the set design, the music… I won’t go on. Just see it for yourself. 

Dawson’s Creek writer and producer Greg Berlanti wrote a romantic comedy in the 90s called The Broken Hearts Club. Starring Zach Braff, Dean Caine and Timothy Olyphant, it follows a group of gay friends as they fall in and out of love. Whether you’re male or female, gay or straight, it’s bound to make you feel good about yourself at the end of a long, hard day. 

So, if you’ve done your maths right, you’ll see that we still have one more film to go and its got to be Amélie. Audrey Tatout plays Amélie, a young woman who spends her life trying to make other people happy. One day, when she least expects it, she falls in love hard and fast and tries to focus on herself for a change. It is beautiful both visually and in its narrative. 

There you have it. The must have list. Just don’t forget the jumbo bar of chocolate and bottle of wine!

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