Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (2024)

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (1)

(from left) Greta Lee, John Magaro and Teo Yoo in "Past Lives."


Like so many other holidays, Valentine’s Day can evoke a staggeringly wide range of feelings.

The good news: Whether you lean in to the romance of it all or run screaming from it, there’s a movie out there for you.

In light of the very subjective nature of this red heart-drenched day, here’s a list of mood-specific film recommendations that are sure to scratch whatever itch you might be feeling.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, watch ‘An Affair to Remember’

Starting off with a true classic, this 1957 gem starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr provided the DNA for many a Hollywood romance to follow, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” featuring unofficial rom-com queen Meg Ryan.

If you hate the whole concept of Valentine’s Day, watch ‘True Romance’ or ‘Heathers’

If you’re feeling like you need a little bit of die-for-you action to get you through the day – or just the terrific sonic offerings of a Hans Zimmer score – flip on the Quentin Tarantino-written “True Romance.” Not your speed? Try 80s treasure “Heathers,” an excellent parable for anyone who’s fallen for the bad boy, and a good guide on how to maintain your humor (however macabre) throughout.

If your dream partner is someone who must be ready to die for you, literally, watch ‘The Bodyguard’

While the romantic pairing of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner is often upstaged by that song (yes, the Dolly Parton-penned “I Will Always Love You” that Houston took and made soar), the sweeping 1992 movie itself is the perfect mix of danger, passion and pizzazz that has aged incredibly well.

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (2)

Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in "The Bodyguard."

If you’re feeling more in love with food than with people, watch ‘Like Water for Chocolate’

This truly sumptuous fable, based on the beloved novel by Laura Esquivel, blends the passion people feel for food with what they feel for each other, and the combination is nothing short of an exquisite feast.

If your holiday of choice is Galentine’s Day, watch ‘Girls Trip’

Claiming the “buddy comedy” for the ladies like “Bridesmaids” before it, “Girls Trip” hilariously showcases the beauty and strength of sisterhood above even romantic bonds, and you’ll no doubt laugh while watching those involved party their faces off.

If you’re a busy parent who still believes in love, watch ‘One Fine Day’

When your version of a great Valentine’s Day involves a glass of wine and a child who will sleep through the night, consider this charming team-up between George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer that will make you feel seen as an overworked parent, acknowledged in your struggle and utterly convinced that this easy watch is as entirely under-appreciated as you are.

If your friends are your one true love, watch ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’

Julia Roberts is the ultimate maid of dishonor in this cautionary “friend-zone” tale that celebrates the powerful love of a lasting friendship, 90s nostalgia, gay besties, bad karaoke and the great city of Chicago.

If you’re having wanderlust, watch‘Call Me By Your Name’

This gorgeous Luca Guadagnino movie is as much a love letter to Italy in the 1980s as to its romantic leads, who find themselves yearning for each other in a sublime story that evokes the headiness of summer itself.

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (3)

Timothee Chalamet in "Call Me By Your Name."

If you’re hardcore missing your childhood crush, watch ‘Past Lives’

A critical darling now up for multiple Oscars including best picture, Celine Song’s feature directorial debut follows two childhood friends who reunite later in life and must confront whether they still have feelings for each other. Hint: It’s not so simple, and the end results are engrossing and emotional.

If you love watching opposites attract, watch ‘Out of Sight’

Showcasing an underrated Jennifer Lopez in one of her earlier acting roles, this late-90s Steven Soderbergh movie posits that love can conquer all – even the law – when a crook played by George Clooney ends up locked in car trunk with Lopez’s cop and (naturally) falls in love with her.

If you want to be reminded that love can happen at any age, watch ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

This breezy and irreverent tale follows a group of British seniors who find a new lease on life in India, and one in particular – played by Oscar-winning Dame Judi Dench – truly blossoms brighter than any younger romantic lead when she falls for a suitor played by Bill Nighy.

If you’re missing the big city, watch ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Prime’

An ode to the romance and adventure one can only find in New York City, “When Harry Met Sally” stars Billy Crystal alongside the aforementioned rom-com queen Meg Ryan, in one of the movies that helped earn her that title. “Prime,” meanwhile, casts Meryl Streep in the thoroughly entertaining role of a frazzled therapist who must treat a patient (Uma Thurman) in spite of the fact that she is aware that said patient is in love with her son.

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (4)

Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally."

If you like your romance with some opulence, watch ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Escape the four white walls of your living room to the vibrant streets of Singapore in this lavish love story from Jon M. Chu, which follows the blossoming relationship of a couple (Henry Golding and Constance Wu) as they navigate their very different economic backgrounds and, of course, Golding’s shady mother wonderfully played by Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh.

If you like a little bit of fantasy with your romance, watch ‘Kate & Leopold’

There she is again! Meg Ryan stars in this often-overlooked and quite adorable (and yes, completely improbable) movie following a modern-day woman as she falls in love with a Duke (Hugh Jackman) from the late 1800s, who accidentally time travels and ends up in her apartment.

If all you need is love, watch ‘Across the Universe’

For music lovers who just want to sing – and possibly cry – their way through Valentine’s Day, travel “Across the Universe” with Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), whose love story unfolds against the backdrop of 1960s New York City and an all-Beatles soundtrack.

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (5)

Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess in "Across the Universe."

If you woke up on V Day and just aren’t in the mood, watch ‘My Bloody Valentine’ (2009)

As is so often the case, horror works best when based on something warm and hopeful, and that conceit is in full effect in this gleefully grisly remake of the 1981 original.

Valentine’s Day movies for almost every mood | CNN (2024)
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