Rom Coms... Who doesn’t love to watch them? A genre of movie that simultaneously humours us while tearing our heart out before piecing it back together in a romantic outcome that we could only dream of outside of Hollywood – now that’s what makes a good night in! The tears, the laughter, the unforgettable one-liners, 'Basically you're saying marriage is just a way of getting out of an embarrassing pause in conversation.' (Thanks Hugh) We laugh when we cry and we cry when we laugh. It’s a rollercoaster of interchangeable emotions and that’s why we love to watch rom com movies. But what are the bestrom coms?
It’s safe to say, the best romantic comedies, the must-see movies of this genre, will list the names Diaz, Roberts, Aniston, Ryan or in recent years and for a particularly clunky and somewhat awkward romance, Bullock, in their credits. But this alone is not enough to earn the status as one of the best romantic comedy movies.
Truth be told, there is quite a loose formula to follow (think awkward meetings / misunderstandings / a funny yet less attractive friend / ripper sound track and of course a happy ending). These are the fundamentals, but there also has to be a chemistry you just can’t put down in words.
We’ve come up with a list of the best rom com movies based on plot, script, acting, directing, sound track, box office results and the spirited opinions of my fellow rom com aficionados here at New Idea. Enjoy!
Best rom coms of all time:
10. Father of the Bride
Directed by Charles Shyer, this remake of the 1950 classic was released in December 1991 and grossed $89.33M at the Box Office. It tells the story of a father’s difficulty accepting his beloved daughter’s engagement and imminent marriage. The comedic performance by Steve Martin as Father of the Bride George Banks, and his unlikely relationship with gay wedding planner Frank (played brilliantly by Martin Short) takes this movie straight to the top 10 list.
It’s hard to go past the one-liners like “Love is wonderful. Until it happens to your only daughter,” that are littered through the movie and the flashback that Martin has of daughter Annie’s life when being told she is engaged is one that won’t leave you – bring out the tissues!
9. He’s just not that into you
With a star-studded line-up of actors, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin and Scarlett Johansson, this film examines various modern-day relationships and how we misconstrue romantic messages... A lot of rom and even more com!
Written by former Sex and the City writers Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo and directed by Ken Kwapis, this film was released in February 2009 and grossed $93.95M at the Box Office.
It is well worth the watch just for the moment when Ginnifer Goodwin’s character is told “He’s just not that into you.” Something we have probably all needed hear at one stage in our lives and a good reason for it to be on the list –think of it as educational!
8. The Proposal
Released in June 2009, The Proposal, directed by Anne Fletcher, grossed a massive $163.96M in the Box Office. This awkward love story between Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) and his publisher boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) who needs a green card to stay in the USA, is as hilarious as the idea of the two of them falling for each other in real life.
Who could forget the moment when city-girl Margaret uses her new fiancé’s family puppy as bait for an eagle who has stolen her mobile phone? Its overwhelming popularity secures this movie a place on the best rom coms list.
7. Bridget Jones Diary
Ahhhh Bridget... She will make any girl feel good about themselves – especially when you see the unforgettable scene of her turning up to a garden party dressed as a Playboy bunny!
Directed by Sharon Maguire, with main characters played by Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, this hilarious rom com tells the story of Bridget Jones, an ordinary if not clumsy girl looking for love in all the wrong places. It was released in April 2001 and grossed $71.54M at the Box Office.
If you are not going to read the book, you need to see the movie – in fact, watch it anyway. It’s on the list to make all of us feel good about ourselves!
6. What Women Want
One of the highest grossing rom coms of all time raking in $182.81M Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt give us in insight into what the world would be like should men be able to hear the thoughts of women, and wow, would it be interesting! Directed by Nancy Meyers and released in December 2000, this film has made the list for its appeal to both sexes.
While men will cringe in fear, women will howl with laughter at the scene where Gibson’s character Nick decides to try all the beauty treatments and maintenance that women go through – it is well worth the watch just for that.
5. My Best Friend’s Wedding
A personal favourite, My Best Friend’s Wedding was released in June 1997 and stars Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, a very young Cameron Diaz and Rupert Everett. It grossed $127.12M in the Box Office and was directed by P.J. Hogan.
Julia Roberts is at her finest when she realises she is in love with her newly engaged best (male) friend and her efforts to thwart the wedding and get rid of his perky bride all backfire in laughable circumstances. It is a film for all of us who have ever felt the bite of jealousy.
4. Pretty Woman
The ultimate Cinderella Story, this has to be one of the best rom coms ever. Directed by Garry Marshall and released in March 1990 this love story between high-flying businessman Edward (played by Richard Gere) and LA prostitute Vivien (played by Julia Roberts) has all of us wanting the ultimate happy ending.
Pretty Woman grossed a massive $178.41M at the Box Office and will have you cheering for the underdog when Vivian hits Rodeo Drive after being ignored by saleswomen the previous day saying to the now wanting staff, “I was in here yesterday, you wouldn’t wait on me... Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”
3. Notting Hill
Another Julia Roberts hit, starring alongside Hugh Grant, this is the story of a bookshop owner whose life changes when the most famous woman in the world walks into his store. A romance blooms, fame gets in the way and as always with our beloved rom coms, the rest is history.
The unmissable moment where Anna Scott (played by Roberts) stands in front of William Thacker (played by Grant) saying, “I'm also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”is enough to score this film a place on this list. Released in May 1999 and directed by Roger Mitchell, this film grossed $116.9M at the Box Offices.
2. The Holiday
Trying to escape romantic complications, two women meet online and swap homes for the holidays for some respite and self-care. This is the ultimate feel-good rom com. A-grade cast, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black, The Holiday was released in December 2006, directed by Nancy Meyers and grossed $63.22M at the Box Office.
Get your tissues out for both laughter and tears in this film, especially when single Dad Graham (played by Jude Law) who is falling in love with LA movie trailer maker Amanda (played by Diaz) opens up saying, “I'm a full-time dad. I'm a working parent. I'm a mother and a father. I'm a guy who reads parenting books and cookbooks before I go to sleep. I spend my weekends buying tutus. I'm learning to sew. I'm Mr. Napkin Head!”It is a raw but funny film exposing us all to the highs and lows of love and life.
1. Love Actually
So much love and so many laughs, this is the ultimate rom com. Following the lives of eight main characters and their various love stories. The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who falls in love with a staff member, the best man and his unrequited crush on the bride (Keira Knightley), the widower (Liam Neeson) trying to guide his young step-son through love and life and the wife (Emma Thompson) who discovers her husband has feelings for a work mate.
This film has it all and there is no other place for it on the list but number 1! Is there one most memorable moment? No. This film is full of them! Released in November 2003, directed by Richard Curtis and grossing $59.7M at the Box Office you will want to watch Love Actually, over again and again.