6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
On top of being one of the smartest movies ever made about relationships, Eternal Sunshine is movie-of-the-decade good. Michel Gondry all but reinvented the romantic comedy genre in this Mobius Strip love story about two people who can’t help but find each other again. Even as we struggle to forget the past, can we ever leave it behind? Should we? Charlie Kaufman’s knows there are some things that are worth taking with you, even when they hurt.
7. Four Weddings and a Funeral
The movie commits some grave sins you have to get over, featuring one of the most embarrassing line deliveries in the history of cinema, but oddly its the movie around the romance that works best. Four Weddings and a Funeral is really about the relationships we have with our friends and the way that tested through death, marriage and new romances. Kristin Scott-Thomas steals the movie as the best friend who pines for Hugh Grant, hiding her affection behind ironic bitterness. Hollywood, where’s Kristin Scott-Thomas’ rom-com?
8. Ghost Town
Ghost Town was left to die by audiences when it debuted, a notorious flop, which is a damn shame. Ricky Gervais’ 2008 romantic comedy-drama is a welcome surprise, using its high-concept premise (of a guy who sees dead people) to wondrous effect. Ghost Town tells the story of an asshole (Gervais) who discovers the consolations of humanity against his will, and Tea Leoni again proves what a great actress she is as the widow of a man he’s in communication with beyond the grave. It sounds silly, but Ghost Town works like magic.
9. Groundhog Day
Most rom-com heroes barely have to earn their intended’s love. It’s willed by the screenplay, who forces them to be together because they’re the most attractive people in the movie. Not in the case of Bill Murray. He has to prove his worth by finally getting his life right, being the man that deserves to fall in love. Watching Murray try and fail repeatedly to woo Andie MacDowell is a great lesson in romance. It’s not about saying the right things. It’s about being yourself.
10. High Fidelity
Nick Hornby has a knack for writing great relationships (see also: Fever Pitch, About a Boy) and High Fidelity is his absolute finest. Stephen Frears’ spot-on 2000 adaptation is one of my most-watched movies, a film that takes up space in your brain. At some point, every guy is Rob Gordon, measuring the worth of women based on their tastes and interests. High Fidelity is about learning that it’s not what someone likes that matters. You fall in love with what they’re like.