It’s been a while since we were allowed to meet up with friends, curl up together on the couch, and enjoy a girls’ night in. Zoom meetups just aren’t the same, dammit! Hopefully, we will be able to return to normal soon, and we can once again hang out with our favorite people as we drink bubbly booze, eat all the snacks, and watch a movie. What bliss.
In preparation for that beautiful day, we’ve put together a list of ideal romantic films to watch with your friends. Right now, we could all use something unashamedly cute!
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Another film that helped to bolster the rom-com with audiences, Netflix's adaptation of Jenny Han's beloved YA novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the perfect frothy teen romantic comedy for girls' nights in of all age ranges. Lara Jean Covey is an old-fashioned romantic, even if her love life isn't brilliant. She writes letter to boys she crushes on, then locks them up in her closet.
When the letters suddenly go public, Lara does what every good romantic heroine does: she jumps into a convenient fake romance with Peter Kavinsky, one of the love letter recipients. Why not marathon the entire trilogy in one night with your friends?
Goldie Hawn is one of Hollywood’s greatest comedic actresses, and it was Private Benjamin that revealed to the world the extent of her range. Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a sheltered rich girl whose only goal in life was to marry rich and live comfortably until death. Then, on her wedding night, her husband dies during sex.
Adrift and having been lied to by a savvy recruiter, she signs up for the U.S. Army. Basic training is not the glamorous spa weekend she was promised, but soon she finds herself right at home alongside her fellow soldiers and discovers a new zest for life. Private Benjamin is still hilarious over 40 years following its release thanks to its mixture of slapstick, satire, and the sheer glow of Hawn's infectiously charming performance.
Girls Trip premiered with a major splash in 2017, grossing over seven times its original budget and making a star out of Tiffany Haddish. It's not hard to see why either. She's a revelation here, a fresh new comedic voice who fits in perfectly with the movie's brand of bawdy female fun.
Haddish, Regina King, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith play a quartet of college friends who decide to reconnect with a trip to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans. Hijinks ensue, including hallucinogenic absinthe trips, making out with a lamp, a zip-line accident, and a particularly graphic moment involving a grapefruit.
Crazy Rich Asians
Who says the rom-com is dead in Hollywood? Crazy Rich Asians not only helped to revive the genre's flagging fortunes at the box office, but it made history as the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority cast of Asian descent in a modern setting in 25 years! Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu, an economics professor ready to settle down with her very handsome boyfriend Nick. But it's only when he invites her to a family wedding in Singapore that she discovers that Nick's family is obscenely wealthy.
Nick, it turns out, is the most eligible bachelor on the continent, and his highly protective mother doesn't seem to approve of her son's choice of a future wife. Crazy Rich Asians is endlessly memorable, visually stunning, and full of the kind of wealth porn that we could drool over for weeks on end.
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Actress Olivia Wilde made one hell of an entrance with her debut as a director. Booksmart is the kind of coming-of-age buddy comedy that most women would have killed to have as a teenager. Molly and Amy, played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, have spent their entire high school lives being perfect students in preparation for a good future and college choices. Sadly, they’re now realizing that they haven’t had a chance to loosen up and enjoy themselves.
So, to make up for lost time, they decide to have one wild night at their graduation party. What makes Booksmart so fresh is its inventive visuals, its occasional weirdness, and its thankful absence of meanness. A familiar set-up ends up being wonderfully vibrant and refreshing for a new era of young women.
Crazy Stupid Love
The set-up for Crazy, Stupid Love sounds like it could be kind of gross: A recently separated middle-aged man wants to figure out how to meet new women, so he teams up with a serial womanizer who beds a different conquest every night. What makes the film sparkle is its uniformly excellent cast, which includes Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone.
All the jokes land, and there's an appealing sweetness underneath the more sardonic moments. If we dare say it, this film may contain Ryan Gosling at peak hotness!
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Love and Basketball
Gina Prince-Bythewood’s directorial debut Love and Basketball is perhaps the epitome of the ideal sports romance. Quincy and Monica, played by Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, are next-door neighbors bound together by a shared passion for basketball.
Both want to go pro and spend the ensuing years fighting for their respective dreams amid tensions between family, friends, school, and themselves. Even if sports bore you, Love and Basketball is worth your time as a loving and serious romantic drama between two people whose goals exceed the ones forced upon them by the world.
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Maybe you want something a little pricklier for your girls’ night in? Enter Heathers, one of the great black comedies of the 1980s. Winona Ryder is the black sheep among the Heathers, the most popular and vindictive girls in high school who rule the lunch hall with an iron fist. She yearns for something wilder, which takes the form of the school rebel, J.D.
Their love turns violent, and soon, they're in the midst of a killing spree disguised as a series of suicides. Humor doesn't get much darker than Heathers, with its scathing indictment of '80s suburban life and sappy after-school specials. A flop upon release, Heathers is now one of the era’s most beloved cult classics.
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Featured still from 'Heathers' via New World Pictures