With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, why not curl up with a cozy romantic film set on the Emerald Isle itself? We’ve compiled a list of ten movies you can watch now as the perfect treat for this March 17th.
P.S. I Love You
Holly and Gerry are the perfect couple, living an idyllic life in Dublin and planning the rest of their lives together, even if they are prone to the occasional tiff. When Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor, Holly feels utterly lost without him and withdraws from her life in every way.
Gerry, however, has left a gift for her from beyond the grave: a package of ten letters, one for each month after Gerry died, containing messages from him, all ending with "P.S. I Love You". Each letter is an encouragement for Holly to face her fears and move onto a new life without him.
Wild Mountain Thyme
It’s hard to describe just how utterly bonkers Wild Mountain Thyme is. If you watched the trailer or went into the movie totally blind, you would simply assume that the film is a cozy romance, perfect for a rainy day. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt in the Irish countryside falling in love and overcoming family obstacles?
Well, it only gets more bizarre from there. We won’t spoil it because the pleasures of its surprising about-turn are truly worth it, but rest assured, what you expect the film to do and what actually happens are two very different things. Trust us on this one.
Leap day happens once every four years, and tradition dictates that it's the one day when a woman can propose marriage to a man, and he cannot refuse her. American real estate worker Anna Brady, played by Amy Adams, decides that this is the perfect moment for her to pop the question to her long-time boyfriend, who has been hesitant to propose himself.
She flies to Dublin to find him at a conference, but her plans are scuppered when she gets stuck in a small seaside village called Dingle, and she hires a local and very cynical innkeeper to help her get to Dublin. He thinks the leap year tradition is pointless, but Anna herself has a certain appeal.
Maeve Binchy is a true Irish national treasure. Her warm and malice-free novels, often centered on humorous portrayals of small-town life in Ireland, have sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. Tara Road made her a big name in America thanks to the endorsement of none other than Oprah Winfrey and her beloved book club.
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A film adaptation followed soon thereafter, with Andie MacDowell and Olivia Williams in the lead roles. Irish woman Ria needs a break following the revelation that her husband has gotten another woman pregnant. She agrees to swap homes with American Marilyn, who herself is struggling with her life following the death of her son.
Andy and Maggie are a typical young couple, coming of age together in modern-day Dublin with all the supposed freedoms and opportunities it offers. Their plans change dramatically, however, when Maggie falls pregnant. She has no plans to keep the baby, and soon she and Andy find themselves making the near-mythic journey across the sea to London to acquire an abortion.
Despite its potentially contentious set-up, Twice Shy is a balanced and lived-in story that never shames its heroine for her choices. It also shows the depths and affectionate nature of this young romance as it goes through what would be for many couples the biggest decision they’ll ever make.
The Quiet Man
John Wayne isn't typically the first classic Hollywood actor who comes to mind when you think of romantic leading men, but he pulled it off in 1952's The Quiet Man. Directed by John Ford, another person you wouldn't usually consider a romantic movie kind of guy, the film centers on a retired boxer who returns to his birthplace in Ireland after a life in Pittsburgh.
While there, he falls for the fiery Mary Kate, played by Maureen O'Hara, and weds her even though her bullying older brother forbids the marriage. The Quiet Man is a very 1950s take on Ireland, all dandy and quaint and sugar-sweet in its cute portrayal of Ireland as a near-mystical place from way back in time, but its charms are plentiful, especially thanks to the chemistry between Wayne and O'Hara.
The Run of the Country
Albert Finney stars as a bored police sergeant with the Garda Síochána in a small village in County Cavan, just south of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. He's restless and hoping for at least one interesting crime to solve before he retires, something to distract from the mundanities of his life and his strained relationship with his wayward son, Danny.
Danny's never forgiven his father for his mother's passing and his bullying ways, and tensions only grow further when he falls for Annagh, a northerner girl whose presence makes Danny's father's prejudices against the other side of the border all the more inflamed.
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Based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, 2015's Brooklyn follows Eilis, a young Irish woman who moves to New York City to find employment and a chance at a new life. America is a dizzying new world that leaves her feeling homesick yet provides her with a plethora of new opportunities, including bookkeeping studies, work in a shop, and the attentions of the handsome Tony.
Suddenly, her newfound life is interrupted when her sister unexpectedly dies, and she is forced to return home to help her mother. Back in County Wexford, she is set up with an old friend, Jim, but home comforts prove more stifling than anticipated. Saoirse Ronan is perfectly cast in this affecting romantic drama that offers a young woman's perspective on immigration, female freedom, and the gendered constraints of society on both sides of the Atlantic.
Daniel Day-Lewis is an actor famed for his intensity and commitment to the craft. For The Boxer, a sports drama about a former Provisional IRA member trying to go straight after a 14-year prison sentence, he trained for a year and a half as a boxer. His trainer even said that he became good enough to fight competitively. The work certainly paid off, and Day-Lewis gives a great performance, but there's more to The Boxer than his physical transformation.
At its heart is a touching and troubled romance between Day-Lewis's Danny and Maggie, a single mother and old flame from his past played by Emily Watson. The Boxer packs as much of an emotional punch as the ones that Day-Lewis throws in the ring.
Once was the little film that could. Written and directed by John Carney, the musical romantic drama spent years in development and had a tiny budget, eventually going on to gross over 155 times what it cost to make! It later became a Tony Award winning musical. All that and it won an Oscar, too.
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová play amateur musicians who share their music together and fall in love. Once is guaranteed to make you cry with its lived-in warmth and incredibly humane touch. If the love story doesn't make you sob then the songs definitely will, especially “Falling Slowly,” which took home the Academy Award for Best Original song.
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Featured still from "Leap Day" via Universal Pictures