I’m on the east coast this week, staying warm with my family and friends, and thought we should put aside working on ourselves for a minute, and just focus on being present and enjoying ourselves. This time of year, few things are as wonderfully satisfying as kicking off your shoes, curling up with your beau, BFF, or a big cup of cocoa, and firing up Netflix for some seasonal escapism. But we can only watch It’s a Wonderful Life so many times before it starts feeling a little less than wonderful! Here are my top picks for festive romantic films that break the holiday-movie mold and bring back that loving feeling. Enjoy!
The Thin Man
Young love is exhilarating, but a well-seasoned love that calls a detective husband out of retirement to solve a murder with his longtime heiress wife just for kicks, well, that’s another thing entirely. Nominated for best picture in 1934, this whodunit classic follows Nick and Nora Charles―and their terrier, Asta―as they gumshoe their way around New York at Christmastime. Usually little drunk on martinis and witty banter, this delightful duo (based on iconic real life writers Lillian Helman and Dashelle Hammett) delivers a picture of partnership and playful affection that’ll have you saying “I do” to all 93 minutes.
When Harry Met Sally
Can men and women be friends? That’s the question posed in this classic Nora Ephron romantic comedy, chronicling the evolution of Harry and Sally’s long, meandering, almost-didn’t-happen relationship. Peppered with Harry’s emphatic refrain that no, men and women can’t be friends, “Sex always gets in the way,” the film ultimately suggests a more nuanced (and heartening) take on love: true friendship is the stuff that love is made of.
The Family Stone
This star-studded comedy of errors about a man who brings his high-strung Manhattan girlfriend home for the holidays to meet his endearingly quirky and very opinionated family delivers surprisingly heartfelt lessons about self-discovery and love. If you’ve ever struggled with parental approval, questioned the relationship you’re in, or fallen for the wrong guy or gal, you’ll relate!
Having trouble channeling your Christmas spirit this year? Break out the ’nog (full strength recommended), crack open the Keebler’s, and let the contours of Will Ferrell’s legs wash over you. This tale of a misunderstood Christmas elf named Buddy, who treks to Manhattan in search of his less-than-magical origins and along the way finds love with a department-store songstress played by Zooey Deschanel, will have you rooting for Santa’s believers and ho-ho-ho-ing in no time.
Set in the French Alps and Paris during winter holiday, this 1963 classic―part screwball comedy, part spy thriller―follows the incidentally action-packed life of Regina “Reggie” Lampert played by Audrey Hepburn as she uncovers a CIA conspiracy, tries to solve a murder, and falls in love with a scandalously older man of mystery. If Hepburn’s exquisite wardrobe and the stunning European scenery don’t steal your heart, Cary Grant’s hypnotic, broody gaze most certainly will.
If rakish charm is on your holiday wish list, look no further. Boasting a stellar ensemble cast including masters of the medium Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, this fast-paced British romcom examines love its many incarnations, chronicling the ups and downs of eight couples as they fall in and out of love, leaving us with the heartwarming affirmation: if the salty aging rock star can find love, then gosh darn it, we all can.
Okay, thanks for checking out my picks – hope there’s something in here to make you merry! And of course, I’m wishing you lots of love this holiday season!