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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

A thousand times yes? Here are some romcoms that steer clear of cliché

No sap. No saccharine. No bad boys brought to their knees by the power of love. These romantic comedies deserve more attention.

hollywood Updated: Aug 23, 2019 19:03 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
Love, Simon (2018) is about a gay teen being blackmailed about his sexual identity. It’s a total heart-squeeze.
Love, Simon (2018) is about a gay teen being blackmailed about his sexual identity. It’s a total heart-squeeze.
         

About Time (2013)
Eclipsed by Richard Curtis’s other works like Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually, but nonetheless wonderful. A young man realises he can travel back into his own past, and uses his power for love. Rachel McAdams has been a Time Traveller’s Wife before. Here she’s more fun. As is everyone. Plus, there’s Bill Nighy.

The Birdcage (1996)
The rom-com you don’t see coming. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play a showbiz couple whose son is marrying a woman from an ultra-conservative family. They fake being straight. All hell breaks loose. But what shines through is how much daddy loves daddy. 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
How far would you go to catch a secret show by your favourite band? Nick and Norah go all the way, even pretending to be a couple. If you think love means your music tastes must match, press play on this one.

When We First Met (2018)
If you loved Groundhog Day, here’s a Netflix-era repeat-the-day story with more romance. How many times will Noah try to engineer his first meeting with gorgeous Avery so it leads to happily ever after? And why can’t he see what’s he’s missing out on all the while?

Set It Up (2019)
Their bosses are high-strung slave-drivers. So the interns get together and set them up. Can two awful people make for a cute love story? They can, actually.

She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Only in the 1980s could an attractive New York woman have three suitors hoping to go exclusive with her. The twist comes when the men meet and compare notes, with hilarious results. Director Spike Lee’s first film has romance and comedy, but is always a step ahead of the template.

Reality Bites (1994)
Sure, watch this for early performances by Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller. But also watch it for a peek into the lives, longings and loves of privileged slackers in the 1980s. And for everyone dancing to My Sharona.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Because you don’t need a degree in English Literature to get the jokes (though it does help). Because this is Gwyneth Paltrow before she was Pepper Potts. And because it takes genius to turn the Romeo and Juliet story into a tale of Shakespeare falling in love backstage – and Tom Stoppard is that genius.

Jenny’s Wedding (2016)
Finally a non-binary romance. Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel play a couple planning their wedding and dealing with Jenny’s snooty, standoffish family. Love triumphs in the end, of course, but there has to be a twist when there’s no Prince Charming.

Love, Simon (2018)
What happens when you’re gay, closeted, in high school and get a secret pen pal? And what happens when someone threatens to out your love story? Love, Simon is the high-school love story you don’t usually see, and you didn’t think could made for good comedy. And yet, it’s a heart-squeeze.

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 19:03 IST