Valentine’s Day films on Netflix that don’t suck
We're big fans of Harold & Maude, The One I Love and Obvious Child
Harold and Maude – an unlikely but apt film for Valentine's Day
The joy of Netflix is that often you don’t even need to watch the film to know it’s not for you. A quick swatch at the movies listed as ‘romance’ puts paid to vast swathes of the genre: you know you’re not going to get hot under the collar by Fired Up (‘Two football stars blow off summer training for cheerleading camp. They still want to score … just on the sidelines’) or The Babymakers (His wife wants a baby, but he can’t deliver the goods. Stealing back from a sperm bank makes sense, right?).
Luckily, Netflix pulls through with a number of belters you may have forgotten were available to stream just in time for it to look like you planned a romantic night in after all.
Harold & Maude
As a romcom, Harold & Maude shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. Teenager Harold is a pain in the arse (he drives a hearse, stages elaborate fake suicides, etc) but when he meets 79 year old Maude (at a funeral, of course) he has someone with whom to share his messed-up actions. Normal matchmaking just doesn’t work for him and he and Maude grow close in a strangely cute-but-annoying way. The main takeaway from the movie is that there’ll always be someone out there to put up with your quirks, however morbid they may be.
Gillian Robespierre's crowd-funded abortion comedy Obvious Child outraged and excited audiences on its release in 2014. Jenny Slate plays a Sarah Silverman type, sharing her whole life on stage including her accidental pregnancy. A film that shows your romcoms don't have to shy away from dealing with important social issues.
God Help the Girl
Hipsters, rejoice. God Help the Girl is twee as all get out, having been written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of indie darlings Belle & Sebastian. Truly Scottish, the film is not only a story of friendship, love and longing, but also a love letter to Glasgow, a vision of the city that exists only in the most romantic of minds.
The One I Love
Almost a horror film, The One I Love is disturbing and noir, featuring a couple whose relationship therapist suggests they spend time at a retreat in order to rekindle their love. It’s dark and confusing, beautifully shot and at times too clever, but the tension between the couple (played by Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss) and how they realise they, and their relationship, have changed is brilliantly relatable.
They Came Together
Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd pull off a spoof of Nora Ephron-style romcoms. The script nails every romantic movie cliché you can think of (manic pixie dream girl and boy meet in a book shop, their mutual dislike turning to love) and it’s funny to boot. One for laughs rather than lust, but it’ll help solidify your belief that romcoms are nonsense and that you should probably just do love your own way.
See what's new on Netflix in February