Even though I enjoy the single life at the moment, I love Valentine’s Day.
I think any day that emphasizes love (any kind) is a good thing. We could all use more love in our lives—giving it and receiving it.
I also revel in a good love story.
Below are 14 films that I could watch again and again. They all have themes of love running through them, even if it isn’t all romantic love (but most of them do).
Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s Day!
1. “Dream for an Insomniac” (1996).
Ione Sky, Jennifer Aniston, and MacKenzie Astin. Set in San Francisco and shot in black and white, this film has a noir feel and will make you want to fall in love all over again.
Writers—you’ll especially like this one. Skye plays an avid reader and has a love of prose.
2. “Home for the Holidays” (1995).
I realize it’s not the holiday season anymore, but if you haven’t seen this funny, heartwarming, and entertaining film starring Holly Hunter, you’re missing out! Just tell me the Thanksgiving dinner scene is not familiar to you.
This film will make you laugh, cry, ponder, and feel grateful for family, even if they are a little nutty.
3. “Dirty Dancing” (1987).
I mean, you know I had to include this one. What young girl didn’t fall in love with Patrick Swayze and get chills during the final dance sequence? Classic! As a coming-of-age story, this has to be one of my all-time favorites.
4. “Coming to America” (1988).
Even if you’re a prince, the quest for love is challenging…and hilarious at times.
We all need to follow our hearts, even if it leads us to Queens, New York. Plus, it’s fun to see some now-famous actors in their first roles in this flick.
5. “How to Make an American Quilt” (1995).
A collection of strong women review their love lives in this beautiful film starring Winona Ryder. Each story is unique, yet encompasses the themes of romance, heartbreak, and loyalty. And it includes a stellar cast of actresses.
5. “Moonstruck” (1987).
One of the reasons I love this film is because I am Italian and I relate so much to the Italian-American lifestyle portrayed so beautifully (and hilariously). Cher is such an amazing actress and I adore her in this one.
Love often hits us like a ton of bricks—and often when we least expect it!
6. “Waiting to Exhale” (1995).
Another collection of strong women navigating love and romance in all its forms and manifestations.
This is another cast I adore—and I especially enjoy Loretta Devine’s performance in this movie. She has a vulnerability that is so palpable.
7. “Clueless” (1995).
I mean, duh, I had to include this one. As if I would leave it off!
Navigating the world of high school boys can be a real bummer. Thank God Cher and Dionne have enough mocha lattes and love tips to keep them going!
This movie still makes me laugh out loud. It’s way more brilliant and poignant than I realized as a teenager. And my favorite line remains the same: “Everywhere in L.A. takes 20 minutes!” (It takes way longer.)
And for those who are unaware, this movie is loosely based on Jane Austen’s book, Emma.
8. “Real Women Have Curves” (2002).
Even though this film has a love story weaving through it, I think of it as a movie about self-love and self-acceptance.
America Ferrera’s performance is brave, vulnerable, heart-wrenching, and so relatable to young women who are finding the path to self-approval.
Women are beautiful and courageous and this movie celebrates them.
9. “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014).
There ain’t nothing like that first love.
I honestly can’t watch this one without welling up. Everyone deserves to feel seen, loved, and deeply cared for. This film makes me want to go back and fall in love for the first time.
10. “Stealing Beauty” (1996).
Set in Italy, a young Liv Tyler explores her sensuality, sexuality, and yearns to understand her mother, who passed away years before.
This is a very artful film and one that I’m not sure many people have seen. Oh, and just try staying away from Italy after seeing it. It will be a challenge!
11. “Stepping Out” (1991).
This movie will just make you feel good, and you’ll marvel at the power of friendship and working together as a team.
Liza Minnelli teaches a tap class to an eclectic group of novice dancers. As they prepare for their opening night at a local charity event, their bond, love, and teamwork deepens and blossoms.
Minnelli has a solo dance scene in this film that I could watch over and over again. What a talented woman!
12. “The Jane Austen Book Club” (2007).
A group of friends comes together to read all of Jane Austen’s novels as they deal with the ups and downs of their own love lives.
This movie will make you feel all gooey inside and has a stellar cast.
13. “Like Water for Chocolate” (1992).
Ahhh, forbidden love! You can feel the angst and hunger between Tita and Pedro. It’s almost too much to bear!
Passion and heat are two themes explored in this gorgeous film, as well as the responsibility we have to follow our hearts. Also, the cooking!
14. “The Joy Luck Club” (1993).
The relationship between mothers and daughters is a sacred and sometimes complicated bond.
Each generation has lessons, wisdom, and gifts that are celebrated and explored in this story about navigating the ups and downs of love, family, parents, and children. We all have a story that deserves a voice.
I hope you enjoy these films as much as I have!
And remember: you are the only person you will be with for the rest of your life, so always include yourself when giving or sharing love.