Love Streams : The 6 Best Valentine’s Day Movies Currently Streaming

B.J. Quinn

It’s February, which means that the next special occasion on everyone’s mind is Valentine’s Day. Of course we would all love to wine and dine our significant other across fancy bars and restaurants, however, with COVID what it is, maybe you’d prefer to retreat to the comfy confines of your home – a place where you can put up your feet, share a bottle of wine and binge on some cheesy rom-com classics. With six recommendations, you and your partner are bound to find something you both agree on.
Jerry Maguire (1996)
When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he writes a heartfelt company-wide memo that promptly gets him fired. Desperate to hang on to the athletes that he represents, Jerry starts his own management firm, with only single mother Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) joining him in his new venture. Banking on their sole client, egomaniacal football player Rod Tidwell (an electric Cuba Gooding Jr.), Jerry and Dorothy begin to fall in love as they struggle to make their business work.
Jerry Maguire kicked off a delightful run of dynamite pictures for director Cameron Crowe, including Almost Famous (2000) and Vanilla Sky (2001). But Jerry Maguire is the stand out. For one, it showcases Crowe’s distinct blend of over-the-top sensibilities and instinct for intimate human drama. Sure, it contains a lot of larger-than-life elements – cheeky narration, multimillion-dollar sports contracts and Cuba Gooding Jr. – but ultimately feels more like an honest, down–to–earth character study than a typical Hollywood rom-com. The most powerful conflict in this film is a quietly rocky romance rooted in miscommunications and unfair expectations, not big fights and external problems.
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
Adèle’s (Adèle Exarchopoulos) life is changed when she meets Emma (Léa Seydoux), an older art student with striking blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself.
This is an extremely intense viewing experience, for reasons that go beyond the well-publicized graphic sex scene. Director Abdellatif Kechiche pushes his camera in close… very close, capturing snotty noses, moles and freckles, and every tiny flicker of emotion going through his characters’ heads on a moment-by-moment basis. It all feels uncomfortably raw and voyeuristic, but there’s so much familiarity in each of these moments. It lit up the Cannes Film Festival back in 2013, and has been lighting up our hearts ever since.
Prime Video
Palm Springs (2020)
When carefree Nyles and reluctant maid of honour Sarah have a chance encounter at a Palm Springs wedding, things get complicated. They get stuck in a time loop and develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
One of the good things to come out during the pandemic, Palm Springs is a fresh riff on the Groundhog Day (1993) formula. It allows for the themes to go beyond existential repetition, and instead a lovely little comic romance unfolds. And while Samberg is great, the scene-stealer has to be Cristin Milioti; she owns every major moment. Their chemistry allows the film to flourish, but it’s her enthusiasm that makes it go by so fast. And don’t worry, all you clever clogs, the script’s sci-fi logic holds up well against all kinds of hole-poking. Palm Springs will make you laugh, it’ll make you think, and, in the end, you’ll find it’s a time loop worth getting stuck in.
West Side Story (1961)
As if I need to remind you: Love at first sight strikes when young Tony (Richard Beymer) spots Maria (A star-making turn from Natalie Wood) at a high school dance in 1957 New York City. Their burgeoning romance helps to fuel the fire between the warring Jets and Sharks – two rival gangs vying for control of the streets.
With Steven Spielberg’s own version bound to garner awards during this year’s awards season, now is the best time to catch up with Robert Wise’s original screen adaptation. Isn’t there anything more romantic than Romeo and Juliet? As it turns out: yes – Romeo and Juliet by way of jazzed-up ballet. In some ways, West Side Story feels like the absolute zenith of the classic Hollywood studio system, heralding the arrival of the sixties with a defiant “Krup you!” to the very idea of naturalism. Recognising the weaknesses of the central pair – there’s more sexual chemistry between the two gangs than with Tony and Maria – there’s so much to appreciate about what the film gets right. For one, Wise’s direction is so striking and cinematic in composition, it’s no wonder he earned the Academy Award for Best Director – one of ten wins on the night. Will Spielberg continue the tradition come Oscar night? Possibly, but for now he’ll have to “Play it cool, boy”
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Disney +
WALL·E (2008)
WALL·E is the last robot left on an Earth that has been overrun with garbage and all humans have fled to outer space. For 700 years he has continued to try and clean up the mess, but has developed some rather interesting human-like qualities. When a ship arrives with a sleek new type of robot, WALL·E thinks he’s finally found a friend and stows away on the ship when it leaves.
WALL·E is the best example of Pixar’s ability to appeal to children and adults alike. Director Andrew Stanton, who’s other credits include A Bug’s Life (1998) and Finding Nemo (2003), creatively weaves environmental catastrophe and unchecked consumption promoted by a materialistic culture with an adorable and charming love story. It’s an astounding visual experience. The first two thirds of this film is irrefutably demonstrative of the emotional storytelling heights of which Pixar is capable, and the following adventures in saving the human race from their self-inflicted gradual erosion are a tonal whiplash, the nice kind. The fact that WALL·E barely talks and yet manages to be one of the most well-realised and charming characters in animated history speaks volumes. Inside Out (2015) came close to taking the throne, but WALL·E remains Pixar’s greatest achievement to date.
Never Been Kissed (1999)
Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), a baby-faced junior copywriter at the Chicago Sun-Times, must pose as a student at her former high school to research contemporary teen culture. While there, she falls in love with one of the teachers and has to control her feelings for him while keeping her cover in place.
Never Been Kissed is not deep or sophisticated, but it’s quirky and big-hearted and it wins us over in the end. Has it aged well? Nope. Is it one of my top guilty pleasures? A resounding yes! You see, under all the film’s schmaltz is Barrymore at the peak of her powers. She emerges as a real star here – an actor whose personality and charisma are the real subject of the story. She manages to turn scenes so contrived and artificial into moments worth caring about. Never Been Kissed remains one of the best teen movies and rom-coms of the ‘90s – a lively tribute to awkwardness.