The 10 best romantic comedies to uplift your spirits

Posted by for Life

There is something so familiar about romantic comedies - they are like big hugs from your best friends, and to be honest that’s what we all need right now. So here’s our list of the best ones to uplift your spirits. 

I blame my love of romantic comedies on my dad. An avid advocate that all of life’s problems could be solved in 90’s minutes worth of meet-cutes, witty banter and happy endings, I have long worshipped at the altars of Nora Ephron, Richard Curtis and Garry Marshall.

Whilst my love of romcoms never faltered – I can recite the 10 things Kat Stratford hates (but loves) about Patrick Verona like it were the Lord’s Prayer – the rest of the world wavered after the burst of 90s and early 00s smash hits. That was until Netflix revived the trend through a string of coming of age rom-com hybrids by way of To All The Boys I Loved Before, Dumplin’, The Kissing Booth and The Duff

Sure, these all have merit in their own ways, but they don’t pack the same kind of punch as those big-hitting romantic comedies that saw us through so many of life’s firsts: sleepovers, heartbreaks, dates in our parents’ living rooms. 

And that’s exactly what we need during this time: an uplifting chase, a swell of strings as the lead couple get their final kiss and a happy ending.

Here’s our 10 best romcoms to raise your spirits over the coming weeks. 

Nora Ephron knows a thing or two about romantic comedies.

You’ve Got Mail 

You can’t talk about romantic comedies without mentioning Nora Ephron – the First Lady of sparkling dialogue and blindingly happy endings. You’ve Got Mail is my number one Nora Ephron (sorry to all the When Harry Met Sally fans) it has everything you could ever want in a film: Tom Hanks. It’s an internet love story from back when the internet was still a dial tone. The two leads on either side of the screen are sparring book shop opponents: Meg Ryan is the charming independent store owner Kathleen Kelly, and Tom Hanks is the capitalist bully, Joe Fox, coming to put her out of business. Naturally, they hate each other, but the line between love and hate is a fine one and you are compelled to make them cross it. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime 

Julia Roberts goes to work on making her best friend remember why he loved her (much to Cameron Diaz’s dismay).

My Best Friend’s Wedding

My Best Friend’s Wedding holds all the ingredients to a mega-watt romantic comedy as bright as Julia Robert’s smile. It’s the classic story of girl wants boy only when girl can no longer have boy, and Dermot Mulroney plays the soft but sweet love interest almost as perfectly as Camera Diaz plays the innocently annoying yet totally lovable ‘other’ woman. But it’s the witty banter and waspish quips between Roberts and her gay best friend Rupert Everett that make this one of the absolute best romantic comedies. That and Everett’s version of Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Bridget Jones Diary
Helen Fielding has discussed the reality of Bridget Jones on Desert Island Discs.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

If the opening scene of this film doesn’t speak to you on a deeply spiritual level, life has been very kind to you. Renée Zellweger is the hapless heroine whose main preoccupation is choosing between her sparring love interests: the douche bag (but quite fit) Hugh Grant, and the charmingly English but incredibly stoic Colin Firth. There’s bar brawls, top shagging, blue soup and the best (read: worst) Christmas jumpers you’ve ever seen. Oh, and the mother of all happy endings. 

Where to watch: Hulu 

Is it hate or is it love?

10 Things I Hate About You 

Striking the line between coming of age teen movie and romantic comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You is a personal favourite for so many reasons: the soundtrack, the late great Heath Ledger crooning Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, the bitchy teens, the countless spaghetti strap slip dresses and Joey getting just what was coming to him. Plus it’s based on Shakespeare’s Taming Of the Shrew, so it’s educational too. 

Where to watch: Disney+

Clueless was released in 1995.
Clueless was released in 1995.

Clueless

This film is cult classic for many reasons. First there’s the outfits: the plaid skirts, the elusive collarless shirt with red seagulls and the Alaïa dress. Then there’s the unstoppable one-liners that have stood the test of time: ‘You’re a virgin who can’t drive” just one of many. Clueless is a journey of self-discovery, evolving friendships and realising everything you ever wanted was right under your nose (mechanic wardrobe included). 

Where to watch: Netflix

Kate Hudson delivers a masterful lesson in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Kate Hudson’s Andie Andseron is the pretty, popular, frothy lead who works at the women’s magazine (naturally) but wants to write something of substance. Matthew McConaughey’s Benjamin Barry (the names alone should swing your vote on this) is the poker-playing advertising charmer. It’s a romance that’s doomed from the start, but one you know will pull through because these two are nothing if not magnetically in love. 

Where to watch: Amazon

Will Drew Barrymore finally get everything she's always wanted?

Never Been Kissed

Drew Barrymore is the kooky, clueless reporter that gets the ultimate do-over: to go back to high school and right her wrong. With things looking as bleak as they did the first-time round, she employs her cooler brother (David Arquette) to raise her profile from loser to prom queen. There she meets kindred spirits; mean girls and the boy she’s always been looking for. Lessons are learnt along the way, but none more pertinent than kindness will prevail. 

Where to watch: Disney+

"Yassas, everyone!"

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 

Nia Vardalos writes and stars in this hilarious rom-com that is as story as much about family as it is sweet romance. There’s Windex, there’s Dancing Zorbas, there’s a bundt cake, there’s a lamb on a spit, there’s some wildly amusing family members and there’s John Cusack. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is as much a story of self-love as it is about acceptance. 

Where to watch: Google Play 

David Beckham was everyone's first love though, right?

Bend It Like Beckham 

“What family would want a daughter-in-law who can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapatis?” Set in London’s Hounslow, Gurinder Chadha’s ground-breaking Bend it Like Beckham is one-part feel good family fun and one-part breaking with tradition. Combine the two and you are left with a hilarious but emotional story that is so much more than just football, love and lesbian shoes. 

Where to watch: Google Play 

A match made in Hollywood heaven.

Notting Hill 

Julia Roberts plays herself in Notting Hill – a beautiful A-list Hollywood actor, and Hugh Grant also plays himself – a bumbling British boy full of hapless charm and exceeding awkwardness. It’s an unlikely match (truly the most unlikely) but you can’t help but root for them from their orange juice spill meet cute. After all, she’s just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her. 

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Images: Getty / Rex / IMDB 

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