Editor in Chief
Valentine’s weekend has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’re ready to give up on the season of love so quickly. In that spirit, these are my top five movies to watch on Valentine’s Day or, in this case, anytime you want to share the love with friends, family or a S.O.
- “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994)
Four Weddings is a British rom-com that was huge when it came out in the mid ’90s but has become less recognizable to late Millennials/early Gen Zers. It follows a group of middle-aged friends who reflect on their single status as they attend several weddings together. Hugh Grant plays the lovably awkward protagonist who is against marriage, despite falling for Andie MacDowell’s character. Four Weddings has laugh-out-loud and tear-jerking moments, and it includes queer and disabled representation (played by actors who are actually gay and deaf, respectively), which is shocking for the time.
- “The Big Sick” (2017)
Based on the real-life experience of the screenwriters, Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) and Emily V. Gordon (Zoe Kazan), it follows the obstacles of being in an interethnic relationship, which becomes even harder when Emily falls into a coma. Kumail, a Pakistani American, hides the relationship from his parents who are trying to arrange his marriage, leaving him to choose between family or love. This film ditches the rose-colored glasses to focus on the real conflicts that can arise in any relationship, but particularly one with cultural differences.
- “Love & Basketball” (2000)
The problem with romantic movies is that the main characters are almost exclusively white, as if people of color are unable to find love and live happily ever after. Love & Basketball is one of the early exceptions to that narrative. Directed and written by Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Spike Lee, this film transitions through the different stages of life for Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) as they balance their love for each other with their love of basketball, as well as their family relationships. Unrequited love and gender/racial disparities are at the forefront of this genre-defying film with a wonderful ending.
- “Someone Great” (2019)
This film features the trials and tribulations of recently single Jenny, played by Gina Rodriguez, and her two best friends. (Note: Full disclosure, Rodriguez is also known for singing the n-word and offering a non-apology, so there is a reason to not support this film; however, I want to recognize the other actors of color in the film for their great work.) Trying to get over Nate (LaKeith Stanfield), Jenny seeks to find a pop-up concert with her friends, who are dealing with relationship issues of their own. This easily rewatchable film reinforces the idea that love is not always romantic and that a strong, loving bond between friends is just as important.
- “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018)
The award for best movie goes to “If Beale Street Could Talk!” This non-linear romantic drama based on James Baldwin’s novel of the same name covers couple Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) who are forced to deal with the racism of 1970s New York, which ultimately results in a false rape allegation against Fonny, a harrowing experience for him and Tish. The stirring performances given by all the actors (including Regina King, who wins a well-deserved Oscar for her portrayal of Tish’s mother) as they bring Baldwin’s words to life are a powerful reminder of the effects racism has on Black relationships.