Last year, I made a list of films worth checking out on Netflix for Valentine’s Day. This year, I’m including options from Amazon Prime. No repeats from last year! Of last years list, Jane Eyre, Beginners, Amelie, and Moonrise Kingdom are still available for streaming on Netflix while His Girl Friday, Stardust, and Punch-Drunk Love are now available to stream on Amazon Prime, so feel free to check those out too. So, if you live in New England like I do, and you’re snowed in because of a blizzard for most of today and tomorrow, check out the following flicks with your significant other or by yourself because that’s cool too.
10. Elizabethtown (Netflix)
Wait, what? Right out of the gate with #10 and I’m trying to invalidate my list? Ok, let me just get it out of the way right up front that Elizabethtown is a flawed, far from perfect movie. It’s entirely possible that Orlando Bloom was not at all right for the lead role, even. There’s a lot here that is just messy. And yet, I can’t help but be drawn in by Kirsten Dunst in this movie, even if this is one of the primary examples of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in film. The all-night phone call between them is great and I love the soundtrack.
9. To Catch a Thief (Netflix)
A classic from Hitchcock, To Catch a Thief stars Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Grant is a retired jewel thief who is sucked back into the profession when the police come after him claiming a recent robbery leads them to believe he committed it. He eludes them and goes in search of finding the actual thief in order to clear his name, and in the process crosses paths with a Grace Kelly’s socialite.
8. The One I Love (Amazon Prime) The One I Love is a ever so lightly sci-fi film about a couple that is having some difficulty in their marriage and is instructed by their therapist to go to a weekend retreat at a secluded estate. Once there, things start to get weird involving a little cottage on the estate and what is in that room. The film is a nice little piece about marriage and love and the notion of an idealized version of that other person in the relationship.
7. Atonement (Netflix)
Atonement is a film about a moment taken out of context and how it can ruin lives. At the center of it all is a smoldering, burgeoning romance between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy around the time of World War II. The ending packs an emotional wallop, but even that is beautiful in its own bittersweet way.
6. Your Sister’s Sister (Netflix)
Your Sister’s Sister is a nice indie dramedy from Lynn Shelton. Iris invites her best friend Jack to spend the weekend at her family’s cabin a year after he’s lost his brother. He arrives to find her sister already there after a tough breakup of her own. They get drunk and end up sleeping together, even though Hannah is a lesbian, with Iris arriving the next day and eventually divulging to Hannah that she is in love with Jack.
5. Sabrina (Amazon Prime)
This is a classic film with a classic cast from a classic director. Billy Wilder directed Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden in this film about the daughter of a chauffer who initially falls in love with one of two brothers of the family her father drives for, only to slowly fall for the other, older brother. The age difference between Bogart and Hepburn is a bit distracting, but overall, this film is a must-see.
4. Priceless (Amazon Prime)
Everyone knows Audrey Tautou from Amelie or from The Da Vinci Code. Not as many people in the US are as familiar with her other French films. This one is a romantic comedy about a hotel worker on the French Riviera who is mistaken by a gold digger for a rich man. A year later, the cross paths again and she ends up finding out his profession and he ends up getting sucked into her way of life.
3. The Princess Bride (Netflix)
The Princess Bride is a classic 80s movie. And it is a wonderful fairy tale of adventure and true love. It’s universally loved. I really don’t feel like I need to say too much about this movie.
2/1. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset (Amazon Prime)
Originally, I had The Princess Bride at number one on this list, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to put this double bill from Richard Linklater at the top instead. In Before Sunrise, two strangers, Jesse and Celine, meet on a train and have an instant connection and end up spending the day together in Vienna. In Before Sunset, they reconnect nine years later in Paris, at a very different place in their lives than where they were in Before Sunrise. Both are almost entirely two-person films, with Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine having conversations about life and love as they stroll through the street of Vienna and Paris. If you love these two films, there’s also Before Midnight which is a third chapter in their story set nine years later, which you should seek out. Unfortunately, it is not available on Amazon Prime, but is available to rent on Amazon.