Dana L. Friedkin comments on the top 5 movies to watch on Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating your freedom or spending the night with your significant other.


Are you having a movie night this Valentine’s? Whether you are celebrating your freedom or sharing some microwave popcorn with a significant other, your Sunday will not be complete without the right movie. If your right movie is one that skips the cliché tropes of romantic comedies, you are at the right address. Here are some contemporary choices that bail out on the usual boy-meets-girl routine and ask some questions about the 21st century relationships.

1. Two Night Stand (2014)

Starting this list is a softball to the more adventurous movies, Two Night Stand. It is the closest to the boy-meets-girl storyline, but it is unique in its approach to this storyline. The two lead characters do not exactly have a ‘meet-cute.’ Under the advice of a friend, Megan (Analeigh Tipton) searches a dating site for a casual hook up. She quickly meets Alec (Miles Teller) and goes over to his place for a midnight romp. Not exactly the sweet story you always wanted to tell your grandkids, but a very real possibility for many of us living in the modern age.

2. Begin Again (2013)

Fun fact: saw this movie on a date; never saw the guy again; did see the movie again.

The most prominently featured romance of this film is the love of music, shared by the protagonists Gretta (Keira Knightley) and Dan (Mark Ruffalo). Though they bond over their passion for music, they do not ever get passionate with each other. Some in the audience might root for them, but these two have baggage to deal with, i.e. ex-boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) and ex-wife (Catherine Keener). It is an exploration of how love can change over time…

3. Away We Go (2009)

Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) are a couple about to have their first child. They set out on a journey to find where they want to raise their children, by visiting friends and relatives across North America. This movie has no breakups or grand gestures, but rather focuses on what really sustains a relationship: caring and listening to another person’s needs… Although both leads have a history in comedy, do not let this fool you. This film is on the serious side and explores several types of relationships at once, while retaining some lighthearted moments.

This film brings a more realistic side of romance on the table; and by this I mean that sometimes a grand gesture of love does not quell doubts about a relationship but serves to intensify them.

Sarah (Lizzy Caplan) is proposed to by her longterm boyfriend, but she says no and quickly jumps on the rebound. The film also focuses on the relationship of her sister Beth (Alison Brie), who is about to be married, and questions how sure can you be that you love someone.

5. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Easily one of my top 10 movies, (500) Days has become a cult classic in its own league. The movie tells the relationship of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) in an insequential format, going from their first meeting to their break-up and to Tom’s meager efforts to win her back. The narrator warns the viewer outright ‘this is not love story’; but it certainly explores how falling in love affects people, their worldview, and how it motivates them to change. This is probably the most well known on the list – if you have not seen it yet, you definitely should!


Dana L. Friedkin