Staff recs: Valentine’s Day films

As Valentine’s Day approaches, The WSN staff recommends films to watch for this upcoming Valentine’s Day.

Juno

“Juno” tells the story of teenage romance. The Oscar-winning screenplay pairs perfectly with droll actors Ellen Page and Michael Cera, who deliver their absurd lines with a nonchalance that brings the story to life. Though it is not a typical romantic movie, “Juno” is a comedy with swatches of very real despair. The movie forces the viewer to ponder the emotional and very real consequences of teenage pregnancy by making it the focus of the film.  The setting and soundtrack of the film gives the entire story a nostalgic tint. For those seeking quirky banter, bright yellow short shorts and orange Tic-Tacs, “Juno” provides all these essentials in a sweet little film.

Annie Hall 

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While there is an abundance of Woody Allen films you could watch this Feb. 14, none compare to “Annie Hall,” released during the days when he collaborated with Diane Keaton. The plot follows the story of protagonists Alvy Singer and Annie Hall’s relationship. Their romance unfolds in a series of vignettes, including classic scenes such as Alvy corraling lobsters in the kitchen while Annie laughs. While the film is certainly not a bastion of romance, it provides a realistic and comedic look at relationships with a main character who, like the old Groucho Marx joke, wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have someone like him as a member.

500 Days of Summer

From where I’m standing, there are two types of Valentine’s movies: soppy and realistic. “500 Days of Summer” is the latter, and follows Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he remembers his failed relationship with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), the girl of his dreams. The film subverts cliché by refusing to make Tom a completely sympathetic character. “500 Days” is a great example of the manic pixie dream girl trope, where a guy expects her to solve all his problems. If you’re single, this isn’t a movie that’s going to make you feel good about that fact. It’s a cautionary tale more than a feel-good flick.

10 Things I Hate About You 

It’s hard to believe “10 Things I Hate About You” was released in 1999. The film depicts the trials of Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), the popular sister, who is forbidden from dating until her older sister, Kat (Julia Stiles), is also seeing someone. Bianca attempts to set Kat up, which is when Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) comes into play. Despite the film’s  commonalities with typical teenage-romantic films and a reliance on the cliché of unrequited love, the Shakespearean-influence of “Taming of the Shrew” adds depth to “10 Things I Hate About You.”

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 11 print edition. 

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