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  • Writer's pictureJessica Taylor Yates

Top 12 Rom Coms Of All Time

Y'all know this is gonna be 90% Julia Roberts, right?

Hahaha, it me. Source: GiPHY

Well. A while ago, we discussed my 10 Rom-Coms That Get Praise But Actually Suck, and you got FIERY in your responses. That's fair, I'd get savage af if someone started roasting the 11/10 that is Pretty Woman. Taste is subjective, after all. But, after the fierce debate around Muriel's Wedding (for those who didn't read, 1- be a mate, read my stuff cos I'm needy and 2- I hate it and y'all love it) we started talking about the BEST rom-coms. So, I decided to create a list to counter the worst.

Now, only 10 is hard, so I had to lay some ground rules. First up - it has to be a 'romantic comedy'. So, straight up romances, like Ghost or The Bodyguard, whilst obviously 10s, don't make this cut, nor do beautiful self-help movies like Eat, Pray, Love. Similarly, it was hard, but I've cut ones in the Judd-Apatow wheelhouse like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wedding Crashers and also First Wives Club and Miss. Congeniality, which are also 10s, but perhaps fit more in the overall 'comedy' genre (this was hard, but let me know if you disagree!) Basically, if you're umming and ahh-ing about whether it's a rom-com or not, or if it could also top an overall 'comedy' list, it doesn't make the cut. Body-switch movies like 17 Again could slide in, as could overall 'teen' movies like Clueless, but we shall give them their own post cos they're sick. And no musicals or romantic dramas, they're all their own genre, k? Basically, if you cruised into a Blockbuster store in '96, what aisle is this video in? We're talking movies that make you laugh and cry, where the budding romance is really the driving storyline. You can watch them over and over and over again, and they have a romantic part that pulls at the heartstrings. They're quotable, relatable, and stand the test of time. I assume everyone will get around me for not including this or that, and I'm ready for your incorrect opinions! In no particular order (well, except for number 1...) the Top 12 rom coms (because I couldn't cut any, it's 12 dammit!) are...

1. Pretty Woman

Gets me every time, by which I mean, 1465 times. Source: GiPHY

There is no argument here. The story about Vivian, the prostitute with a heart of gold who charms businessman Edward is one that will live on forever. A modern re-telling of Pygmalion (or in later years, My Fair Lady) this is the rom-com that launched Julia Roberts' career with her megawatt smile and on-air chemistry with Richard Gere. One time when I was (too) young, I watched the whole thing on VHS, rewound, and watched it all over again. Look, it was the 90s, we didn't have streaming. The point is, you laugh, you cry, you remember one-liners such as 'Big mistake. Big. HUGE!' and at almost 30 years old, it still resonates as the #1 romantic comedy of all time.

2. Love Actually

Note to husband: do this for me immediately. Source: GiPHY

To those who want to have a whinge about the morality of this movie, sound off on IMDb. When judging past art, it is always important to remember the social norms of the time period, and in 2003, this movie was and arguably still is, considered one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Featuring a stellar line up of the five British actors who are in everything such as ageing rockstar Bill Nighy; newcomer Keira Knightley; tug-at-your-heartstrings Emma Thompson, a dancing Hugh Grant and hopeless romantic Colin Firth, the film is an interweaving of touching and loveable romantic stories in the lead up to Christmas in the UK. It's from the 21st century and yet, it just isn't the Christmas season without it. Love Actually is all around.

3. My Best Friend's Wedding

You never gonna be jello. Source: GiPHY

I said this list would be Julia Roberts-heavy, and I won't apologise for it. This movie is fabulous, because not only does it star my aforementioned bff and a young a beautiful Cammy D as new bride Kimmy, but what's fun is that it doesn't give you the typical rom-com ending. Starring my bff as Jules, a food critic who realises she is in love with her male best friend who is getting married, she sets about destroying their relationship so she can win him instead. You'd think you would hate her and the premise, but the whole story is done in such a funny, touching and entertaining way that you find yourself in repeat viewings, just waiting for her to tell Kimmy, 'You never gonna be jello'.

4. Notting Hill


Tear face emoji! Jules was nailing it in the 90s, thanks friend! A classic from the day it hit theatres, Notting Hill stars Julia Roberts as Anna, a mega movie star who falls in love with William (Hugh Grant), a hapless British bookshop owner. The fun is in the journey, side-characters (like, I really want to hang out with William's British crew and roommate) and beautiful chemistry that develops between the two as she leads up to delivering the iconic line, that, despite being the world's biggest movie star, "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her." Brb gonna go watch for 100th time.

5. The Holiday

You can't watch this with me, I just keep saying 'She's so pretty!' over and over again. Source: GiPHY

Okay look. A lot about this movie doesn't make sense, mainly the ending that doesn't really resolve anything. But the fun is in watching beautiful and funny people fall in love. The Holiday stars Cameron Diaz as an LA-based movie trailer maker who swaps houses for the Christmas period with Kate Winslet, a journalist who is hopelessly in love with a loser from her office. During their house swap (where Kate CLEARLY got the better deal, house-wise), they meet locals, get to know the city and fall in love. With a focus on the movie industry, Jude Law as a hot dad and Jack Black bringing the funnies, it's another romantic classic to add to the list.

6. 10 Things I Hate About You

Tell me about a more iconic scene. I'll wait. Source: GiPHY

So, I wrestled with this one for a while. Is it really a rom-com, teen movie, a coming-of-age, or a comedy/drama? Overall, I decided it is a classic rom-com because of the romantic gestures such as the one above, it's classified as one online, and the main premise of the film is about the budding romances, and so, as a classic, it was allowed on my list. Starring everyone's favourite Hottie Gone Too Soon, Heath Ledger, the film is a re-telling of Shakespeare's Taming of The Shrew. It focuses on two sisters, where the younger one (Bianca) isn't allowed to date until her older sister (Kat) does. Bianca comes up with a plan to get fiery Kat back on the dating scene by getting Cam, a guy with a crush on her, to pay bad boy Patrick (above) to charm Kat. The film's casting is brilliant, the side characters such as the sisters' dad are quotable and funny af, with ultimately beautiful and heart-breaking moments that still resonate as an adult. A true classic.

7. The Wedding Singer

Adam Sandler's best movie. This list shall also come soon... Source: GiPHY

Yay! If you don't love this movie, you don't have a soul. In one of the more original rom-coms to come out of the 90s, this hilarious movie stars Adam Sandler as wedding singer Robbie, who, after being dumped at the altar, falls for engaged waitress Julia (Drew Barrymore). It's a standard rom-com script, but it's everything around it that appeals - the insane chemistry between two actors we all love, the hilarity of the 80s clothes, hairstyles, music and slang; Sandler's unique aptitude for going off the rails in a spectacular fashion, a sick soundtrack and overall fun and loveable cast that easily makes this one of the best rom-coms of all time.

8. Bridget Jones' Diary

Just. As. You. Are. Source: GiPHY

Nobody does a rom-com quite like the Brits. In fact, they're the rare kind my husband will actually sit through with me. Something about the lack of pompous or arrogance, the social awkwardness combined with fireball wit and straight-faced humour just makes them insanely funny and watchable. This classic stars the amazing Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones, a single 30-something living in London who writes about her fumbles with life, love and all the in-between in her quest for a loving partner. In between getting caught in a love triangle between her c-word of a boss Hugh Grant and straighty 180 Colin Firth, her parents' marriage and unbearable mishaps, Bridget remains the loveable, relatable hero for any woman who's ever felt awkward and wanted love. An absolute classic.

9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

You'll always be Aiden to us! Source: GiPHY

What a classic. Yes, it has the standard boy meets girl, but the loveable twist on Toula's extended Greek family is what makes this film so heartwarming. Written by and starring Nia Vardalos, the film focuses on her looking to branch out as a woman on her own and fall in love, whilst still staying true to her roots and traditions. Creating many memorable one-liners such as 'Put some windex on it!' and, 'We're gonna killa ya, opa!' it was a wonderful insight into Greek family, tradition, and how in the end, even if Greeks and Anglos are like apples and oranges, really in the end, 'we all fruit!'

10. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

Source: GiPHY

Kay, if you haven't seen this, were you that girl who spent the last 20 years in a basement? Sporting 100 copies of that yellow dress (Nikki, we need a photo), this is the romantic comedy that put Kate Hudson on the map and cemented her as the new Princess of Rom Coms (the Queen title belongs to my bff J.Roberts, obv). The story focuses on Hudson as Andi Anderson (what?) a magazine writer (of course) who writes an article on how to loose a guy in 10 days, but chose a dude who has a bet going to make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Chaos ensues as neither party knows what the other is up to! Giving us memorable quotes such as, 'Our love fern? You let it die?' and 'Benny-bear, are you ignoring me?' both Hudson and her love interest Matthew McConaughey gave us sizzling chemistry with a fun script and fuzzy feel. It brings all the goods and remains a top contender.

11. When Harry Met Sally

Source: GiPHY

Whether you love or hate this movie, you can't doubt the impact it has had on the modern romantic comedy. Pondering the question, 'Can men and women ever really be just friends?' it features a great script by Nora Ephron (You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle), and has delivered memorable moments such as the speech in the GIF above, and of course, that diner scene that gave us the universal, 'I'll have what she's having'. A truly iconic piece of film making.

12. Down With Love

Source: GiPHY

Bet you didn't see this one coming! Down With Love has got to be one of the most underrated films ever made, and it saddens me that it did not become more of a classic (to others. It always will be to me). Set in the 1960s and starring Renee Zellweger as Barbara Novak, a writer who states women do not need men to be happy, and Ewan MacGregor as Catcher Block, 'ladies man, man's man, man about town', who tries to seduce her. The film is a homage to the romcoms of the 60s, with cheeky banter, brilliant scenic costumes, furniture, a great support cast including a young Neil Patrick Harris and Sarah Paulson, enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and a fabulous musical ending. This one gets a 10 from me. In fact, I may go watch it again now...

Almost had me: Friends With Benefits, How To Be Single, Amelie, Something's Gotta Give, and?...


All images sourced by GiPHY


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