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The Best 25 Romcoms and How I Came To Love The Genre

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My first experience of romcoms was on long coach journeys for school trips when I was 12-16 years old, with the far-off tiny screen at the front of the coach playing a video (VHS) of Notting Hill (I found it boring at that age and fell asleep, which is the only time that I’ve ever fallen asleep watching anything) or Chocolat (which I found myself enjoying a lot but have mixed feelings about now because of what we know about Johnny Depp).

I never watched romcoms of my own volition back then though and held them in disdain as “girly”. I used to despise and distance myself far from anything considered stereotypically “girly” because, in general, I found that I genuinely didn’t like those things but sometimes it was because I’d internalised the sexism that those things were somehow lesser and looked down upon. I’d observed and absorbed into my brain how men scoffed at and dismissed romcoms as Not Good Quality Films. As a result, I’d subconsciously adopted the same viewpoint because I didn’t want to be regarded as inferior or be derided for liking “soppy” or substandard films.

After I became ill at 18½ years old though, I started giving romcoms a chance. Gradually I admitted to myself that there were actually many, many romcoms that I really enjoyed watching and became defiantly unashamed about it. This all seems a long time ago (I’m 31 now) and I have to remind myself that there was a time when I didn’t love romcoms like I do now. I reckon I’ve seen a huge majority of them.

However, when I came to mull over my favourites and attempt to narrow them down to a top 25 for this list, I realised that I haven’t loved, or even liked, any romcom that was made anytime after 2010. Romcoms now overwhelmingly tend towards a sense of humour that I just don’t find funny; I don’t enjoy the overly ‘lewd and crude’ type of brash romcoms where they talk about things that I don’t want to hear about or do things that I don’t want to see. It also feels like there’s bad swearing every other word; I can accept swearing on occasion for comic effect or in the event of something truly terrible happening to a character but the overabundance and severity of swear words that is now common practice, is an assault on the ears and renders the swearing meaningless. It smacks of a poor script and a lack of vocabulary and originality on the part of the writer. I also can’t stand it if a romcom doesn’t have a happy ending; it has become more common for romcoms to want to be “edgy” and have an unexpected or unconventional ending. I hate this. I WANT HAPPY ENDINGS BACK. Hollywood, please go back to making nice romcoms like the ones in my list below.

So my top 25 romcoms will obviously reflect my personal tastes but I maintain that these are the BEST ones. It has been an almost impossible task to rank this top tier of 25 romcoms though (especially the top 7, which keep switching places with each other) and I reserve the right to change my mind about the order I’ve put them in. I love them all. Here they are:

 

1. Miss Congeniality

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2. Bend It Like Beckham

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3. 13 Going On 30

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4. Maid in Manhattan

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5. You’ve Got Mail

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6. The Wedding Planner

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7. Leap Year

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8. Chocolat

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9. Two Weeks Notice

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10. Music and Lyrics

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11. My Best Friend’s Wedding

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12. Legally Blonde

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13. How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days

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14. Letters to Juliet

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15. 27 Dresses

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16. Love Actually

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17. While You Were Sleeping

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18. Notting Hill

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19. She’s the Man

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20. Kate & Leopold

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21. Sweet Home Alabama

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22. Fool’s Gold

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23. Valentine’s Day

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24. The Wedding Date

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25. Confessions of a Shopaholic

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Honourable mentions: The Family Stone, Failure to Launch, Bride Wars, The Perfect Man, When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral, He’s Just Not That Into You, Hitch, Made of Honour, The Proposal, Sleepless in Seattle, The Jane Austen Book Club, Something Borrowed, The Prince and Me, When in Rome

 

What are your favourite romcoms? Let me know in the comments.

 

8 comments to The Best 25 Romcoms and How I Came To Love The Genre

  • Ann

    Great selection. Really hard to choose. For me, Anne of Green Gables hits the spot too. Gone with the Wind too when wanting ott drama!

    • Jenny

      Anne of Green Gables is my second favourite film of all time but I wouldn’t call it a romcom, Mum! I think I would get bored watching Gone with the Wind – it’s not my tkind of thing.

      Isn’t French Kiss one of your favourite romcoms?

      • Ann

        Yes, French Kiss and The Holiday are up there. I would say parts 2 and 3 of Anne of Green Gables are the romcom bits – where she never gives up her search for Gilbert Blythe is v aaahhh! But not much humour in it so a bit intense for a top spot!

  • Pam

    Great list, will have a look at the ones I’ve not seen yet.

    I love The Holiday, it’s really corny and predictable, but spot-on acting from Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslett as the life-swapping heroines, and a real feel-good ending.

    I can’t resist Four Weddings and a Funeral, even though I came to the conclusion a long time ago that Andie McDowell’s and Hugh Grant’s characters are really selfish! And .i could pick holes in Love, Actually till the cows come home, but that’s part of its charm.

    • Jenny

      Oh I forgot about The Holiday! I don’t think it would make my top 25 but I still enjoyed it.

      I was a bit hesitant about putting Love Actually on the list because apparently we’re all meant to hate it now after that article which amusingly ripped the film to shreds. But *whispers* I still like it.

  • Suzie

    Nice list!

    I’d add 10 Things I Hate About You, Runaway Bride, Clueless, Amelie, Mean Girls, 50 First Dates, The Princess Bride, The Princess Diaries, 500 Days of Summer, Never Been Kissed and She’s All That

  • Ian

    Not my favourite genre. However if pushed would say that my top 3 are Chocolat because it was a classy film, legally blonde as it was surprising and Bend it like Beckham as it introduced the famous Keira pouting chin.

  • Legally Blonde, Amelie, You’ve got Mail, Sleepless in Seatle are certainly all in my comfort re-watch pile. There are some there I’ve not got around to watching or have maybe watched once and not bothered with again.

    Sweet Alabama – I remember because I was the only person in the cinema!

    I go through phases with rom-coms – and I think I watch them more when I want something mainly undemanding, but with something to think about a bit as well.

    I also watched a lot of them when I lived in a mainly male environment. (Maybe I’ve a whole blog post coming up!)

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