Even the hardest of seasonal cynics can't resist a Christmas romcom, and these are the classics.
Yes, all we do want for Christmas is romance, Wham! and Daenerys Targarye dressed as an elf. Thankfully, all three join forces in the latest romantic comedy from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. Co-written by Emma Thompson, Last Christmas is an ode to the George Michael classic. It's been out for a few weeks in New Zealand but will surely get a box office boost as the big day approaches. In it, Emilia Clarke (the aforementioned Game of Thrones alumnus) plays Kate, a depressed aspiring singer who works in a Christmas decoration emporium in London and falls for a charming and mysterious stranger played by Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding. Should Oscar hopefuls be quaking in their boots? No. But who cares? It's got heart, laughs and charm, plus, reassuringly, a diverse cast in Golding, Michelle Yeoh and newcomer Jade Anouka. It's the latest in a long line of festive romcoms. Here are seven more.
When Harry Met Sally, 1989
The film mostly takes place during the rest of the year — indeed, the pivotal scene happens on New Year's Eve — but let's gloss over that. The lingering Christmas scenes in this seminal romcom are unforgettable: the sweeping shots of a snowy New York and Harry and Sally as best friends lugging a ginormous Christmas tree through the snow are beautiful and heartwarming. Of course, crushingly, a year later they aren't speaking and she is dragging the tree herself. Anyway, it all works out in the end.
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While You Were Sleeping, 1995
It's Christmas Day. Sandra Bullock jumps on a train track to rescue a man she has never spoken to yet is in love with because she sees him pass the platform every day. Over the next week, her beloved remains in a coma while his family mistakenly think that she and their son are engaged — and she doesn't have the guts to tell them otherwise. Meanwhile, she falls in love with his brother (do keep up) who — spoiler! — proposes at the end of the movie. After a week. A week! But let's smooth over the obvious plot holes and ignore the questionable dialogue ("Have you ever been so alone you spend the night confusing a man in a coma?" No?), this is a warm, fuzzy, ridiculous festive treat and co-stars Peter Gallagher, aka The OC's patriarch Sandy Cohen.
Before smartphones and Tinder, romance bloomed in other ways. In this case, Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) catch eyes while Christmas shopping. She writes down her number on a scrap of paper, which promptly blows away. "Simply write your number down again!" I hear you cry to the screen. But in Christmas romcom land, things are never straightforward. Sara challenges Jonathan to find her some other way ("It's destiny!") and it takes him a decade to do so, by which point they are both engaged to other people. So popular is this genuinely funny and completely bonkers film, a TV adaptation is in the works.
Bridget Jones's Diary, 2001
There is nothing critical to say here. Hugh Grant as dastardly Daniel Cleaver is sublime. Shazza, Tom and Jude have reached cult status and our beloved Bridget is a poster girl for everything that was right with the Noughties. The film opens and ends at Christmas — Colin Firth's reindeer jumper and a trouserless Renee Zellweger sprinting through the snow are nothing short of iconic moments in film. Our hearts melted and turkey curry never looked the same. We like it. Just as it is.
Can we count Elf, a comedy about a human who has grown up as one of Santa's elves in the North Pole and comes to Manhattan in search of his biological father, as a romantic comedy? Of course we can. We're treated to a love storyline between the protagonist Buddy (Will Ferrell), an adopted elf, and Jovie (Zooey Deschanel), a disgruntled department store employee merely posing as an elf. In fact, the entire film is an ode to Christmas, family and maple syrup. What's more romantic than that?
Love Actually, 2003
Is it even Christmas if you haven't watched Love Actually at least four times while inhaling Quality Streets? No, it is not. The Richard Curtis classic spawned a thousand memes, a deep love for Bill Nighy and a short-lived but legitimate film career for Martine McCutcheon. Not to mention the glittering soundtrack — where else will you find Joni Mitchell and Mariah Carey on the same album? Every year, and for years to come, we will cry with Emma Thompson's Karen, upon discovering her husband is having an affair, cringe at Hugh Grant's prime minister dancing, cringe at Hugh Grant as the prime minister in general, and lap up all the festivities, all the comedy and all the romance, actually.
The Holiday, 2006
Fiery American Amanda (Cameron Diaz) and English rose Iris (Kate Winslet) are fed up with their respective lives, so, about four minutes after meeting online and without so much as the mention of a rental agreement, decide to hand each other the keys to their homes for a Christmas house swap. And that's where the movie ends. Only joking, this is merely where the plot thickens! Not long after arriving at their respective destinations, the women stumble into romantic dalliances. Cue roaring fires, mistletoe and frolicking in the snow. Sweet, sentimental and potentially where the idea of Airbnb came from, this film has become a modern Christmas classic. However, if a drunk man turns up at your door, claiming his sister lives there and he needs a bed for the night, please don't let him in. Even if he does look like Jude Law.
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Written by: Scarlett Russell
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