ValenFinds: Diverse romance movies for every occasion

Bowen Rivera

Flowers, chocolates and falling in love are hallmarks of Valentine’s day, yet they can’t compare to the true bread and butter of the holiday: romance movies. Everyone knows the classic examples, the doomed love story of Rose and Jack in “Titanic,” the cross-clique romance of Sandy and Danny in “Grease” and Noah and Allie’s relationship through time in “The Notebook.” Besides a plot focused on romance, these movies are united by entirely white leads and zero Queer representation. However, not all romance movies lack diversity, and there are many exciting movies with diverse casts and captivating romances that aren’t entirely white and straight.

The complicated love story

Carol movie poster (photo courtesy of the Weinstein Company)

“Carol” is an incredible watch, following the unexpected love story between two women set in 1960s America, between a young shop worker, Therese (played by Maya Rooney), and an older divorcee, Carol (played by Cate Blanchett). First, the chemistry between Rooney and Blanchett’s characters on screen draws the audience into the main relationship, a testament to both the talent of the actresses and the writing team. The movie also has a unique look that helps it feel more dated than its actual release date in 2015. This film is not light, with the largest subplot of the movie focusing on Carol’s messy divorce, as her ex-husband fights for full custody of their daughter. To cap the movie off, although the ending could be much worse, the main couple certainly doesn’t get their fairytale ending. If you’re looking for a movie to cry over this holiday, this is the one.

Love, Simon movie poster (photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox)

The traditional teen rom-com
“Love, Simon”
“Love, Simon” follows Simon, a closeted high school student, who falls in love with an anonymous student, known only as Blue for most of the movie, over email conversations. Flat out, “Love, Simon” isn’t perfect. The plot suffers from pacing issues, as most of the movie is spent watching Simon trying to find Blue without any significant success until the end. Additionally, the coming-out narrative, while well done, further complicates the movie’s plot structure. Caveats aside, this movie is a strong coming-of-age story reminiscent of a traditional John Hughes movie like “Sixteen Candles,” which is refreshing for a movie about a Queer relationship. The movie’s slow pace allows the audience to bond with the incredible supporting characters who are at the heart of the movie. Additionally, the big romantic gestures shown in this movie rival scenes from classic romance movies. Furthermore, the 2010 pop focused soundtrack deserves a shout-out for adding to the exaggerated teen feel of the movie. If you’re looking for something fun to watch that will leave you feeling satisfied, this may be the movie for you.


Crazy Rich Asians movie poster (photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Fun for everyone
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“Crazy Rich Asians” has the glitz, the romance, the charm and the comedy for a perfect fun romcom experience. It follows the main couple, Rachel and Nick, who travel to Singapore to attend a wedding with Nick’s extremely wealthy family. Although there are some bumps in the road for Rachel and Nick, they’re already together from the start, creating a more comforting experience without the “will they or won’t they” of many traditional romcoms. This movie’s cast is majority Asian actors, as well as many of the behind-the-scenes roles also being held by people of Asian descent. The movie’s cast is absolutely perfect, although Christine Wu’s performance as Rachel and Gemma Chan’s as Astrid stand out above the rest. The movie’s score is incredible at setting it apart from anything else, combining elements from both Chinese and Western musical elements. If you’re looking for something to show to your grandma while still having a great time yourself, this one’s for you.