A few years ago we compiled a list of nerdy romantic (or at least thematically relevant) movies to stream on Valentine’s Day, including titles like 13 Going on 30 and My Bloody Valentine. Those recommendations still stand, but if you need a fresh list of sweet (and bittersweet) sci-fi and fantasy tales to watch this February 14, this new list of eight has got you covered.
The Princess Bride
We don’t even have to explain why this one is on the list. But even if you can already quote every line of this 1987 fairy tale from director Rob Reiner and writer William Goldman, it still holds up again and again during multiple hundreds of viewings.
You can catch The Princess Bride on Stan.
The Shape of Water
She’s a mute custodian working at a top-secret government lab at the height of the Cold War; he’s a… fish-man that both the U.S. and Soviet agents who’re aware of his presence hope to exploit and/or destroy. Who’s to say these two crazy kids can’t find love in spite of everything? Guillermo del Toro’s critically acclaimed 2017 monster epic swooned and swam its way to 13 Oscar nominations, eventually winning four, including Best Picture and Best Director.
The Shape of Water is on Disney+.
While we’re on the subject of sexy fish people, let’s not overlook Ron Howard’s 1984 fantasy about a regular-guy fruit salesman (Tom Hanks) who unexpectedly reconnects with the beautiful mermaid (Daryl Hannah) he first encountered as a child. Sure, there are romantic complications in this literal fish out of water story, but true love finds a way of overcoming obstacles, including inter-species ones. The Disney+ version made waves, har har, when viewers realised the studio had digitally and hilariously obscured a certain body part, but there’s also intentional comedy by way of supporting players John Candy and Eugene Levy.
Catch Splash on Disney+.
Age of Adaline
After a freak accident in the 1930s, a woman (Blake Lively) stops ageing — a condition that keeps her young and beautiful for decades, but also means she has to watch her daughter (Ellen Burstyn) grow into an elderly woman, not to mention settle into a life revolving around changing her identity every few years while avoiding any attachments. That last one becomes difficult when she meets a man (Michiel Huisman) she’d like to spend the rest of her life with, if only she weren’t, y’know, inconveniently immortal. Will true love be enough to break the spell? Will it never not be surprising to see Harrison Ford randomly pop up in a supporting role in this movie? The answers are yes and no.
Age of Adaline is streaming on Netflix.
Her life’s a disaster, and he’s a certified goofball. When they find themselves trapped in the same time loop while attending a wedding in Palm Springs — well, a lot of wild stuff ensues, but it all builds toward them falling in love. Stars Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg are delightful (as is co-star J.K. Simmons, who plays the third unwitting occupant of the time loop) in an unconventional rom-com that somehow makes its familiar Groundhog Day set-up feel sparkling and new again.
Palm Springs is on Amazon Prime.
Love and Monsters
After Joel (Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien) gets separated from his sweetie Aimee (The Matrix Resurrections’ Jessica Henwick) in the wake of an apocalyptic event — sure, asteroids are bad, but what about an asteroid that causes an outbreak of ferocious mutant beasts? — he sets out on a quest to find her again. It’s a lightweight story that’s mostly about Joel’s journey, which is heavier on “monsters” than “love,” but you get bonuses like Michael Rooker and a heroic dog being among those Joel meets along the way.
Catch Love and Monsters on Netflix.
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
This 2021 release is based on a short story by The Magicians’ Lev Grossman, who also wrote the screenplay. Mark (Kyle Allen, who was just cast as He-Man in Netflix’s new Masters of the Universe movie) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton from Freaky and Big Little Lies) play teens who get to know each other — and, naturally, fall for each other — while they’re trapped in the same time loop. It’s far more cute and familiar than Palm Springs, but the leads are appealing together, and there are definitely worse things to spend your time doing than watching the movie version of a catchy pop song.
A Map of Tiny Perfect Things is streaming on Amazon Prime.
In this 1998 fantasy, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman play witch sisters whose family is cursed to be tragically unlucky in love… until Bullock’s character meets her soul mate (Aidan Quinn), who is also, unfortunately, the lawman who suspects her (correctly) of murdering her sister’s abusive boyfriend (though he doesn’t realise there was magic involved). I know what you’re thinking, but just because Practical Magic is on your Halloween movie list doesn’t mean you can’t also watch it for Valentine’s Day!
Practical Magic is on Stan.
If you’d prefer anti-Valentine’s Day flicks, check out these seven movies that will make you happy you’re single on February 14.