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10 Things To Watch On Valentine’s Day

Movies and shows to stream, whether you’re loved-up or terminally single.

Illustration Emily Keegin
February 12, 2016

Like an inescapable below-freezing cold front, Valentine's Day is coming whether you like it or not. It's boring to complain about the holiday—It's capitalist! I'm alone!—so, instead, we're sort of leaning into it. We've complied a pretty out-there list of movies and shows currently streaming that we find to be "romantic" in some way. Some are literal love stories, and some are a bit darker. But they're all perfect for a late-night date night, whether your companion is an actual human or just an immaculately rolled spliff.

1. La Jetée

This 28-minute sci-fi short is about a man who becomes the subject of time-travel experiments in a dystopian future. When he finds himself transported to the pre-war past, he links with a beautiful woman that he thinks he recognizes from a violent childhood memory. It's a sad, hypnotic love story—told through a stream of still photographs and a single breathtaking moving image. It's ideal if you're feeling existentially angsty or if your Valentine is into experimental short films from the 1960s. Watch on Hulu.

2. Show Me Love

The original Swedish title of this 1998 girl-meets-girl romance was Fucking Åmål, but it’s not so hot and heavy as it sounds: Åmål is the boring town that the film’s protagonists, two teen girls who fall in love, dream of leaving when they grow up. After the film got U.S. distribution, the director changed the name to match a Robyn song that plays over the end credits—less provocative, but also cool. Watch on Netflix.

3. I Am Love

If you are looking for a reminder that love really can set you free, try the deeply sensual Italian film, I Am Love. It stars Tilda Swinton as the porcelain-skinned wife of a wealthy Milanese businessman. Her lavish world has totally consumed her identity—that is until someone much younger wakes her up. Watch on Netflix.

4. A Night At The Roxbury

Few humans are as useless as the spoiled, street-harassing man-children played by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell in 1998's A Night At The Roxbury, but their vacuous, unselfaware desperation feels depressingly similar to the quest for upward social mobility that is modern love. When it's all said and done, perhaps millennials in search of romance are, too, better off settling for pathetic mating rituals played out over overpriced drinks and strobelit nightclub dancefloors. Watch on Netflix.

5. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

No one does fabricated romance like BOLLYWOOD, which is also very LOL because every year in some Indian cities there are protests against Valentine's Day by Hindu fundamentalist factions who claim the holiday promotes obscenity and Western values. Anyway, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a Bollywood classic: part campy college flick, part romantic comedy about a widower raising an adorable daughter whose precociousness—and a series of post-dated letters from her mother—leads her father back to his childhood best friend. Watch on Netflix.

6. UnREAL, Season 1 Episode 1

The Lifetime original series takes the suspense of House of Cards and applies it to the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of a Bachelor-like reality show. The first episode, and all the ones you'll inevitably watch after, will make you grateful for your own unscripted, comparatively sane human relationships. Watch on Hulu.

7. Cruel Intentions

Like many of the best ’90s classics, Cruel Intentions involves a bet and was loosely inspired by centuries-old literature. This one has Ryan Phillippe's butt, though. Watch on Netflix.

8. Beautiful Girls

An introspective piano player returns to his blue-collar New England hometown for a high school reunion in this overlooked mid-1990s gem. He links up with his old gang, each grappling with their own romantic problem, and strikes up an unlikely (and occasionally creepy) friendship with a wise-beyond-her-years neighbor, played by a scene-stealing Natalie Portman. The cast is kind of perfect, and the whole movie feels as familiar and depressing and comforting and bleak as an actual trip back home. Watch on Netflix.

9. Rick and Morty, Season 2 Episode 7

Because there's literally nothing more romantic than watching an animated show about how life is ridiculous bullshit and ultimately nothing in the universe matters. This episode is the one where mom and dad go to alien couples therapy and have their relationship personified in monster form. Ah, love. Watch on Adult Swim.

10. A Room With A View

Because let's face it, all real love begins and ends in the English countryside. Watch on Netflix.

10 Things To Watch On Valentine’s Day