'When done right, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, better in the cinema.' That’s Tom Hiddleston talking about romantic movies. And he’s got a point. Whilst terms like ‘chic flick’ or ‘rom-coms’ might do the genre a disservice, the truth of the matter is that, when a romantic film contains all the right elements – that is, a good plot, great writing, loveable characters, lots of laughs and plenty of touching/ tear inducing moments – they resonate with everyone (even if you’ve been dragged there by your other half.) Here’s our pick – in alphabetical order because we can’t possibly choose the best - of how to keep yourself in the mood for love when you’ve got a night in on your lonesome.
The plot: A man who time travels manipulates the future to secure a relationship with the girl of his dreams
Who’s in it: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy.
Why is works: It’s from the people that brought the world such films as Notting Hill, Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral. With a back catalogue like this, they’ve more than proved they’ve nailed the romantic film formula.
The plot: A neurotic comedian gets involved with a complicated would-be night club singer.
Who’s in it: Woody Allen, Diane Keating.
Why is works: Allen again writes, directs and stars with Diane Keaton (his real life girlfriend at the time) in a remarkable recreation of a spent love affair, which is both sad and hysterically funny.
As Good As It Gets
The plot: A man with severe OCD is encouraged to be a nicer person by the waitress he serves - and eventually falls in love with.
Who’s in it: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt
Why is works: It’s about damaged people struggling for hope, help, and love whilst the chemistry between Nicholson and Hunt is completely watchable. Funny and heart warming.
The plot: An intelligent romantic movie about an American guy who meets a European girl on a train who then spend the day together in Vienna. When it’s time to part ways, they begin to fall in love.
Who’s in it: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy,
Why is works: It’s thought provoking and beautifully filmed and led by marvelously natural performances from the main actors.
The plot: This epic love story tells of two young men - a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy - who meet in the summer of 1963 while driving cattle on a mountain range. They unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.
Who’s in it: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger
Why is works: a swooning, achingly sad masterpiece about relationships that could but can't and never will be. Offers a universal love story that lingers long in the mind.
The plot: a teenage girl spends the summer with her family at a holiday resort and ends up falling madly in love with a dancer in the resort’s dance show.
Who’s in it: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey
Why is works: On the surface, it seems like an enjoyable piece of fluff about a summer camp romance but DD is, in it’s own way, a powerful morality tale. Unabashedly sensual.
Good Will Hunting
The plot: Will is an unrecognized genius who becomes a patient of a therapist who encourages him to open up about his life, including why he finds it so hard to commit to his girlfriend
Who’s in it: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver
Why is works: It’s touching without being overly sentimental.
Harold & Maude
The plot: An attention-seeking, suicidal young man is redeemed by his friendship with an aging eccentric old lady.
Who’s in it: Bud Court, Ruth Gorgon
Why is works: A doggedly eccentric film which some will reject out of hand. Others will find this romantic film profundly moving and life affirming.
The plot: A high flying sports agent finds himself down on his luck and finds himself involved with a shy, homely accountant. But
Who’s in it: Tom Cruise, Rennee Zellweger
Why is works: It’s a tender look at unlikely love winning through.
The plot: Billed as "the ultimate romantic comedy," Love Actually involves more than a dozen main characters, each weaving his or her way into another's heart over the course of one particularly eventful Christmas.
Who’s in it: Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy
Why is works: Despite it's naivety, this is one of the most beautiful and heart warming movies to come around in years.
The plot: Two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. It's not what you'd call 'classic' love story but it's beautiful all the same.
Who’s in it: Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis.
Why it works: Great cast, great style, and sweet story of young love.
My Best Friend’s Wedding
The plot: Two best friends (a boy and a girl) vowed that, if they were still single at age 28, then they would get married. She finds herself horrified when he instead announces that he’s getting wed to someone else – and then vows to stop at nothing to win him back
Who’s in it: Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz
Why is works: There are some some stellar comedy moments provided by Rupert Everett.
The plot: Regular bloke falls in love with a Hollywood star. Trys to make it work
Who’s in it: Julie Roberts, Hugh Grant, Rhys Ifans
Why is works: An exceptionally guy-friendly chick flick.
One Fine Day
The plot: Yes, it's looking a little dated now, but George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer tearing around New York, then falling in love at the end – what's not to love?
Who’s in it: George Clooney, Michelle Pfeiffer
Why is works: Remarkable chemistry between the impossibly glamorous pair of Pfeiffer and Clooney.
Romeo + Juliet (Baz Lurhmann)
The plot: Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.
Who’s in it: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes
Why is works: Although this is a story which has been told many times before, Luhrmann keeps the idea fresh, mainly by using a lovely mixture of fast editing and beautifully choreographed fight scenes all set to a delicious, modern soundtrack.
The plot: A man visits a female friend in a nursing home and reads from an old, faded notebook containing the sweeping account of a young couple whose love affair was tragically put to a halt after their separation in the midst of World War II
Who’s in it: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Why is works: A potently rich story about the power of love. Heartbreakingly beautiful and achingly real.
The Wedding Planner
The plot: Mary Fiore is an ambitious and successful San Francisco wedding planner who works only for the most wealthy and exclusive clients - but who is also a perpetual single. And then she falls in love with the groom.
Who’s in it: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey
Why is works: It’s JLo at her best.
The plot: Clarence Worley is a well-meaning but socially unskilled comic-shop clerk who meets the beautiful Alabama and it's love at first sight for both of them.
Who’s in it: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette
Why is works: Because they will do anything for each other. Anything.
The Wedding Singer
The plot: A failed rock musician makes his living playing at weddings. He meets a waitress who is already engaged – to an asshole. Rock musician realises he needs to step in and stop her marriage before the woman he's come to love ruins her life.
Who’s in it: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore
Why is works: The chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore is something special to see. Sweet, funny, and beguiling.
When Harry Met Sally
The plot: Does sex make it impossible for men and women to be true friends? This romantic comedy chronicles this dilemma through the eleven year relationship between Harry and Sally who meet in college, then pursue their own lives until they reconnect ten years later.
Who’s in it: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan
Why is works: This is Nora Ephron at her best.