It’s that time of year again where millions of people pay homage to an obscure saint that scholars can’t decide whether or not ever really existed, by buying copious amounts of chocolate and flowers. We could be celebrating Lupercalia–the pagan tradition of averting evil and purification by way of cool ass wolf masks–or Feast Day where you dined like a beast with no regrets or judgements but those pesky Catholics wanted another religious day on the calendar, so now we’re stuck with a lame ass holiday greeting card companies use to guilt us into buying shit.
In honor of the (alleged) saint of love, here are five underrated romantic films that will most likely be playing in the background during the ol’ Netflix and Chill.
5. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg
A young woman separated from her lover by war faces a life-altering decision.
Underrated is being used loosely here considering this is one of the most popular foreign musicals ever made but I feel as though it still hasn’t found its American audience yet.
The easiest way to describe this film is “La La Land by way of Wes Anderson but way more charming.” It’s utterly delightful and is impossible not to love.
4. Miracle Mile
A young man hears a chance phone call telling him that a nuclear war has started and missiles will hit his city in 70 minutes.
If you’re like me, you probably use this as a barometer to gauge another persons taste in film. If they love it, you know you’re in great company and if they dislike it, well, there’s almost 8 billion other people in the world….
3. Down With Love
In 1962 New York City, love blossoms between a playboy journalist and a feminist advice author.
Before he joined the MCU to direct CGI ants, director Peyton Reed directed a loving pastiche of those silly Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies of the 60’s. An adorable send up of the sex farces of days past, Down With Love is the closest thing we have to a 20th century screwball comedy.
2. David And Lisa
The emotional story of a young man in a mental institution for teens who begins to understand his psychosis in the environment of others with mental and emotional problems. He finds intimacy with Lisa, a young woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder.
I once described this film as “Silver Linings Playbook by way of Peter Bogdanovich.” As much as I love Silver Linings Playbook, this film is superior in every way.
The directing, the writing, the acting, the cinematography. Everything is first rate. This is not only one of the most underrated romances of the 60’s but one of the most underrated films period.
1. To Find A Man
The platonic friendship between two high school youths is explored through the attempts to get the girl an abortion. Her young male friend offers his support and tries to find her a doctor. She is grateful, but has trouble in expressing her thanks. At times funny, at other times touching, this is a refreshing, uncommon look at teenage friendship.
A romance built around an abortion. Sounds like a dark comedy Hal Ashby would’ve made right after Harold and Maude and after watching it, you’ll be dumbfounded that this just disappeared. This is easily as good if not better than the best of Ashby’s work.
The subject matter is as pitch black as they come but the characters keep it from being morbid. This is a film screaming for the Criterion Collection treatment. It’s that great.