Valentine's Day 2016: Best romantic films, minus the schmaltzy cliches

From Love is Strange and Blue Valentine to romance Tarantino-style

Valentine’s Day is a lot like New Years Eve: hugely over-rated with far too much pressure to have a great time.

Things get even more problematic when the subject of what movie to watch on your big romantic night in is raised. Cheesy romcoms have their place but if its understated romance and just a damn good film youre after, we might just have the cliché-free flick for you.

Remember the day of love is not just for couples. Try Disney hit Frozen for epic sisterly or Thelma and Louise for the ultimate female buddy movie.

High Fidelity

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Record shop owner Rob Gordon recalls his top five most memorable break-ups ever over a subtext of music’s effect on our everyday lives. Men and women alike enjoy this one, based on the novel by About a Boy author Nick Hornby.

The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmaynes Oscar-winning portrayal of famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s relationship with his former wife Jane Wilde is the best kind of tearjerker.

Le Week-End

British couple Meg and Nick return to Paris years after honeymooning there in a bid to rekindle the spark in their marriage on their 30th wedding anniversary. Expect bittersweet humour and charming warmth.

Lost in Translation

Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson meet by chance while staying at a Tokyo hotel and form an unlikely yet heartfelt bond. Less is so much more in Sofia Coppola’s movie as the pair enjoy a night where nothing but everything happens.

Love is Strange

Elderly gay couple Ben and George try and cope with living apart after having to sell their New York flat. Fans of Pride will enjoy this moving look at “what love, strange and beautiful, can look like”.

Blue is the Warmest Colour

This Palme d’Or winner explores the emotional and sexual relationship between a blue-haired French teenager and the older art student she meets in a lesbian bar.

Blue Valentine

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This painful, intense portrayal of a marriage breakdown starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is billed as a “love story for anyone that’s ever been in love”.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Heartbroken that his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) has undergone a procedure to erase him from her memory, Joel (Jim Carrey) tries to the same, but in doing so realises he still loves her.

Revolutionary Road

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Based on Richard Yates’ novel, the film charts the demise of a Fifties power-couple whose obsession with keeping up appearances inevitably leads to destruction. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (just try and keep Jack and Rose from your mind).

Before Sunrise

When you spark up a connection with a stranger on a train, do you get off to spend the day with him in Vienna, or continue on your way? In Celine’s case, she takes a chance with Jesse, despite knowing his flight to the US departs the next morning. That scene in the record shop has to be one of the most romantic ever.

Django Unchained

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Freed slave Django (the ‘D’ is silent) sets out to save his wife from a violent Mississippi plantation owner with the help of Christopher Waltz’s Oscar-winning bounty hunter. Tarantino’s bloody Western may not sound romantic, but you’ll be left at the knees after hearing Jamie Foxx drawl “Hey, little troublemaker”.

True Romance

Tarantino established with Django Unchained that he can do love stories, and this one stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. Yes, there’s yet more brutal bloodshed but as the tagline reads, “Who says romance is dead?”

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