Valentine’s Day Movies to Watch, Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day

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  • ‘Love & Basketball’ (2000)

    Gina Prince-Bythewood’s brilliant directorial debut cares equally about the two nouns referenced in its title, which is one of the reasons it’s so special. The sprawling film charts the years-long emotional game between Monica (Sanaa lathan) and Quincy(Omar Epps), childhood friends who both have dreams of becoming hoops stars. As Monica and Quincy age, Prince-Bythewood unpacks the ways in which these competitive people both clash and fall into each other’s arms. On top of that, it’s one of the rare movies about the challenges of being a female athlete all while remaining incredibly sexy on and off the court.

  • ‘Rye Lane’ (2023)

    If anyone begins to complain about the current state rom-coms, I point them at “Rye Lane”Raine Allen Miller, the director. It’s a walk-and-talk in the style of “Before Sunrise” in which two Londoners, Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah), meet at an art show where we first encounter Dom crying in a bathroom stall over his ex’s betrayal. Yas and Dom spend a chaotic day wandering around the neighborhood of the movie’s title, complete with awkward encounters with former partners and a lot of delightful banter. Miller’s inspired creative direction makes “Rye Lane”Particularly vibrant

  • ‘Love Is Strange’ (2014)

    Romance onscreen doesn’t have to be only for the young, as is the case in Ira Sachs’s moving film about connection that endures. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow are at their best as George and Ben, who are separated by homophobia and high real estate prices in New York. George is fired from a job as a choral teacher at a Catholic high school after he marries Ben after many years of being together. Without that income, they have to sell their apartment, and when their friends and family can’t accommodate them both crashing together, they are required to live in different locations. Sachs, however, creates a testament that love is stronger than distance or age.

  • ‘The Lady Eve’ (1941)

    Preston Sturges’s “The Lady Eve”This is the pinnacle of screwball, where love triumphs against lunacy. Barbara Stanwyck, at her most seductive, plays Jean Harrington, the con artist who targets Charles Pike, the nervous, snake obsessed heir to a ale fortune. She lures him into a game of cards where her associates will scam his money. In these plots, the two parties often develop real feelings for each other that are thrown into a loop once the truth is revealed. Sturges then adds another deception to the first, causing the story to spiral out of control, but the ending is still sweet.

  • ‘Crossing Delancey’ (1988)

    The dream of a perfect nice Jewish boy comes alive in Joan Micklin Silver’s still woefully underrated “Crossing Delancey.”Amy Irving plays Isabelle Grossman a bookseller whose Lower East Side bubbe surprises with a meeting set up by a local matchmaker between Sam Posner (Peter Riegert), a vendor of pickles. Considering herself a modern woman, Isabelle is resistant to the arrangement, but finds herself charmed by the unpretentious and sweet Sam, a born storyteller, connected to a version of New York culture that’s disappearing. Irving and Riegert stare at each other with such intensity it’s hard not to be convinced their characters are perfect for one another.

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