ROUSE: Top 5 Valentine’s Day movies

%22Silver+Linings+Playbook%22+%282012%29%2C+featuring+Bradley+Cooper+and+Jennifer+Lawrence%2C+portrays+the+complexities+of+love.%0APhoto+via+Flickr
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ROUSE: Top 5 Valentine’s Day movies

"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, portrays the complexities of love. Photo via Flickr

"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, portrays the complexities of love. Photo via Flickr

"Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), featuring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, portrays the complexities of love. Photo via Flickr

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I set out to explore options for a cheap, stay-in date: a movie night. Here are five movies from the 2010s, chosen both because the decade is near and dear to my heart, but also for their cinematic value.

“Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)

“You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, you have a shot at a silver lining.”

This is not your typical love story. Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat Solitano Jr., moves back in with his parents after his release from a psychiatric hospital. While coping with the separation from his estranged wife, he meets a young widow named Tiffany Maxwell — portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence — who offers to help him win his wife back if he enters a dance competition with her. The actors’ ability to portray lighthearted and serious moments — times of jealousy, the pain of unrequited love and wanting someone you can’t have — allows the film to take on complex issues.

The film is a love story, but it is so much more. Throughout the film, Pat and Tiffany grow together and learn to not let their pasts define their futures.

“The Spectacular Now” (2013)

“Question No. 2: Describe a challenge, hardship or misfortune you have experienced in your life. What have you learned from this, and how has it prepared you for the future?”

This is the question Sutter Keely, a high school senior, aims to answer as graduation approaches. When we meet Sutter, he is kind of a mess. He is drinking a beer as he fills out his college application, and is in a failing relationship with a girl that he assumes won’t leave him — but he’s wrong. After blacking out, he wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finicky, the archetype of the high school good girl. Throughout the movie, viewers see the two bring out the best and the worst in each other. Sutter is, at times, drawn back to his ex-girlfriend and pretends to not be interested in Aimee, but as their relationship progresses, we learn more about the pair.

One of my favorite things about the film is the way it portrays two people working on themselves alongside each other without making their happiness absolutely dependent on their togetherness. Forgiveness, self-love and learning to make promises you know you can keep are all themes of the movie that make it a worthy watch, regardless of your relationship status.

“A Star is Born” (2018) 

“Tell me something, boy. Aren’t you tired tryin’ to fill that void?”

Although it is the third remake of the 1937 original, 2018’s “A Star is Born” is refreshing. Starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, the film follows struggling artist Ally Campana and famous singer Jackson Maine, who discovers Ally and helps bring her to stardom. One of the themes throughout the movie is not just about having fame, but using it to say something. As Jackson suffers from family betrayal, alcoholism and other ailments, we see how Ally develops from an unknown songwriter to a pop star lost in the mix of it all. The plot tells a story of two people who fight persistently to stay together. On top of it all, having Lady Gaga — who is known for trying to make statements and reinventing the status quo — in a lead role only enhances the film’s meaning and its killer soundtrack.

“Crazy Rich Asians” (2018)

“So, have you prepped Rachel to face the wolves?”

Based on the first novel of author Kevin Kwan’s trilogy, “Crazy Rich Asians” follows the tribulations of the love story of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nicholas Young (Henry Golding). One of the first scenes in the movie takes place in Rachel’s economics class at New York University, where she is teaching a lesson about game theory. Right off the bat, we can see how educated and well-rounded Rachel is. However, that doesn’t mean the characters in the film see that.

The way in which certain members of Nick’s family react to meeting Rachel brings heartfelt dialogues but also awkward moments and harsh words, with the worst of Rachel’s critics being Nick’s mother. This is sure to be relatable to anyone who has met the family of a significant other and it has gone, well, not as planned.

Further, the couple shares a lot of silly moments that are entertaining to the audience but are also emblematic of how love can make something that others see as a large sacrifice merely a small thing to lose in comparison.

“Always Be My Maybe” (2019)

“So my question is this: Sasha Tran … can I hold your purse for you?”

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours, and if it doesn’t, it never was. Netflix’s “Always Be My Maybe” is the embodiment of this aphorism. Sasha Tran — played by Ali Wong — is a successful celebrity chef dating her famous manager. But she came from humble beginnings.

As a child, Sasha’s parents were never really around, so she developed a close relationship with her neighbor Marcus Kim (Randall Park) and his family. While opening her next restaurant back home, she sees Marcus for the first time in over a decade and is conflicted as to how she should act in the presence of her childhood love. An overall feel-good film, viewers can find enjoyment in not only the couple’s undeniable chemistry, but their ability to keep each other accountable in order to challenge one another to reach their full potential.

This story was written by Emily Rouse. She can be reached at emily.rouse@marquette.edu.