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Valentine's Day comes with a lot of unwanted pressure, what if you just want to stay in and treat it like regular week-night without feeling bitter or spinstery? No problem, we've got you covered with these feminist friendly romantic movies. The list spans quite the spectrum of genre and time so have fun and forget about fancy reservations or pent up spin classes.

 

1. Moonlight 

moonlight.jpgvimeo.com

Release Date: 2016

Director: Barry Jenkins

Moonlight is not a comedy despite its funniest moments. It is, however, the most poignant love story of 2016, perhaps even the most poignant story of 2016—period. Watch this for beautiful cinematography and a stellar of-color cast (including Janelle Monae and Oscar nominees Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali) that will make you question the society which gave La La Land its golden globes instead.

2. Frances Ha 

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Release Date: 2012

Director: Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig’s Frances Ha is not really a romantic story, but a love story between friends. Greta Gerwig is hilarious and endearing as dancer/thinker Frances, who spends the film navigating her relationship with her newly-engaged best friend Sophie.

3. Muriel’s Wedding 

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Release Date: 1994

Director: P.J. Hogan

Thank God for Muriel’s Wedding—a testament to awkwardness, to Abba, to the endless talent of Toni Collette, and to friendship-as-enabler of dream achievement. Collette’s Muriel Heslop always assumed marriage would be the ultimate confirmation of her personhood, but perhaps self-discovery’s intrinsic rewards are even better.

4. Tangerine 

tangerine.jpgmagpictures.com/tangerine

Release Date: 2015

Director: Sean S. Baker

Tangerine seems to transcend genre, the conventions of comedy, typical portrayals of romance—essentially every expectation it comes up against. Shot on the iPhone, starring Kitana KiKi Rodriguez and Mya Taylor—two trans actresses of color—and telling the story of two trans best friends and sex workers in Los Angeles, Tangerine nonetheless imparts some traditional wisdom: men may come and go, and it is our duty as women to support each other.

5. Boy Meets Girl

boymeetsgirl_Still002.jpgthefilmcollaborative.org

Release Date: 2014

Director: Eric Schaeffer

Eric Schaeffer’s Boy Meets Girl is a sensitive, sex-positive romantic comedy that explores complexities at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and romantic love. The film stars trans actress Michelle Hendley as Ricky, a 21-year-old trans woman living in Kentucky as she negotiates best friendship, how to barista, a female crush, and New York dreams.

6. Beginners

beginners.jpgrogerebert.com

Release Date: 2010

Director: Mike Mills

Mike Mills’ autobiographical film Beginners is the story of a gay man coming out at 75, his son, and both of their lovers. There is a Jack Russell terrier with subtitled lines. If you are looking for a nostalgic, visually beautiful, and inclusive love story, this is it.

7. 20th Century Women 

20th-century-women-mike-mills-1000x520.jpgtheplaylist.net

Release Date: 2016

Director: Mike Mills

20th Century Women is the second Mills feature on the list, starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, and a cute skinny kid who plays Annette Benning’s son. Mills’ film asks, “Can women raise a man?” and answers—resoundingly—yes.

8. Mosquita Y Mari 

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Release Date: 2012

Director: Aurora Guerro

Aurora Guerro’s Mosquita Y Mari tells the story of a high-school romance between an honor-roll tutor and her rebellious new pupil, with more nuance than one might expect. Alternatingly sweet and devastating, Mosquita asserts itself in the conversations surrounding queerness, social stratification, and the challenges faced by underprivileged youths.

9. Southside With You

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Release Date: 2016

Director: Richard Tanne

Tika Sumpter stars as First Lady Michelle Obama before her first lady days to rave reviews from Sundance critics, and Parker Sawyers’ charming Obama may just cure your longing for our sorely missed Commander-in-Chief.

10. Something’s Gotta Give

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Release Date: 2003

Director: Nancy Meyers

Perhaps on the surface it’s about a lifelong womanizer, but Something’s Gotta Give’s real story is that of a woman choosing vulnerability after an adulthood spent defending herself against it. Diane Keaton’s Erika is a mother, unflappable playwright, great lover of turtlenecks, and the owner of her own home in the Hamptons. Upon unwittingly falling for her daughter’s much older boyfriend, Erika writes the play that will change her career and romantic life forever.

11. But I’m A Cheerleader 

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Release Date: 1999

Director: Jamie Babbit

With a pastel pink aesthetic perfect for both the millennial cyber girl and an effective satire of gay conversation therapy, Jamie Babbit’s But I’m A Cheerleader maintains its status as a cult classic. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan, a popular girl-next-store made to confront her queerness when her parents send her to True Directions, a reparative therapy camp. Babbit’s portrayal of queer youth is a nuanced one: alternatingly humorous and poignant, and unreliant on stereotype.

Top photo: latimes.com

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Olivia Loperfido is an English and psychology major at New York University's College of Arts and Sciences, and the junior editor of NYU's Mercer Street (2017-'18). She enjoys spending time with her dogs and tortoise, watching RuPaul's Drag Race, and contacting her state representatives. Follow her on Instagram here and contact her via email here

 

 

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