Nine Completely Non-Romantic Films To Watch This Valentine’s Day
Have you ever tried to find a movie without even an ounce of a love story? It's almost f**king impossible, but we did it.
We’ve all had our fair share of heartache and lovesickness, and now it’s February, when those feelings hit hardest. Once again, Saint Valentine is here to remind you that if you’re single, there’s probably something wrong with you.
Similarly, most films would have you believe that, against all odds, ‘the one’ is out there somewhere, just waiting for you to bump into them at a bookshop or accidentally hit them with your car. Romance is so damn hard to avoid in the film world; even the most fast-paced action films or hi-tech sci-fi films have some ounce of a love story.
There’s a reason why so many films fall back on romantic plot lines. Ultimately, love is pretty great. It supplies much of the drama and focus in the films we watch, and in life. Your friends talk about their partners because they’re happy, even though you might be getting sick of it. And yet not everyone happens to be diving into the dating pool in the middle of February.
So in ‘celebration’ of today’s special occasion, here’s a list of films sans love story — a loveless bunch for temporarily loveless types. Cynics out there: if you’re not already getting drunk, crying, punching someone in the face, or singing ‘Love Stinks’, this is for you.
1. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Despite its sexual overtones, this film has no real romance. Buffalo Bill’s fetishisation of the fairer sex’s skin is far from a fairy tale. Plus, you’ll be too consumed by the prospect of being murdered or psychologically tortured that you won’t even think about any kind of relationship drama.
If the following scene doesn’t kill the mood, I don’t know what will.
2. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Who needs chocolate truffles when you’ve got a river of the stuff? This heartwarming children’s classic is filled with adventure and emotion, but not of the romantic kind. Instead, there’s a group of spoilt brats who suffer some pretty morbid lessons. The film might also help curb chocolate binges.
3. Brave (2012)
Disney films have recently made efforts to include more progressive characters, and Brave’s Merida is one of these stronger female protagonists. The whole film is about how Merida wants to be able to choose a husband, even if she doesn’t have one in mind yet. Plus, she’s a better archer than cupid.
4. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Like Wonka, this classic is a rollicking adventure. It’ll make you forget about any romantic troubles you’ve got, and pretty much everything else. It’s a wild ride to the ‘Merry Old Land Of Oz‘, filled with extreme ups-and-downs. Like a relationship, only more predictable.
5. 12 Angry Men (1957)
If you’re after something a little more challenging, 12 Angry Men is it. With a storyline based around 12 jurors deciding on a case, the film examines the difficulty of reaching consensus in spite of personality clashes (tell us about it!). One for those who would rather think with their minds than their hearts today.
6. Jaws (1975)
With two terrifying notes instead of a complicated, swelling score, Steven Spielberg’s horror classic is sure to help anyone escape the clutches of Saint Valentine. (Well, unless you’re crushing on Richard Dreyfuss and his super-sexy beard and glasses; that’s understandable.)
7. Stand By Me (1986)
Ben E. King’s sentiment emphasises friendship beyond anything in this coming-of-age film — the characters are not yet old enough to discover the trials of romance that you might be avoiding. Still, with conversations about what the hell Goofy is, the film’s charm is too cute to pass up.
8. The Longest Yard (2005)
Here’s Adam Sandler in a surprisingly un-Adam Sandler role. Adapted from the 1974 original, The Longest Yard is filled with sports, competition, and violence. I’ve chosen the remake here because it’s a little more lighthearted (even though it takes place in a prison), but you can watch either, I don’t care.
9. The Oceans Trilogy (2001, 2004, 2007)
While Ocean’s Eleven mostly chooses money over love, Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy starts with two men fighting over a woman. If you’re feeling a little sensitive, go with the second or third installment of this franchise.
Michelle See-Tho is editor of Farrago, and a freelance writer and journalist. Her work has appeared in The Conversation, Kill Your Darlings, and Crikey. Find her at michelleseetho.com