With Valentine’s Day here, more than ever, romance movies are being consumed to get in the holiday spirit. Love is in the air, and depending on where you are in the world, the cold weather encourages you to stay inside and cozy up with a great movie. Maybe it’s a romantic comedy to make you feel all warm inside and celebrate with a loved one. Or perhaps you despise the holiday and spend the day watching horror films to feel the polar opposite of all warm and cuddly. Whatever the case may be, February is here, and the month of love is upon us.
There are so many great romantic movies to watch during this time, but maybe you’ve seen too many of the same things. Maybe you want something different to spice up your movie-watching experience. More often than not, Black love stories are not as widely discussed or produced as white love stories, with audiences growing tired of hearing the same story over and over and the plot becoming stale. It doesn’t have to just be movies as well, if you’re an avid reader, maybe you’re looking for more Black love stories in novels, as well. Maybe you’re looking for a few romance movies you haven’t seen yet or want to watch a romance movie where you feel most represented by not only the cast but also the plot. Here’s a list of eight Black romance movies you should watch around Valentine’s Day.
8 Think Like A Man (2012)
Think Like a Man was a great success at the box office while being considered a “standard rom-com,” but what made it so great was the ensemble cast. An entirely Black cast was featured in the film; stars such as Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, and Regina Hall all have major roles. The plot follows four different couples who are pretty much the opposite of each other, but still mesh well as they fall more in love as the film passes. Once the men discover that their partners are using Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man against them, they team up and decide to turn the tables, which of course backfires on them. The film is hilarious, lighthearted, and showcases Black love in an authentic form.
7 The Photograph (2020)
This 2020 romance was praised for being fresh and a much-needed addition to the genre, seeing as it highlighted Black love and is a truly romantic story. Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield have so much chemistry in this film; it’s guaranteed to make you swoon as you curl up and fall in love with the characters. The Photograph follows two different couples from two different generations, keeping the plot fresh as you’re able to connect with both sets. Mae and Michael’s story, however, is the deal-breaker as you watch them naturally fall for each other while working together, creating a warmth to the film that is comforting and familiar.
6 Lovebirds (2020)
Issa Rae proves twice on this list that she’s great in a romance, and especially in a romantic comedy such as Lovebirds. The movie was originally set to be released in theaters but was moved to Netflix due to the pandemic, making it available to stream at any time now. Kumail Nanjiani stars alongside Rae, and the two are hilarious as they get mixed up with crime, murder, and undercover cops. So much happens within the course of the film, but there’s a lot of heart and great moments amidst the slightly ridiculous plot line. Nanjiani and Rae have loads of chemistry, and this film is perfect for a couple that often bickers about whether they would survive a show like The Amazing Race.
5 Hitch (2005)
If you want a love story that will make you feel like you have abs from laughing so hard, you must add Hitch to your lineup. Will Smith and Eva Mendes fall in love in this romantic comedy with an emphasis on comedy, which will have you crying from how hard you’re laughing. They have so much chemistry and play off of each other with such precision that you won’t want the movie to end. Hitch (Smith) prides himself on knowing how to work a woman so well that she’ll fall in love with someone who’s the complete opposite of her. Sara (Mendes) is a journalist set on exposing what Hitch has made a career out of, but in the end, the two fall for each other harder than they both expected to.
4 Love and Basketball (2000)
Now considered a cult classic, this film produced by Spike Lee is a romance-drama centered around two basketball players who are dead-set on their careers until they eventually fall in love with each other. It’s a classic “friends to lovers” trope since Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) grew up together as neighbors and found a mutual love over basketball. The film is divided into three quarters, representing different stages of their lives as they fall in and out of love with each other. As the end of the film draws closer, you’re left wondering if Monica and Quincy will end up together, since they’re clearly perfect for each other.
3 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
If you’re in the mood for a deeper story and slightly depressive themes while still reveling in the romantic aspect of it all, If Beale Street Could Talk is for you. The movie was adapted from James Baldwin’s play of the same name and was praised for the acting once it was released, with the emotional story touching many people. It follows a young couple, Tish and Fonny, who aren’t yet married but are genuinely in love with each other as they search for apartments to live in. Since it’s the 1970s, they struggle for a bit before settling down, only to have Fonny wrongfully arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Tish is dedicated to getting him released and home, but the movie doesn’t end on a happy note, more of a realistic one as they continue and hope for his charges to be dropped. It’s a beautiful story, but it might be a tough watch for some, so use your discretion.
2 Moonlight (2016)
Moonlight is one of the best coming-of-age movies, as well as one of the best films of the 21st century. It’s a beautiful, emotional, and touching story of the life of a boy named Chiron growing up in Miami with not many people caring about him. Until he meets Juan, who becomes a father figure to him, teaching him how to swim and being there for the young boy since his mother couldn’t handle it. As Chiron grows up, we watch as he struggles with his sexuality and accepts who he is. His relationship with Kevin is important, and the audience comes to be protective of Chiron as we watch him grow into a man. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the story is something everyone should watch.
1 Just Wright (2010)
Queen Latifah and Common are so great in this romantic sports film; the chemistry between them is undeniable, and how natural it appears to be makes it that much more fun to watch. Latifah plays Leslie Wright, a physical therapist who loves basketball and is also a hopeless romantic. Common plays Scott McKnight, who is a star player on the New Jersey Nets. The two instantly hit it off, but in a stunning turn of events, Scott quickly marries Leslie’s sister, Morgan. The film progresses, and it’s truly a slow burn, so if you’re into that trope, you must watch this movie.