Valentine’s Day on Kanopy!

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers! For those who observe, this awkward placement of a holiday right smack in the middle of the week might mean low-key plans. Take-out, sweatpants, maybe bingeing Netflix’s new adaptation of David Nicholl’s One Day (and sobbing into your tea, if you’re me). If you’re planning on a cozy night in, movie streaming platform Kanopy has got you covered with some prime Valentines films in their new Reel Romance in February collection. They’re got tons of classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Moonstruck, and Shakespeare in Love, but you can also find some more obscure gems. Below are some lesser-known films to check out with your VPL card on this day celebrating all things romance.  

Mr. Malcolm’s List 

For the Bridgerton fans looking longingly towards the new season in May! Mr. Malcolm’s List is a tasty little cake pop of a movie: short, sugary, covered in pink frosting. The plot is basically a series of Shakespearean-style hijinks, set in Regency England (aka Jane Austen time). Julia Thistlethwait is a vivacious young woman out on the Regency dating scene, but finds her charms thwarted by one Mr. Malcolm when she fails to meet his wifely criteria—his titular “list.” Determined to get revenge for this public embarrassment, Julia enlists her more docile friend Selina to ensnare Mr. Malcolm and then reject him. Of course, things don’t go according to plan, and soon enough real feelings are involved. Not a serious movie by any means, but perfect for those looking for an easy, breezy watch while munching on heart-shaped chocolates.  

Love Affair 

You know that well-known movie thing where two people decide to meet at some point in the future, say, on top of the Empire State Building, or some variation thereof? It started here, in 1939’s Love Story! The story might feel familiar to us now in 2024: two star-crossed people (in this film, a French painter and an American singer) meet while on board a ship. Though they click right away, they’re both engaged to other people. They agree to meet six months later atop the Empire State Building—but alas, tragedy intervenes. Can true love prevail? While Love Story itself isn’t as well-known as its 1957 remake An Affair to Remember, it was the blueprint for tons of romance films to come (it was also quite scandalous at the time for its *gasp* hint of adultery). Fans of classic film will find it well worth the watch!

God’s Own Country 

Britain’s answer to Brokeback Mountainthis time with a happy ending! Set in the cold, windswept landscape of Yorkshire, God’s Own Country follows a young sheep farmer named Johnny who lives a lonely existence with his father and grandmother, finding solace in the bottle and meaningless hookups. The drudgery of his life is broken up by the arrival of a Romanian worker named Gheorghe, and after some xenophobic tension, the two fall quietly in love. Of course, there are obstacles, but they mercifully have nothing to do with homophobia; unused to being loved, Johnny leans towards self-sabotage and must work on his own personal issues in order to make it work with Gheorge. A very quiet movie, with an overall hopeful message regarding both love and immigration, as well as one of my favourite romantic lines (“I’ve come all this way up here, on a coach and everything”). Unexpectedly lovely! 

Rafiki 

A story of queer love flourishing under conservative oppression, Rafiki tells the story of two Kenyan girls, Kena and Ziki, daughters of political rivals in Nairobi. The girls’ love is dangerous in a place where homosexuality is illegal, but this isn’t a Bury Your Gays film, so expect a hopeful-to-happy ending! The film, which centres around Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, is saturated with colour and bursting with personality, a visual feast. Rafiki (which is Swahili for “friend”) made news when director Wanuri Kahiu sued the Kenyan government to allow the film to be screened in order to qualify for a Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination—which it did! For one week the film played in a theatre in Kenya to sold out shows (though it ultimately was not Kenya’s submission for the Academy Awards).  

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day 

This one isn’t a romance movie by strict definition, but there is a lot of romance involved and it’s lots of fun, so I’m recommending it! Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a down-on-her-luck middle aged woman looking for work in bustling 1930s London when she falls into the glamorous world of an American starlet named Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), whose personal life involves affairs with three different men. Over the course of a day, Miss Pettigrew and Delysia encounter a series of screwball comedy scenarios that lead to them both finding love. Amy Adams is a bubbly delight in this, and Lee Pace (as one of her suitors, a lovelorn and penniless pianist) is at his absolute dreamiest. An excellent choice for feel-good fun.  

Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket of what you’ll find on Kanopy! Your library card is the key to a whole world of film. And if you’re not finding what you’re looking for there, have a look at our Hoopla collection as well!

About Alyssia

Alyssia is an Adult Services Librarian at the Vaughan Public Libraries. Nothing makes her happier than a great book and a great cup of coffee. She loves fiction in all formats - books, movies, television, you name it - and is always on the lookout for awesome new music.  |  Meet the team

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