The Two Review: ‘Melbourne from A to B’ – It’s About Time for Some Rom-Coms

Ah, romantic comedies. Forever giving us hope that someday our knight in shining armour will sweep us off our feet/turn out to be our childhood guy friend/slip us their phone number on a napkin in our favourite coffee shop and we'll all live happily ever after. The Two reckon there will never be too many rom-coms – the universal solution to any problem, when coupled with a large tub of ice-cream of course. In fact a new one was released just the other day; About Time directed by Brit rom-com king Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill), starring Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, who you may recognise as Harry Potter’s Bill Weasley. Does it deliver? And which are the best romantic comedies of all time? The Two review their favourites.

A: Notting Hill

Notting Hill was one of the first romantic comedies I ever saw and the more I watch it and the more I mature, I learn to appreciate and love it even more. Made in 1999, Julia Roberts plays an extremely famous actress in the film (Anna Scott). Famous Miss Scott ends up falling in love with the average Joe bookseller William Thacker (Hugh Grant). There are a few stumbles along the way, such as the generic exploitation of their romance to the public thanks to the inquisitive tabloid press. My favourite moment of the movie would have to be the lovers’ stumble with orange juice upon the day of their first meeting, (while Scott is also wearing a white t-shirt) it is so awkward but beautiful at the same time. A great turning point in the movie is when Ronan Keating’s 'When You Say Nothing At All' comes on and your heart just melts at the realisation that they’re falling in love. The storyline is quite simple – the everyday man’s dream coming true of shacking up with a movie star, but the quirky twists of Notting Hill’s British style makes it all the worthwhile.

Notting Hill

The verdict: 4 boxes of popcorn


B: About Time

The title of this film is perfect, given how long it's been since the release of a really good rom-com. Directed by Richard Curtis (who is also responsible for a number of films that have made The Two’s top rom-com lists), About Time centres around Tim, who is told on his 21st birthday that men in his family have the ability to travel back in time. Warned to only use it for important things, he chooses to use it to find love. Aww. Cue his hilarious attempts to woo Rachel McAdams, with the ability to relive things over and over again until he does them right. Although there’s a lot of repetition given we’re seeing the same event play out a number of ways, it doesn’t get boring – in fact it only makes it funnier. The film's soundtrack is equally as good, a standout being the perfect love song 'How Long Will I Love You' by Ellie Goulding. While largely marketed as a romantic love story, About Time goes beyond that. It shows a beautiful relationship between father and son, and the importance of making the most of every day. Well worth seeing.

About Time 

The verdict: 4 boxes of popcorn


A: The Holiday

The Holiday is one of those classic rom coms that I can watch over and over again and feel the exact same emotions each time. From 2006 and based in both Los Angeles and the beautiful English countryside, the film opens with two heart-wrenching break-ups. As a result of these, a house swap occurs between two women who are in desperate need of new scenery over their Christmas and New Year break. Along the way they find new loves, new friendships and new ways of life. The lead men who, take a guess, they become romantic with, are Jude Law and Jack Black. It’s one of those movies where a few lessons are learnt; one about protecting your heart and only opening it to those who will appreciate it, the next teaching you how to be strong enough to walk away from something that will hurt you, and the final showing you how to not take life too seriously.

The Holiday 

The verdict: 4.5 boxes of popcorn


B: Love Actually

This film showed me that love, actually, is all around. I call this a mega rom-com, because it shows a number of love stories, rather than just a single one. It’s also quite sentimental because I had my first ever crush on the little boy in the film at nine-years-old. As if it couldn’t get any better, Love Actually also incorporates another of my most favourite things in the world – Christmas. Although it’s a great film to watch any time of the year. The cast is full of brilliant British actors including Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy, and the film combines the perfect amount of love, laughter and sadness. Set in London, the film counts down the final five weeks before Christmas, and an epilogue set one month later. Telling so many love stories, you’re bound to find one you can identify with. If not, then you’re shown so many different examples of love, it’s hard not to feel loved yourself. Grab your best friends or your mum and settle down with a big block of chocolate.


The verdict: 4.5 boxes of popcorn


A: Pretty Woman

It was only a few years ago that I asked my mum if Pretty Woman was a good movie. She did a double take at me and said in utter shock, “You haven’t seen it?!” Immediately after that experience I chucked it on and I still don’t know how I went this long without seeing it. Made in 1990, Pretty Woman is an incredible film about finding love in unpredictable circumstances. It has the traditional boy meets girl; they fall in love and live happily ever after style…but with a bit of a twist. Julia Roberts, the lead lady, is a hooker. This is also my second Julia Robert’s movie in this post; I think I have a little girl crush. So while she’s working her corner in downtown Beverly Hills, Richard Gere (Edward Lewis) comes not so elegantly down the street in a snazzy sports car to have a good time with Robert’s character, Vivian Ward. Their romance begins under the premise of an agreement, but then turns into a deep infatuation. There are the traditional stumbles in the film, such as their social class differences hitting Ward the hardest, and the point where they realise they’re falling in love but are too scared to admit it. I can’t fault this film. If you haven’t seen it, chuck it on right now.

Pretty Woman The verdict: 5 boxes of popcorn


B: When Harry Met Sally

Can men and women ever just be friends? This is the big question explored in When Harry Met Sally. Penned by Nora Ephron and starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, this 1989 film is definitely a rom-com classic. After finishing university, acquaintances Harry and Sally drive to New York together before separating to live their new lives. The film follows chance meetings between the two over a number of years, while they eventually form a close friendship. It’s the classic tale – everyone can see they are perfect for each other except Harry and Sally themselves. Educational and hilarious, the film also gives great commentary about men and women’s totally different attitudes to dating, sex and relationships. It’s also got one of the best scenes in movie history – after Sally fakes an orgasm in a New York deli to prove to Harry how easy women can do it, an old lady (actually director Rob Reiner’s mother!) turns to the waitress waiting to take her order and says “I’ll have what she’s having”. As for whether men and women can have a platonic friendship, you’ll have to watch to decide for yourself.


The verdict: 4 boxes of popcorn


A: Crazy Stupid Love

One of the more modern romantic comedies from 2011, Crazy Stupid Love is a film that incorporates the perfect balance of humour, love of all types, and the problems that everyday people can face or run into. To top it off, there is an outstanding cast. Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Kevin Bacon. The humour is simple and easy to accommodate to and there is a perfect balance between real life crises and how to find a laugh in them. The film has a nice twist with an incredible linkage between characters you might not have seen coming, which allows the ending to fall into place perfectly. Divorce, adultery, first loves, inappropriate loves and newfound romances – what’s not to love?

Crazy Stupid Love

The verdict: 4.5 boxes of popcorn


B: Bridget Jones’ Diary 

Where to even begin with this one. Bridget Jones is my life. It’s the perfect pick-me-up rom-com and I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched both installments. One of the happiest days of my life was when I heard they were making a third one. Following unlucky in love journalist Bridget as she navigates life as a singleton amongst a sea of smug married couples, Bridget Jones’ Diary is a movie every girl can relate to. While there are certainly sad moments, I’ve also never laughed as hard as I have in this movie. It’s so quotable, Bridget is an iconic single legend, plus it has Colin Firth AND Hugh Grant in it. If you haven’t seen it – have you been living under a rock?! Get yourself a bottle of wine and a large tub of Ben and Jerry’s and watch it immediately.

Bridget Jones

The verdict: 5 boxes of popcorn

Next week will unfortunately be The Two’s last post. But don’t panic – we’ve got the perfect Melbourne-celbration for the end of our Catalyst blog stint and university year, while heralding the beginning of a fantastic summer. Don’t miss it.

Brittany Stewart & Ally McManus



Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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