Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Unconventional rom-coms for Valentine’s Day

Nick Glover
A phone shows the cover of “Rye Lane,” a new love story on Hulu. “Rye Lane” is an underrated rom-com, perfect for Valentine’s Day. (Nick Glover | Northern Star)

Valentine’s Day can either be a great day or a horrible day depending on who you ask, so what better way to end the night than with a good movie.

Whether you’re with a date, friends or just by yourself, here’s a list of some underrated romance movies to get you in the mood for love.

“Lars and the Real Girl”

Directed by Craig Gillespie, “Lars and the Real Girl” presents Ryan Gosling in a way a lot of people haven’t seen before: a chubby, kind-hearted and slightly delusional guy with a questionable mustache.

Lars (Gosling) is a sweet but socially awkward man who finds making friends a challenge. His sister and brother-in-law are worried about him, so when he says he’s met someone, they are ecstatic. However, when he brings his girlfriend home, they find out she’s actually a life-sized sex doll, named Bianca. Lars thinks the doll is real, so on the advice of his doctor, his family and community go along with his delusions to help him.

With a runtime of 106 minutes, this 2007 rom-com drama can be watched for free on Tubi.

“Rye Lane”

“Rye Lane” is a 2023 Black-led rom-com, directed by Raine Allen-Miller in her directorial debut. 

Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson) meet at their mutual friend’s art exhibit. They both learn they have each been going through bad breakups. After an eventful day in South London, they help each other deal with their exes, and they both form a real connection.

With a brisk 82-minute runtime, this is the shortest watch on this list and a great choice for those who like to watch two characters just have a conversation the entire movie.

It is available to stream on Hulu.

“Warm Bodies”

Released in 2013, “Warm Bodies,” directed by Jonathan Levine, is based on a 2010 novel of the same name by Isaac Marion.

R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who can’t remember his name but thinks it starts with an “R.” When he and a pack of zombies are hunting for human brains, they encounter Julie (Teresa Palmer) and her friends. R is drawn to her and saves her from being eaten by the pack. He takes Julie to the airplane he resides in to keep her safe, and the more they’re with one another, the more their romance grows.

Clocking in at 97 minutes, this quick watch can be streamed on Hulu, Peacock or for free on Tubi.


Directed by Anthony Abrams and Adam Larson Broder, “Pumpkin” is a 2002 rom-com about a forbidden love between a sorority girl and a handicapped athlete.

Carolyn McDuffy (Christina Ricci) is a college senior in a sorority that has set their sights on winning Sorority of the Year. To do so, Carolyn and her sisters help coach a group of handicapped athletes. She is paired with Pumpkin Romanoff (Hank Harris) and starts to develop affection towards him after she realizes his kindness toward her is genuine.

Being from over two decades ago, this movie can contain some rather questionable and even offensive language at times, so keep that in mind if you are not a fan of that type of content.

This 113-minute dark comedy can be streamed on Prime Video or on Tubi for free.

More to Discover