February is here and the season of love is upon us once again. Some people dread Valentine’s day, annoyed by the aggressive marketing and lovey-dovey atmosphere. Others both enjoy it and look forward to it, excited to spend time with that special someone—or to buy tons of candy super cheap on the 15th. The holiday is centered around couples and the movies that come out are usually in the romance or rom-com genre. While romantic love is a wonderful thing, it’s not the only form of love that should be celebrated and appreciated. Here’s a look at some films that aren’t about love, but have beautiful portrayals of love within them. I purposely picked films that aren’t romances or rom-coms to keep things fresh. This is a rather odd list of movies, but it’ll be fun.
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
I’ll take any chance that I get to bring this film up. It’s just that good. The main form of love Spider-Verse expresses is familial. His father, Jefferson, is a mold of the classic Black dad. Throughout the film, we can tell that there’s some tension between the two. Though they have good times together, they don’t really understand each other. There’s a scene at the end of the film where Jefferson is on the phone with Miles. He mentions that they could maybe throw up some of Miles’ tags later. It’s Jefferson’s way of showing interest in his son’s interests. It’s the little things that Black parents will do to express their love and care for their children.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
The Toy Story franchise is one of the most beloved of Pixar’s collection of films. It fills audiences with nostalgia, not only for the toys of their childhood but for the films as well. The first Toy Story came out in 1995, and Toy Story 3 in 2010. Anyone who was the same age as Andy in the first film could place themselves in his exact shoes when he makes the decision to give Woody to Bonnie. Toy Story 3 showcases a love for our childhoods, our innocence, a time when things were much simpler. Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you love something until it’s gone. And for many of us, that thing is our childhoods. Watch it on Disney+.
Good Boys (2019)
Good Boys presents the age-old question about friendships from our childhoods: Were we friends with those kids because we genuinely had a connection? Or was it because we saw them 5 days a week for about 9 months? And it shows us what happens when we realize that it was actually the latter. On a mission to fix Max’s dad’s drone, Max, Lucas, and Thor realize that they’re not as close as they used to be. Having just become middle schoolers, they each have different interests now. People always talk about how hard it is to get over a relationship, but they never talk about how much it hurts to lose a friend. It’s especially rare to see that conversation brought up between boys. This film explores the love of friendship and what it means to grow out of the friends that were once your entire world.
The Sisters Brothers (2018)
The Sisters Brothers follows Eli and Charlie Sisters as they search for a gold prospector and his confidant. Throughout the film, the men mention their mother, talking about going back to see her. And in the end, they do. The ending brings a sweetness to the film that was wholly unexpected by me but left an impression that has lasted till now. This is by no means a fast-paced shoot-em-up western, to begin with, but it certainly doesn’t prepare you for the tenderness, soothing score, and soft orange lighting that is the final few moments. The love shown here is again, love for your family. To take care of who you call your family is one of the strongest forms of love that there is. Watch it on Hulu.
Remember the Titans (2000)
No brotherhood is stronger than that of Hollywood high school football teams. Remember the Titans is my favorite sports movie and the only “white people learn to overcome racism” movie that I genuinely enjoy. And that is mostly credited to the bond that these boys share. They go from refusing to even be in the same vicinity as each other to bringing one another home to meet their parents. I will gladly admit that the scenes in the hospital with Gerry and Julius after Gerry’s accident make me emotional. Because it really does feel like they’ve become brothers after all this time together. The chemistry between these two actors sells the relationship exceptionally well. Watch it on Disney+.
Now, this is an exception to my “no romance” rule. Rafiki is more so a coming-of-age type of film rather than a romance film, but it’s still about romantic love none-the-less. I included it because it’s not what Hollywood would usually churn out in the month of February. Rafiki follows Kena and Ziki and their journey through love. The only way I can think to define the love that the film showcases, is warmth. Kena and Ziki’s love is so warm, tender, and intimate. They are in love in the purest sense of the word. The film is set in Kenya, where being gay is illegal, and we see the ramifications of that. But it doesn’t take away from the glow that surrounds these girls. The excitement in their eyes when they’re with each other is unlike anything I’ve seen in a film before. Watch it on Hulu.
To close it out, I have some more films that definitely deserve recognition. This includes one more romance film that I wrote about in a different piece that you should check out:
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) – Hulu
Y Tu Mamá También (2000)
The Farewell (2019) – Hulu
The Outsiders (1983)
Lilo & Stitch (2002) – Disney+
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) – Netflix
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Disney+
Coco (2017) – Disney+
Train to Busan (2016) – Netflix
Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019) – Amazon Prime