Remote romances: 6 Valentine's Day movies for the lockdown crowd

With everything that's going on at the moment, you may have forgotten that today is Valentine's Day. As if things weren't difficult enough at the moment, navigating the dating scene has become that little bit harder with everyone self-isolating.

However, you can take comfort (hopefully) from our blog list of classic long-distance romances. The following films show that logistics and coordination are no barrier to keeping the flame going.


1. Sleepless In Seattle (1993)

We're all thinking of Tom Hanks at the moment, as he continues to recover from COVID-19. So, there's never been a better time to revisit one of his best and most charming movies, the second of three he made with Meg Ryan.

Written and directed by the late Nora Ephron, Sleepless In Seattle is the sweet story of a man and a woman who forge a long-distance connection, despite never having met each other in person. That unforgettable final scene atop the Empire State Building cemented the peerless chemistry between Hanks and Ryan, and Ephron's razor-sharp writing has ensured the film's status as a modern classic.

2. A Very Long Engagement (2004)

Audrey Tatou pines for her soldier husband in this sweeping drama from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed the actress in the smash-hit Amelie.

A Very Long Engagement is adapted from Sebastien Japrisot's novel, and centres on Mathilde (Tatou) whose husband may have been killed on the battlefields of World War I. This is, perhaps, a figurative expression of a distant romance, with the fiancee character physically absent, but kept alive in Mathilde's heart. (Hence the reference to engagement in the title.)

A huge hit in France, the movie went on to win multiple Cesar awards (the French equivalent of the Oscars), and was nominated for two Oscars.

3. Like Crazy (2011)

The late Anton Yelchin pairs with co-star Felicity Jones for a bittersweet story of two lovers separated by bureaucratic red tape. Jones plays Anna, a British exchange student in America who falls for fellow student Jacob (Yelchin). The connection is clearly there, but when Anna overstays her visa, she's denied entry back into the country, which puts their romance at risk.

Director Drake Doremus shows sensitivity and insight into the pitfalls of contemporary romance, while eliciting excellent performances from his leads. Plus, there's an early role for Jennifer Lawrence as the woman Jacob takes up with when his transatlantic relationship with Anna appears to hit the skids.

4. Dear John (2010)

Prior to his breakout success in 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike, Channing Tatum played the lead role in this typically dopey, schmaltzy Nicholas Sparks adaptation. 

Tatum plays soldier John Tyree, who sustains his pre-deployment relationship with college student Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) via letters. He sends them from the conflict zone in Afghanistan, and she messages back from America. The conceit seems amusingly quaint now, but for all the romantics out there, it's a reminder that long-distance romances can work.

5. The Space Between Us (2017)

If you thought love in the time of COVID-19 was tough, spare a thought for the character played by Asa Butterfield in this sentimental drama. He's not even on Earth – he's in space, born on Mars, but destined to fall in love with a girl (Britt Robertson) on Earth.

There's only one thing for it: he must travel to Earth to be with her. Sadly, the film's intergalactic love story failed to set the box office alight, or set critics' pulses racing.


6. Five Feet Apart (2019)

A real-life couple suffering from cystic fibrosis, Dalton and Katie Prager, inspired this emotional teen romance. Cole Sprouse (aka Ross' son Ben from Friends) plays one half of a deeply devoted duo, with The Edge Of Seventeen's Haley Lu Richardson completing the pair. The tragedy is that neither person can get close to the other, but that won't stop them from forging a deep-seated connection. Prepare to have a box of tissues ready come the finale.

What are your favourite long-distance romance movies? Let us this Valentine's Day @Cineworld.