'Tis the season for laughter, holiday cheer and movies mixed with mistletoe! One film we can't wait to see is "Last Christmas," which arrives in theaters on Nov. 8, 2019, and stars "Game of Thrones" actress Emilia Clarke and "Crazy Rich Asians" heartthrob Henry Golding. Set in London — and to the music of George Michael — the film, which is the brainchild of story writers (and married couple) Greg Wise and Emma Thompson (who also appears in the movie), is about a woman struggling through a low point in her life while working as a less-than-cheery holiday elf. Of course, everything changes when she meets a handsome stranger whose humor, kindness and swoon-worthy romancing help her find her old spark again. In honor of the film's debut, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at some of our favorite Christmas rom-coms throughout the years — films that never fail to make us feel merry and bright. Keep reading for more…
Trust us, if you haven't seen "Last Holiday" starring Queen Latifah and LL Cool J, you're missing out on one of the best Christmas rom-coms ever. When department store clerk Georgie Byrd discovers she has terminal cancer, she decides to live out her dreams and have the adventure of a lifetime… which leads her to a posh European hotel and the discovery that her one true love was in front of her all along.
The 2006 home-swapping Christmas romance "The Holiday" still remains one of our favorite films of the season. Starring Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, this beloved movie follows two women from opposite ends of the world who are desperate to escape their personal and professional lives. After meeting online, the women agree to switch houses with one another for the holidays, leading them on international adventures and offering a chance at new love.
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Meeting your boyfriend's family over the holidays is hard, but when you're an uptight sourpuss and they're not, it's the stuff of comedy gold. In 2005's "The Family Stone," high-strung businesswoman Meredith (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) travels with boyfriend Everett to meet his family for the first time over the holidays only to find that they definitely don't like her. While trying desperately to win them over, a potential new love interest makes her question whether she's been wasting her time with the wrong man all along.
Is love ever meant to be? In the 2001 romance "Serendipity," a man named Jonathan (played by John Cusack) searches for the woman who stole his heart on Christmas Eve years before. Before either of them get married to someone else, the two set out to find each other, hoping to discover if their years-old encounter was the spark of something more.
In 1995's "While You Were Sleeping," Sandra Bullock stars as Lucy, a transit authority worker in Chicago who pretends to be the fiancée of a comatose man she saved from certain death on Christmas. Things get difficult when the man's brother, who's clearly attracted to Lucy, begins doubting her story.
Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn explore the uncomfortable tension that comes with going home for the holidays when you come from a broken home. In 2008's "Four Christmases," Kate and Brad are forced to divide their short vacation amongst their divorced parents, where they learn embarrassing truths about each others' pasts and experience enough frustration to possibly bring an end to their relationship.
"Love Actually" — perhaps one of the most popular holiday romantic comedies of all time — is an exploration of romance through eight interrelated couples in London during the Christmas season. Starring Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and more, the movie touches on love, laughter and loss. To us, it's perfect.
"The Preacher's Wife" — a modern retelling of the 1947 original, "The Bishop's Wife" — starred the late Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington in a beautiful story about an angel who comes to earth to help a preacher save his congregation and his relationship with his wife. Of course, things get a little sticky when the angel realizes he's falling in love with the preacher's wife too.
In the 2005 romantic comedy "Just Friends," Ryan Reynolds made us laugh until we cried. He plays Chris Brander, a wealthy lady's man who's brought to his knees by his former high school crush, Jamie Palamino (played by Amy Smart), when he runs into her while visiting his hometown for the holidays. With hilarious flashbacks to Chris's teenage years — when he was a plumper, less confident version of himself — the film explores his idiotic attempts to win Jamie's heart and his eye-opening discovery that nothing's sexier than just being himself.
We'll stan "Elf" until the day we die. The 2003 comedy starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel is the story of Buddy, a human elf who sets out on a journey to find his real father after learning he was adopted. Along the way, he finds something he didn't expect — true love with a beautiful lady who shares his passion for all things Christmas.
Bill Murray stars as Francis Xavier Cross, a stingy, cruel TV executive, in the 1988 romantic comedy "Scrooged." In the modern retelling of "A Christmas Carol," Frank is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve who help him reclaim a kinder holiday spirit and, maybe, the love of the woman he lost because he was such a royal jerk.
One of the things we loved so much about the 2000 romantic dramedy "The Family Man" was how it explored different kinds of love. Starring Nicolas Cage as Jack Campbell, a high-rolling Wall Street executive who's devoted his life to making money, the film takes a curious turn when a Christmas angel gives Jack a glimpse of what life could have been had he married his college sweetheart and had a family instead. In his alternate reality, Jack learns that love is something more intoxicating and beautiful than all the money in the world.
When printing business CEO Ned (played by Bryan Cranston) takes his family to visit college-aged daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) for the holidays, he learns that her much older and extremely wealthy boyfriend, Laird (James Franco), plans to propose. Determined to stop their union, Ned enlists a friend to find dirt on Laird, hoping it will be enough to change his daughter's mind.
"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is a hilarious, romantic take on "A Christmas Carol" starring Matthew McConaughey as fashion photographer and notorious womanizer Connor Mead. When Connor goes home for the holidays to stop his brother's marriage, he's visited by the ghosts of his not-actually-dead ex-girlfriends from the past, present and future in the hopes that he'll learn that true love and commitment aren't as bad as he thinks.
Old friendships and new relationships are put to the test in the 2013 romantic comedy "The Best Man Holiday." Starring Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs and more, this sequel to 1999's "The Best Man" reunites college friends over Christmas weekend, who, after 15 years apart, discover some feelings don't fade with time.
Starring Tim Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell, 2002's "The Santa Clause 2" is a family holiday adventure-meets-romantic comedy. When Scott Calvin (aka Santa) discovers a hidden marriage clause in his St. Nick contract, he's forced to find his true love on a deadline or risk losing his job as Father Christmas forever.
The 2004 romantic comedy "Surviving Christmas" stars Ben Affleck as Drew Latham, a wealthy, obnoxious executive who's all alone for the holidays. In an attempt to regain some Christmas cheer, Drew pays the family living in his childhood home to pretend they're his, creative an awkward,uncomfortable holiday that only gets worse when their adult daughter Alicia (played by Christina Applegate) arrives in town.
In the heartfelt 2008 romantic comedy "Nothing Like the Holidays," the scattered Rodriguez clan — played by John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, Jay Hernandez and more — returns to their family home in Chicago for Christmas, only to find that their individual problems have followed them. As the adult kids grapple with their issues, they're delivered a shocking blow when their mom tells them she's divorcing their father. As the kids face their last holiday together as a family, they each discover the strength to deal with their own struggles.
In the 2018 Netflix original holiday movie "The Princess Switch," Vanessa Hudgens stars as baker Stacy De Novo and as Belgravia's soon-to-be princess, Lady Margaret. The identical women meet while Stacy competes in a baking competition, giving them the opportunity to switch places and see what life is like on the other side.
Another Netflix original holiday film we love is "A Christmas Prince" — which debuted in 2017 and spawned two sequels (which we also recommend). The first in the series stars Rose McIver as Amber, an up-and-coming journalist who's sent to the royal kingdom of Aldovia to cover the scandalous future king, Prince Richard (Ben Lamb). While in Aldovia, Amber bumbles and stumbles her way into the prince's heart, discovering that the rumors about his womanizing ways couldn't be further from the truth.
Featuring an all-star cast of actors including Idris Elba, Regina King, Loretta Devine and Chris Brown, the 2007 romantic dramedy "This Christmas" gives us something to celebrate. When the Whitfield family reunites for the holidays at their mom's Los Angeles home, secrets are exposed and old grievances are aired, giving this deeply loving family a chance to finally be real with each other.
The 1954 classic holiday rom-com "White Christmas" might be the oldest flick on our list, but it's also one of the best. The musical movie stars Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye in a warm-hearted tale of two groups of entertainers who bind together during Christmas to help their former commanding general save his motel. Their act of generosity doesn't just help a friend in need — it also leads them to find true love!
Starring Kat Graham and Ron Cephas Jones, the 2018 Netflix original holiday movie "The Christmas Calendar" brings a touch of magic to the season of giving. Struggling holiday photographer Abby has her life transformed when the advent calendar her grandfather gave her seems to predict her future. Along the way, the calendar also seems to be leading her to love.
Last on our list but forever in our hearts is the 1991 romantic family comedy "All I Want For Christmas." When young Hallie O'Fallon (Thora Birch) decides to ask Santa for her divorced parents to fall in love again, she and her brother Ethan (Ethan Embry) set about making their wish come true, with a little help from old St. Nick himself.