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Timing Is Everything: J.D. Barrett’s list of top five Romantic Comedies

June 20, 2018

As I write this rain pours across my window and a grey afternoon draws her weary way over the mid week hump… I cannot think of better weather for watching a Rom Com! I love Rom Coms because of yes, their optimism, obviously – but also the brilliantly drawn characters, particularly the leading ladies of my favourites. I also love them because they’re a structural feat in emotional architecture – demanding precision in plot, rhythm timing and tone. Any one can smell when a Rom Com is B grade… they’re corny, they’re obvious, they have you turning to your partner/ pal/ dog rolling your eyes and saying ‘I so knew that was coming’ but when a Rom Com is elevated to an A – (in my humble and certainly happy ever after loving opinion) every beat is met with a refreshing joy as well as undeniable comfort, the characters are your best friends, the characters are you and before the film reaches it’s heartfelt and well earned satisfying climax, you know it’s going to be a companion on your favourite films list for years to come. I hail Nora Ephron as a genius and the queen of my Rom Com heart. And her sometimes sidekick Rob Reiner I also salute the brilliance of Helen Fielding and the breadth of Richard Curtis. And the brilliant romantic heart and poetry of John Patrick Shanley

So here’s my all time fav Rom Com list (which I hope one day – not too far away we will be able to add The Secret Recipe for Second Chances to)

When Harry Met Sally

This is the film I watch whenever the blues, or a particularly harsh time hits. I love it for its honesty over male and female relations, for it’s cleverness in its slow revelation and evolution of characters over a long time, for it’s irresistible build of a romance out of friendship and because it reminds us that your destiny might be right there in your apartment block!


Ever since Cher won the Oscar for slapping a very hot Nicolas Cage and telling him to ‘Snap out of it’ I have been a lover of this movie (and yes I first watched it when I was far too young but the feeling still stands) I love the nod to opera – La Boheme, I love the generosity of spirit which this script is written and executed – the reflections on the different permutations of love – passionate, familial, marital, grief stricken, irreconcilably inconvenient… I also love the ensemble component of this film and fairytale in Brooklyn edge.

Sleepless in Seattle

Nora again, and she directed this one too… I love that it’s an ode to An Affair to Remember, I love the children’s matchmaking storylines and that the two romantic leads don’t find each other until the last scene…. Sigh..

The Bridget Jones Diaries

Because how can you not love and relate to Bridget! I also love the play on Pride and Prejudice and the Colin and Hugh are both so great.

Love Actually

Ah all those stories interwoven and Bill Nighy singing, it’s such a lot of fun and perfect fodder when Christmas is looming. And how about that scene where Emma Thompson cried to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’, ah brutal but such good stuff!

About the author

J.D. Barrett is an Australian television writer and script editor. She has worked on the writing teams for Love My WayEast of EverythingBed of RosesWonderlandLove Child and The Secret DaughterThe Secret Recipe for Second Chances was her bestselling debut novel. The Song of Us was her second book and The Upside of Over is her third work of fiction. J.D. lives between Sydney, Byron Bay and Los Angeles.


Purchase a copy of The Upside of Over here // Read a review here


  1. Kate Pill

    Love, love, LOVE this author! The ending for her second book is a cracker! I remember getting toward the end, looking at how many pages were left and wondering how on earth this was going to conclude – but it did, and did so really well. If anyone is wondering whether to purchase one of her books – don’t 🙂

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