Edie Freedman is a student at New York University studying social and cultural analysis, politics and psychology. There she is a writer and editor for The Tab NYU.
Rom Coms are such a popular film genre, they get their own cute moniker. But comedies exploring less romantic and less lusty themes of love often get short shrift, even though they’re just as impactful and, we would argue, more important. After all, the romantic comedy formula spits out unrealistic fantasies that perpetuate gender myths and outdated dating dynamics; but movies about sisterly, brotherly, friendly and/or familial love often get closer to more universal — or at least more realistic — experiences and feelings (even the over-the-top ones that have group diarrhea scenes).
All the following Platon Coms (hey, that’s catchy!) are rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yes, the plot revolves around a wedding and a bridesmaids’ budding romances with a “nice guy,” but the real relationships for which you root are the ones between the women in the bridal party. You get a sense the cast of this now-classic 21st century comedy had a blast making it and that acting like friends wasn’t really a stretch for them — in fact, the strained relationships portrayed feel the fakest!
2. 9 to 5
This vintage office comedy features the iconic power trio of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton as hard-working, fed-up assistants banding together and plotting revenge on their “sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot” of a boss. After four decades, you’d hope the sexism the film hilariously tackles would feel more dated by now.
3. I Love You Man
If you can get past some of the tired gender stereotypes, watching Paul Rudd and Jason Segal fall platonically in love will remind you of the best and worst moments between you and your best friend.
4. Sherlock Holmes (2009 movie) / Sherlock (2010 TV Series)
Some might argue that big and small screen adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective adventures are all about foiling conniving villains with preternatural intellect. We’d argue they’re more about the repressed but delightful bromance between Holmes and his impossibly patient sidekick, John Watson.
5. Pitch Perfect
The first (and best) of the trilogy introduced us to this collective of a cappella singers who develop a love for each other that is clearly more important than any romantic relationship they might have. And bless the Fat Amy character, the embodiment of a ‘no-shits-given’ attitude that we should all try to emulate.
6. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
The movie copies the Odd Couple format — one friend is an ambitious hard worker, the other a lazy partier — while rejecting stale Hollywood tradition by casting two Asian Americans in the leads. It’s your typical stoner road movie with the usual obligatory vulgarities, but Harold and Kumar’s atypical onscreen friendship was strong and successful enough to spawn two more movies. A fourth film may even be in the works.
7. Ghostbusters (1984 and 2016)
No matter what you’re rocking between your legs, how you identify, or who you love, it’s all about coming together with a likeminded group of supportive friends to rid New York City of its ferrel ghost problem.
8. Driving Miss Daisy
Over the course of 25 years, two people considered outsiders — a Jewish socialite and her black driver in the white, wasp-y, mid-century South — develop, against all odds, a deep and meaningful friendship. The play won the Pulitzer for Drama in 1988 and the film won Best Picture in 1990.
9. Girls Trip
A group of college friends reunite in New Orleans to reignite their wild sides and celebrate their sisterhood. Hijinks and hilarity ensue. And out of embarrassment comes empowerment.
10. A League of Their Own
A fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was created as a temporary replacement for the National Baseball League during World War II. What begins as a lark becomes a national sensation thanks to the athleticism, patriotism, and friendship of a group of women fighting an uphill battle against sexism and gender stereotypes. The relationship between Gina Davis’ pitcher and her has-been coach, played by Tom Hanks, is quintessential Platon Com.