Film director Nancy Meyers’s iconic characters’ lives and stories almost always seem to all revolve around the home—and said homes are always dreamy, buttery, neutral-laden enclaves. They’re the kinds of cozy places where if you have to practice social distancing, one could comfortably hunker down for a while.
Remember when Diane Keaton was startled to find Jack Nicholson in her perfectly appointed, all-white Hamptons kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give or when Cameron Diaz, layered in sweats and comfort knits, was surprised by Jude Law knocking on the door of her rented English cottage in The Holiday? In all of Nancy’s movies, you experience the emotional complexities of family and love in the comfort of a beautiful home.
Steve Martin delivers perhaps one of the best love letters to a Nancy Meyers’ home as George Banks in the opening of Father of the Bride: “I love this house. I love that I taught my kids to ride their bikes in the driveway. I love that I slept with them in tents in the backyard. I love that we carved our initials in the tree out front. This house is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and looks spectacular with Christmas lights. It’s a great house. I never want to move, but the thing I like best about this house are the voices I hear when I walk through the door.”
So what exactly makes a Nancy Meyers’ home dreamy decades later? (Her remake of Father of the Bride was released in 1991 after all—but the house stands the test of time.) “Nancy’s sets are so memorable because they’re intertwined with her characters. These women are established, successful, have found their footing in life, and are aspirational; though they might be finding their way emotionally, they know what they want and they know what quality is when they see it,” interior designer and OTM bride Ariel Okin explains. “Meryl Streep’s kitchen in It’s Complicated is synonymous with laid back California luxe—it’s lavender ice cream and croque monsieurs, low lit candles, wine splashing into a glass, families gathering over home cooked meals—what could be more homey than that?”
We couldn’t agree more. And because during this very scary time, life is revolving 100% around the home, and sometimes when things are grim, nothing provides more solace than a well-loved space, we’ve put together the ultimate Nancy Meyers movie watchlist. These films are to inspire you to continue to stay home and provide a much needed dose of romantic comedy when we all certainly could use a laugh. Enjoy!
Father of the Bride
This classic movie incorporates so many elements of all other Nancy Meyers movies—an iconic home, a quaint California setting, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, a lovable and complicated family, and a strong sense of sentiment. Right now, Steve Martin’s grocery store tipping point feels especially poignant—“George Banks is saying ‘NO!’”
This one’s for all of the working moms juggling it all at home right now! A driven and ambitious lawyer played by Diane Keaton inherits sweet baby Elizabeth after a distant cousin passes away, completely rocking Keaton’s professional and personal life. She tries to keep up with her demanding career, but ultimately rediscovers herself as a working woman and new mom when she escapes to the Vermont countryside. This romantic comedy is sure to make those at home with little ones right now feel seen.
The title alone resonates as we quarantine, but unfortunately, three young, attractive, aspiring Hollywood playwrights haven’t shown up offering to knock out that honey-do list, handle the child care, and throw together a spontaneous backyard movie night. What gives?
As Ariel Okin mentioned, Jane’s home in this Meryl Streep movie is synonymous with all that’s loved about gathering together in the kitchen, despite the occasional complicated family drama. The dynamics between Streep, ex-husband Alec Baldwin, new love interest Steve Martin, and even future son-in-law John Krasinski are hilariously complicated, and we highly recommend watching this movie with a hefty pour of your favorite California Cab and a side of lavender ice cream, just as Meryl Streep’s character Jane would prefer.
Queue this one up to soothe your escapism. By now we all know, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s characters swap homes around Christmas to escape lost love—but it’s always fun to revisit this favorite. As each character navigates a new romance amidst their holiday, you can’t help but fall in love with Winslet’s English countryside cottage and Diaz’s cashmere attire—plus those automatic bedroom shades at her pimped out L.A. pad. Here’s to hoping you dream of Jude!
Something’s Gotta Give
Diane Keaton’s coastal chic Hamptons home is arguably Meyer’s most famous set with what’s been called the most copied kitchen of all time. Ariel Okin points out, “There’s so much attention to detail in the way each character lives—the iconic kitchen in Something’s Gotta Give complete with leftover Coq Au Vin in the fridge, Stonewall Kitchen pancake mix, and not to mention the chicest little white ceramic egg cartons because Erica Barry would never keep them in plastic.” As Keaton’s character works late in the evening from her sophisticated master suite, isolated yet content, donning her famous all white turtleneck wardrobe, it’s hard not to relate (even if you don’t have Jack Nicholson in boxers and a silk robe smoking cigars in your guest suite).
The Parent Trap
This feel-good movie may have been your intro to the Nancy Meyers canon. And if you’re like us you probably found yourself wishing you had a bridal-designing mom and a wine-making dad whom you learn about while meeting your identical twin—and getting your ears pierced!—at summer camp. Meyers writes these characters and their lives with a lighthearted sophistication that made this remake such a hit. It ends exactly as you hoped it would and with the iconic melody “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”—a fitting way to end a your Nancy Meyers movie marathon.
Written by Mary Welch