A List of Romance Movies
Romance movies can take many shapes and forms, from romantic comedies to dramas, bubbly froth to edgy camp, and all points in between. Whether as characters, stories, or even just as simple format or genre, romance remains one of the most enduring and beloved elements in the world of cinema. Here is a brief list of some of the most popular romance movies that have been released in recent years.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Luca Guadagnino’s sublime 2017 drama stars Armie Hammer as a graduate student who finds himself drawn to the son of his mentor, played by Timothée Chalamet. It’s a breathtakingly romantic and tenderly bittersweet tale of first love, written by James Ivory and based on the novel by André Aciman. It’s a poignant piece of art that is sure to touch the hearts of many viewers.
Stephenie Meyer’s immensely popular Twilight novel was adapted into a movie in 2008, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Billy Burke. An entertaining and visually stunning supernatural romance, Twilight follows the story of a teenage girl and her love affair with a vampire.
The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. A beautiful story of two young lovers who are separated by class but are reunited seven years later, The Notebook is a tear-jerking classic that remains incredibly popular even to this day.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Adapted from John Green’s best-selling novel of the same name, The Fault in Our Stars is a 2014 romantic drama directed by Josh Boone. It follows the story of two cancer-afflicted teenagers, played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who meet and fall in love in a cancer support group. This powerful and emotionally affecting movie is sure to stay in the minds and hearts of many.
La La Land (2017)
La La Land is a 2017 romantic musical comedy-drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The story follows two dreamers in pursuit of their dreams, eventually discovering how hard it is to make that leap of faith. It’s a gorgeous and heartbreaking musical that’s sure to capture the hearts of many.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
An irresistibly fun and infectious musical, Mamma Mia! is a 2008 movie adapted from the stage musical of the same name. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd,.the movie stars Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard. It’s a joyous and lighthearted movie that’s sure to put a smile on the faces of many viewers.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
500 Days of Summer is a 2009 romantic comedy-drama directed by Marc Webb. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, the movie is an unconventional take on love and relationships, as we follow the roller coaster of emotions that the main characters experience throughout their relationship. It’s an intelligent, offbeat and ultimately heartbreaking movie that leaves a lasting impression.
The acclaimed 2007 drama Atonement, directed by Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, is a powerful love story about two young lovers whose lives are tragically torn apart by a lie. It’s a heartbreaking, breathtaking and utterly gorgeous movie that has earned its status as an enduring classic of cinema.
Love Actually (2003)
One of the most beloved and iconic British films of all time, Love Actually is a 2003 romantic comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis. A star-studded movie, it features an ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Keira Knightley among others, as it tells the story of eight different couples and how love impacts each of their lives. A lighthearted, warm and witty romantic romp, Love Actually is a charming and timeless piece of cinema.
A classic from the golden age of Hollywood, Casablanca is a 1942 romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the movie is set in the midst of World War II and follows the story of an American expatriate who must choose between his love for a woman or helping her and her husband escape from the Nazis. Casablanca remains one of the greatest romance movies of all time.
Deception and Infidelity
Among the most engaging themes of romance movies is the discovery of hidden relationships, affairs of deception, and the force of betrayal. From the intense romantic relationships in Adore (2013) to the tangled web of deceptions in Moulin Rouge (2001), even the most jaded viewer will find a deep you story of secrets and infidelities.
Unfiltered and often raw, such films are an exploration of human desire, pain and suffering, with an enduring moral struggle. As the audience, we are pushed to question which verdicts of right and wrong should prevail in such moral dilemmas, is it romanticized loyalty at the risk of misleading someone or should we rather have the courage to bear the consequences of honesty?
We witness the devastating impact such affairs have upon relationships. An example of this is Unfaithful (2002), where the complex scenes of temptation unfold and ultimately shatter the marriage of a couple played by Richard Gere and Diane Lane.
Seeing such stories on the big screen brings us closer to understanding the complexity of human emotions, as well as our need to test the boundaries of monogamy.
Fantasy and Wish-Fulfilment
In contrast to the somber narratives of betrayal and devastation, the fantasy and wish-fulfilment genre of romantic films offers viewers lighter stories of dreamy escapism.
One of the most beloved stories is Pretty Woman (1990), a crowd-pleasing adaptation of My Fair Lady, in which a woman in need of money agrees to a pact with a millionaire. This romantic comedy offers a modern edge due to its strong female characters, and the wonderful chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
Another example is The Princess Diaries (2001), a lovable feel-good movie which shows the delightful antics of a teenager who has to undergo proper etiquette lessons to become royalty. Through the charming relationship between Mia, played by Anne Hathaway, and her grandmother’s friend Oscar, played by Hector Elizondo, the movie gives us a great sense of escapism and drives home the idea that anyone can be a king or a queen.
The wish-fulfilment romance genre also offers viewers an opportunity to see their wildest imagination come to life, without much responsibility or risks in an alternate universe. This genre taps into our desires for a perfect relationship, and the chance for us to be part of something special, if only for the length of the film.
Coming of Age
As soon as we hit puberty, romantic relationships, whether platonic or not, often become part of our lives. Coming-of-age films explore the complex teenage world of first loves and yearning, layered with insecurities, group dynamics, and parental dynamics.
Such films can include stories that teenagers can relate to, such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), where the main character is in search of his identity, and ultimately finds the strength to fight his inner demons when he meets Alma and Patrick, played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
Another example is Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006), a gripping drama featuringBen Whishaw as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man with an extraordinary sensory ability. This film highlights the danger and excitement of a blossoming relationship and its dark consequences, as we follow Jean-Baptiste’s journey of discovering the power of the senses and trying to find out what true love really is.
No matter the story, coming-of-age romantic movies offer teaching moments on wide range of emotions, and not to forget, a good dose of teenage comedy and drama.
Love Versus duty
The modern classic A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper is another testament to the longstanding battle between love, passion, and duty. The story revolves around two passionate artists who decide to get into a passionate relationship, only it is tested due to the rise of Ally’s music career and the decline of Jackson’s.
The film takes a painful look at the hard truth behind love and ambition, as we can’t help but root for both of them to make it through.
The film Titanic (1997), an epic romance turned disaster movie, follows the story of a young aristocrat and a poor artist who fall in love on the fateful voyage. This classic film offers a story of courage and tragedy, capturing the idea that love is something that not even death can conquer.
The story of Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) is another classic example as Bridget, played by Renée Zellweger, tackles the dilemma of choosing between the charming lawyer, played by Hugh Grant, and the mysterious author, played by Colin Firth.
These two iconic classic love triangle stories are seen more critically today, in light of their unbalanced gender dynamics. However, they remain important in showing the struggles between love and duties, as well as withstanding the test of time as timeless classics.
The Power of Love
From the romantic comedies that became cult classics, to the intense stories of people who defied all odds for love, all of these movies explore the power of love which continues to be a strong source of inspiration to this day.
The romantic drama The Story of Us (1999) starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer as a couple experiencing marital problems offers a reflective look upon relationships, as it takes us through the phases of life in a marriage and the hope of reconciliation.