Must Watch Romance Movies

Legitimate Rom-Com Genre

Romantic comedy movies provide an escape from reality into a world filled with love, fun, joy, and laughter. The rom-com genre is an essential part of pop culture, standing out from other genres. Society has been embracing classic rom-com movies for decades. For instance, While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Save the Last Dance, Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before are some of the most popular.
Rom-coms are known for their reliance on recycled plotlines and predictable endings. Critics of the genre like to refer to them as formulaic, but rom-coms have withstood the test of time, remaining a consistently popular choice for viewers. Regardless of their format, these movies can still there is still an audience for them at the box office. They are proof that there’s an unexplainable allure, an infinite fascination between people who are searching for inexplicable yet poignant chemistry.
Rom-coms have been providing an opportunity to explore our own feelings on love. They helped us to reflect upon our own relationships whether troubled or joyful. The allure of rom-coms, even when watching the same story with different characters, is the chance to experience a new iteration, maybe a favoured spin, of this universal story. The charm of rom-coms is that your attachment to them can be triggered emotionally by the casting, the writing and the soundtrack.
Though extremely popular, rom-coms still have a bad rap in the film industry. Movies are categorized as ‘fluff’ and beloved actors often advise against acting in them in order to grow their careers. This sentiment is slowly changing as love stories, like The Big Sick, made its mark at the Oscars, and Crazy Rich Asians, in a way, broke stereotypes about rom-coms.

Must Watch Rom-Com Classics

The Notebook, a highly acclaimed romantic drama and the initial reason for the rapid growth of Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling’s careers, is a beautiful love story about Noah, a poor man, that falls in love with the affluent southern beauty, Allie. Allie’s parents do not approve of their affair, so the young couple is forced to part ways. Years later they meet again, but unfortunately they get caught up in the effects of Allie’s parents’ disapproval, and the couple have to fight to make it work. The Notebook is rated among Time Magazine’s 100 greatest movies of all time and praised for its honest and emotional performance of falling in love.
10 Things I Hate About You follows the story of Kat and Bianca, two sisters living with their father. Kat is reluctant to accept love, while Bianca is eager to enter the dating world. Bianca’s father insists that she can only begin dating once Kat does. That’s when an enthralling new high school student stirs things up for Kat, who unexpectedly falls for him. 10 things I Hate About You synthesizes timeless Shakespearean romance within a modern storyline. Its light-hearted representation of 90s high schoolers has made it a cult classic.

Most Popular Contemporary Rom-Coms

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a romantic comedy that spawned two sequels and shaped a generation. It is centered around Lara Jean, an introverted high-schooler whose secret love letters to her crushes get sent out to them out of the blue. This results in open conversations about her feelings that she never expected to have. The success of To All the Boys stems from its relatable characters, sincere romantic representation and successful crossover of different genres.
Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy movie based on the best-selling novel by the same name. It tells the story of a working-class Asian-American professor, Rachel Chu, who goes with her boyfriend to meet his wealthy family in Singapore. Upon arriving, she discovers that her boyfriend is among the country’s richest elites – making her an outsider in her own relationship. Her challenge is to win the approval of her boyfriend’s strict and eccentric family and to outshine his ex-girlfriend. The film’s mixture of romance, humour and a great soundtrack, along with its critical stance on wealth and family, propelled it to great success.

Romantic Movies to give us hope in Difficult Times

The Fault In Our Stars is a tear-jerking romance between two young cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus. As their relationship develops, their respective cancers bring up difficult challenges that require them to make hard decisions about their futures. While based on a sad premise, The Fault in Our Stars is an honest testament of character showcase during difficult times. With powerful performances, brilliant cinematography, and a heartwarming soundtrack, The Fault in Our Stars is one of the best rom-coms of all time.
Love, Simon is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Becky Albertalli, and follows a coming-of-age coming out story. It all starts when Simon is anonymously emailed by another closeted student at his school. As the two grow closer, Simon is forced to confront his feelings, accept and understand that love is diverse. This movie provides both a commentary on living as a gay teen and a nice take on teenage romance.

Romantic Movies on Streaming Platforms

The streaming industry influx has produced Love, Rosie, a movie about two individuals whose lives, somehow, remain intertwined for years. Knowing that how the timing of life isn’t perfect, Love, Rosie stars Lily Collins and Sam Claflin show how two people try to catch up with their love story throughout the years. With witty lines, bittersweet moments, and the perfect soundtrack, this rom-com will make you dream of a possible lifelong romance with your own true love.
Set It Up is another romantic comedy released on Netflix, follows the story of Harper and Charlie, two overworked and underpaid assistants trying to get their demanding bosses off their backs. The two plot to set their bosses up together in order to have a better work-life balance. Set It Up does a great job presenting the realisticness of modern work and how relationships works around it.

Rom-Coms for a Generation

The novel-based romantic comedy The Sun is Also a Star features two star-crossed lovers who share a magical day out in New York City and explore the very human idea of preventing fate, if even for a moment. Through this movie, we get to experience star-crossed chemistry between Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton. The soundtrack of the movie resonates in the audience, blending in with the characters’ individual struggles. The new interpretation of a classic romantic love story shows how greatness, feminism, and identity are explored.
Another contemporary romantic comedy is An Abundance of Katherines. It follows Colin, a genius, who is trying to figure out the laws of love. On the road to a summer camp, he meets a skeptical truck driver, who eventually helps him come to terms with his failed relationships. This movie has managed to combine Colin’s mathematical struggles with an unexpected journey of self-discovery.

Non-Traditional Rom-Coms for 2020s

The Half of It is a fresh take on a romantic comedy from Netflix that follows the story of a high school student, Ellie Chu, who is hired to help her straight-A classmate, a handsome jock – Paul Munsky, to win over his crush, the most popular girl in their school – Aster Flores. The film explores themes of self-discovery, family, and homophobia. With relatable characters, a beautiful soundtrack and an honest representation of queerness, The Half of It is a brilliant take on the rom-com genre.
In Palm Springs, an unexplainable time loop keeps Andy Samberg’s character and his love interest (Cristin Milioti) stuck in a never-ending wedding day. This original premise results in a unique rom-com that addresses some of the usual rom-com tropes in unexpected ways.

Unconventional Rom-Coms for Millennial Viewers

The 2019 satirical romance Long Shot follows the journey of Fred Flarsky, a talented yet troubled journalist and Charlotte Fields, his former babysitter and the current Secretary of State. Hilarity ensues as Fred charms his way through Charlotte’s glamorous lifestyle and the challenges that come with it. Long Shot highlights the necessity of compromise, compromise, compromise in romantic pursuit and that having a Hollywood-style romance is more a myth than a reality.
The premise of Booksmart sees best friends, Molly and Amy, embark on a mission to make up for all the parties they’ve missed in high school. With an edgy script and stimulating message about living your life as a source of joy, Booksmart is a breath of fresh air for the genre. Through these two unlikely heroes’ wild journey, the movie makes it clear how life is worth more than studying for exams.

Rom-Coms for Every Generation

The 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians has caused a stir in the rom-com genre. Not only was it the first movie with an all-Asian cast, but it also appealed to multiple generations by using a universal theme – love. The movie follows the story of Rachel Chu, an Economics professor, who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick Young, who is one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia, and is also the heir to a massive fortune. Through funny and charming characters, unimaginable wealth, outstanding cinematography and last but not least, a brilliant soundtrack, Crazy Rich Asians is definitely a must-watch.
The Princess Switch was an instant hit, telling the story of Vanessa, a regular girl from Chicago who, after meeting her doppelgänger, gets to spend one incredible day as the prickly Princess of Belgravia. This movie leans towards the traditional side of the rom-com, presenting a classic Cinderella story of how fate can intervene to bring two people together. It provides a light, feel-good mode of entertainment mixed with beautiful locations, terrific music, and stunning costumes.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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