Romance movies are a mixed bag. Sometimes, you stumble upon absolute masterpieces that elevate your goals and standards to unnecessarily high levels; other times, you wish to forget how corny and cringy something was immediately after you’re done watching it.
Still, there’s a fair share of romance movies that will resonate with most people who watch them, some because of the beautiful, heartfelt dialogue, and others because of how realistic and relatable the situations the protagonists are put in are.
So, without further ado, here are my top four romance movies that I would recommend to everyone, teen or someone in their fifties, of any gender and life occupation, with as few spoilers as possible.
Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy, consisting of three movies — ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Before Sunset’ and ‘Before Midnight’ — with the same couple of protagonists and their journey on the complicated pathway of love, is truly one of a kind.
This trilogy is remarkable for several reasons. First of all, it’s heavily dialogue-based, so it would please the lovers of deeper conversations, pseudo-philosophical ramblings and advocates of discussion.
Secondly, it shows different kinds of love and its evolution. From the fairytale-like infatuation, the characters start out with in the first movie, to the adult-life struggles and distance in the second, to marriage doubts and instabilities in the third. They show growth and how the characters change and adapt to each other.
Thirdly, it is unafraid to raise the ugly questions of marital life and the difficulties of the “forever-ever-after” that a lot of movies choose to leave unsaid.
And, finally, if you’re just here for the fairytale, you can watch the first movie and it works perfectly well all by itself.
500 Days of Summer
This infamous movie is often so misinterpreted that it kind of hurts my heart.
While still loved by the masses, the purpose and the thought that this movie tried to convey are often missed, yet very eloquently summarised in its tagline ‘This is not a love story. This is a story about love.”
We follow the viewpoint of the protagonist (played by the incredible Joseph Gordon-Levitt, by the way, in case you have somehow missed 500DoS) who projects his wish to find himself… basically a manic pixie dream girl onto the girl he meets in an elevator one day.
I believe that this story will resonate with a lot of people, and is one of the greatest examples of romance movies that demonstrate the rather unhealthy issues of idealisation and projection of own ideals onto others.
It will resonate with most people who have been the subject of someone’s unrequited affection, because these people will construct an image of you that you yourself try to explain as being inaccurate — but they don’t listen.
10 Things I Hate About You
An oldie, but a goodie.
This story about a teenage abrasive shut in her senior year of high school, paired up with the loud, charming and playful guy who almost seems like her complete antithesis is such a simple formula, yet one that yielded amazing results in one of the most universally beloved romance movies of all time.
The abrasiveness based on own insecurities and unwillingness to open up; the trust issues, exacerbated by the multiple negative circumstances; the outside pressure to find someone enforced by the unwelcoming atmosphere of a typical high school…
Come on. A lot of us have been the protagonist at some point, or have known someone like her in our lives.
Also, Heath Ledger and the iconic I Love You Baby scene. Come on.
The Guardian‘s Benjamin Lee described this movie as a “hugely charming crowd-pleaser”, and he is absolutely correct — but that’s the beauty of this movie.
Not only is this movie a large milestone in terms of inclusivity — because we do need more LGBTQ+ romantic comedies, instead of the constant drama and angst — it is also demonstrative of growth, healthy process of realisation of one’s own mistakes, as well as of self-acceptance.
Love, Simon is a long-overdue piece of cinema that not only demonstrates gay relationships for what they are — so, simply just relationships — but also shows us, even if in a way more lighthearted way, that LGBTQ+ teens face even more struggles than a lot of other teens do.
Overall, while being a mixed bag, just as I’d said in the beginning of this article, romance is still a very large genre, and offers a great variety of truly amazing romance movies.