With many of us housebound at present and with fewer things to do during quarantine, there is one activity that always guarantees a good time, which is shamelessly watching romance movies with a glass of wine. What better way to escape our less than ideal reality than to just imagine you are some romantic protagonist during a time long past? Where you can live vicariously through the tension of new love, during a time where one could not express themselves as freely as we do now? Thank goodness for intersectional feminism am I right? Now pop open that $8 bottle of moscato and pour yourself a glass, because here are the top period romance movies to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
1. Far From The Madding Crowd (2015)
Three suitors, one true love, and one strong-willed independent woman. Bathsheba Everdene inherits her uncle’s farm and fights to keep control of her fortunes and love life as an autonomous individual. Throughout this story, Miss Everdene is proposed to by three different men. Little does she know, the very love she believes will keep her from living the life she desires is also what holds her back from being true to herself. This period romance movie moves slowly and builds such an incredible romantic arc that the payoff will leave you in tears of happiness by the end. Best believe I used up half a box of tissues wiping the tears, (and snot) of joy off my face.
2. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet live in the countryside with their five daughters. With no future financial or social security left for her daughters, Mrs. Bennet is hell-bent on securing marriage for the older Bennet siblings, Elizabeth and Jane. With more suitors rolling into town, the Bennet sisters encounter the charming Mr. Bingley, the not so charming Mr. Darcy, and the enigmatic Mr. Wickham. As their patience and love is tested, the Bennet sisters must navigate infatuation and the drama of social hierarchy as a 19th century woman. If you love a strong female character who can shut down someone’s unwarranted opinion with three sassy remarks or fewer, then Elizabeth Bennet is the heroine for you. No one can match her sass or wit, not even Mr. Darcy. If that alone won’t get you to watch this amusing film, I don’t know what will.
3. Moulin Rouge!
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return. Who doesn’t love a good musical? With two hot, romantic leads! Not to mention Ewan McGregor, who plays a young writer named Christian. Newly moved to Paris, Christian begins his career as a writer and strongly believes in love above all things. Our romantic hero meets his fellow on-screen counterpart Satine at the Moulin Rouge where she works as a courtesan and performer. Tensions arise as Satine catches Christian’s eye but is promised to the Duke of Monroth instead. With musical numbers, drama, comedic whimsy, tragedy, and more, this is one of the most memorable period romance movies to grace your screen.
4. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Set in the early 19th century, the story centres on the three Dashwood sisters and their mother, who must leave their home upon the death of their father, whose son from his first marriage inherits his estate. The Dashwood women are driven further into the countryside to Barton Cottage where the two older sisters, Elinor and Marianne, both encounter deceit, and betrayal while looking for love. For dull days stuck inside the house during this pandemic, dramatic period romance movies are sure to distract you from the outside world. Why worry about your own problems when you can worry about someone else’s?
5. Emma (2020)
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, has the world at her feet and yet feels the best use of her time is to interfere with the romantic pursuits of others. Naïve to love directed her way, she pursues a romantic interest in others who do not care for her and turns away the love of those who do. Emma brings her own blind insights into the relationships of others, which causes the inevitable drama that ensues. The visual artistry with the set, clothing, and colour schemes are sure to hold your attention. With unrequited love, romantic manipulation, and 19th century softboys galore, this is one of those romantic period movies that are sure to build up enough tension and drama needed for a good movie-night in.
6. Ever After (1998)
What’s more classic than a good Cinderella story? Set in renaissance-era France, Danielle de Barbarac, played by Drew Barrymore, has become a household servant to her step-mother and step-sisters after her father’s death. Upon meeting Prince Henry of France, disguised as a handsome horse-thief, Danielle is given an opportunity to right the wrongs committed by her family. Throughout her journey she encounters many important people who help set her on a path towards love and, who guessed it, a happily ever after. If you’re looking for something heartwarming and charming to watch, this is one of the best period romance movies to keep you entertained and cheer you up from those quarantine blues.
7. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
Set right after the Second World War, Juliet Ashton, a renowned author, curiously receives a letter from a man named Dawsey Adams. Mr. Adams mentions a book club he and his friends formed on the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, an incredulous name. Miss Ashton is otherwise fascinated with Mr. Adams’ story and journeys to the island to meet the book club members herself. At first just meaning to find an incredible story tell of the islanders she meets, Juliet soon realizes just how important these people mean to her. Not many period romance movies also focus on the love one gains for a family. If you’re hoping to find a joyful film about love in its many forms, romantic or otherwise, this is a film for you.
What are your all-time favourite period romance movies? Let us know in the comments below!
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