Romantic movies, like any genre, have typical formulas. In this case, the premise is usually: two people meet and fall in love, complications or misunderstandings arise, and in the end, those problems resolve themselves, and they happily come back together. There are other popular scenarios, but that is the most prevalent one. And when done well, it works beautifully.
But sometimes we want to watch a romantic film different from that traditional scenario. Thankfully, cinema is brimming with many films that don't conform to the usual plot. In a popular forum, many discuss these types of films. Though there are similarities, they are usually done with a twist, while some movies offer varied and truly creative examinations of love.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
From director Charlie Kaufman and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind epitomizes a non-traditional love story. It follows Joel and Clementine, who are polar opposites but find happiness with each other. But when things turn sour, Clementine has her memories of Joel erased.
Heartbroken, he decides to get the procedure done too, but halfway through regrets it and tries to stop Clementine from being erased forever. This non-linear story is unique, funny, and melancholy and demonstrates the power of love that is meant to be.
2. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
The set-up of this rom-com feels familiar. Tom meets what he thinks is his soulmate in Summer. But she doesn't want a relationship. That doesn't stop Tom from falling head over heels and hoping things change. As one person points out, “It's essentially the anti-rom com, a critique of the genre's conventions as the main character deals with the hard realities of romance.”
The look at expectations versus reality is brilliant and not a typical romance. It's real but not too harsh, and even a hopeful film that shows the importance of acceptance and respect.
3. About Time (2013)
Time travel movies will always be something other than your typical fare. About Time is one of the loveliest. Domhnall Gleason is a man with the power to travel back in time to any moment, and Rachel McAdams is the girl he meets and meets again until he gets things right.
Many relationships are explored with each trip back as we see the powers of our choices. Some moments are sweet, others are funny, and some are chilling. The mix of comedy and drama, the fantasy premise, and added love story between a father and son make About Time a touching out-of-the-ordinary movie.
4. Benny & Joon (1993)
Benny & Joon is not just a romantic love story. The title characters are a brother and sister who only have each other after their parents die in a car accident. Joon is mentally ill and needs emotional support, and Benny is her brother, who tasks himself as her protector.
But he finds it challenging to maintain everyday life. Enter Sam, a sweet but slow young man with a penchant for Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin's pantomime impressions.
Sam and Joon share an immediate and profound bond, adding complexity to their relationship. While the movie doesn't delve deeply into the challenges of Joon's illness, it doesn't entirely avoid addressing it either. This heartwarming and unconventional film portrays characters who are seldom represented in cinema.
5. Lost in Translation (2003)
Love comes in many forms, at different stages of life, and in the most unexpected places. That is what Sofia Coppola's thoughtful film Lost in Translation epitomizes. Bill Murray is an aging actor having a mid-life crisis, doing alcohol commercials in Japan.
Scarlett Johansson portrays a youthful and isolated spouse of a photographer temporarily residing in the countryside for his job. Their paths cross at the hotel bar, igniting an immediate connection that leads to the development of a primarily platonic companionship. Lost in Translation presents an excellent option if you're seeking a movie that offers a more down-to-earth, somewhat melancholic atmosphere yet still carries a glimmer of optimism.
6. Stardust (2007)
They say we “fall” in love. But how many love stories are about a star that falls from the sky? That's correct. A star named Yvaine (Claire Danes) falls to earth, and a romantic and brave man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) promises the girl he loves to retrieve it for her.
He was surprised to find that the star took on the appearance of a captivating and determined woman. This extraordinary, thrilling, and enchanting movie offers much more than meets the eye. Regarding romance films, it stands out as anything but typical. It's a love tale that truly dazzles.
7. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook is an interesting mix of romance, heavy drama, and more carefree comedy. The story follows the depressed Pat, who returns from a mental institution hoping to reconcile with his wife. But when he meets Tiffany, a girl with equally dark problems, both their lives change forever as they train to compete in a dance contest.
This movie is not a traditional romance in tone and subject matter. Because it deals with the harsh realities of mental illness, depression, anxiety, and crippling grief, it should not be considered a romantic comedy, as some label it. However, it should be deemed a profoundly touching and realistic look at love amongst truly dark internal and outward struggles.
8. La La Land (2016)
On the surface, La La Land feels like a typical romantic musical. And that is by design. Damien Chazelle's beautiful, colorful masterpiece is a tribute to classic musicals from the past. But it also possesses some unique and modern elements.
It stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a man who hopes to own his jazz club. They form a deep love for each other, but when their dreams pull them in different directions, we see that this is a bittersweet film about enduring love but not happily ever after. As one person says, “it has elements of both a traditional love story and is unique in its own way.”
9. The Age of Adaline (2015)
The Age of Adaline follows a woman who stops aging after drowning in a car accident, and a lightning strike restarts her heart. But Adaline lives in constant fear and must frequently be on the move. So that heart can never entirely be given to anyone. When she meets a man who changes everything, her secret and a surprising twist create a truly incredible film. It's serene, lovely, and moving, with a story unlike anything else.
10. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
There are few romantic films where the main characters are a sweet widow and a stern sea captain. Classic films may feel formulaic to some, but some gems deserve to be discovered. This melancholy, atmospheric, utterly romantic, and surprising little movie is one of those classic films showcasing the enduring nature of love and deserves that everlasting place in film history.
11. Her (2013)
As one person asserts, Her is “A good out-of-the-box movie.” That is an apropos description. This is because it is not a common type of film and also because of the film's premise. Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely man who falls in love with an Artificial Intelligence machine voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
Yes, he essentially falls in love with a box. But in truth, the voice, the way she speaks, and what she says touches his heart. It's a sad and sensitive film that will not be to everyone's taste. But it is a keen showcase of the strange oppositional dichotomy of connection and disconnection that technology can bring.
These 11 Movies Are So Bad You'll Wish You Could Unsee Them
The movies we love best are a combination of excellent characters, plots, stories and cinematography. But if these factors can make great movies, they can also make terrible movies—the ones that make people cringe, the ones we swear they'll never watch again.
10 Celebrities Who Are Universally Disliked
People will always have preferences and something to say about celebrities. What you might love may not be the same for others. Whether it’s about their past behaviors, legal issues, or feuds with other celebrities, here is a list of celebrities people just cannot stand.
Who is one actress you can never stand watching, no matter their role? After polling the internet, these were the top-voted actresses that people couldn't stand watching.
25 Extraordinary Sequels and Remakes That Outshine the Originals
Every once in a while, a movie sequel or remake surpasses the original film. After polling the internet, “Name a single movie where the sequel or remake was better than the original?” Here are the top-voted responses.
Have you ever known someone and thought you liked them—until you learned about their hobbies? Then you get to know them and then you’re like, “Wow, red flag.” Well, you’re not alone.