Whether you want to travel to La La Land, 1940s England or the Age of Adaline: these 17 romance films will make you believe that love really does conquer all…
Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, Stardust is a modern day fairytale about a young man’s (Charlie Cox) quest for love. In order to win his beloved’s heart, he has to procure a fallen star and deliver it to her as a present. But things turn out differently after he discovers that the star is actually a girl (Danes).
“You want to know what the Captain really whispered to me that day? He told me that my true love was right in front of my eyes. And he was right.”
Beauty and the Beast revisited: Penelope tells the story of a girl (Christina Ricci) who inherits a family curse that can only be broken if someone of her own kind accepts her as she is. Her search for the one is complicated when a shameless reporter hires an alleged blue-blood (James McAvoy) to court her.
“You were stealing that book?”
“There are three hundred and twenty-six first editions in that room. And I’m afraid that’s the only one that’s valued under a hundred.”
“But it’s your favourite just the same…”
Love among the ruins: After running away from his problems like a typical immature douche, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) finds himself falling for a mysterious beauty (Nadia Hilker) in a small town in Italy. But their love is tested when the dark secrets she harbours are brought to the surface – NOT your typical romance!
“You never got lonely?”
“Not since I met you.”
Sometimes the person you’re meant to be with has been standing by your side all along: based on the best-selling novel by Cecilia Ahern, the film follows Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Clafflin), two childhood friends who seem destined to be together, but somehow life keeps getting in the away of their happily ever after.
“No matter where you are or what you’re doing, or who you’re with, I will always honestly, truly, completely love you.”
13. La La Land
The best loves are the ones that inspire you and give you the courage to pursue your dreams, which is what happens when jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) falls in love with aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) in Damian Chazelle’s gorgeous musical film. The fact that this is Emma and Ryan’s third collaboration helps to make their romance feel effortless and authentic.
“I’m frankly feeling nothing”
“Is that so?”
“Or it could be less than nothing”
“Good to know. So you agree?”
“That’s right: What a waste of a lovely night”
After her parents’ divorce, writing prodigy Samantha Borgens (Lily Colins) has sworn off love: a casual hook up here and there with a guy she knows will never really spark her interest is all that she’s looking for. But when her classmate Lewis (Logan Lerman) starts to pursue her, Samantha starts to reconsider.
“You make me feel less cynical.”
11. The Amazing Spider-Man
Say what you will about the Spiderman re-boot, but don’t try to tell me that the love story between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey did not get under your skin. Thanks to Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, who were so blatantly in love during filming, the audience is treated to one of the purest and most real portrayals of young love in cinematic history.
“You’re wrong about us being on different paths. You’re my path. And you’re always gonna be my path. And I know there’s a million reasons why we shouldn’t be together.I know that. But I’m tired of them. I’m tired of every single one of them.”
10. Age of Adaline
As a young woman, Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) is rendered ageless by a curious accident. Her eternal existence is complicated when, after years of leading a solitary life, she meets a very special man (Michiel Huisman).
“Tell me something I can hold on to
and never let go”
9. Water for Elephants
A young veterinarian (Robert Pattinson) joins a traveling circus and falls in love with the ringmaster’s wife (Reese Witherspoon). As he witnesses her husband’s abusive behaviour and cruelty towards his staff and animals, Jacob becomes determined to stop him and set his love free.
“Come with me. There’s a better kind of life that’s meant for you.
Whether that life is with me, whether you love me or not, it doesn’t matter. But we gotta go now.”
When their young marriage is hit by tragedy, Connor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) deal with the pain each in their own way and end up losing each other in the process. The film is a wonderfully intimate study of love’s endurance. Moreover, the director’s choice to make three different cuts (Him, Her, Them), in order to highlight that there are two sides to every story, feels very refreshing and clever.
“Where are we?”
The most romantic film since The Notebook follows a young time traveler (Domhnall Gleeson) on his journey through life and this attempts to make the most of the time he has with those he loves.
“You really like me? Even my frock?”
“I love your frock.”
“And, um, my hair. It’s not too brown?”
“I love brown.”
6. Becoming Jane
Her characters may have lived happily ever after, but Jane Austen never did. Inspired by true events, this bitter-sweet romance tells the story of the author’s (Anne Hathaway) tryst with Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) and how status and circumstance got in the way of their happiness.
“What value will there ever be in life, if we are not together?”
While studying abroad in the US, Anna (Felicity Jones) falls for fellow student Jacob (Anton Yelchin). On the day of her departure, she decides to stay with him, subsequently violating the terms of her visa. The film convincingly portrays the couple’s desperate attempt to make their relationship work and stay in each other’s lives across thousands of miles while trying to overcome the bureaucratic hindrances keeping them apart.
“It’s the halves that halve you in half. I didn’t know, don’t know, about the in-between bits; the gory bits of you, and the gory bits of me.”
4. Dear John
You can always count on Nicholas Sparks to write a good sob story. Granted, his stories are an endless string of romantic clichés thrown together, and Dear John is no exception (feat. the obligatory rain kiss, life-changing inanimate objects and letter writing). Yet it stands out because the struggles John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah’s (Amanda Seyfried) are facing aren’t just drama for the sake of drama, but real challenges that couples might face.
“You don’t scare me, John”
“Well, you scare me”
When tortured poet Tyler Hawkins (Robert Pattinson) and his college roommate are wrongly jailed by an NYPD officer, Tyler asks the cop’s daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin) on a date to spite him. However, the two of them soon start bonding over her own home rebellion…
“Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it. Because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your life and half of you says you’re nowhere near ready, but the other half says: make her yours forever.”
I’m trying to fight back tears as I’m typing this because this film left me bitter and broken. Robbie (James McAvoy) and Celia (Keira Knightley) could have had it all – if only her kid sister hadn’t framed him for rape.
“Come back. Come back to me”
The love story that all love stories are consciously or unconsciously trying to emulate. Who wouldn’t disown their family for Leonardo Di Caprio?