Romantic movies tend to fall into two categories: those that are over-the-top and unrealistic, like The Notebook, and those that are more “realistic,” like The Notebook, where the protagonists realize that not all love tales end happily. Their stories are filled with heartbreak and heartwarming tales of love, sorrow, and finding one’s way in the world. No, I’m not here to “romance shame” any films, but there are times when a romantic film that depicts real love and offers some hope is all you want.
DON’T MISS A THING
Movies that don’t stray too far into the realm of romance fantasy are out there, but they’re a little more difficult to locate. Love is a difficult subject to write about since it’s so full of subtlety and depth. For this reason, it can be such an unforgettable experience to watch a film that gets it right. Despite the fact that there are moments when all you want is some Nicholas Sparks in your life or need is a good soul-crushing Blue Valentine weep, there is merit in simply wanting to watch on screen a realistic relationship that is not completely devastating. This is why we’ve compiled a list of some movies that depict what true love looks like.
1. Silver Linings Playbook
Both Bradley Cooper’s Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) are grieving the deaths of their ex-spouses. Their past traumas have left them behaving out in terrible ways, but as they get closer and prepare for a dance competition, they begin to change. Finding real love isn’t about finding the perfect person for you, but rather finding the person who is completely imperfect for you.
While lesbianism was still widely frowned upon in 1950s New York, this sweet love story (the costumes, OMG!) takes place during that time period. A accidental encounter at the department shop where Therese works brings Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) together. But Carol’s divorce is tense and her soon-to-be ex-husband has threatened to use her sexuality to gain custody of their young daughter, which complicates the attraction they feel for each other. Despite all odds, love may overcome them and give us the strength to be who we actually are, no matter what.
More tears were shed in the theater than I can remember in any other movie I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t ready. While Pixar flicks are known for tugging at your heartstrings, “Up” goes above and beyond. The first ten minutes of this film are among the most romantic ever produced. While flying houses and talking dogs follow, the heartbreaking realism of Ellie and Carl’s eternal romance is what will linger with you.
4. Punch Drunk Love
A “type” for me would be socially awkward weirdos, hence Punch Drunk Love is a perfect love story. For the film Adam Sandler portrays a timid and lonesome Barry, who is continuously under the control of his dominating sisters in a perpetual battle for control. A phone-sex line operator extorts money from him in order to alleviate his loneliness. He meets Lena (Emily Watson), a friend of his sister’s who has a crush on him, at the worst possible time. From there, things are only going to grow more romantic and more difficult. In the end, it’s about overcoming loneliness and how far we’ll go to protect the love we have.
5. Say Anything…
Movies from the ’80s are some of my favorite romantic ones. A dozen times each, I’ve seen Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, yet they’re both unrealistic. My birthday is coming up. I don’t mind if Jake Ryan shows up in his Porsche, though. This film portrays both the idealism and the turmoil of an actual relationship better than any other from that decade: Say Anything. He falls in love with Diane (Ione Skye), the school valedictorian about to embark on a new life in England, played by John Cusack. Aside from being a sweet love story, this is also the film in which the iconic boombox scene appears.
6. The “Before” Trilogy
Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight may be a bit of an exaggeration, but when it comes to delivering an honest story about true love, this trilogy is unbeatable. Jessie (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy18-year )’s relationship is the focus of the films. Even though the two of them travel over Europe and get to know one another better, the film also shows how love can evolve and become more of a challenge as time goes on. It’s realistic, yes, but it’s also breathtakingly beautiful.