The super-sappy and opulent romance stories like “The Notebook,” which pull at your heartstrings but will never, ever occur in real life, or the “realistic” ones, which nearly always finish with the leads realising that not all love stories end happily, appear to be the two primary categories of romantic films. Both of these types of films tug at your heartstrings but will never, ever occur in real life. They are grounded in realism and packed with life lessons about love, loss, and coming to terms with one’s identity. Both are really good; I don’t mean to “romance shame” any films by saying this, but there are times when you really want to watch romantic comedies that show real love and offer both optimism and realism. Neither of these films does that. Both of these films are fantastic.

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There are films that show the reality of love without devolving into a romance fantasy, and even if they are a little harder to find, there are films that do this. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is so difficult to fully express the myriad nuances and complexities of love. This is another reason why viewing a movie can be such an exciting experience if it is well-made. Even while there are moments when all you need is a little Nicholas Sparks in your life or a good dose of Blue Valentine sobs, there are also times when all you want to do is watch a genuine romance play out on screen that isn’t absolutely heartbreaking. The following movies should be added to your “must see” list because they show how love should really be lived because they get it so right.

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“Silver Linings Playbook” by Bradley Cooper and Matthew McConaughey.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) are both troubled people as a direct result of the deaths of their respective ex-spouses. Both are acting in a destructive manner as a result of the wounds left by these previous traumatic experiences; but, as they get to know one another and prepare for a dance competition, things start to change for the better. As the film so eloquently and convincingly demonstrates, finding true love does not entail finding someone who is perfect for you but rather finding someone who is beautifully imperfect who complements you in all the right ways.


This gorgeous love story takes place in New York City during the 1950s, a time when homosexuality was still considered quite taboo (OMG the costumes!). At the department store where Therese works, Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) unexpectedly come face to face with one other during the course of the film. The immediate attraction between them is made more difficult by the fact that Carol is going through a nasty divorce, during which her soon-to-be ex-husband is threatening to use her sexuality to win full custody of their young daughter. It demonstrates how love can prevail over all challenges and give us the fortitude to be who we truly are in spite of the challenges we face.

don’t know if I’ve ever shed more tears throughout the course of watching a movie than I did when I was seeing Up. I was not ready for it. Even though Pixar films are very good at making you cry, Up is on a whole other level of emotional intensity. The first ten minutes of this film could very well be the best love tale that has ever been told on film. Yes, there are going to be flying houses and talking dogs in the next part, but the really bittersweet relationship that Ellie and Carl have is the part that will stick with you forever.

“Punch Drunk Love” was released in 2004.

In light of the fact that socially awkward weirdos are likely to be my “type” if I were to have one, “Punch Drunk Love” is essentially the love story of my dreams. Adam Sandler portrays the role of Barry, a mute, solitary, and emotionally disturbed man in the film. Barry is constantly vulnerable to the tyranny of his overbearing sisters during the course of the film. He dials a phone sex line in an effort to alleviate the feelings of isolation he is experiencing, only to be blackmailed by the operator of the line. It’s not the best timing for him to meet Lena (Emily Watson), a friend of his sister’s who has a crush on him but they wind up meeting anyhow. From that point on, things are only going to get more romantic and difficult. The overcoming of loneliness and going to any lengths necessary to defend the love we find are two of the primary themes that are explored in this charming but peculiar love story.
Five responses to “Say Anything”
The majority of my go-to romantic comedies are from the decade of the 1980s. Even if the films Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink aren’t precisely grounded in reality, I’ve watched each of them a dozen times. On the other hand, it would be fine with me if Jake Ryan drove up in his Porsche to celebrate my birthday. Say Anything is the only love story from the 1980s that adequately reflects both the optimism of that time period in love stories as well as the complexity and difficulties of a real relationship. This makes it a standout among love stories from that decade. In the film, the valedictorian of her high school, Diane (Ione Skye), who is ready to start a new life in England, falls in love with Lloyd (John Cusack), who is also preparing to start a new life in England. Yes, you’ve found the right movie—it’s the one with the iconic boombox scene. It also has a very romantic feel about it.

The three-part series “Before”

Although it may be considered a bit of a cheat due to the fact that it is technically a trilogy consisting of three films (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight), this trilogy is unparalleled when it comes to accurately depicting a real story of genuine love. Over the course of 18 years, Ethan Hawke’s character Jessie and Julie Delpy’s character Celine are chronicled in these films. It can be really romantic at times as the two go on their journey around Europe and get to know one another, but it also demonstrates how love can develop and become a lot of work over the course of time. As I said before, it is based on actual events, yet it is also breathtakingly beautiful.

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