From romantic comedies to dramas and epic tragedies, there are romance movies that leave a lasting impression, with some even qualify as masterpieces.
What makes them masterpieces? It could be their honesty, intriguing characters, well-written plot, unique story structure, or brilliant imagery. Then there are the masterpieces that were once popular, and now they have disappeared into the seldom-watched, rarely remembered. Below is a list of 10 romantic movie masterpieces that many people have probably not seen or only vaguely remember.
Before Tom Cruise was Tom Cruise, he was the main character in a 1985 Ridley Scott movie called Legend. The fantastical romance featured an innocent love (Jack and Lili), unicorns, and the frightening darkness. Jack must save the world from darkness and restore the unicorn's horn, which was chopped off, to bring balance.
Additionally, Lili has been taken by the darkness. We see this in a horrifying moment when Lili is seduced by a dark dress, and ultimately, becomes captured in it. Despite Jack's allies telling him that Lili is beyond saving, he doesn't give up. The film is beautifully shot with images that linger.
9. JUST WRIGHT
Of a much lighter fare than Legend, Just Wright is a romantic comedy featuring Queen Latifah and Common. Queen Latifah stars as Leslie, a physical therapist, and Common stars as Scott, an injured NBA player. While they share a friendly connection, Scott initially falls for Morgan, Leslie's somewhat superficial but beautiful friend.
At this point, the plot seems to play with a familiar romantic comedy trope, the ugly duckling. However, Just Wright skirts with the trope and then avoids it. Leslie doesn't change or dress differently for Scott, and he just gets to know her better. In addition, this film has a very feel-good, oozing warmth.
Although perhaps not regarded exclusively as a romantic movie, few movies attest to the power of love quite like Warm Bodies. In this universe, there are humans, zombies (who retain a small smudge of their humanity), and boneys (who retain no humanity whatsoever).
Jane, the main character, is a big Jane Austen fan. Although not wealthy, she scraps together what little money she has to attend a Jane Austen resort (Austenland) where they all act their own versions of the Jane Austen tales. They wear period garb and have romantic interests. Each guest's adventure is supposed to end in a mock wedding. Charming, right?
Not so much, since Jane is not wealthy, she's treated poorly. Still, she's put in a potential love triangle. Which love is true and which is only part of the fantasy world that Austenland creates?
6. ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE
As this is a more recent one, it is more likely that some have already seen Always be My Maybe; however, since the Netflix film isn't mainstream, it may have escaped the romantic movie radar. Sasha and Marcus grew up together. Young adult Sasha and Marcus awkwardly have sex, and due to this, they don't know how to be around each other, ending their friendship.
Cue years later, a very successful Sasha (chef) opens a restaurant in the old neighborhood. What happens next is rather predictable, although the couple does experience a few bumps in the path of reignited love, including one very special bump (a hilarious Keanu Reeves). Since this movie was written and performed by comedians, the comedy feels natural.
5. LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE
Like Water for Chocolate is a sensual delight of both mouth-watering culinary action and romantic love. It's a tale in the vein of magical realism. Our heroine, Tita, is forbidden to marry by her strict mother. Since she is the youngest, she must stay single to take care of her mother and her older sister(s). This is the family tradition.
4. LOVE & SEX
While this indie movie didn't receive the best reviews during its time and fell into relative obscurity, the message and honesty behind it are truly timeless. Told in a list-like structure, similar to the better known and more popular High Fidelity, Kate looks through her biggest romances and heart-breaks. As a magazine writer, she's tasked by her editor to write a how-to-type article for achieving romance and love. Kate jabs that she could be better equipped to write a how-to article about sex.
The film has great lines about the importance of timing in finding romance, and how in a long relationship love can seem as ordinary as asking for a cheese sandwich. On top of this, the film is one of the few to show a character go through a miscarriage and grieve. A film truly ahead of its time but seldom seen, it's definitely worth a watch.
3. KISSING JESSICA STEIN
This is a unique movie about a woman who identifies as straight answering a woman-seeking-woman advertisement and discovering that her sexuality isn't as clear-cut as she once thought. Jessica keeps it quiet, initially, as she's uneasy about her sexuality. However, when she and Helen (her girlfriend) visit her family, and her mother finds out, we get one of the most beautiful scenes of family acceptance and love.
A lovely fantastical/science fiction romantic adventure, Stardust has an excellent story-line, characters, musical score, and cinematography. Visually, it is a stunning film. In it, Tristan scales a wall to a dangerous world so that he can give a fallen star to a woman he's wooing.
Tristan discovers that the fallen star is a woman named Yvaine. Initially, Tristan still wants to give Yvaine to the other woman, but then he ends up protecting her. The star is in danger since her heart can give youth to the evil old witches and power to the competing princes. This journey causes them to fall in love, a power that gives them a chance against all their enemies.
When it was a new film, Amélie, was very popular. However, in recent years, some might have overlooked the French film. Amélie is a very introverted heroine who spends the whole film helping others while trying to get out of her shell.
Amélie meets another artistic introverted person, but she's unsure if she can take this final step and risk opening up the door to a new world. Told in a quirky fashion, it is almost impossible to not be swept along for the ride as Amélie tries to find love and herself along the way.