Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your significant other, your friends, or even by yourself, you’ll want a good movie to watch. Why not time travel and indulge in some historical romance?
Movies like Titanicand The Notebook are some good choices, or maybe even a good rom-com like The Proposal or Never been kissed. While the films in this list are a little less iconic, they will still bring the romance and most importantly, transport you to a different time and place.
‘Far and Away’ (1992)
starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman while they were still married, Far and Away follows Joseph and Shannon, two Irish immigrants who form an unlikely friendship and eventual relationship as they travel to the United States in search of land in the Land Run of 1893.
The characters’ constant bickering and frustration are funny and ending as they gradually develop and reveal their feelings. Pretending to be siblings also creates a fun tension as romance grows. The film was not well-received by critics and had mixed audience reviews, but its somewhat cheesy, predictable plotline is perfect for a Valentine’s Day movie night.
‘Tristan & Isolde’ (2006)
Inspired by a medieval legend and set in the Dark Ages, Tristan & Isolde tells the story of a Cornish warrior and an Irish princess who have a secret love affair while their two countries are at war. The film received mixed reviews for its simplicity, but it still offers the romantic tension of star-crossed lovers, in addition to beautiful cinematography. The Dark Ages don’t seem like a romantic era, but James Franco and Sophia Myles do a great job of bringing audiences into their legendary love story.
‘One Day’ (2011)
Based on a novel of the same name, One Day follows two friends, Dexter and Emma, on the same day from 1988 to 2006. Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, the film had mixed reviews due to its lengthy storyline and the accuracy of the actors’ accents. However, the story has remained popular and is being remade into a series acquired by Netflix.
Despite all of this, One Day gives an interesting look into how a person’s life can change year to year and how our lives intertwine with others, especially those we love. Even though the film is set in recent history, the passage of time on a single day provides a unique twist for a romantic film.
‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’ (2021)
Also based on a novel of the same name, The Last Letter From Your Lover recounts the story of two long-lost lovers who write letters to each other in the 1960s, while a present-day journalist finds the letters and tries to find out their identities and reunite them.
starring Shailene Woodley and Felicity Jonesthe film’s structure has similarities to The Notebook but is set apart by acts of deception and ultimate separation. The film did not perform too well on Netflix, but its cinematography and overall concept make it worth watching.
‘The Age of Adaline’ (2015)
starring Blake Lively, The Age of Adaline tells the story of Adaline, a woman who miraculously stopped aging when she was 29 years old in 1937. She has continually assumed new identities, but when she falls in love with a man in the present day, she must choose whether or not to keep running.
The cinematography, costumes, hair, and makeup greatly aid the audience’s journey into Adaline’s life over the last century. The film received modest reviews, and critics praised Blake Lively and Harrison Ford’s performance. Unexpected reveals and fantastical elements put an interesting spin on this film while also making viewers question their morality.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ (2013)
while Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 adaptations of the iconic Shakespeare story are classics in their own right, Carlo Carlei’s Romeo and Juliet is a bit underrated. While it received mixed reviews because of its additions and omissions to the script, this adaptation offers a fresh take on the story for a new generation while still being set in fair Verona.
Led by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeldthe cast also includes Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgardand Paul Giamatti. The film was beautifully shot on location in Verona and is a worthy addition to the Romeo and Juliet catalog.
‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ (2008)
Loosely based on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button follows the life of a man who ages backward. The film had been in development for decades but finally came to fruition in 2008. Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchettthis film received rave reviews and was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning three for Best Art Direction, Makeup, and Visual Effects.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button does an amazing job of transporting viewers throughout multiple decades, from 1918 to 2005. This film inspires viewers to live a life of adventure and love without fear, and it’s a great choice for anyone who wants a glimpse of life and romance in different eras.
‘Legends of the Fall’ (1994)
Also starring Brad Pitt, Legends of the Fall is based on a 1979 novella of the same name by Jim Harrison. The film chronicles the lives of three brothers and their father in the Montana plains during the first quarter of the 20th century. The film is an epic drama with sweeping landscapes and intense love and loss, but this caused mixed reviews among viewers who lost the story along the way.
Nevertheless, the film was a box office success and pushed Brad Pitt into even bigger superstardom. The storyline is heartbreaking, but its heavy romantic elements make it a viable Valentine’s Day option.
flipped is a wonderful, light-hearted story for the whole family. Based on a novel of the same name by Wendelin Van Draanen and directed by Rob Reinerthis story is set in the 1950s and follows eighth-graders Bryce and Julie, who independently develop feelings for each other.
The film has a simple storyline, but the focus on intergenerational relationships, the effects of understanding one another, and the overall concept of the tweens’ flipped affections are incredibly heartwarming. flipped had a lukewarm response, but its charm and quaint setting bring viewers back to how it felt to be in love for the first time.
‘Midnight in Paris’ (2011)
Written and directed by Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris follows a screenwriter who has to reevaluate his whole life after transporting back in time to 1920s Paris. Led by Owen Wilson and a cast of countless other well-known actors, the film was shot on location in France and is breathtakingly beautiful.
The film received critical acclaim; it was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture and won for Best Original Screenplay. If viewers want to experience the Roaring 20s and have a romantic adventure, Midnight in Paris is the perfect movie for a Valentine’s Day movie night.
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