Romance is one of those genres that is often made to mingle with others like action, drama, comedy, horror, and even sci-fi. In many superhero movies, including The Batmanthe superhero is the object of a secondary character’s feelings despite this element being of little consequence to the film’s plot.
Often, when the romance of the film is integral to the plot, those in love end up together by the end of the film. However, in many of the most memorable films with a romantic element, those in love do not end up together.
Cast Away (2000)
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Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis directed Tom Hanks in some of his most iconic roles, Forrest Gump and Cast Away. In the latter, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a man who survives the crash of a cargo ship and manages to find his way on a raft to a deserted island.
Years later, he is rescued and locates his former girlfriend (Helen Hunt). They profess that they still love each, but she now has a family and he understands that they can no longer be together.
A Star is Born (2018)
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With Lady Gaga having an eclectic sense of music and fashion, it wasn’t surprising when she delivered a powerful, nuanced performance in A Star is Born. She portrays Ally, an aspiring musician who falls deeply in love with Jack (Bradley Cooper), who is already successful.
The film has been remade a few times since the original 1937 film, but the most recent version was the first since 1976. It is also Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut. While the pair do get married it is sadly short-lived. Struggling with alcoholism and depression, Jack takes his own life. This leaves Ally devastated for an emotional final song.
The Remains of the Day (1993)
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Director James Ivory did a series of romance films in the ’80s and ’90s with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and producer Ismail Merchant. Many were well-regarded and The Remains of the Day may be the greatest of them. Ivory also wrote the screenshot for Call Me By Your Name.
head butler mr. Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) and head maid Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) preside over the staff of the powerful and controversial Lord Darlington. They develop feelings for one another but Stevens does not know how to or have the courage to acknowledge them, despite Kenton bursting into tears about the matter in front of him on more than one occasion. It is a sad tale of love that was never able to be, even for a short time.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
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Taking place in Italy during the 1980s, Call Me By Your Name is one of Timothée Chalamet’s most likable roles. He portrays Elio (Timothée Chalamet) who falls in love with his father’s research assistant Oliver. The issue is that Elio is 17 and Oliver is 24.
The romance between the two is slow at first, before burgeoning based on Elio’s pursuit of Oliver. However, it could only ever be temporary because Oliver was only to remain there for that summer.
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2013’s Her is a funny, near-future sci-fi film that portrays a relationship between Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (Scarlett Johannson). The relationship is peculiar because Samantha is the operating system on his smartphone and other gadgets.
The film reveals that many people have formed romantic relationships with their human-like operating systems. Theodore and Samantha’s relationship is heartwarming and fun. Sadly, the operating systems eventually decide to cease having contact with people. This tear-jerking development wrecks Theodore, as it also did many audiences. Somehow, the film still manages to end with a hopeful tone.
The Fault In Our Stars (2014)
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In The Fault In Our Stars cancer patients Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort) meet at a cancer support group. They decide to try to locate an author they admire together in Amsterdam, and in the process, they fall in love.
Sadly, by the end of the movie, Augustus begins to die from the illness. Hazel is heartbroken but cherishes his memory. The film handled the subject matter well, having garnered praise from both fans and critics.
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In atonement, a wealthy young woman named Cecilia (Keira Knightley) falls in love with Robbie (James McAvoy), the son of one of her family’s servants. Out of jealousy-fueled confusion, Cecilia’s younger sister falsely claims to have seen Robbie sexually assaulting her cousin. Robbie is sent to jail, only being released to be a soldier in WWII.
The film is ruthlessly realistic, showing both sisters as nurses during the war as well as Robbie at Dunkirk. It is also realistic in that Robbie dies before he is able to return home to Cecilia. She also passes away from a bombing and her younger sister, portrayed by several different actresses throughout the film, must contemplate the consequences of her actions for the rest of her life.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
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Widely thought of as the most important movie about gay men, Brokeback Mountain received near-unanimous acclaim. The film is touching at times, but there is always an underlying sorrow because in 1960s Wyoming there is simply no realistic way that two men could be in a committed relationship.
Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are hired to take care of sheep on Brokeback Mountain. While neither is bold enough to admit it at first, the two fall in love. They meet up once or twice a year on the mountain, as it is the safest way for them to be together in secret. Eventually, circumstances occur that will prevent them from ever seeing each other again.
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When released in 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic was the most expensive movie ever filmed. It became the highest-grossing film of all time and remained so for over a decade. Perhaps the reason it brought so many people to theaters, again and again, is that the actors were so perfectly cast for the enduring love story.
Rose (Kate Winslet) is the rich 17-year-old who boards the SS Titanic with her family and her fiancé, neither of which she gets along with well. She falls in love with the impoverished Jack (Leonardo Dicaprio) and the two have a passionate love affair. Tragically, when the Titanic sinks, Jack is one of the many people on board who did not live. Rose’s love for Jack endures for the rest of her long life.
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A classic film widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, Casablanca is a drama and a romance of the highest quality. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) meet in Paris during WWII and quickly fell in love. However, Ilsa has a secret and ends up disappearing and breaking Rick’s heart.
A year later, Rick owns a successful and seedy bar in Casablanca, Morocco. Ilsa arrives at the bar with her husband, prompting Rick to utter one of Casablanca‘s many famous lines. It is revealed that she allowed herself to fall in love with Rick because she thought her husband had died trying to escape a concentration camp. When she learned he lived she left Rick to be with him. Rick and Ilsa later form a plan to elope together but Rick chooses to do what is right and puts Ilsa on a plane with her husband, despite Rick and Ilsa still being deeply in love. It is one of the most bittersweet romances in film history and will remain iconic for years to come.
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