Romance films

7 delightfully unconventional love movies

When most people hear “romance” and “movie” together, the immediate thought is that of romantic comedies. Yet romantic comedies aren’t the only films that can deal with the trials and tribulations of love. In fact, some of the relationships that touch us the most come from unexpected movies. 500 summer days, for example, actively questions what we know and what we are used to in romantic films. In honor of the movie that turns 10 on July 17th, we’ve compiled some of our favorite unconventional movies romances to honor the big screen.

Lobster

Being single can be difficult, especially when it seems like everyone is already matched. The black comedy of Yorgos Lanthimos Lobster pushes this fear of being alone to the extreme. In this dystopian comedy, you have to be matched with someone to get back into society. If you don’t, you either live the rest of your celibate life in the woods or become the animal of your choice. Literally. Great actors like Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz help us laugh at this weird, anti-celibate world. The cast’s deadpan delivery and clever dialogue add lightness to the film, reassuring us that being single in the real world isn’t so bad. At least we don’t turn into lobsters when a series of dates doesn’t go well.

Lars and the real girl

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We all face challenges and have different ways of dealing with them. For Lars, the preferred coping mechanism is going out with a doll named Bianca. Although at the first shock, Lars and the real girl heats up and becomes a truly touching love story. No, it is not about a man’s desire for an object. Instead, it’s about the love that a community can nurture. Notebook Idol Ryan Gosling plays the titular Lars, who thanks to Bianca is able to deal with his issues and improve himself.

This transformation is happening because of her small town community, which sees Bianca and the relationship as real. When Bianca falls ill, Lars can move on and start her life over. Lars and the real girl is no ordinary love story, but it’s not because of the Bianca doll. The film is much more concerned with the love between an individual and his community.

Her

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what if have you fallen in love with your Alexa, or Siri? Spike jonze Her explores this reality, tackling the emotional roller coaster of a relationship between a human and an AI operating system. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, reserved and recently divorced, who falls in love with Samantha, his operating system, played by Scarlett Johansson. Things are starting out well, but like any relationship, theirs is starting to run into obstacles.

As Samantha evolves, so does the relationship and their dependence on each other. Her is really about how people change when they’re in love, and what that means for the relationship. We also think this is a good warning about the consequences of dating your computer’s operating system.

Eternal Sunshine of the Flawless Spirit

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Eternal Sunshine of the Flawless Spirit tries to answer a very difficult question: do soul mates exist? Shy and clumsy Joël (Jim carrey) and Clémentine, eccentric and free-spirited, test this hypothesis in a framework close to the future. Their romance is one of extreme ups and downs, leading the two characters to erase memories of dating. The result is a subjective and fuzzy narrative that creates a story of their relationship, based on memories of Joel.

Joel tries to hold onto these good memories firmly, but they are erased forever. According to how much he loved Clémentine, who can say that they will no longer be attracted to each other? The movie doesn’t provide clear answers to the soul mate conundrum, but that’s okay. An uncertain answer is most appropriate for the film’s complicated love story.

The shape of water

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Guillermo del Toro’s monster romance between a silent woman and a fishy creature is a modern day fairy tale. Two strangers from different backgrounds meet and bond deeply without words. Elisa’s compassion for the Fishman, as well as the monster’s curious nature, convinces us that these two are meant to be. The film is an incredible exercise in cinema, showing a romance that unfolds in pure, visual form.

What more sells Elisa and her beautiful fishConnecting is the amazing team behind The shape of water. Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones both provide incredible and moving performances as a starting pair. The film’s set design and cinematography paint 1960s Baltimore in dreamy, aquatic hues. Guillermo del Toro’s monstrous and whimsical touch is on full display, with a black and white dance montage. The result? A monster movie where the monster keep the girl.

The Lady Eve

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For con artist Jean Harrington, the plan was simple: seduce Pike Ale heir, Charles Pike, to earn his boozy fortune. What was not in the plan? Fall in love with Pike herself. She also didn’t expect him to throw her away either. Luckily for Jean, her skills as a crook come in handy when she disguises herself as Lady Eve in order to win him back.

With Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, The Lady Eve is a wacky comedy that pokes fun at the way we fall in love. Stanwyck is particularly hilarious for both Eve and Jean, skillfully balancing the two characters while still letting us participate in the joke. The gentle and unconscious Charles de Fonda offers us torturously funny moments. When the two finalists reunite after all the hilarity, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. It turns out that love can be the biggest con artist of all.

500 summer days

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500 summer days tells us at the beginning that it was not a love story. Still, it’s really hard not to read he like one at the start. Using a non-linear timeline, audiences join Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he makes sense of his relationship with previous flame Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Using pretty reverie montages and unusual Ikea dates, the film reminds us that we often only remember the Well parts of the dating. It is only after the fact, like Tom, that we realize the full truth behind our relationship.

The film shows how difficult it is to understand our romantic intentions and those of others. On top of that, it’s also an example of how our desires can distort our perspective on a relationship. Much like the film’s contrasting expectations of the reality sequence, the real truth about love is sometimes hard to swallow.

Sometimes the best love stories are the ones you least expect. This isn’t an exhaustive list of our favorites, but they stand out the most as films that touched us in unexpected ways. The next time you’re feeling a little unsure about love, watching one of these movies can help with all of your blues love issues. At a minimum, it will remind you that there is someone – or a fish – out there waiting to love you.

Images: Fox Searchlight, A24, MGM, Annapurna Pictures, Focus Features, Paramount


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