Romance movie

The best romantic film of each of the last 10 years (according to Letterboxd)

There’s nothing quite like a beautifully made romance movie. Whether it’s a tearful like Before midnight or a light film like The night is short, step on the girlthe best on-screen love stories mark viewers and the cinema as a whole.

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Users of Letterboxd – a social media platform for movie buffs – have made it easy for fans of the genre to add must-see romance movies to their to-watch lists. The top-rated romance films from each of the past ten years represent the best the genre has to offer and highlight how it has evolved and improved over the past decade.

Before Midnight (2013) – 4.1

Celine and Jesse walk through a Greek village in Before Midnight

Available to stream on Hulu.

Often considered one of the best romance movie franchises, the Before trilogy concludes the captivating love story between Celine and Jesse in Before midnight. Directed by Richard Linklater and set nearly two decades after their fateful meeting on a train, the film depicts the couple’s experiences as a more mature couple with children.

Unlike its prequels, the film takes on a more serious tone, with the duo often wondering if they would have fallen in love had they met later in life. He doesn’t shy away from depicting issues that don’t usually fit the idealized relationships audiences expect from romance movies. The film concludes the iconic trilogy in a heartfelt and bittersweet way, leaving fans with a realistic picture of the final years of Celine and Jesse’s relationship.

Her Appearance (2014) – 4.0

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

by director Daniel Ribeiro The way he looks offers viewers an unforgettable love story between Leonardo and Gabriel. Leonardo’s struggles with his overprotective parents and his ambitious plans to move abroad are shattered when exchange student Gabriel walks into the classroom one day.

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The coming-of-age romantic drama portrays the budding romance between the two high schoolers in a lighthearted but meaningful way. He shamelessly comments on the absurdity of discriminating against such genuine love, as it is impossible not to root for the couple and feel invested in their willpower dynamics.

Carol (2015) – 4.0

Carol Roony Mara Cate Blanchett

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

With compelling visuals, well-written lines and a moving story, director Todd Haynes Carol is a romance movie that fans won’t soon forget. Set in the 1950s, it centers on the forbidden affair between Thérèse Belivet, a department store saleswoman, and Carol Aird, an older woman going through a divorce.

Audiences who have seen the film know that something about its slow pace, deliberate silences, and meaningful gazes from its protagonists combine to create a truly unique viewing experience. It captures the vibe of the 50s but tells a contemporary and important story about two women who want nothing more than to be together.

The Handmaiden (2016) – 4.4

Servant and heiress in the forest in The Servant

Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Director Park Chan-Wook’s The servant is one of the best movies about gay women of color. The romantic psychological thriller seamlessly blends genres, telling a compelling story about pickpocket Nam Sook-hee who becomes a servant in an attempted scam of a wealthy family.

Things get complicated when she inadvertently falls in love with her boss, Lady Hideko, and her initial plans with Count Fujiwara soon fall apart. The romance film somehow blends jarring violence with its overall elegant feel, which is a sustained theme through to its powerful ending.

The Night is Short, Step on the Girl (2017) – 4.1

Girl watching the book fair

Available to stream on HBO Max.

The night is short, step on the girl is the perfect film to edit for viewers who want to feel a bit nostalgic. The premise of the animated romantic comedy is simple – it follows an unnamed man and woman as they hop from bookstore to bookstore, have a few drinks, and meet some interesting people.

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Director Masaaki Yuasa perfectly captures the feeling and beauty of youth, and in turn, being young and in love. There’s a carefree feeling about the characters that makes it easy for the audience to connect with them.

Pariyerum Perumal (2018) – 4.1

Pariyan and Jo at Pariyerum Perumal.

Mari Selvaraj wows critics and audiences in her directorial debut, with Pariyerum Perumal quickly becoming an iconic drama film lauded for its daring social commentary. It tells the story of the titular protagonist who grows closer to his classmate, Jothi Mahalakshmi – the only problem is that Jo is from an upper caste.

Pariyan is shocked by the discrimination and endless lectures he receives from his family, especially considering how terribly they reacted to an innocent friendship. The budding romance fades into the background when Pariyan finds himself confronted with horrific acts of violence and degradation, which pull him even further out of his naivety.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) – 4.4

portrait of a lady on fire, women touching foreheads

Available to stream on Hulu.

Portrait of a lady on fire is rightly one of the essentials of contemporary LGBTQ + cinema. Directed by Céline Sciamma and set in 18th century France, it revolves around the love affair that develops between Marianne, a painter, and Héloïse, an aristocrat who has lived on a distant island.

The couple’s love story has become legendary as viewers are helplessly drawn to their raw and genuine passion for each other that grows as they spend time together on the island. . It is a deeply moving film that leaves a lasting impression on fans who are touched by the fate of Marianne and Héloïse.

My First Summer (2020) – 4.0

Two girls picnicking on the ground in My First Summer

Director Katie Found transports viewers back to their youth with my first summer. The film centers on the charming relationship between its protagonists, Claudia and Grace, who meet in the garden of the premiere one fateful summer day.

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It’s a criminally underrated film that will remind fans of the best parts of being young and in love. It’s impossible not to smile during one of the many sweet scenes between the two as they pick fruit, dirty laundry, and generally have fun with their summer adventure. These lighthearted moments serve to balance the film’s darker themes and highlight how love can restore and heal during life’s darkest times.

Worst Person in the World (2021) – 4.2

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

Already considered one of the best international films of 2021, director Joachim Trier ends his Oslo trilogy with The worst person in the world. The third and final film in the series portrays protagonist Julie, as she deals with the seemingly endless issues of her love life and the even more pressing issues of her career.

It’s as much a film about a romantic relationship as it is about Julie’s attempts to find and love herself. He’s an exceptionally relatable character with realistic issues, which is why fans are probably grateful to be able to say goodbye to him and his story in a bittersweet but rewarding way.

Smooth Cha Cha Real (2022) – 4.0

A man and a woman walk into a room at Cha Cha Real Smooth

Director Cooper Raiff delivers a moving love story in his acclaimed latest work, Cha Cha real smooth. The comedy-drama film follows the story of 22-year-old Andrew who feels lost after graduating from college. He unexpectedly begins an unusual friendship with the charming Domino, an older woman with a teenage daughter.

With his sweet conversations and hard-hitting questions, it becomes hard to take their eyes off the screen once viewers realize how quickly Andrew falls in love with each new meeting. The film is a prime example of an on-screen romance done right, with all its flaws, honesty, confusion, emotionality, and brutality.

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