Romantic movies have a way of either making us feel uplifted and happy or they make us feel like shit. Either way, we watch them whenever the going gets tough. Don’t pretend you don’t, boys. Watching a romantic film doesn’t make you “weak.” But sometimes, these films have the same storyline. Boy meets girl, they hate each other, and then magically, they end up together.
So, for the next time you’ve had a rough day, or just need some downtime and a film to watch, here’s our list of seven films which are away from the regular, and will keep you hooked with the unexpected twists and turns in the plotline.
Starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman
The two protagonists of this film are best friends who used to date. But when Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) decides to use a sperm donor to have a baby, her friend Wally (Jason Bateman) takes it really hard and makes a mess of the donor sperm, only to keep it a secret for years after that. Kassie finds out the truth after a number of twists and turns, but there’s another problem besides the obvious lie: She’s dating who she thought was the sperm donor and plans to have a family with him. Of course, this new nugget of information changes things just a little bit.
What happens in Vegas
Starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher
The reason I love this movie is for the realism it begins with. A girl gets dumped by her fiancée and instead of trying to win him back, she goes with her friend for a drunken weekend in Las Vegas to get over the asshole. But that’s where the realism ends and a massive drunken fantasy begins. After a crazy night on the town, Joy (Cameron Diaz) marries Jack (Ashton Kutcher). When they wake up in the morning, and realise what they’ve done, they obviously want an annulment. But intentions change when Jack wins the lottery and Joy claims half the money because she’s his legal wife. One can imagine the turmoil that unfolds after that, but the actual story goes beyond your wildest imagination.
Starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell
Just like Heaven
Starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo
Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon) is left in a coma after a tragic car accident but she’s finding it hard to come to terms with her new reality. When a new tenant, David (Mark Ruffalo) moves into her apartment, Elizabeth’s spirit (yeah!) tries her best to throw him out. But since she’s a spirit, she can’t do much except scare the living daylights out of him. She also doesn’t recall what’s happened to her so David tries to put the pieces together by visiting Elizabeth’s sister, who thinks he’s deranged, and the hospital, where Elizabeth is being kept on life support. After some major drama, and a lot of convincing, David finally realises that he needs to revive Elizabeth somehow. Towards the end, this film almost becomes a thriller. You will be at the edge of your seat, desperate to find out what happens.
Where the Heart is
Starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd
This film starts with a romance gone down the drain. A heavily pregnant Novalee Nation (Natalie Portman) is abandoned on the road by her boyfriend who had promised to marry her. Seven months pregnant, with no money and in a strange town, Novalee decides to make the best of what she has. She lives in a Wal-Mart without being noticed and one night, she goes into labour. The librarian of the town, Forney, comes to her rescue, delivers her baby, and takes her to the hospital. When Novalee comes to her senses, she realises she’s become the talk of the whole nation. But that doesn’t stop the shitload of problems piling up on her young head. Through it all, though, Forney stays by her side.
And So It Goes
Starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas
Oren (Michael Douglas) is a terrible neighbour and an even worse landlord. He doesn’t care about anyone else in the world. His selfish attitude, however, needs to take a backseat when his son has to go to prison and Oren has to take care of the granddaughter he never knew about. Leah (Diane Keaton) takes over as a surrogate grandmother when she sees him failing miserably at managing the little girl on the very first day. The two loners, Oren and Leah, discover new sides of themselves through the babysitting forced upon them for months.
Margarita with a Straw
Starring Kalki Koechlin, Sayani Gupta and Revathi
Not many people will see this for the romance film that it is. Margarita with a Straw is a unique story of self-love discovered through a life that is tough but full of adventure. An aspiring singer with cerebral palsy, Laila (Kalki Koechlin) moves to New York on a scholarship. Her mother, played by Revathi, moves with her to help her settle down in a foreign country. Once her mother leaves, Laila discovers her sexuality through varied experiences with her best friend, Khanum, and Jared, a fellow student. Laila struggles with her identity, sexuality, and how to break it to her parents. But at the end of it all, Laila discovers something more important than anything else – love for herself.
Starring Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
The Big Wedding
Starring Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Robert DeNiro
A couple, divorced for years, get together again for their adopted son, Alejandro’s wedding. But amid all the family drama of surprise pregnancies and a doctor dying to lose his virginity, Don (Robert DeNiro) and Ellie (Diane Keaton) have to pretend to be still married so that they don’t offend the religious sensibilities of their son’s birth mother, a devout Catholic from Colombia. The former couple manage to look and sound married when Alejandro’s birth mother arrives but they’re also forced to spend the night together which leads to former flames being reignited. Don and Ellie land up having sex but realise much later the turmoil that this will cause in their present relationships. Watch it for the non-stop laughs and unexpected happy ending.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin and Rachel Weisz
This sweet little story of a father narrating the story of his life to his 10-year-old daughter will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. When Maya (Abigail Breslin) asks her father, in the middle of a divorce, the story of how he met her mother, Will (Ryan Reynolds) takes her on a journey through time to tell her the story of his several romances including with her mother. The story goes back and forth in time but will keep you gripped with all the twists and turns in Will’s life. Yes, it has a sort of conventional happy ending but having it any other way would’ve left viewers unsatisfied.
Starring Rachel McAdams, Domnhall Gleeson and Margot Robbie
Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) has his world shaken upside down when his father tells him that he has inherited a special gift – the ability to travel back in time. Like all the adult men in his family, Tim too can travel back in time and attempt to live precious moments again or change the things he can. But when he does try to change some things, like a failed romance, or to better his sister’s life, Tim realises that changing the past means changing the present. He almost never meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and then again almost loses her to another man when he goes back in time to help his father’s friend.
This wonderful story ends well but only after heart-breaking tragedy.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart and Anna Faris
This story of a high school nerd-turned-hot, successful official of a music company is all about tackling the demons, and loves, of the past. When Chris (Ryan Reynolds) goes back to his hometown, where he was humiliated as a teenager, he tries to rekindle a romance with his first crush, Jamie (Amy Smart). But things have changed for her as well. She’s no longer the hottest girl in town and is working at a bar to put herself through college. But, despite dating supermodels and actresses, Chris realises he still loves Jamie. A number of things, including his current fling and a guy pretending to be nice but who is only trying to humiliate Jamie, keep coming in the way. But in the end, love triumphs in this feel-good film which will make you think about your high school crushes.
Starring Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack
In the beginning, this story may frustrate you a bit. Why leave things to fate when you’re already together? For that epic ending, I say. Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at Bloomingdale’s and end up spending a lot of time together over the next two days. However, they decide to leave things to fate instead of taking it further right then. Jonathan writes his name and number on a $5 bill and Sara leaves her name and number in a book going on sale the next day. According to them, if they’re really meant to end up together, they will find these items and call each other.
Several years after this meeting, Jonathan is getting married and Sara’s boyfriend just proposed to her. Expectedly, both get cold feet and remember the time they spent together. After a series of events and misunderstandings, Sara finally finds Jonathan in Central Park, quietly resting his head on her jacket.
If you ever needed to believe in fate, this film will do the job for you.
Starring Julia Louis Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Catherine Keener
A divorced and single mother, Eva spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college. She meets Albert – a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance quickly blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne, her new massage client. Marianne is a beautiful poet who seems “almost perfect” except for one prominent quality: she rags on her ex-husband way too much. Suddenly, Eva finds herself doubting her own relationship with Albert. This movie is a sharp, insightful comedy that humorously explores the mess that often comes with getting involved again.
Starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin
From a star cast like this, one can only expect the best. And they deliver in this endearing romantic comedy full of laughs. Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) are a former couple who divorced 10 years ago and have three children together. When they meet for their son’s graduation, they land up spending the night together and having sex. However, both of them now have separate relationships which land in jeopardy with their affair. Jake is married to Agness, the woman he cheated with when he was married to Jane, and Jane is in the middle of a new romance with Adam (Steve Martin), her architect. During one of their secret liaisons, Jake collapses because he’s on medication to increase his sperm count, and they’re spotted by their daughter’s fiancé who keeps quiet about it.
When Adam finds out about the affair, he ends his relationship with Jane to avoid heartbreak and Jake gets divorced again. Their children are not happy about their affair either so Jake and Jane decide to end it.
It sounds morose and sad but, at the end of it all, the spark between Jane and Adam shows signs of being rekindled again. Watch it for the possibility of happiness even when everything seems down.