The 30 Best Romantic Movies of The 21st Century

21. Atonement (Joe Wright, 2011)


Its denouement is very heart-rending and leaves you on the verge of tears. Joe Wright’s style is so captivating and fascinating that he has shown the film from the perspective of its three main characters, all differently.

A young girl writer has a love obsession with her servant’s son. She misunderstands him as being a “sexual maniac” after she sees some “accidental events” that seem to be sexually derogatory. Those events are mainly concerned with her sister and him. Now she accuses him of raping a girl without knowing the actual facts.

Actually, she gets extremely furious after knowing the fact that her crush and her sister are in love. Actually, she gets revenge through this accusation. So he has to go to prison and then to war.

This girl feels very deep guilt afterwards. Just watch to know what happens to their love, and what further roles will this girl play in their love.


22. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)

Brokeback Mountain

This is a famous “gay-cowboy” movie. Watching a Western film having gay men as protagonists is surely a different experience since we are accustomed, with all these gunfighter cowboy films. Ang Lee has shown this touching love story of two gay men very powerfully.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger are lovers here who fall in love with each other after they are hired to herd sheep in the mountains. After a fight, they separate and then return to their homes. Both of them marry different girls and have children, but deep down they still love each other. They can’t forget each other. So they infrequently visit each other.

The main problem of their relationship is the society, with people who may even kill them for being homosexual. Complexity occurs when a wife of one of them learns the truth about their relationship.


23. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)


Its story is almost exactly like an Icelandic film, “Vocano”, but you can see the Hanekeian style here which is as disturbing as his other films. Haneke was influenced by the real incidents that had happened in his relative’s home.

It shows the love of an elderly couple who are in their 80s, and are retired music teachers. A test of love suddenly comes when the wife becomes sick and gradually paralyzed. After this, her husband has to watch her. He is wealthy, and can afford a nurse and servants, but he doesn’t want them. He wants to look after her himself.

But things aren’t that simple. How can this old man continuously care for his paralyzed wife? There are some disturbing, unimaginable and surprising twists that will appall you.


24. Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)


It is influenced from films like Douglas Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows”, “Imitation of Life”, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul”. But the style is very similar to Sirk’s. It deals with a deteriorating marriage, homosexuality, racism and classism. And behind all these subjects, there is a issue of a relationship. Haynes has mixed up the contents of those three films here.

A woman knows about her husband’s homosexuality; she can’t get romantic and sexual feelings from him. So, searching for another man, she ends up falling in love with a black man, her own gardener’s son, who isn’t dedicated towards her either because of racial discrimination. But her friendship with this man creates harsh gossip in society. On the other hand, her husband has his own same-sex partner.


25. Gloria (Sebastian Lelio, 2013)


The best thing about this film is the amazing performance of its actress Paulina Garcia as Gloria. She plays a 58-year old woman whose children have left her and she is lonely. To recover from her loneliness and other dark secrets, she longs for a relationship.

She ends up meeting a man who is seven years her senior and has his own family. They begin to see each other, have an affair and sex as well. In other words, they become lovers. Gloria begins to think about making that love and relationship permanent but her lover is vulnerable since he has his own family. Things don’t happen as she thinks they will.

Even Gloria is an old woman here; she is so beautiful, romantic, wild, confident and sexy. Her performance is like that of an adult wild woman, which makes us forget about many other adult heroines of romantic films.


26. Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008)

Love Exposure

This melodrama is so romantic and feel-good that you don’t even realize that it’s a 4-hour movie. This is Sono’s finest film so far, which tells a funny love story of adolescents.

A boy falls in love with his female classmate, but a funny twist comes when her mother marries his father. Now, they become brother and sister, but the boy doesn’t care. He still loves her and tries to win her heart, but she hates him too much. She doesn’t even want to his face.

At one point, keeping mask on his face, boy saves that girl and then she falls in love with that masked person. She hasn’t seen his/her face but start to love him/her anyway. But the real story begins when a diabolic-like girl intrudes into their life and says that that masked person is her.


27. Bad Guy (Kim Ki-duk, 2001)

Bad Guy (2001)

You can find so many definitions of “bad boy” in the websites but if you want to see the Kim Ki-duk’s version of bad boy, then watch this too much disturbing film. Kim himself is a director who makes immensely disturbing films. “Moebius” is his most disturbing film so far.

“Bad Guy” tells the weird and “dangerous” love story of a seemingly mute boy (who may or mayn’t be mute) who falls in love with a girl. At the beginning of the film, he suddenly kisses her in front of her boyfriend and public. Then he gets caught and beaten by police.

He and his friends then trap that girl into prostitution, especially because they don’t know the good and honest way to win her heart. Slowly, that boy becomes protective of her, and the girl even starts to like him.


28. Baran (Majid Majidi, 2001)


Majid Majidi filmed a very realistic and touching one-sided love story of an Iranian boy who secretly falls in love with an Afghan refugee girl. He is generally famous for portraying realistic statuses of poor children of Iranian villages, but in “Baran” he has successfully depicted the love story that many directors can’t and wouldn’t put on film.

Writing even a brief detail can spoil its certain mystery. So keeping it unwritten, just take this suggestion to not miss this film.


29. Turn Left, Turn Right (Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai, 2003)

Turn Left, Turn Right

This romantic comedy is based on the theme of destiny, which means if two people are predestined to love each other, at one point they will meet and fall for each other. Directors have often used this theme, not only with the main characters, but also with its sub-characters.

At school, a boy and a girl love each other but can never speak to each other. After school finishes, they are separated and wait for each other, believing in destiny. After they grow up, they can’t recognize each other because they only know their teenage faces. They actually live in two different houses that are attached to each other, and they almost always see each other but can’t realize it.

A time comes when they meet and recognize each other but again have to be separated. The entire film is about them waiting for their destined lover.

This film is one of the best romantic comedy films ever made. Watching it doesn’t only make you laugh a lot, but also gives you romantic feelings.


30. Ain’t Them Bodies Saint (David Lowery, 2013)


David Lowery was influenced to make this film by “Bonnie and Clyde”, but you can see the style of Terrence Malick’s films, like “Days of Heaven” and “Badlands”. You can even say that this film has style over substance, but you can’t deny its beauty and greatness. Lowery used the subjects like love and crime successfully here.

The protagonists of this film get caught when they are involved in their criminal activities. During gunshots, a woman kills a policeman, but her husband takes the blame and goes to prison, mainly because she is pregnant and he wants their child to be raised in freedom.

When the child turns four, the husband escapes and then goes to reconnect with his family. However, police are searching for him, which becomes the main problem.

This film has a theme of love over crime in this visually stylistic and beautiful film.