SCO Movie Madness: Best romance movies of all time

Feb. 20, 2023, 1:23 p.m. | By Samuale Asefa | 1 year, 1 month ago

The best the genre has to offer

SCO's Movie Madness Photo courtesy of Sarah Zhang.

February is the month of love, and what better way to celebrate love than with some of the best romance movies Hollywood has to offer. This list steps away from the traditional rom-coms and love stories we all hold dear to our hearts, and instead highlights some of the lesser known, more unique melodramas.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind movie poster Photo courtesy of Anonymous Content.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

5/5 Stars

If you’re looking for a unique experience with your romantic movies, look no further than “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It is truly a masterpiece of contemporary cinema, skillfully blending science fiction and romantic drama into a thought-provoking and tragic love story. 

The film explores the complexities of human memory and how it pertains to our relationships with our special someone. At the heart of the film is the story of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet), who find themselves in a tumultuous on-and-off relationship. When their relationship reaches a breaking point, Clementine decides to undergo a radical medical procedure to erase all memories of Joel from her mind. 

Joel decides to do the same, but realizes he still loves her and desperately tries to undo the procedure, which is when he embarks a mind-bending journey throughout his consciousness and fights the erasure of his memories with her. The movie blurs the line between reality and dream, which adds to the trancelike state of the movie. The audience is taken on a poignant and emotional rollercoaster that ultimately celebrates the power of love and the beauty of the human experience. 

Jim Carrey delivers a career-defining performance that breaks the “comedic bubble” he was once trapped in. His performance combined with Charlie Kaufman’s unconventional storytelling and Micheal Gondry’s directorial vision creates a compelling world that will make you laugh, contemplate your own love life and bawl your eyes out. This is truly a film that will challenge one’s perception of love and stays with the audience long after the credits roll.

500 Days of Summer (2008)

5/5 Stars

“500 Days of Summer” is sort of out of place in this list, because in the first five minutes of the movie it claims to be an “anti-love story.” The film breaks away from the typical (and boring) romantic-comedy formula and completely dismantles it to create an amazingly entertaining non-linear story and refreshing take on love. 

The film follows the relationship of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zoey Deschanel) and how it all went sour. Instead of starting the movie with a routine “fell in love upon first sight” moment, director Marc Webb decides to kick it off with Tom moping about the end of their relationship. From then on, the movie jumps back and forth to different times in their relationship, giving the viewer a deeper look into why they didn’t work out. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel have insanely palpable on-screen chemistry, which adds to the anti-fairytale feel of the movie. Their characters are flawed and relatable, and the movie doesn’t shy away from showing the awkward and messy parts of their relationship, which so many Hollywood rom-coms are guilty of avoiding. It’s a refreshing departure from the usual formula, and allows the viewer to develop their own opinion of the two: is Tom in the wrong or is Summer in the wrong?

Accompanied by a stellar soundtrack with bands like The Doors and The Smiths, “500 Days of Summer” is a movie that challenges love story tropes. It challenges the notion that love is all that is needed for a relationship to work, and might even make the viewer themselves question what they thought they knew about relationships.

Submarine movie poster Photo courtesy of Warp Films.

Submarine (2010)

5/5 stars

“Submarine” is a film that delivers a fresh, witty and heartfelt coming-of-age love story. Directed by Richard Ayoade and based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the movie tells the story of Oliver Tate, an awkward teenager who is trying to save his parents’ marriage while also navigating his first love. 

One of the things that makes Submarine such a delight to watch is its unique and quirky humor. The entire film has an off-beat feel to it and delivers tons of clever one-liners that keep the audience entertained and engaged. Ayoade’s direction is pitch-perfect, balancing this odd humor with moments of pathos and introspection. 

Oliver and Jordana’s relationship matches the peculiar quality of the film; their performances are charming and authentic. The film doesn’t rely on cliches or contrivances to make their romance feel genuine, instead opting for a subtle, understated approach that allows the audience to connect with the characters in a less forced and deeper way. Submarine is a wholesome watch that can make viewers from all backgrounds laugh at least once. 

The Shape of Water Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The Shape of Water (2017)

5/5 Stars

The Shape of Water is a beautiful film that masterfully blends fantasy and romance all into one enchanting work of art. Directed by Guillermo del Toro and released in 2017, the movie won four well-deserved Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture award.

At the center of the film is the extraordinary relationship between Eliza (Sally Hawkins), a mute cleaning lady, and the Creature (Doug Jones), a humanoid amphibian being held captive at the research facility where she works. The bond that develops between the two is nothing short of remarkable, as they form a connection that transcends their differences. Rather than focusing on their differences, the director highlights the similarities between the two:both are outsiders, both are misunderstood and both are searching for a connection in a world that has rejected them.

Hawkins delivers an outstanding performance as Eliza, effortlessly conveying a range of emotions without uttering a single word. Her ability to express herself through sign language and body language is a testament to her acting skills. Jones, on the other hand, brings a certain vulnerability to the Creature that makes it impossible not to root for him.

"The Shape of Water" is a film that manages to be both unique and universal at the same time. It is a love story that transcends traditional boundaries and challenges viewers to see beyond the surface. Del Toro's vision, coupled with the incredible performances of Hawkins and Jones, make this a film that is not to be missed.

Last updated: Oct. 28, 2023, 3:16 p.m.

Samuale Asefa. Hello! My name is Sam and I'm a writer for SCO. I am a self-proclaimed movie buff and love listening to all types of music. More »

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