Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or the middle of August, it’s always nice to settle down and watch a romantic movie with your sweetheart. But sometimes romance on film starts to feel a bit stale and you want something different. One such movie lover recently asked for recommendations for “non-traditional movies about love,” their only specification for “non-traditional” was that suggestions not be classic romantic comedies. As usual, fellow film lovers were more than happy to recommend some more unusual films about romance.
Several commenters in the thread agreed that Secretary fit the bill. The film centers on a young woman who enters a dom/sub relationship with the lawyer she works for as a (who could have foreseen?) secretary. It’s a movie that has an incredibly sweet center under its several scenes of bondage and kinky play, one user even called it “a classic.”
Just because a movie is widely recognized as great, or even Oscar-winning, doesn’t mean that it’s a standard romantic movie. Juno is a comedy and includes an affecting romance between the titular Juno (Elliot Page) and her crush Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). But the fact that it’s also a movie about Juno navigating teen pregnancy and begins with the pair sleeping together (leading to said pregnancy) before they ever get together as a couple makes it decidedly “non-traditional, and as the user who recommended it said “unique.”
3. Phantom Thread
Several respondents suggested Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread as an example of a “non-traditional” movie about love, and I couldn’t agree more. The film, which tracks the development of a relationship between a renowned dressmaker and the waitress who becomes his muse, is almost as much a thriller or horror movie as it is a romance. At root it’s a story about two people who love each other and how they make their relationship work, even if it’s also an incredibly tense and often uncomfortable movie.
4. Harold and Maude
Harold and Maude is a classic romantic comedy, but it’s certainly not a “traditional” one. Eight people recommended the film, which follows a young man obsessed with death and the much, much older life-loving woman that he develops a romantic relationship with.
5. Wild at Heart
One user called out what feels like an unofficial trilogy of early 1990s films about lovers on the run by different filmmakers, each of which I’ve chosen to include here. The first film (chronologically) is David Lynch’s Wild at Heart which tracks a couple as they hit the road for California from North Carolina and are trailed by a gangster sent after them by one of their mothers. Like many Lynch films it’s delightfully strange and filled with endearing characters.
6. True Romance
The second movie in that trilogy of lovers on the run came from Tony Scott with True Romance. Once again the young couple is on the run from gangsters, but this time the couple is carrying money stolen from the mob. It’s a fast moving movie filled with an amazing cast including Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette as the young couple with the likes of Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken in supporting roles.
7. Natural Born Killers
Natural Born Killers is the last of that early 1990s run of films about lovers on the run and also centers on the most guilty, but still complicatedly lovable, couple: spree murderers Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) Knox. The pair take to the road after killing Mallory’s parents and are pursued by police, but keep killing at every stop they make.
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Several commenters suggested Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another modern classic that’s certainly not a traditional romantic movie. The film follows Joel (Jim Carrey) as he attempts to have an ex-girlfriend erased from his mind after she erases him from hers, but as the procedure takes place decides that he would rather hold onto the memories of her, even if they hurt.
9. The Handmaiden
I love to see Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden receive a mention in any context, but it feels especially nice to see it mentioned in a movie about romance. The film centers on a pickpocket who is enlisted by a con man to complete a long con on an heiress but ends up falling for the wealthy woman. It’s a gorgeous movie that’s wonderfully romantic, it just also happens to be an absolutely riveting thriller as well.
One of my favorite animated films of all time, I was delighted to see Wall-E get a couple mentions as an unconventionally romantic movie. The film tells the story of the titular Wall-E robot who was left behind on a desolate Earth but falls in love with a probe robot sent to Earth by the surviving humans who now live in space. It’s a sweet film that’s also incredibly intelligent on issues of climate change and consumerism, not only for a kid’s movie, but for any movie.
This thread inspired this post.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.