Romantic Movies that Deserve More Love

Only You (1994)

In the past few years, romantic movies have begun a resurgence, and lovers of the genre could not be happier.

From Ticket to Paradise to The Lost City and Marry Me, the romantic comedy is back. Hopefully, this trend will continue, and soon, we'll be back to a day when these films are prevalent.

In the meantime, fans of love stories can find joy in revisiting and discovering some genuinely terrific films for the first time. Many comedic and dramatic romances fall into this category. Let's take a look at 30 romantic movies that deserve more love.

The Age of Adaline (2015)

The Age of Adaline Blake Lively
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

A film of rare beauty, The Age of Adaline is a romantic fantasy that stars Blake Lively, Michael Huisman, and Harrison Ford. The story follows Adaline Bowman, a young woman who remains the same age for decades after a car accident and miraculous lighting strike.

Always on the run, she never allows herself to grow close to anyone. She only has her daughter, now many years her senior, to confide in. But on New Year's Eve, she meets a man who awakens her heart and reminds her how lonely her life has been.

This film has a calming tone, a serene atmosphere, and gentle and nuanced performances. It's an unabashedly romantic fantasy that you draw in and completely enchants and touches your heart. The Age of Adaline shows us the beauty of aging with grace and that love is a gift that should never be taken for granted.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Netflix, and rent VOD)

Austenland (2013)

Keri Russell, JJ Feild, and Bret McKenzie in Austenland (2013)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Classics / Giles Keyte.

If there were ever a film about every avid reader's dream, Austenland would be the greatest example. What bibliophile doesn't imagine themselves in their favorite book? For Jane, her love, or some would say obsession, with Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice becomes the catalyst for a dream vacation.

Jane spends all her savings on a Jane Austen experience, where you stay in an English manor and are given the complete period romance treatment, from traditional gowns to teas and glittery balls and handsome gentlemen who pretend to court you.

But this world of make-believe soon becomes complicated when what is genuine and what is artifice becomes difficult to decipher, especially with two potential suitors. Lead Keri Russell is lovely as Jane, and the tender scenes she shares with co-star J.J. Field are as swoon-worthy as any other Austen adaptation. The film also has the unmistakable added benefit of Jennifer Coolidge, who steals every scene with her unique comedic timing and presence.

Austenland is light, fun, and the ideal movie for any fan who has ever dreamt of stepping into the world of Jane Austen.

(Available on DVD and rent VOD)

Ball of Fire (1941)

Ball of Fire (1941)
Image Credit: RKO Radio Pictures.

Barbara Stanwyck shines, and Gary Cooper charms in this classic comedy written by Billy Wilder and directed by Howard Hawks.

In the story, a nightclub singer whose testimony can bring down her mob boss boyfriend hides in a mansion with a group of professors researching the origins of slang. As she delights the group of adorable eccentric old professors with music and dance, she also captivates the young professor Potts. And the unlikely pair discover what “yum yum” really means.

Classic comedies are in a class all their own with their distinct style of acting and writing, and Ball of Fire is one of the greatest. It's a part comedy, part romance, and part gangster film with terrific performances and plenty of genuine laughs.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Pluto TV, Plex, Kanopy, and The Criterion Channel, and to rent VOD)

Becoming Jane (2007)

Becoming Jane (2007) Anne Hathaway
Image Credit: Buena Vista International.

Jane Austen's novels may have been written in the 1800s, but their popularity and relatable nature have endured. Stories like Pride & Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are so well-loved that it's only natural to want to explore the woman who wrote these classics. Becoming Jane takes on this challenge, and while its accuracy teeters the line between fact and fiction liberally, that doesn't make the film any less lovely.

Becoming Jane tells the ill-fated romance between Austen (Anne Hathaway) and the roguish and passionate Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy). Jane comes from a large family of modest means, while Tom is a barrister who is often irresponsible and expected to marry a woman of wealth. Despite their differences and Darcy and Elizabeth's type of arguing, the two become entirely besotted by each other.

But sometimes, love is not meant to be.

Despite the sadness of the tale, Becoming Jane is undeniably romantic, with stunning cinematography and a luscious musical score. The chemistry between Hathaway and McAvoy is palpable and conveys the joys and passions of love and the harsh realities of insurmountable circumstances.

This film shows us how and why Austen created such timeless stories of love, class, greed, and compassion in a truly captivating way.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Paramount+, and rent VOD)

Blast From the Past (1999)

blast from the past
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

Films like Blast From the Past are few and far between. The movie has the benefit of both modern and retro aesthetics and sensibilities. It also features a truly unique story and has an exceptional cast that includes Brendan Fraser, Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, and Sissy Spacek.

The premise is, without a doubt, original. In 1962, the scientist Calvin Weber and his pregnant wife Helen ventured into a fallout shelter he built, fearing nuclear war. When a freak plane accident triggers the locks, they believe that war has begun and spend the next 35 years below ground raising their boy, Adam. But when Calvin suffers a heart attack, Adam must venture out into the world for the first time.

Fish-out-of-water scenarios are prime for comedy, and Blast From the Past is one of the funniest examples. When Adam meets Eve, the romance that develops is sweet and funny, with naivety clashing with cynicism.

In one of Fraser's funniest performances, Adam's innocence and enthusiasm are infectious and give the film its emotional core. That performance makes the film, but overall, every element helped shape Blast From the Past into the colorful, hopeful, and hilarious film it is.

(Available on DVD, to stream on HBO Max, and rent VOD)

French Kiss (1995)

 

Chances are when someone thinks of a Meg Ryan romantic comedy, they will think of Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and You’ve Got Mail. Less mentioned but equally worthy of praise is French Kiss, which co-stars Kevin Kline and Timothy Hutton.

In the film, Ryan is happily engaged to Hutton but refuses to travel to France with him while he attends a conference because of a fear of flying. But when he calls her up and says he's not coming home and has fallen in love with a woman he met there, she faces her fears and hops on the next flight to Paris. Enter Luc, her seatmate, a thief, and a man who complicates her travels to no end.

This is one of the funniest of Ryan's romances and features a unique scenario. Her rapport with Kline is fantastic, who deserves heaps of praise for his comedic performance. With the familiar trope of beautiful locales, this time France, French Kiss is a sumptuous, sometimes silly, fun-filled romp.

(Available on DVD)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2019)

 

This moving period drama is the kind of film that enters your soul forever. For those who love historical dramas and romances, do not let the long and unusual title deter you from watching.

This film is set in post-WWII England and stars Lily James, Michael Huisman, Glen Powell, Matthew Goode, and Penelope Wilton. James plays Juliet, a writer who begins a correspondence with the Guernsey society and soon decides to write a book about their experiences during the war. But meeting them changes all their lives forever as they find lifelong friendships and love, bonding over shared experiences, desires, and a deep admiration for the written word.

This film is tenderly and beautifully directed and performed. Additionally, the stunning visuals will leave you awestruck. It brings up themes of compassion, understanding, and acceptance in truly touching ways. Moreover, the film showcases how books have a unique magical ability to bring people together. They can bring people solace and comfort in the darkest of times and inspire the best in us. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a wondrous film about loss, friendship, found families, and immeasurable love.

(Available to stream on Netflix)

It Could Happen to You (1994)

it could happen to you
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

This sweet little film is often forgotten or overlooked in the filmography for Nicolas Cage. But It Could Happen to You, which also stars Bridget Fonda and Rosie Perez, is a thoughtful and poignant movie that deserves more recognition.

In the movie, Cage is a police officer named Charlie who doesn’t have enough to tip the waitress Yvonne at a local diner. Instead, he promises to split his winnings in the lottery if he wins. Yvonne thinks she'll never see him again. But when Charlie wins, he surprisingly keeps his promise and splits the money with her — 2 million dollars.

While Charlie's brash wife is furious, he is too loyal to back out on a promise, while Yvonne is overcome with gratitude. And the way these three spend their money showcases profound truths about them all.

Yvonne says what Charlie does is like a fairy tale, and It Could Happen to You indeed feels like a modern one. And that is because profound lessons in inherent goodness, humility, generosity, and love, are clashed against greed, selfishness, and corruption. It’s a simple love story that is an unmistakable winner.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

I.Q. (1994)

 

Meg Ryan is the queen of 90s rom-coms, but I.Q. is the one movie that's rarely mentioned and remembered. Truthfully, this film deserves so much more love for its utter sweetness and humor, which is subtly hilarious.

The movie tells the fictionalized story of Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau), his niece Catharine (Ryan), who is brilliant but lacks confidence, and the sweet auto-mechanic named Ed (Tim Robbins), who falls in love with her at first sight. With the help of his fellow eccentric scientists, they hatch a match-making plan that involves pretending Ed is a newfound genius.

The comedy, romance, and performances work so well in I.Q. because it is earnest and sweet-natured but never cloying or unbelievable. The well-meaning scientists are incredibly funny with their intelligent wit, profound proclamations, and physical humor, balancing the romance of the film with goofiness. Overall, I.Q. is a charming film with great 1950s period fare. And it deserves the same praise as every other Meg Ryan classic rom-com.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Pluto TV, and rent VOD)

Just Like Heaven (2005)

just like heaven 1
Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo are no strangers to romantic comedies starring in such favorites as Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, and 13 Going on 30. But the film in which they star together, Just Like Heaven, is vastly underrated.

The story follows a doctor named Elizabeth (Witherspoon) and a landscape architect named David (Ruffalo), who both inhabit the same apartment. The problem is Elizabeth insists it's her apartment and demands he leaves. But there's something gravely wrong. Only David can see her, and she seems like a ghost. So, the two embark on a journey to discover what happened to her.

Plenty of comedy and romance abound in this sweet and moving story about fate, faith, overcoming grief, and seizing the day. As Elizabeth and David discover life's preciousness, they find a kindred spirit in each other. With fantastic chemistry between the two leads and a blend of hilarious, outlandish, sweet, and poignant moments, Just Like Heaven is a dreamy delight.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Laws of Attraction (2004)

Laws of Attraction David Bergstein, Julie Durk
Image Credit: Entertainment Film Distributors.

Laws of Attraction is a charming romantic comedy starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore that harkens back to films of the 1940s and 1950s. Similar to the movie Adam’s Rib, which starred Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Brosnan and Moore play two rival lawyers, both hired on opposing sides in a high-profile divorce case.

Their bickering soon sparks romance, especially when they travel to Ireland to asses which party is the rightful owner of a beautiful castle. These locales are stunning, which adds to the charm of the funny and surprisingly poignant story.

Moore and Brosnan have a natural chemistry between them. Supporting players Parker Posey and Michael Sheen are also scene-stealing with their hilarious portrayals of an eccentric fashion designer and wild rock star going through a divorce.

Laws of Attraction explores the ways a heart is so quickly and irrevocably touched and that the root of a lasting relationship is more than attraction, but instead mutual sweetness and respect.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Leap Year (2010)

Leap Year
Image Credit: Universal Pictures and Optimum Releasing.

One of the most underrated films from star Amy Adams, Leap Year, which co-stars Matthew Goode and Adam Scott, is a delightful and sweet romantic comedy. Adams plays Anna Scott, a woman who decides to travel to Ireland to surprise her boyfriend Jeremy (in Dublin for a medical conference) by proposing to him on Leap Day. But bad weather causes her plans to go completely awry, and she must find a way to get to Dublin. Enter Declan, the handsome but cynical bar owner who agrees to drive her.

Taking great inspiration from the classic Frank Capra film It Happened One Night, Leap Year features similar antics with the clashing of Anna and Declan. As they make their way across the Irish countryside, their arguing turns to banter and romance as just about everything goes wrong on their journey.

The chemistry between Adams and Goode is both sharp and sweet, the Irish locales are gorgeous, the pratfalls are hilarious, and the people they meet along the way are utterly charming. Leap Year is perfect for the hopeless romantics who enjoy a bit of sarcasm and have a wanderlust for Ireland.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Netflix, and rent VOD)

Magic in the Moonlight (2014)

 

A wistful and lyrical type of film, Magic in the Moonlight has a special kind of luminous quality. Set in the 1920s, the story follows a famed magician (Colin Firth) who is determined to prove that a woman who claims to be a medium (Emma Stone) is nothing more than a charlatan.

The period fare in this film is superb, from the lovely cinematography and costumes to the jazzy music and witty repartee. Though the age difference between Firth and Stone is significant, the actors make their connection work. This film is like a glass of pink champagne: sweet but tart, glittering, and intoxicating.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

The More the Merrier (1943)

 

A classic romantic comedy in every way, The More the Merrier is delightful, subtly sexy, and one of the most overlooked films of the genre. The story is also a funny and sweet-natured look at what life was like for civilians in the United States during the 1940s and World War II.

The film depicts the housing shortage that took place during the war. Connie (Jean Arthur) decides to help by renting out a room in her apartment. She anticipates a woman of the same age but settles on a sweet older gentleman named Mr. Dingle (Charles Coburn), who then turns around and sublets half of his room to a handsome young man named Joe (Joel McCrea). And soon, Dingle plays matchmaker with Joe and Connie.

Sharply written and performed, Arthur, McCrea, and Coburn are in a class of their own in terms of comedic timing and chemistry. Coburn is hilarious and heartwarming in his attempts to bring the two together. And Arthur and McCrea prove that chemistry can be sexy and passionate in subtle, understated ways. This classic is an absolute treat.

(Available on DVD, to stream on The Criterion Channel, and rent VOD)

One Fine Day (1996)

one fine day
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Despite starring two of the most prominent movie stars, George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, One Fine Day is not as remembered as it deserves. In the film, Clooney and Pfeiffer play Jack and Melanie, divorced, harried single parents whose children attend the same school.

Jack is a slick and charming reporter working on a crucial investigative story, not used to taking care of his prone-to-wandering daughter, Maggie, all the time. Melanie is a Type-A, in-control working mother with a precocious son named Sammy. When their kids miss their field trip for the day, both have to find a way to work and take care of their kids, with complications arising at every turn.

Taking place in a single day, one may dismiss a film's ability to convey two people meeting and starting to fall in love in such a short time. Moreover, one might not believe the vast number of settings and scenarios in such a movie. But One Fine Day more than succeeds in both, thanks to the magnetic chemistry and stellar performances from Clooney and Pfeiffer.

They demonstrate a realistic look at the hectic life of a single patent, with a sweet rapport with both kids. And together, their chemistry sizzles while feeling grounded in reality. One Fine Day is an absolute pleasure.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, and to rent VOD)

Only You (1994)

Robert Downey Jr. Performances Only You Synchronicity Films
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures, Inc.

Before Robert Downey Jr. was Iron Man, and Marisa Tomei was Spider-Man’s Aunt May, the two starred in this unabashedly romantic movie about believing in destiny. Tomei plays the aptly named Faith, a woman who is engaged to a nice man but, in the back of her mind, cannot forget one thing- the name Damon Bradley.

As a child, both a Ouija board and a fortune teller at a carnival tell Faith that Damon Bradley is the name of her soul mate.

Years later, when she unexpectedly gets a phone call from Damon (who's calling her fiancé), she and her best friend Kate travel to Italy to find him. And, of course, when she meets “Mr. Right” himself, their lives are thrown for a loop.

Only You is an enchanting tale for the hopeless romantic who enjoys beautiful locales. Filmed in Italy and featuring that Italian romantic flair, this film is as charming as they come, with Downey Jr. and Tomei possessing unparalleled chemistry.

If you believe in fate, destiny, and true love, but also the power of our choices, Only You is the perfect film about love that is written in the stars.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Hulu, and rent VOD)

Playing For Keeps (2012)

Playing for Keeps (2012)
Image Credit: FilmDistrict.

While Gerard Butler has carved out a successful niche as an action star, for my taste, films like P.S. I Love You and this film, Playing for Keeps, show the depth of his talent and make me wish for more movies like this.

The story follows Butler's character George, a former professional soccer player trying to get his life together. He still holds a candle for his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and wants to reconnect with his young son. Soon he begins to coach his son’s team, but his attempt to grow up and be worthy grows complicated at every turn.

The cast of Playing for Keeps is top-notch and includes Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer, Dennis Quaid, and Uma Thurman. And the story is amusing and heartfelt. What is especially touching to see is a journey of self-discovery and the tender and poignant ways he reconnects with his family.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Return to Me (2000)

 

Return to Me combines gentle romance, hilarious family comedy, and a touch of destiny in a film that deserves an abundance of praise. The movie stars Minnie Driver, David Duchovny, Caroll O’Connor, David Alan Grier, Jim Belushi, and Bonnie Hunt, who also wrote and directed.

In the film, Grace is a sweet woman in dire need of a heart transplant. Her support system includes her loving, devoted Grandfather, a group of quirky and lovable seniors, and her best friend, her husband, and their kids. When she finally receives a new heart, her life and spirit are revitalized, including meeting a charming and lonely widower named Bob.

The two are instantly struck with each other,  but their romance becomes undeniably complicated when Grace discovers her donor was Bob's late wife.

Return to Me is a perfect example of how a film can elicit many emotions. Tears are shed from sorrow one moment and the next from hearty and genuine laughs. The film is superbly written and performed, with every scene having a natural feel, relatable humor, and real emotion. The romance is sweet, and the older actors are hilarious and steal every scene they are in.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Spectrum and Cinemax, and to rent VOD)

Runaway Bride (1999)

Runaway Bride Julia Roberts
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

While everyone remembers the first iconic pairing of Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, far less remember this delightful film. And dare I say, I love Runaway Bride even more. It's a decidedly sweeter, PG-rated charm fest, so those looking for tamer material in their romances need to look no further.

In the film, Maggie Carpenter (Roberts) becomes known as the “runaway bride,” having left three grooms at the altar. One such man captures the attention of journalist Ike Graham, who writes a scathing piece about Maggie without fact-checking his source. In turn, he is fired unless he agrees to meet and follow Maggie to find out how accurate he is in his article.

Anyone who knows romantic comedies can guess where this movie is heading. As he follows Maggie and interviews her friends, family, and exes, Ike learns what makes her tick while she finds something she'd never found in herself.

Besides the incomparable chemistry between Roberts and Gere, what makes Runaway Bride soar is the superb supporting cast (Joan Cusack, Christopher Meloni, Rita Wilson, Hector Elizondo, Laurie Metcalf). These performers give the film its unique flavor, while Gere and Roberts are the film’s heart.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Netflix, and rent VOD)

Send Me No Flowers (1964)

send me no flowers
Image Credit: Universal Studios

The comedies of the 1960s, especially those that starred Doris Day and Rock Hudson, have a unique feel. They're colorful, hilarious romps that were provocative for the time. But unlike their other films (and others on this list), Send Me No Flowers isn't about falling in love. Instead, it’s about staying in love when hilariously absurd circumstances and the universe seems against you.

The story follows the happily married couple, George and Judy. But George has one fatal flaw that annoys and amuses Judy to no end: he's a hypochondriac who always fears the worst. When he overhears and misunderstands a telephone conversation from his doctor, George believes he only has weeks to live. So, he decides he must prepare Judy for life without him, including finding her a new husband!

As silly as the plot may sound, that is part of the charm. In the hands of lesser talent, the film would falter. But in the hands of such talent as Day and Hudson, co-star Tony Randall and director Norman Jewison, Send Me No Flowers is a sheer delight.

Day and Hudson are in a class of their own, with unparalleled chemistry together and impeccable comedic timing individually. Those who enjoy 1960s comedies and the presence of the effervescent Day and commanding Hudson will love this film to death.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Something New (2006)

 

A beautiful story with timeless and timely themes, Something New explores the challenges that face an interracial couple in a way that is both realistic and hopeful.

In the film, an intelligent woman named Kenya (Sanaa Lathan) is successful in life and work but still dreams of what she calls “the perfect black man.” Little did Kenya dream that with the blind date she is set up with, white landscape architect Brian (Simon Baker), she'd find everything she wanted in a person she wasn't expecting.

Kenya and Brian bring out new sides to each other and show how love cannot be planned out on paper. It's not about a list of perfect traits but someone who awakens your heart and brings out the best in you.

Something New manages to tackle serious and poignant issues sensitively. Her friends and family (and Kenya) must also learn to come to terms with her choices that don't match expectations. And Brian learns that there are some things he will never understand about her life as a black woman. It's a heartfelt film that deserves more new and returning viewers.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

The Tender Trap (1955)

The Tender Trap 1955 Metro Goldwyn Mayer 2
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

One of the best things about a film like The Tender Trap is that it's a pristine and delightful time capsule of the 1950s in look and sensibility. The film stars Frank Sinatra (who also sings the title song) and Debbie Reynolds as two very different people navigating a romance.

Sinatra is the consummate playboy and bachelor Charlie, content in his life of rotating girlfriends and dates. He's charming but often thoughtless, and marriage is not in his vocabulary. Reynolds is the enthusiastic Julie, a woman who has grand dreams for what she wants in life, having every last detail meticulously planned. That is except for one final puzzle piece- the man she intends to marry.

When she sets her sights on Charlie, it's a battle between her determination and his commitment issues that make for a complicated relationship.

On the surface, this sounds serious. But while The Tender Trap has moments of gravitas and sobering truths about love and relationships, it remains light and breezy. The cast is top-tier, and the themes are still relatable. While some ideas are very much of its era, the movie remains a light-hearted look into that age-old lesson: love can change everything.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Philo, and rent VOD)

Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)

Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

The sequel to the very successful Three Men and a Baby, this film is just as fun and delightful as the original, with the bonus of a love story. While the original is about the paternal love three bachelors experience when a baby is left on their doorstep, Three Men and Little Lady adds another kind of love into the mix: romantic.

For five years, Peter, Michael, and Jack have lived with Sylvia and her and Jack's daughter, Mary. Their unconventional family has worked for them, and they've all been happy. But as Mary gets older and things change, they all realize their living situation may not be sustainable.

Peter and Sylvia carry a torch for each other but are too scared and stubborn to admit it. And things grow complicated when Sylvia agrees to marry a British director and says she and Mary will be moving to London.

While the original is terrific, Three Men and a Little Lady may be even better. The laughs and heart are plentiful, with a top-notch cast including Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, Steve Gutenberg, and Nancy Travis. It’s hilarious and sweet-natured, with natural, authentic, and genuine performances.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Disney+ and rent VOD)

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

 

Of all the movies involving time travel, The Time Traveler’s Wife is the richest, loveliest, and most moving. It is also one of the most unique. The story centers around Henry (Eric Bana), a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to involuntarily time travel with no warning. He's left naked and to his own devices, each time doing his best whenever he may be.

His wife, Clare (Rachel McAdams), is the beautiful and endlessly supportive woman he has met many times, creating a twisty, melancholy, but beautiful love story unlike any other.

McAdams is no stranger to time travel films, but this one is special in how Clare and Henry's story unfolds. Their non-linear romance reflects that mysterious and magical nature of love, grounded by the realities of mortality and the unexpected nature of life. The cinematography is evocative, the score is pretty and lilting, and the performances are touching. This one is a true beauty.

(Available on DVD, to stream on and rent VOD)

Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Two Weeks Notice 1

If there were ever a rom-com hall of fame, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant would be instant inductees. In this film, where they star together, Bullock plays a kind, intelligent, do-gooder lawyer and activist championing the saving of a community center. Grant plays the charming but often thoughtless millionaire and real estate developer looking to build on the land.

With her quick thinking and matter-of-fact ways, he becomes so captivated he hires her and soon finds her indispensable to every decision he makes. The two form a funny co-dependent relationship that grows romantically and emotionally complicated. Everything from their values to their ability to stand up for themselves is tested, with both grounded and absurdly funny results.

The film works because Bullock and Grant make these two very different individuals feel like a perfect pair.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Vivacious Lady (1938)

 

This underrated classic gem is what I would call a light screwball comedy. The situations are sometimes zany but are still subdued compared to similar films. The film undeniably is a romantic comedy with two of the finest actors ever to grace the screen.

James Stewart is a sweet and shy college professor, and Ginger Rogers is a spirited and beautiful nightclub singer. After a chance meeting, undeniable attraction, and whirlwind romance, the two marry. But since he comes from a high-brow world of academia, he is nervous about telling his family about his wife.

This is the type of film that the 1930s were known for, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The chemistry between Stewart and Rogers is sweet and magnetic, and it makes you wish they made more films together.

Story-wise, Vivacious Lady is about love's magical and mysterious nature and fighting for it, no matter the obstacle, be it class, disapproving family, or insecurity. It's a lively, lovely little film in every way.

(Available on DVD)

The Wedding Date (2005)

The Wedding Date Amy Adams
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

This 2000s romantic comedy has all the elements any fan of the genre could ask for. The plot is light, fun, quintessential romance, and the English countryside locales are gorgeous. It features an exceptional cast that includes Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney, Amy Adams, Jack Davenport, and Holland Taylor.

The story is rom-com 101. Kat is traveling to England to attend her sister's wedding. To avoid the embarrassment of being single, and because the best man is her ex-boyfriend, she decides to hire a male escort to be her date and pretend to be her boyfriend for the long wedding weekend. And as expected, the line between real and fake becomes extremely blurred.

While The Wedding Date is fun and frothy, there are also some surprising twists and darker moments of harsh reality. In the hands of the talented cast and with a stellar soundtrack that will delight fans of Michael Bublé, these traits help the film stand out. Despite these qualities, the movie remains overlooked. But it is undoubtedly one that deserves to be rediscovered.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Where the Heart Is (2000)

 

This heartfelt film, which stars Natalie Portman, Ashley Judd, and Stockard Channing, is a beautifully touching story that many have dismissed or forgotten. This is most likely due to the perceived premise that it’s the “Natalie Portman lives in a Walmart movie,” with the marketing of the film giving off expectations of a comedic tone. While both are partly true, they do not tell the entire story; thus, expectations weren't meant for some. And this is a shame because it's a lovely film.

The story follows many years in the life of Novalee Nation (Portman), who begins the film pregnant and is subsequently abandoned by her boyfriend at a Walmart. With nothing, she hides and lives there until she gives birth. And soon after, she finds true friendship and kindness with a nurse (Judd), and sweet couple who offer her a home, and a librarian (James Frain) who touches her heart.

As we witness the trials of motherhood, love, and life, Novalee and her found family must overcome truly dark circumstances. But through it all, they learn what makes life worth living with every beat of their hearts. The film's tone blends light comedy, tender romance, and heavy drama to create a moving film that deserves more love than it's been given.

(Available on DVD and to rent VOD)

Wimbledon (2004)

 

Both a rom-com and a sports movie, Wimbledon, follows two tennis stars at very different points in their careers: British Peter Holt (Paul Bettany), planning to retire right after the Wimbledon tournament, and American Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), a star on the rise with still much to learn. And while Lizzie is expected to go far in the event, Peter is not and surprises everyone, including himself, when he keeps winning his matches.

What starts as a casual fling between Peter and Lizzie quickly becomes more meaningful. But the pressures and hard realities of the sport threaten their budding romance.

Wimbledon is the definition of charming, with two undeniably likable leads with insane chemistry. Moreover, as the audience, we find ourselves rooting for the characters on multiple levels. Not only do we root for the romance, but for the underdog Peter, who is competing with odds stacked against him.

These story elements and the fantastic cast bring the film to bright, fun, and lively life that keeps us cheering from start to finish. It's a real winner.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Amazon Prime Video, and rent VOD)

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton (2004)

 

We all have celebrity crushes and have moments where we fantasize about what it would be like to meet, date, or even marry them. It’s harmless dreaming that anyone can relate to. But what happens when that dream becomes a reality? Win a Date With Tad Hamilton is a bright, funny, quintessentially 2000s romantic comedy that explores wish fulfillment to the highest degree.

In the film, sweet and unassuming Rosalie works at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store in a small town in West Virginia with her best friends. They are the enthusiastic Kathy, and Pete, the sweet guy who secretly pines for her. When Rosalie enters a contest to win a date with her dream man, movie star Tad Hamilton, little does she dream she will not only win but that he will show up in her town after their night out. Searching for something real, Tad finds that spark with Rosalie, who is completely enamored with Tad, leaving Pete wondering if his feelings will remain unrequited.

This movie is sweet and hilarious and features a terrific cast, including Kate Bosworth, Josh Duhamel, Topher Grace, Ginnifer Goodwin, Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes, Kathryn Hahn, Octavia Spencer, and Gary Cole. Although the film has a formulaic story, there are still some surprises, likable characters, and profound wisdom about love. Win a Date With Tad Hamilton shows the audience that we should search for that life-changing great love that knows every single one of our smiles.

(Available on DVD, to stream on Amazon Prime Video, Epix, Paramount+, MGM+, and Spectrum, and to rent VOD)

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Author: Marianne Paluso

Title: Writer

Expertise: Entertainment, Travel, Books

Bio:

Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature from San Diego State University. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture and geek related, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency, Christianity Today, and The La Jolla Light. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disney bound, cosplay, and YouTube video. She resides in San Diego, California.