Unconventional love stories FTW.
Contrary to popular belief, not all romance movies are created equal, and what makes a film “iconic” is wildly subjective. We’re all familiar with the heart-wrenching love between Jack and Rose in Titanic and Romeo and Juliet in, well, Romeo and Juliet, but the films below tell a different kind of story, one that’s a little more relatable and a lot less fantastical (ok, maybe just slightly less). Don’t worry though; they’ll still make you feel all the feelings, and we promise the only cheesiness you’ll endure will be that popcorn flavoring. Cancel your plans (or call up your beau) and rent these movies stat.
BENNY & JOON (1993)
Benny & Joon stars a young (and painfully beautiful) Johnny Depp as an illiterate cinephile, and Mary Stuart Masterson as a mentally ill woman living with her brother after their parents’ accidental death. The two meet and fight to defend their budding relationship to the callous and disapproving haters. It’s a classic us-against-the-world tearjerker, but a worthwhile one sans overacting or an eye-roll inducing script. Side note: Depp studied the silent films of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to ace the role, which def made this one of his best performances to date (and we’re only a little biased because HANDSOME AF). Also v noteworthy is the epic scene wherein Depp makes loaves of bread dance. Yes… bread…
LOVE ME IF YOU DARE (2004)
This French-Belgian film’s as good as it is painful. It tells the story of two high school-ers from very different families. They meet when she finds herself on the receiving end of some classic hallway bullying, and he steps in to help (ok, so there’s a little damsel-in-distress going on, but we’re giving it a pass because the rest of the story’s so good). He then gives her a tin box– a gift his ill mother had previously given to him–in an attempt to cheer her up, but expresses how important the box is to him by making a dangerous move, thus beginning a lifelong series of dares between the two, with the box changing hands whenever a dare was won. And to really affirm your emotional investment, multiple versions of “La Vie en Rose” play throughout the film, serving as one of the simplest and most powerful soundtracks in love story history. Le sigh.
BONNIE & CLYDE (1967)
While Bonnie & Clyde is typically pegged as a crime thriller (and for good reason—there’s a lot of blood), it depicts one of history’s most intriguing romances. Based on the true story, it follows a small-town waitress, played by Faye Dunaway, who teams up with a small-time heist man, played by classic bad boy Warren Beatty, to pull off minor thefts and major bank robberies during the Great Depression. Dunaway’s a force to be reckoned with, not only because she pulls off the beret/neck scarf look better than pretty much everyone, but also because she plays the role of co-mastermind and fearless outlaw perfectly. Nobody said love is all roses and rainbows, and this cult classic just goes to show.
LIVE FLESH (1997)
Crime and passion are at play in this Spanish romance thriller, written and directed by legendary filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and starring a young, yummy Javier Bardem. The film begins in Madrid during the Spanish Franco era and tells the heartbreaking (but like, supes sexy) tale of a love, uh, pentagon. It’s got all of the elements of a thriller (read: crime, revenge, lust, betrayal), mixed with all of the layers relationship realness (spoiler: it’s far from a fairytale). Every bit as nuanced as you’d want a good love story to be, it’s led by a crazy talented cast and depicted through beautiful cinematography (ugh, the butt scene!). If you’re worried about it putting you into a tailspin of tears, don’t. Despite all the drama, it ends happily ever after… kind of.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)
One of the telling signs that The Breakfast Club is up there with the best movies ever made (no, that’s not a hyperbole) is that it’s still so relevant. There’s something deeply profound and relatable about a group of high school-ers–jocks and misfits alike–who, via eight hours of Saturday school detention, are forced to see past each other’s labels and into their shared labyrinth of issues (YAS high school angst!). It’s also the perfect example of silence holding more weight than chatter, but when there is dialogue, it’s really fucking good (the script will live on as one of the most heartbreaking and hysterical in film history). Plus, in the end, four of the five find love, and the fifth finds self-love. If that doesn’t cover the V-day gamut, we don’t know what does.
Aaand, that’s a wrap on sap.
Got love on your mind? We’ll just leave this link to our V Day shop here.