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  • Writer's pictureAngeli Zhao

Happily ever after? 10 great films about struggling romances

For the heartbroken, hopeful and everyone in between - these films show the honest and realistic side of love.

Cheesy, wild, fluffy comedic…and unrealistic. Sure, finding escape in pop culture’s corny interpretation of love is a great evening activity; however, when we look for films that depict love in its rawest form, movies that present reality with no judgement, we fall short of options.

Fortunately, we have crafted a list of the top ten movies that depict love as it should be: with highs and lows. We promise that these mirror the experiences of real people, stripping away the cliches, glitz and glamour.

1. Marriage Story (2019)

Bare to the bone, “Marriage Story” examines a dying marriage under the microscope. We watch as the couple navigate the paradox that is separation - fighting, growing apart and still existing as a family.

2. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Melancholic, beautiful and tragic, “Call Me By Your Name” centers around desire. The depiction of first love set in the summery atmosphere of northern Italy is sure to get you nostalgic about the times we pined over secret crushes.

3. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Warm, watchable and hilarious, “When Harry Met Sally” is the peak of the romantic comedy renaissance that was the 1990s. Starkly realistic, this movies explores the dynamics of opposite-sex friendships through the story of two best friends who fall in love.

4. Once (2007)

This movie explores two musicians who fall in love through song. Purely and simply themselves, this film intertwines music with the love story of a lifetime. She is she, he is him. Our love for their love, and there love for each other grows with every scene. The result - a movie that shames filmmakers with budgets thousands of times larger.

5. La La Land (2016)

Exuberant and captivating - many may be confused as to how a musical, with impromptu singing, can be “realistic”. La La Land, ultimately, is about clinging to the nostalgia of the past and denying when modern-life punctures the romantic illusions.

6. (500) Days Of Summer (2009)

As director Marc Webb’s debut feature film, “(500) Days Of Summer” is a romantic comedy centered around exploring what this thing we call “love” is. We think we know how it will unfold: boy meets girl, girl pushes boy away, boy wins over girl, boy and girl live happily ever after; however, you’ll be shocked once you hear the movie state up front that this is in fact not a love story.

7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

A romance movie that doesn’t involve painfully attractive people “struggling” to find the one (for once), “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is about a 30-year old woman who looks like those you pass everyday. This movie also places great emphasis on enormous extended families, extended weddings and feasts.

8. Like Crazy (2011)

In this film, a visa stands in the way of desire. Suiting, considering the fact that the COVID era has seen its fair share of similar scenarios. However, the characters, ironically, are anything but ‘crazy’ for each other. This movie can be summed up as “life happens”, much like many of us can relate to.

9. Last Night (2010)

This movie is about a happily married couple who each have to respond to temptations during a night apart. Capturing the difficulties of young marriage and Tribeca lifestyle, “Last Night” is a reminder that restlessness may stir even under the veil of the perfect relationship.

10. Blue Valentine (2010)

Exploring the birth and decay of a relationship, “Blue Valentine” moves between the past and the present; as if it were figuring out where it went wrong. A sombre picture of a toxic marriage is painted where the question of ‘why do relationships fail’ is explored movingly. As one Youtube comment said: “[This is] One of the most realistic love stories ever shown in cinema... Incredible”.

Have any caught your eye? Read our list of the 20 most adorable love quotes and 10 best movies to watch on a date night to keep you hopeful about the sweeter side, love has to offer.


Disclaimer: The information provided here is for general informational purposes only. Please do not use the information provided here as a replacement for therapy or professional advice. For the full disclaimer policy, please refer to


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