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The Best Romance Movies You’ve Never Heard of or Forgot

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

With the month of romance and love all around, we are all looking for a fun movie to watch, or at least something different. I am hoping something is of interest on this list, because I don’t know about you, but I refuse to watch “Titanic” or “The Notebook” again. I’m good. So, if you want something new and interesting to watch or something mindless and entertaining, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled a wacky list of B-movies and dramatic films that I think are not normally recommended as romance movies.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
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Year: 1985

Director: Alan Metter

Run Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Available to Rent from Various Places

Trigger Warnings

An era with a lot of fun teenage flicks that often gets overlooked is the 80s. Personally I’m tired of the same 80s movies being recommended, and this is a fun film about a girl in high school, Janey, who moves to Chicago with her military family. Janey is excited to be in the city because she wants to audition for Dance TV, a dance competition show, but is forbidden by her strict father. This is a fun fluffy teenage movie that is purely 80s (with big hair, spandex, and puffy sleeves). It stars a young Sarah Jessica Parker, has fun dance routines, and it’s another dance movie (which says more about me than anything else). If you are in the mood for something light and a little mindless, I think this is a great movie and has some iconic 80s dance choreography, as well as an enemies-to-lovers theme between the main couple. It also has Cindy Lauper’s Girl power anthem “Girl’s Just Want to Have fun” as the theme song, so it’s definitely peppy! 

“200 PoundS Beauty”

Year: 2006

Director: Young Hwa Kim

Run Time: 2 Hours

Where to Watch: Free on Pluto TV and Amazon Prime

Trigger Warnings

This movie is probably one you’ve heard of or seen if you’re into Korean films, but it’s one that I think is fun and romantic but in a self-love way and was my introduction to the world of K-Dramas. This movie deals with Hanna, a woman that has a beautiful voice but is overweight. Due to her appearance, she is mocked and treated poorly by nearly everybody around her. She decides to pursue a dramatic plastic surgery transformation in order to appeal to the strict beauty standards of South Korea. She then proceeds to try and have a successful pop music career since she now has the looks and the talent. Unfortunately, she realizes that her appearance has come at a significant cost, and she must lie to keep her public persona. 

The movie doesn’t deal with the terrible culture around plastic surgery as it’s a light-hearted comedy, but it made me realize that beauty standards are BS, and were made to make people feel terrible. The scenes where she realizes that after everything she has done, she still isn’t happy are quite emotional, and it kept me rooting for Hanna and her happy-go-lucky personality. Overall I think this movie is about self-love with a fun soundtrack and great 2000s outfits. A perfect flick for a late night in!

“Fool’s Gold”

Year: 2008

Director: Andy Tennant

Run Time: 1 Hour and 53 Minutes

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Premium Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Available to Rent from Youtube

Trigger Warnings

This is a movie that I think is often overlooked in the 2000s rom-com genre. It stars Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, so if you liked “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” which has become 20 years old this year, then this will be wildly entertaining. It’s about a divorced couple (McConaughey and Hudson) who are treasure hunters and rivals. This has a strong enemies-to-lovers theme and is hilarious, with a cast of side characters that are ridiculous to match. It’s also definitely not super romantic, but I think the way everything comes together and the treasure-hunting aspect makes this movie a fun watch. If you want a fluffy non-committal film with 2000s energy, this is the movie.

“The Addams Family Values”

Year: 1993

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Run Time: 1 hour and 34 minutes

Trigger Warnings

Since the TV show “Wednesday” came out, this franchise has been at a peak, but I’m here to tell you that it does not compare to the sequel to the successful 1991 classic. It may not make sense, but personally, this movie is a romance because Gomez and Morticia are THE couple, and the love this family has for one another is ridiculous. Since it’s a sequel, you may think it would be hard to follow, but it’s not really relevant as long as you know The Addams are a quirky goth family. I personally prefer this because the villain, Debbie, is so funny and over the top. Overall, it’s an entertaining movie for when you’re in the mood for whatever or if you want to explore more of this iconic franchise. You don’t need to know the plot; just go watch it!

“Strictly Ballroom”

Year: 1992

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Run Time: 1 Hour and 34 Minutes

Where to Watch: Paramount +, Available to Rent/ Buy from Youtube and Apple

Trigger Warnings

If you’re familiar with Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge!,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Elvis,” etc.), you know he has a distinct style of mixing theater with film that is also humorous; if not, you are in for a treat. While I think his “Moulin Rouge” was great, this little gem gets slept on so much. It is about ballroom dancing, so if this doesn’t feel like your cup of tea, no worries. This is also a satirical take and quite melodramatic, so beware of the over-the-top, campy acting style.

The film is Luhrmann’s directorial debut and is about an Australian ballroom dancing prodigy, Scott, and how he “oh so dramatically” cannot stand the strict rules of the ballroom world that condemns his flashy style. Due to this, Scott loses his partner, and he needs to find someone to enter a competition with immediately. Eventually, he partners with Fran, a “beginner” ballroom dancer who is of Spanish descent. The culture clash between the two is chef’s kiss, and the dance choreography is so entertaining and romantic I wanted to evaporate. It’s essentially a musical but with dance numbers instead of songs. So, if you want something quirky, dramatic, and flamboyant, this is the movie for you.

“Howl’s Moving Castle”

Year: 2004

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Run Time: 2 hours and 14 minutes

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Amazon Prime

Trigger Warnings

Okay, I know this isn’t necessarily considered a romance movie, and you’ve probably seen it, but I absolutely love the dynamics between Sophie Hatter, a young woman from the magical town of Whimsey, who is cursed by a witch to be an old lady,  and the wizard, Howl. You may know about this movie, but if you need something that is beautiful to watch and has a good storyline, this is such a sweet animated movie that has the best aesthetic. I haven’t said anything about the plot, and honestly, it’s not important. All you need to know is it’s a studio Ghibli classic and black hair Howl is chef’s kiss.

“Saving Face”

Year: 2004

Director: Alice Wu

Run Time: 1 hour and 38 Minutes

Where to Watch: fubo TV, buy from Amazon, Hulu (depending on region)

Trigger Warnings

This may be a familiar movie to those that do watch Queer romance movies, but it’s also Alice Wu’s (“The Half of It” ) directorial and writing debut. The appeal of this movie is that it’s about the taboo relationships that Wil, a doctor, and her mother have while in their strict Asian-American community. Wil is gay and in a relationship with Vivian, a ballerina, and her mother, Ma, is pregnant out of wedlock and will not admit who the father is. I love the way the main characters are portrayed and how the romances they have are not caricatures but slices of their lives. The relationship between Wil and Ma is also really healing to watch as they accept each other.  You may cry, but this is a healing movie and also has relatable family moments.


Year: 2007

Director: Joe Wright 

Run Time: 2 hours and 3 minutes

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Hulu Premium, Amazon Prime

Trigger Warnings

I want to preface this by saying this is one of the few movies that could make me cry. This is not a cute and lighthearted movie, but it is a beautiful movie; personally, this was Titanic for pre-teen me. Atonement is a sweeping period drama that takes place in 1930s England. Kiera Knightly is in it, and if you’ve ever seen a photo of her in the iconic green dress, this is THAT movie. The green satin dress is honestly the primary reason to watch. Just kidding, but the chemistry between her and James McAvoy is dreamy, and if you want to go on a Kiera Knightly period romance binge, this is the one to start with, as the hangover is intense.


Year: 2011

Director: In Ho Hwang

Run Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Where to Watch: Buy on Amazon, free on Tubi, iQIYI with subscription

Trigger Warnings

This movie is a rom-com horror Korean film with a melodramatic satirical take on the Horror/rom-com genre.. The main character, Yu Ri, can see ghosts and has been haunted by them since a tragic accident happened to her in high school. A magician, Jo Gu, meets her at one of his shows and is inspired to create a magic act with her. The two go through many struggles together, but this is a fun movie that I think most western audiences are not familiar with. I like how quirky the characters are, and there are a lot of good laughs. This is the perfect movie for when you don’t know what you’re in the mood for, and it’s not too scary to watch. 

“The Shape of Water”

Year: 2017

Director: Guillermo del Torro

Run Time: 2 hours and 3 Minutes

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Premium Hulu, and Available to Buy/Rent on Youtube

Trigger Warnings

If you think this movie sounds familiar, you may remember it as the one where “fishman and a woman end up together.” It sounds like a hard sell, but it’s so beautifully shot and soundtracked while still staying within reality that it’s not that jarring. At the core, it is a love story highlighting people persecuted during the 1960s in the United States, with a magical realism twist. It explores humanity through the two main characters falling in love with a quirky cast of other societal outcasts during the 1960s and the height of cold war politics. Spoiler: it does have a happy ending.

I hope you’ve managed to find something of interest within this list and that it has helped you find a new movie to like, or potentially ended your doom scrolling through a streaming site!

I am a fourth year Biochemistry student that is minoring in Computational Biology. When I'm not thinking of articles to write and going down random Wikipedia rabbit holes, I obsess over skin care.