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8 Cheese-free Romance Movies for Your Valentine’s Week

Teaser: Warning: unhappy endings. 

February is for the Valentine’s Day and love stories. And then there is us, who have essentially zero tolerance for the cheesiness in typical Hollywood romance films. We love romance, but we can’t stand the cliché, silly lines and overly dramatic turns of plots. As a movie junkie, I’ve come across many romances over the years. Most of them passed by without leaving any remarkable impression in my brain while some left me with an overdose of artificial sweetener. However, there are a few that are very well thought out and not mushy at all. So if you ready for a deep conversation over love and relationship, grab your S/O or a tub of ice cream plus a box of tissue and enjoy the movie night.  


Funny how I have been telling people that Once is my long-standing favorite romance, but at this moment I find it hard to describe this movie in words. Once is about a Dublin street singer meeting his soul mate. It is about two people expressing their feelings for each other through music. Is that a love affair? Maybe it is, a very delicate, subtle, and simple affection between two individuals that is able to comfort them during their most difficult time of life. Once, on the street of Dublin, an Irish man and a Czech girl.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

This is not a film that you need to engage in, it engages you. It may start a bit plainly, but the carefully crafted plot will soon come about and move whoever is watching and allow the audiences to experience, from the perspective of the characters, the joy and pain in their relationship. Eternal Sunshine, in my opinion, is one of the most well-made and beautifully shot motion picture of all time, not to mention the acting of Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.


Atonement covers a variety of themes – youth, romance, family, and war. It brings us from the carefree country house in England to the beach of Dunkirk and spans from teenage years to the old age. Perhaps it is more correct to call Atonement a life story rather than a love story since the lives of many become entangled because of a romantic relationship. If you are looking for a rich blend of wit, sorrow, misfortune, and the famous green dress of Keira Knightly, pick this one.


Arguably one of the most unique and outside-the-box romance movies. The movie is strange from the onset, and it wouldn’t take long for most of us to realize that the love between a man and an operating system is not going to end up well. But we just can’t stop watching, because we are curious, and we are completely fascinated about how this film deconstruct the concept of love through a character without a physical existence.


For all the lovers of classics out there, you can never go wrong with Casablanca. Guess there is no need to explain how iconic it is among all the romance films that have ever been made on earth. In my opinion, Casablanca represents the gold standard for romance. Every character is well-rounded, the ambience of the entire movie is of quality and originality, and, quite obviously, it has lived through the test of time.

Cinema Paradiso.

I am absolutely not cheating by labeling Cinema Paradiso a romance film. Though it isn’t centered around a romantic relationship, this classic is a love story of a place and a lifetime. After all, it is the nostalgia and the years that have gone by that leave all of us feeling loved and blessed. 

Cold War.

Don’t cast away this recent Academy Awards nominee for its seemingly unappealing name. This black and white piece of art invites you to visit the memories of two people as they fall in and out of love. Everything in this film is organic, the acting, shooting, and the rustic wilderness of the post-WWII Poland. Of course it’s heart wrenching, and of course I love it.



I hesitated to add this one to a list of films that are put together for the Valentine’s Day. It is a love story, but it is a love story at the end of life. Amour talks about love in a very profound and perhaps, to some degree, depressing way. Everything in this work is true to life and honest, and yet death provides a unique insight into the discussion of morality and responsibility in a relationship. 

Joanne is a senior at Wake Forest University majoring in international relations and econ. She loves traveling and experiencing different cultures, especially food. She is a HUGE sports enthusiast. She writes about all the little things she loves in her daily life. She wastes most of her time watching TV shows and movies. 
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