The cinema has conquered us with all kinds of love films for generations: nostalgic, dramatic, and those that always manage to make us smile.
As proof, just remember tapes like gone With the Wind (1939), White House (1942), When Harry met Sally (1989), Woman pretty (1990) or Titanic (1997). These have offered us some of the great love stories in the history of celluloid and have also positioned themselves among the great classics of all time.
If all these films share something, it is that they present us the story of two people who fall in love. They also tell us the ways in which the context they inhabit can influence love itself.
The greatness of these stories will last forever. They will be worth seeing and analyzing. But where are the love movies of the new generation?
Without a doubt, the past 20 years have given us stories worth remembering and cherishing. From traditional loves, to criticism of contemporary society, we do a recount of the best love movies so far in the 21st century.
11. Intoxicated with love (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002)
It is almost impossible to imagine that someone like Paul Thomas Anderson – best known for films like Boogie nights, Magnolia and Bloody oil– directed a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler. But that’s how it was, and the result is memorable. Intoxicated with love it is far from being one of the traditional love movies. He forgets about any pre-established formula for exploring a romance born of female planning. But affected by chance and the unfortunate decisions of our protagonist.
Kind of like Adam Sandler mired in a softened version of Magnolia. These same peculiarities allowed him to compete for awards such as the Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards and the Palme d’Or at Cannes. He did not win any, but Paul Thomas Anderson did win the award for Best Director at the prestigious French festival.
10. Only lovers survive (Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2013)
Movie vampires have always reflected the wildest side of love and Jim Jarmusch rescued the formula with Only lovers survive. Eve and Adam – brilliantly played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston – are a fanged couple whose romance has survived for generations, even though blood contamination has forced them to be extremely careful with their diet. However, everything is complicated by the arrival of an uncomfortable relative who will put your lifestyle in check. A dark, disturbing romance, but also tender and most important of all: eternal.
9. Lost in Tokyo (Dir.ª Sofia Coppola, 2003)
You don’t need to be in an unfamiliar place to be lost. So Sofia Coppola showed us with the unusual relationship that emerged between Bob and Charlotte. He is a mature actor who travels to Tokyo to do a series of commercials; she is a young woman who just arrived in the same city to accompany her husband on a job. None of them understand anything about Japanese culture, but neither about their respective lives. As a result we have an ephemeral romance, which is based more on the emotional connection of the moment than on love itself.
This depth, immersed in such a simple plot, made it one of the most profitable love films of recent times. In addition, in one of the most beloved romances by audiences and in one of the great enigmas in the history of cinema. Perhaps it is time to stop speculating about that farewell and understand that words are not always necessary to express emotions.
8. Amélie (Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
Perhaps the most refreshing romantic comedy of recent years. With an exceptional Audrey Tautou in the role that earned her place in film history. Amélie Poulin is a young woman who grew up alone after being misdiagnosed with heart disease. This made her a somewhat eccentric girl, but also curious, imaginative and grateful for life. These characteristics will put you on a mission to bring happiness to those around you, ignorant that you could also find yours. The film garnered all kinds of accolades during its commercial run, including five Oscar nominations. However, her greatest achievement lies in the recognition of the public who continue to receive her with great appreciation, not only for her beautiful story, but also for her important lessons on the joie de vivre.
7. Diary of a passion (Dir. Nick Cassavetes, 2004)
We all love love movies with happy endings, even though we know that life always goes on. Inspired by the homonymous novel by Nicholas Sparks, the story presents us with a forbidden relationship due to social differences, as it shows how true love continues to face all kinds of adversity throughout life. Although its plot includes numerous clichés of the genre, the film shines for its eternal drama, as well as for the good work of its protagonists, who would end up positioning themselves among the great actors of their generation. This was not enough to convince a critic who gave him conflicting opinions, but it was enough to win over an audience that embraced Diary of a passion among the best love movies of the 21st century.
You might also be interested in: The best romantic comedies of the past decade
6. (500) days with her (Dir. Marc Webb, 2009)
Cinema has always explored the different faces of love, but few films have done it with the effectiveness of (500 days with her. To do this, director Marc Webb forgot the eternal clichés of the genre to explore the story of Tom, a young man who experiences all kinds of emotions (and even some quite toxic) since his meeting with Summer. The result is a mix of sensations that range from the greatest joys – that includes self-comparisons with Han Solo – to the worst sorrows. Nobody said that hitting the harsh reality was easy. If you know what we are talking about, maybe because you were once in love and understand what it means to have that special someone to tell ‘I love us‘.
5. Really love (Dir. Richard Curtis, 2003)
“Love is really everywhere.” Under this premise, the writer and director Richard Curtis offered us one of the most beloved love movies – and Christmas, of course – of recent times. It is a compendium of interconnected stories that explore the different faces of love: from the first youthful passions to the suffering for the loss – or betrayal – of the loved one. A film with all the necessary elements to make us laugh, but also cry with an emotional message – courtesy of The Beatles – that continues to resonate with force almost 20 years after its premiere: “all you need is love.”
4. Portrait of a woman on fire (Directed by Céline Sciamma, 2019)
It’s easy to think that Portrait of a woman on fire it only continues the trend seen in titles such as The life of Adele (2013) and Carol (2015). However, the film directed by Céline Sciamma takes its intentions even further by moving the actions to the 18th century to address the romance that arose between an aristocrat and the artist hired to paint her portrait. This results in a symbolic reflection of a world inhabited by women but governed by the laws of men to show that the female gender continues to suffer from many of the limitations of the past. And of course, in an impossible love for the customs of the time, but imperishable thanks to the properties of art.
3. Before sunrise / Before sunset / Before midnight (Dir. Richard Linklater, 1995/2004/2013)
Richard Linklater presented us in 1995 a modest love story about two completely different young people who end up falling in love after a chance meeting on a European train and living together for a day in Vienna. It was like this Before dawn it became one of the most beloved love movies for a whole generation and one of the great romances towards the end of the 20th century. It was thought that the story would end there, but the director decided to meet Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy twice to continue exploring the couple’s fate. And that’s how it all started. The so-called trilogy Before… Is not an ode to the classic Hollywood romance, but a true reflection of love that includes ups, downs, conflicts and joys, but that always resists all adversities when lived with honesty, passion and intensity.
2. Secret on the mountain (Dir. Ang Lee, 2005)
Only a genius like Ang Lee could make a film as challenging as Secret in the mountain, a film that takes advantage of some elements of the western – highlighting the cult of virility in the American West – to explore the impossible love of two young cowboys who refuse to accept their feelings in a world dominated by hatred, fear and intolerance. A moving and tortuous film, which went down in history for the memorable performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as their incomprehensible defeat at the Academy Awards at the hands of Crash.
1. Eternal radiance of a mind without memories (Dir. Michel Gondy, 2004)
It is not only a jewel of contemporary science fiction, but also one of the most memorable love films of recent times. Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry use technology as a mere resource for the benefit of history and in this case, of our central characters tormented by the break with whom they once considered the love of their life, is there anything more tragic than that? However, the sophisticated ‘erasure’ services begin to get complicated when our unfortunate hero realizes that he does not want to suppress the penalties during his relationship with Clementine, as this would mean erasing the joys as well and in short: some of the best moments in all his life. These efforts will lead him to try to win her back again, and again, and again …
The entry The best love movies of the 21st century was first published in Cinema PREMIERE.