Love stories have always made us rue, cry, laugh, swoon and sway with those cheesy lines, emotional heartbreaking moments, and captivating storytelling. We could trace back romance movies to as far behind as the 1930s which witnessed timeless classics like ‘Love Affair’, ‘It Happened One Night’ to 1940s with movies like ‘Casablanca’ which has forever been etched in our memories. And as the saying goes, “Nothing breaks like the heart”.
With films like ‘Brokeback Mountain’, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’, ‘Carol’ et al, we’ve seen a steep rise in the love stories that focus on the LGBTQ romances and have given a whole new meaning to the genre, thus changing the way filmmakers and viewers have been perceiving love stories so far. And then, there are the animated flicks like ‘Frozen’, ‘WALL-E’, ‘Tangled’ etc. that would make you fall in love with the genre.
Netflix has a wide array of romantic films: from more light-hearted comedies to heartbreaking dramas, from adaptations of a classic Disney movie to a dreamy French films, from sad romantic movies to teen love movies. In the mood for a film all about love? Here is the list of really good romance movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
30. Set it Up (2018)
The intriguing setup, in which two personal assistants set up their workaholic bosses with each other, ‘Set It Up’ promises a novel premise and a heartwarming story. The movie begins with Harper and Charlie, two ardent assistants to Kirsten and Rick respectively, who are put up in the same office building. As the movie progresses, Harper and Charlie happen to bump on each other and plan to set their bosses up by making them meet, once and for all. As the bosses, Rick and Kirsten meet and start falling in love, it is revealed that Rick had been married previously, thus leading to their split. ‘Set It Up’ is all about getting closer to each other while “setting” someone else up – a tale that is rarely heard of.
29. ¿Qué culpa tiene el niño? (2016) [Don’t Blame the Kid]
What happens when a young drunken lady hooks up casually with a young bachelor who is seemingly directionless in his life? A simmering love story, what else? Maru hooks up with Renato on a fateful one night stand and she discovers that she’s been pregnant out of the blue. Notwithstanding the societal pressures on not marrying a jobless, sedentary bachelor who might not take care of his own, leave alone a family, Maru decides to marry Renato anyway before delivering the baby. As they start living together, albeit, without any choice, they slowly begin to fall for each other. I don’t know about you but the very idea of finding love out of no choice is intriguing and practical, to begin with. ‘Don’t Blame the Kid’ is also one of the best Spanish movies out there on Netflix that you can stream right away.
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28. Something New (2006)
Speaking of ‘Something New’, the movie seldom appears to offer anything new at all, but wait for it, if you know what I mean. ‘Something New’ begins with Kenya, a single Afro-American lady who strives for perfection in her life, including a perfect wedding. Enter Brian, a landscape architect, who Kenya agrees to be on a blind date with, only to shy away nervously knowing he’s white. Things go her own way when she meets Brian again and employs him to renovate her house’s kitchen garden. As Kenya and Brian discover each other among an employer-employee relationship, Brian too starts having a liking for Kenya and they end up marrying each other. The presentment, the novelty and the performances are stealers of this show.
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27. Before We Go (2014)
A woman misses the 1:30 train from New York to Boston and a street musician spends the night trying to help her make it back home before her husband does. Throughout the night they learn a lot about one another and eventually find a romance. “Before We Go” is a very intelligent, honest and charming film that is a bit difficult to find. It is intimate and genuine, with a refreshing ending. Actors Chris Evans and Alice Eve make a pretty good job with the help of an interesting story and a carefully made script.
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26. Penelope (2006)
The story revolves around Penelope, a young lass from an affluent family who bears the eyes and nose of a pig – something known as the Wilhern Curse. The curse shall be broken when she finds her true love – a young man who accepts her the way she is, not the way she is perceived to be, given her familial wealth. While there are many takers for her wealth, which is exorbitant, her suitors mostly end up running away from her, scared and jostled by her appearance. Enter Max, a young reporter who is seemingly intrigued and smitten by her, while Penelope breaks free from her parents’ clutches and runs away to freedom, with the assistance of her friend Annie. A fantasy-romance at the outset, ‘Penelope’ stands out for its unique premise and the power-packed performances from its leading actors. Rest is for you to decide.
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25. Our Souls at Night (2017)
Fonda and Redford star as Addie Moore and Louis Waters, a widow and widower who’ve lived next to each other for years. The pair has almost no relationship, but that all changes when Addie reaches out. Who says you can’t find love when you are older? “Our Souls at Night” is about two people that unexpectedly found love despite their complicated lives. Fonda and Redford are the strongest assets of the film. The atmosphere created by their very presence is beautiful. Although it is not groundbreaking, it is a joy to watch.
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24. The First Time (2012)
Yet another “too much of the same” on this list, ‘The First Time’ begins with Dave and Aubrey, who meet each other at a house party. As Dave is dealing with his recent relationship with Jane, Aubrey helps him out on a walk back home while the house is being raided by the cops. Aubrey is in a love-hate affair with Roni and doesn’t seem to want to carry her relationship any further. As Dave and Aubrey continue to see each other as friends in need, Dave finds Aubrey closer and intriguing than Jane ever was – something which Aubrey also feels in a similar way. Soon, Dave is about to move to another city and his newfound “relationship” with Aubrey is about to get the taste of a long distance one. ‘The First Time’ deals with the first-time lovers in a simplistic yet worn-down way.
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23. Kiss and Cry (2017)
A medical drama at the very outset, based on a tear-jerking love story which derives its essence from true events, ‘Kiss and Cry’ is the biographical tale of Carley, a young 18-year-old girl who is passionate about figure skating and singing. When she is diagnosed with a rarest of the rare form of a throat cancer, her world comes crashing down, for she loses all the hopes of doing big in her career and towards pursuing her passions. With her motto of smiling always, even in the event of her cancer diagnosis, and her boyfriend John and her family helping her out a great deal in battling the rare sarcoma, ‘Kiss and Cry’ is a bountiful of laughs and cries and inspires you to look at life the way you probably never did. ‘Kiss and Cry’ will definitely make you cry.
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22. The Duchess (2008)
A tale of love, hate, deceit, cruelty and the pursuit of truthfulness, ‘The Duchess’ is set in the 18th century and is a true narrative of Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, her husband William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire, and the ever-charming Charles Grey she falls in love with. Evidently, Charles Grey also went on to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the early 1830s. The movie begins with a reluctant marriage between Georgiana and William, for William only wants a male heir out of this marriage in order to further his bloodline. Georgiana is not happy with William’s persistence, with the illegitimate child who lives with him, and with the beginning of a steamy love affair between her and Charles Grey, Georgiana’s future is scripted in a way which was too different than she thought. ‘The Duchess’ is known for its authenticity and narrative, the performances (especially Ralph Fiennes) and the costume-design for which the movie received an Oscar.
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21. The Spectacular Now (2013)
Sutter Keely is your regular playboy, high-school lad who loves partying and fooling around while working his daytime at a clothing store and has recently been through a bad breakup. After getting dumped, Sutter gets himself on a booze-spree and lands upon the front yard of Aimee, only to realize that the latter has been his classmate without him knowing it. As they come closer forgoing their differences, the movie progresses with their small setbacks and the larger picture of whether or not they could be together – because while Aimee has a more futuristic outlook on life, a carefree and delusional Sutter believes in the spectacular now. I am afraid you’ll have to watch this one in order to find out what happens in the end, but I am sure you don’t expect it to be ending the way it did. ‘The Spectacular Now’ went on to achieve critical universal acclaim and is often regarded as one of the best on-screen performances of Shailene Woodley.
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20. P. S. I Love You (2007)
We’ve all been through this one, to say the least. ‘P. S. I Love You’ is the tale of Holly and Gerry. While Holly is incredibly happy with her life, is ambitious and married to her love and basically has everything to lose. Gerry’s sudden death owing to illness brings her a shock that she seemingly couldn’t accept. Apparently, Gerry saw it coming and had written letters to his wife, to be delivered to her on a few occasions, starting from 30th birthday. The secret of who has the letters and who delivers them is maintained till the very end. It is because of these letters that Holly gets a much-needed breather and gets going with life instead of sulking, knowing that the love of her life is still out there somewhere. The impetus given by the letters to Holly’s life is phenomenal, as it appears by the end of the movie. ‘P.S. I Love You’ is watchable but yet passable on many fronts. Get it if you haven’t yet.
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19. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an amazing cast. This is one of the most loved romantic stories, one that we grew up watching and re-watching. In this adaptation, the audience sees a deeper story, especially behind the Beast. While giving more depth to the story, cast and crew created a beautiful, moving film worth a watch. Belle is a country-dwelling bibliophile who is smitten by the Beast and his ways when she visits his father Maurice who has been imprisoned by the Beast for stealing a rose. Apparently, the Beast’s castle, his servants and he himself have been cursed and the only way for him to get rid of the curse is to love someone and get back the love before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls. Belle is the person who is destined to fall in love for the otherwise abominable Beast. Watch it for Emma Watson and the spellbinding visuals.
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18. Carol (2015)
Therese is a young girl and aspiring photographer who falls for an older, married woman in 1950s New York. Directed by Todd Haynes, “Carol” is about two repressed lesbians in the 50s but also about a beautiful and poignant love story. The chemistry between Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett is extraordinary, making the scenes that they share together heartbreaking. Both actresses have subtle but powerful performances. They manage to do so much by doing so little; their body language is their biggest asset. A must watch if you are into movies all about falling in love.
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17. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
In what is touted to be one of the most defining Spanish love stories of all time, ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ is set in the 1900s and was one of the highest grossing Spanish films in the US at the time of its release. The story is set around Tita who is the last born in her family owing to her father’s demise after her birth. Per the family tradition, the youngest daughter isn’t allowed to marry but has to serve her mother until the latter’s death. She falls for a young man named Pedro, who comes to know of the tradition and is offered to marry Tita’s elder sister which he accepts to stay near Tita, much to her resentment. After Tita’s unsought affair with one Dr Brown, Tita and Pedro do manage to get married after the death of former’s mother. The ending, however tragic it might have been, narrates the eternal love which was synonymous with Tita and Pedro. ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ is an experimental cinema and might appeal to a limited number of audience, but is worthwhile nevertheless.
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16. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
One of those chic, modern romcoms available for streaming on Netflix as of today, ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ is the narrative of Lara Jean, a high-school junior, who writes letters to all of her crushes but never sends them, instead, she locks them up in her closet. Her younger sister Kitty finds those letters and in a prank that would lead Lara to find her true love, Kitty mails the letters to all the “intended” recipients, triggering a volley of suitors who want to pursue Lara in one way or the other. One of the lads, Peter, becomes her love-to-be, thanks to Kitty’s prank and thanks to the letters that were written in the first place. The movie was praised for its realism and depicts the usual mindset of socially awkward teenagers who seek love and affection above anything else.
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15. Chocolat (2000)
Often proclaimed as one of the best movies of Juliette Binoche, ‘Chocolat’ is set around rags to riches tale of an atheist single mother Vianne and her young daughter Anouk who have moved to rural France during the Lenten season in the early ’60s. Owing to their financial distress, they put up a chocolate shop in town, much to the despise of many townsfolk. Even after the opposition of the narrow-minded Mayor of the town, her business flies due to her warm, welcoming behaviour and her delicious chocolates. A group of river rats enter the town, led by Roux (Johnny Depp) and then begins a tale of love amongst the delight of chocolates that sweeps the entire town. A tale of change, warmth and endearing affection turning into immortal love, ‘Chocolat’ is a delightful, becoming love story which you mustn’t miss.
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14. Holding the Man (2015)
Calling ‘Holding the Man’ a mere gay love story would be an insult to its grandeur. The movie is the narrative of Tim and John, two friends turned partners and their early years from the ’70s till the ’90s. Tim and John fall for each other in the mid-70s when they’re at the Xavier College in Melbourne. While their love-hate relationship continues, about 10 years on, Tim and John are tested positive for HIV and they perish among the evil of the dreaded disease, while publicly accepting their love for one another. More than the story, the presentment of the narrative and the chemistry between the leading actors is the show stealer. Moreover, the film went on to become one of the most renowned Australian movies of all time, doing a fairly good business at the box office.
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13. Palm Trees in The Snow (2015)
One of the most defining Spanish movies of the decade, ‘Palm Trees in The Snow’ is set to begin in the early 2000s when a young woman named Clarence finds the journals and photographs belonging to her family’s past during the colonial era in Equatorial Guinea. Apparently, her uncle Kilian had moved from Spain to Equatorial Guinea in the ’60s as a colonist and joins his brother’s cocoa plantation in the enslaved country, wherein he despises his brother’s inferior treatment of the labourers. Kilian falls in love with Bisila, an African woman who works in a local hospital. Given the fact that Bisila was already married and that she belongs to a community that is considered inferior, the eternal love affair of Kilian and Bisila soars amid a major anti-colonial revolution in the country and growing resentment against Spaniards. The tumultuous love story, the colonial brutality and the complexities arising thereof is worthwhile and hasn’t been told so far.
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12. Blue Valentine (2010)
Yet another torrid love affair that begins with a married couple Dean and Cindy, who lives in NYC with their daughter Frankie. Given the film’s non-linear narrative, the storyline jumps from present to past and then back to the present to describe the love-hate affair. While Dean works as a painter, Cindy is a nurse at a local clinic. Dean has grown up without a mother for his entire life and so has Cindy, who comes from a not-so-cordial family who has had strained relationships with her parents. To address their personal squabbles, Dean and Cindy head off to a vacation without their daughter in what appears to be a turning point of their relationship. ‘Blue Valentine’ went on to achieve critical acclaim and has often been hailed for the rigour and spellbinding performances of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
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11. The English Patient (1996)
Often regarded as a timeless classic, and one of the most heartening love stories ever made, ‘The English Patient’ is set in the backdrop of the WWII, in an Italian Monastery wherein a French-Canadian nurse is the caretaker of the lone English patient, who’s been badly burnt and seems to have no recollection of any events that led him to this state. Hana is in love with Kip Singh, a Sikh Sapper of the British Army. They’re joined by David Caravaggio, a Canadian Intelligence operative who is apprehensive of the patient’s whereabouts. Turns out, the English Patient is Almasy, a Hungarian cartographer who had been working for the Royal Geographical Society and falls for Katharine Clifton, a married woman who is also part of the effort to map the entirety of Sahara desert. As their love affair simmers, Katharine’s husband is revealed to know of their affair and tries to crash their plane, in which both Almasy and Katharine survive, albeit with wounds. After Katharine’s death, a devastated Almasy’s plane is shot down by the German army. The tale of Almasy’s struggle to get to the love of his life is tear-jerking. ‘The English Patient’ is a critically acclaimed movie with 9 Academy Award wins, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Director etc. You might not want to miss this spectacle.
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10. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
Lily James is Juliet Ashton, who’s on a promotion spree for her latest book and who goes by the pen name Izzy Bickerstaff. She is intrigued by a letter from a man who claims to be from ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ and asks more information about the society and how it came into existence in the first place. Turns out, five years ago, in 1941 on the island of Guernsey during the Nazi occupation of the island, when four friends are stopped by the German soldiers during a curfew, they claim to be from the society to evade an arrest. Juliet, smitten by their ways, travels to the island to find more about it and write a book on the society and falls for Dawsey, one of the prominent members of the society. A relatively recent addition to the cinematic world as well as to Netflix, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ got positive reviews and was praised for its straightforward script and the periodic authenticity.
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9. August Rush (2007)
And now to a tale that is simplistic yet beautiful, ‘August Rush’ is the story of a child prodigy turned musician, thanks to his parents who were wrongfully convinced of the otherwise. The story begins with Lyla, a practising cellist who also has to deal with her father’s oppression and is at a concert where “The Connelly Brothers”, an Irish band is performing. After their performances, Lyla meets up with Louis, the leading vocalist of the band and they end up having a one-night stand on the rooftop. Amid a hurried exit and separation from each other, Lyla realizes that she’s pregnant but meets with a car crash after a squabble with her father. Upon her revival, her father tells her that her child had died but instead, sends the baby boy to a foster home. Evan Taylor, the child, eleven-years-later grows up with a penchant towards sounds and music and shows great prospects for being a musician, and he in turn, under the stage name “August Rush” succeeds in reuniting his parents again. Despite the negative criticism around the movie, there is something very relatable about it which makes it very popular among the viewers.
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8. Howards End (1992)
An artistic film that boasts of a stellar star cast, a beautifully depicted story and some thumping performances, especially Emma Thompson who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, ‘Howards End’ is the story of the conflicts between the social classes of post-industrial era England. With Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Hannah Bonham-Carter et al at the helm, ‘Howards End’ is seldom deemed to fail. To sum it up, the story revolves around three social classes – the Wilcoxes, the Schlegels, and the Basts. Helen Schlegel and Paul Wilcox are in deep love, albeit it is mostly one-sided from Helen’s end. Helen’s sister Margaret befriends Paul’s mother and is promised the ancestral house – Howards End by the mother. Meanwhile, Henry Wilcox and Margaret fall for each other and despite Henry’s wife being on a deathbed, making the situation even the more complicated. Lost love, lust, adultery, failing relationships and the greed for power and money form the core of this period drama.
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7. Love Actually (2003)
A compilation of ten interrelated love stories which come together in the end, ‘Love Actually’ has often been deemed as a timeless classic. What is even the more intriguing is the fact that the setting is a few weeks prior to Christmas and all the characters are eerily related to those in another story, in an albeit complicated way. Boasting of an ensemble star cast, with actors like Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Freeman, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy among many others, ‘Love Actually’ is a cocktail of love stories you might not want to miss at any cost.
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6. Wake Up Sid (2009)
Yep, it is a Bollywood film. And yes, it has also been one of the most decisive movies of Ranbir Kapoor’s career, which established him as a character-actor apart from being a star-kid. Sid Mehra is a spoilt brat of a wealthy businessman whose routine is to party with friends, spend money using credit cards sponsored by his father, fail at exams and lead a pretty much aimless life. He meets up with Aisha, a writer who has recently moved in from Calcutta and is working for a local magazine publisher. Sid helps her set up her house in a run-down apartment. After failing his exam, Sid has a heated argument with his father and is forced to leave the house, only to take “refuge” at Aisha’s apartment, who lets him stay along for a few days. With her help, Sid rediscovers his passion for photography, finds a job and also falls for Aisha. The tale of Sid from being a carefree individual to a responsible man is all this movie tells us about. Also, Ranbir Kapoor is to die for.
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5. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
If you’ve been a lover of the Spanish cinema, you couldn’t have missed this one. ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ isn’t just a movie, it is a phenomenon on its own. Set in a typical impoverished Mexico which has been bogged by some sort of a financial gloom, especially for people in the rural areas, the movie begins with two young men – Julio and Tenoch who are having the parting sex with their respective girlfriends before they start off on a much-awaited vacation to Italy. They meet Luisa, the wife of Jano, Tenoch’s cousin, who is slightly older than both of them, at a party. Smitten by her and given the absence of their girlfriends, they ask her to accompany them to Boca del Cielo – an exotic shore-side place they have always wanted to visit. After initial reluctance, she agrees to accompany them. The following night turns sensual, and results in a threesome, only after Luisa calls Jano and breaks up with him. The succeeding drive back home is awkward, silent and much expected given the weird turn of events. The eerie silence among constant narration and the scenic visuals, along with powerful performances make ‘Y Tu Mamá También’ a must watch for romance aficionados.
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4. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux went on to film a full-fledged lesbian sex scene which went on for minutes altogether at a stretch. ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ is not only one of the most beautiful love stories ever put up on the large screen, but it is also one of the most sensuous, endearing and visually rigorous lesbian movies of all time. The movie surrounds Adele, a teenager-student who usually undergoes sexual fantasies and is in between unbecoming hookups with other lads in her college. As a happenstance, she meets up with a blue-haired girl named Emma and is immediately smitten by her. The duo begins a torrid love affair and doesn’t forego a chance of another date, despite the societal and parental norms around Adele. Like a perfect love story of two people who were never meant to be, the conclusion of the movie is set to leave you teary-eyed. ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ is also my favourite movie on this list.
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3. Atonement (2007)
In what appears to be centred around Cecilia Tallis (Kiera Knightley), ‘Atonement’ is actually set around Briony Tallis, Cecilia’s 13-year-old younger sister who is also aspiring to be a writer someday and the entire narrative is told from Briony’s point of view. From taking a sneak peek on Cecilia, and Robbie, the son of Tallis family housekeeper and misinterpreting it as a sexual advance, to making falsified statements unintentionally that land Robbie in jail followed by a forcible venture into the Battle of France leading him to a terrible plight in Dunkirk, Briony’s series of misunderstandings amidst a simmering love affair of Robbie and Cecilia despite the circumstances comprise the most of the movie. Steamy sex, misunderstandings and the perils of war have been beautifully depicted in this period drama, which is being narrated by a 70-something Briony years later after she’s become a famous author. ‘Atonement’ has often been regarded as one of the most successful novel adaptations – both critically and commercially.
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2. Mr Nobody (2009)
A boy, Nemo, stands on a station platform as a train is about to leave. Should he go with his mother or stay with his father? Infinite possibilities arise from this decision. In “Mr Nobody”, we see all of these possibilities and how the life of the little boy changes from the decision. Although it can be a little confusing at times, “ Mr Nobody” is an interesting, experimental, and emotional film. It has an amazing cast; Jared Leto is especially fascinating playing the adult and old version of Nemo. With an incredible love story, its originality will absolutely conquer your heart.
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1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Often regarded as one of the greatest films of the century, and rightfully so, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ has garnered a cult status over the years, being the only Jim Carrey’s movie having done so. The story follows a non-linear narrative and revolves around Joel and Clementine, two polar opposites who’re travelling from Montauk to Rockville Centre. In what seems to be a weird yet quick turn of events, they get attracted to each other and begin a relationship on the train. Turns out, they were lovers and were dating each other two years ago, but Clementine, owing to trouble in their relationship, decided to remove her past memories associated with Joel and the latter also reciprocates. Because the process of memory erasing works in the reverse, starting from bitter ones and ending with the most endearing and lovable ones, both Joel and Clementine remember the one which is erased in the end that was their first meeting in Montauk, which leads them to meet again at the same place but in a train. In the present day, they decide to give their relationship another try, upon Joel’s insistence. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is mind-bending, seemingly realistic and gives its viewers no chance to dislike it, despite however hard they try. Have you watched it yet?
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