Most of us will have watched the majority of classic romance movies. You probably know the moment Heath Ledger sings 'Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You' to Julia Styles on the high school bleachers off by heart. You're probably wiping away your tears before Jack even makes the ultimate sacrifice and gives his life for Rose. You probably know the cue cards word for word when that fella from The Walking Dead shows up on Keira Knightley's doorstep.
Therefore, you might be looking for something slightly different if you're planning a romantic night in this year; an alternative to the traditional romantic movies that everyone watches on February 14th. There is no shortage of great ones either. Plenty of heartwarming love stories have been made over the last few years that may have slipped under the radar - ones made outside of the Hollywood studio system and did not receive the attention they perhaps deserved.
Here are just a few of them:
Alternative movie romances don't get much more alternative than Spike Jonze's movie Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, the voice of Scarlett Johansson and a pre-fame moustachioed Chris Pratt. A story about a divorced man who falls in love with his Operating System, Her somehow manages to overcome its bizarre premise and become a genuinely moving story of romance in the 21st century and how love, in an age where technology is becoming increasingly sentient, is truly what makes us human. It won the Oscar last year for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture. (Watch now on iTunes or Amazon)
The Spectacular Now
Current it-people Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller launched their careers in spectacular fashion (pun totally intended) with this independent romantic drama. This film tells what it's like to nearly be an adult and what it's like to be in love at that time with a true depiction, it's an excellent coming-of-age story from the of (500) Days Of Summer. However, it never received a UK cinema release after no distributor chose to show the film on this side of the pond. It finally became available on VOD recently though via Google Play.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour
A popular movie among critics, this BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated French romance charts the fifteen-year relationship between two young girls who fall for one another. The excellent thing is that this story stands out as a love store, the fact it's a homosexual relationship is irrelevant. It charts their relationship and challenges and the rocky waters that are going to ensue with a first love. (Watch now on Netflix, Amazon or iTunes)
Punch Drunk Love
Fate and destiny have always been key themes in romantic comedies (for instance, the sublime Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) but never have they been explored quite as uniquely as they have in Punch Drunk Love. An inexplicable car crash and an abandoned reed organ are the bizarre circumstances that bring the emotionally vulnerable salesman Barry Egan (Adam Sandler, on rare form) in touch with Lena (Emily Watson). What begins is a mind-boggling comedic romp that sees Barry navigate a frequent flyer mile scam, a gang of abusive sisters and a group henchmen hired by a phone sex line to be with the one he loves. It's an incredibly off-beat comedy from The Master and There Will Be Blood auteur Paul Thomas Anderson. It also boasts a cracking supporting turn from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Watch now on Amazon or iTunes)
Your Sister's Sister
Ah, the love triangle, a hallmark of the rom-com genre since its very inception. However, Your Sister's Sister puts a slightly different twist on it by making two points of the triangle sisters. The premise sees Jack, reeling from the death of his brother, take a retreat to his best friend Iris' cabin on her insistence. There, he meets Iris' sister Hannah and, not knowing Iris has a crush on him, proceeds to sleep with her. Awkward hilarities ensue with Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt at their very best. (Watch now on Amazon or iTunes)
Weekend might be one of the best romance stories of the last decade. Set over one weekend in which a one night stand turns into a meaningful, life-altering relationship for its protagonists Russell and Glen, the film is a brilliant heart-breaker about the immediate and lasting impact of finding someone you love. Andrew Haigh, who is now the showrunner of the HBO TV show Looking, shot the film on a low budget in Nottingham. (Watch now on iTunes)
Photo from Lionsgate Home Entertainment