20 Romantic Movies for a First Date

20 Romantic Movies for a First Date

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Looking for a love story that’ll help set the tone for you and your cinephile crush or equally filmy date? If you’ve made sure that there’s already a spark there that they wouldn’t mind pursuing, have a look at agoodmovietowatch’s picks for little-known but high-quality movies that’ll get you giddy and give you lots to talk about for hours after. Remember that no single film can ever lead you to a happily ever after unless you work for it, but if all you need for now is that little flutter at the beginning of a promising connection, these romances ought to give you the butterflies you’re looking for.

20. Twilight’s Kiss (2021)

7.7

Country

Hong Kong

Director

Ray Yeung

Actors

Ben Yuen, Tai Bo

Moods

Emotional, Lovely, Romantic

Two elderly gay men, Pak and Hoi, start a secret relationship during their twilight years. The catch: Pak is married and both are, well, old. Beneath their shared moments of tenderness, there is an undercurrent that the romance is ultimately futile, their remaining years too short to start life anew. Yet at the same time, director Ray Yeung uses the protagonists’ old age as justification for their love affair. Having dedicated their entire lives to their families and loved ones, romance is presented as a rewarding experience indicative of queer freedom, no matter how ill-fated or short-lived it might be.

19. Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

7.7

Country

Taiwan

Director

Kuang-Hui Liu, Liu Kuang-hui

Actors

Barry Qu, Cheng-Yang Wu, David Chiu, Edward Chen

Moods

Depressing, Emotional, Raw

Your Name Engraved Herein is a melancholy and emotional film set in 1987 just as martial law ends in Taiwan. The film explores the relationship between Jia-han and Birdy, two boys in a Catholic school who are in a romantic relationship. The movie tackles homophobia and social stigma in society which evokes a bleak and rather depressing atmosphere, emphasised by the movie’s earthy aesthetic. There is a rawness in the film’s narrative and dialogue, topped off by the lead actors’ successfully raw performances. Your Name Engraved Herein is tender as well as heartbreaking, occasionally depicting the joy of youth.

18. Say Anything… (1989)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Cameron Crowe

Actors

Amy Brooks, Bebe Neuwirth, Bill Stevenson, Chynna Phillips

Moods

Feel-Good, Heart-warming, Lighthearted

The ’80s saw an influx of coming-of-age dramas, with John Hughes’ “Brat Pack” films reigning supreme. For better or worse, their most iconic scenes are embedded in pop culture, like students dancing in detention in The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles’ belated birthday cake. Perhaps the most iconic ’80s movie moment comes not from Hughes, but from Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything…: Lloyd Dobler (John Cusak) in a trenchcoat, blue Malibu parked behind him, boombox raised over his head in defiant loyalty.

On their last day of high school, Lloyd Dobler resolves to ask out the class valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Their summer-long relationship is awkward, intense, tender—and familiar to anyone who has ever opened themselves up to falling in love. Say Anything… emotionally outclasses its contemporaries, as Crowe’s writing lends itself to two authentic characters fleshed out beyond caricatures. And as Lloyd crushes hard on Diane, it’s hard not to feel like you’re falling in love with each of them, too.

17. My Name Is Emily (2017)

7.8

Country

Ireland

Director

Simon Fitzmaurice

Actors

Ally Ni Chiarain, Barry McGovern, Cathy Belton, Declan Conlon

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, No-brainer

Emily (Evanna Lynch), a strange, unique girl does not receive the long awaited letter from her father on her birthday. Sick of worrying, she decides to break away from home to visit him in the psychiatric institution where he stays. The plan requires the help of Arden (George Webster), a boy from school who is ready to drop everything and accompany her on a journey that quickly becomes as adventurous as it is heartfelt. In this film, director Simon Fitzmaurice take will take you on a trip through the beautiful Irish landscape to find nothing else but simple and true love.

16. Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

7.9

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Director

Mike Leigh

Actors

Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Caroline Martin, Eddie Marsan

Moods

Feel-Good, Heart-warming, Lighthearted

Happy-Go-Lucky is a Mike Leigh feel-good movie tells the story of Poppy, a North London teacher, whose story we follow through a number of different situations: driving lessons, solving work issues, having fun with friends, all while trying not to lose her optimism. The acting is superb, Sally Hawkins is a gem as Poppy, and one cannot describe it, one simply has to see it and enjoy it, because it leaves you smiling 🙂

15. Strictly Ballroom (1992)

best

8.0

Country

Australia, UK, United States of America

Director

Baz Luhrmann, Baz Lurhman

Actors

Antonio Vargas, Armonia Benedito, Barry Otto, Bill Hunter

Moods

Heart-warming, Romantic, Sweet

Strictly Ballroom is an energetic, fun and hilarious movie. Baz Lurhman does an incredible job telling the story of a rebellious young dancer who just wants to dance his own steps in the face of conformity. When he finds an inexperienced yet determined dance partner it’s the beginning of an unexpected love story like no other. This movie isn’t like the usual rom-com, it has colour, vitality and passion. It’s a Moulin Rouge but with even more character, and the work that put Lurhman on the map for everyone.

14. Begin Again (2013)

best

8.0

Country

United States of America

Director

John Carney

Actors

Adam Levine, Andrew Sellon, Aya Cash, Catherine Keener

Moods

A-list actors, Easy, Feel-Good

John Carney, who directed the critically and commercially successful Once, may be the world’s best captor of charm. Begin Again tells the story of a broken-hearted singer who gets discovered by a failed showbiz executive. Their ideas and love for music are all they have to face their failures and bring their creativity to life. The original songs are charming and from Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo to Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Adam Levine, and Cee-Lo Green, the cast generate sparkling chemistry and portray the story beautifully. Begin again is a sweet and effortless watch, yet far from being your classic rom-com.

13. Columbus (2017)

best

8.1

Country

United States of America

Director

Kogonada

Actors

Alphaeus Green, Jr., Caitlin Ewald, Erin Allegretti, Haley Lu Richardson

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Romantic

What goes well with a love story? Creative architecture. Columbus the movie is such a great and genuine exploration of this idea, filmed in Columbus the city – a weird experimental hub for architecture that actually exists in real life! After his architect father goes into a coma, Jin (John Cho), a Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus without a foreseeable end. In Korean tradition when a parent dies, the son should be in the same place physically otherwise they can’t mourn. While waiting to see what will happen to his father he meets Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), an aspiring architect herself, who’s also stuck in Columbus because of her mother. This is a beautiful movie with real-life issues and situations, to be especially appreciated by viewers who don’t mind a slow narrative in exchange for a meticulously-crafted movie.

12. Ruby Sparks (2012)

best

8.1

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Jonathan Dayton

Actors

Aasif Mandvi, Alia Shawkat, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas

Moods

Romantic, Smart, Well-acted

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano), a young and promising novelist imagines and writes about his idea of a perfect female companion. Somehow, his words manifest into reality – the beautiful and corky Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). Soon, however, his magical love turns shallow as his creation begins to think for herself and wrestle against her creation. This romantic comedy has the right amount of wit and emotion with a deep message of loving people just the way they are.

11. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

best

8.2

Country

France

Director

Céline Sciamma, Céline Sciamma

Actors

Adèle Haenel, Adèle Haenel, Armande Boulanger, Christel Baras

Moods

Heart-warming, Romantic, Well-acted

This unique romance is set during a time when a man would be sent the painting of the woman he was to marry before the wedding could take place. Héloïse, secluded with her mother and a maid on a remote island, doesn’t approve of her upcoming wedding and refuses to be painted. Her mother sends for a new painter, Marianne, to try to paint her without her noticing. Marianne has to take on this near-impossible task when she starts having feelings for Héloïse. This makes for a riveting romance where Marianne has to choose between her heart and her art while keeping a huge secret from her love interest.

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