Top 5 Most Underrated Romantic Movies

I am a sucker for romance. But unlike most women I know, I am not that into sappy romcoms. So, no P.S. I love you or Katherine Heigl movies for me (god bless Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl though). 

What I really love watching are movies that are about regular people like me. Plain Janes and Regular Harrys who may not necessarily be the most ridiculously good looking people around. In my quest to find movies that are about simple/believable/feel good romances, I have stumbled upon quite a few gems that most of my friends at least had not heard about earlier. If you too enjoy watching a nice little movie that fills your heart with joy, here is a list of 5 really romantic movies that you may/may not have seen.

1. Signs (2008)

I have this theory that after you cross your 25th year and resign yourself to the office-home routine, you start taking an interest in office romances. Well, in my case at least this has been true. I love 500 days of summer and find all the characters very relatable. A movie in a similar vein is Signs. With a running time of just 12 minutes, Signs is one of those nice films that make you smile and look forward to a long day at work. In my case, a lousy Monday that didn’t promise to be too interesting.

The movie is about a lonesome guy caught in what many of us know as the monotonous work life. He has nothing to look forward to until a pretty girl comes along who works in an office next to him. To know how the story evolves, you need to catch this one.

P.S. According to many people who’ve watched this one, its plot is eerily similar to Disney’s Paperman. I haven’t caught that one so, not sure. Maybe you can tell if you’ve watched the latter.

2. Somewhere in Time (1980)

As much as I’d like to think I don’t like the too good to be true stories that require you to put logic on the backburner, there are some movies for which I am happy to make an exception. Somewhere in Time is one of them. A plot about self-hypnosis, time travel and eternal love that the protagonists arrive at in just one day, I started watching this movie with least expectations. For all I knew, I thought I’ll have a good laugh once it ended. Much to my surprise, I was just swept away.

Not only are the protagonists, Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, breathtakingly good looking, they are in real good form in this one. There is enough drama to keep you engaged and make you feel for its central characters.   

Cynics might (and have) pan the improbability of the plot, but I am happy to put that aside simply because the actors have this crackling chemistry that makes you root for them. The movie was a box office failure (not surprising) but more than 30 years of its release, it has achieved cult status. The International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts (INSITE) is the proof to gauge its impact on movie buffs. Do give this one a try, it’s certainly worth every second of your time.

 

3. The Painted Veil (2006)

I strongly believe this movie is the most underrated romantic flick of our times. Everything about it is just charming, the Chinese landscapes, Naomi Watts, background score and Edward Norton. Ah, Edward Norton! This guy is one of the best actors of our generation and this movie establishes that one more time. Based on Somerset Maugham’s short story of the same name, the Painted Veil is one of those movies that do not start out to make some sort of sweeping statement, yet manage to enthrall movie lovers like me.

The plot. A simple, good hearted doctor falls in love with this social butterfly who marries him simply to escape the monotony of her London life. They are so different from each other that marital troubles are written on the wall right from the word go. Once the good guy discovers his shallow wife is fooling around, he decides to teach her a lesson and the movie shifts to China.

Not spoiling the plot for you here. I was just awestruck by the beauty of this movie’s narrative. Characters are complex and situations extremely difficult. How the two people who are virtually at each other’s throats find love in these trying times forms the crux of the story.

I had to coax all my friends to watch this one and even the not-so-romantic ones found it brilliant. A must watch.

 

4. Splendor in the Grass (1961)

I was a bit confused while deciding if this one should feature in this list or not. To me Splendor in the Grass, is not just a romantic film with two good looking people. It is as much about the social mores of the early 20th century America, a class of classes and sexual emancipation. (More on it, some other day).

Now why does it then figure in this list? Simply because it builds a story about the many misconceptions about love. Let me put this into perspective. The story is about two teenagers, played by Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood who are in love (well at least they think they are). The boy comes from a wealthier family while the girl is dominated by a mother who sticks to the social codes of the day. As the story progresses, you realize why the idea of love is so confusing. It’s not a mushy romance, rather a pragmatic story that can appeal to you if you are a practical person like me.

 

5. Terms of endearment (1983)

Okay, I might be wrong but a lot of my friends have not watched this one and those who have feel it’s a touching story about a mother-daughter relationship. It is. But if you watch it closely, you won’t be able to miss the striking chemistry between Jack Nicholson and Shirely McLaine.

He is a womanizer, an alcoholic and simply irreverent while she is proud, uptight and not so easy going. You’d laugh every time the two come to face each other initially. But as the movie progresses, their relationship matures. It’s heartbreaking to see Aurora (McLaine) deal with the tragic death of her daughter. More than anything, I feel this movie makes you believe how different people can be just totally right for each other.

 

     So, what’s your pick?

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