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‘Romance movies’ that aren’t romance movies to watch this Valentine’s Day

Asst. Entertainment Editor Chloe Southard has put together a list of unconventional "romance" films for you to enjoy this Valentine's Day.
Asst. Entertainment Editor Chloe Southard has put together a list of unconventional "romance" films for you to enjoy this Valentine's Day.

Are you lonely this Valentine’s Day? Do you need a movie to watch with your date, but you’re sick and tired of cliche, corny romance films?

Look no further — I have just the solution for you.

Maybe I have a problem, but I find myself analyzing potential romantic relationships in films that technically don’t fall under the romance genre. So, I present to you my list of “romance movies that aren’t technically supposed to be romantic movies.” Enjoy them without the feeling of being completely cheesed out.

‘Girl, Interrupted' (1999)

I know — what a way to start this list. “Girl, Interrupted” follows Susanna (Winona Ryder) as she spends a year at Claymoore, a psychiatric hospital for women. There, she meets a unique cast of characters, including Lisa (Angelina Jolie), a diagnosed sociopath.

The two become quite close during Susanna’s time at Claymoore, and all I have to say is that Lisa’s fascination with Susanna feels like much more than a friendship.

‘Babylon’ (2022)

“Babylon” is like an unhinged, chaotic version of “Singin’ in the Rain.” It spans over the transition from silent films to talkies, and the central characters, all of whom are involved with the film industry, must adjust to the change.

The relationship between Nellie (Margot Robbie) and Manny (Diego Calva) is where most of the romance falls, but there are some other interesting pairings as well.

‘Saltburn’ (2023)

If you were on the internet in November, chances are you heard all about “Saltburn.” A comedic thriller, the film follows Oliver (Barry Keoghan) as he befriends a rich, young man named Felix (Jacob Elordi) and spends a summer at his family’s estate. What ensues is a strange, twisted tale.

There’s an undeniable romance between Oliver and Felix, which, on the surface, appears to be the driving force behind Oliver’s actions — though his intentions are much more malevolent.

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‘Mayday’ (2021)

An underrated film in the Mia Goth Cinematic Universe (MGCU), “Mayday” finds Ana (Grace Van Patten) in a dreamlike world in which an army of girls is fighting a never ending war against men. In this strange world, she’s greeted by Marsha (Goth), the ringleader of the girls. Immediately, Marsha appears to be taken with Ana as she acts as her guide, training her to become a sharpshooter.

Marsha becomes borderline possessive over Ana, which leads me to believe that she sees Ana as much more than a fellow combatwoman.

‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (1988)

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, this eccentric Spanish black comedy’s plot revolves around the failed romance between Pepa (Carmen Maura) and her cheating boyfriend. Through a chaotic series of events, a memorable cast of characters joins Pepa over the span of 48 tumultuous hours.

While the film itself is about a romance gone sour, Candela (María Barranco) and Carlos (Antonio Banderas) find themselves interested in one another during the havoc that ensues.

‘Marrowbone’ (2017)

A psychological thriller, “Marrowbone” tells the story of a group of English siblings that have fled to Maine with their mother to escape their deranged father. Once their mother dies, Jack (George MacKay) must do whatever he can to keep his family together. As the film progresses, more dark and grim twists are revealed.

Jack strikes up a romance with a local girl named Allie (Anna Taylor-Joy). While this isn’t at the forefront of the film, their relationship is endearing, and it becomes quite emotional toward the end.

‘Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood’ (2019)

OK, hear me out on this one. “Once Upon a Time” follows failing actor, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double/best bro, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) as Rick tries to salvage his career. The film dramatizes and puts a twist on the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders conducted by the Manson Family in 1969.

There is an undeniable homoeroticism between Rick and Cliff, and while both are canonically heterosexual, there is certainly a queer subtext between the two. I mean, Cliff is literally referred to as “a little less than a wife” to Rick.

‘Best in Show’ (2000)

You’d think “Best in Show” wouldn’t have a place for romance as a hilarious mockumentary that follows a ragtag group of dog handlers preparing for the prestigious Mayflower Dog Show. But you’d be wrong.

There are three couples at the center of the film, but my favorite is Cookie Fleck (Catherine O’Hara) and her husband Gerry (Eugene Levy). There’s also an another pairing revealed toward the end of the film — let’s just say you’ll never see Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Lynch play poodle-handling, lesbian lovers in any other movie.

Whether you enjoy these films alone or with a Valentine, you’ll be unable to deny the romance that permeates through them.