Cover LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, Ryan Gosling, 2007. ©MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Netflix and chill? Love takes all shapes and forms this Valentine’s Day with our list of unorthodox movie romances.

The hashtag #LoveWins has become nothing short of a global phenomenon. But while its use was first popularised around the middle of 2015, artists on the silver screen have been exploring these themes before and after then. As the day of hearts approaches, and the entire world prepares to celebrate love, Philippine Tatler pays homage to love in all its forms. Because as frustrating as it is to be caught off guard by Cupid’s arrow, no one can deny that love — all kinds — feels lovely (even if it is portrayed through a screen). 

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Arguably one of the most well-known romantic dramas from 2017, “Call Me By Your Name” transports its viewers to 1983 rural Italy. A love story between Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), Luca Guadagnino’s film adaptation of this bestselling novel has been hailed as one of highlights of 2017 cinema, having won multiple awards for acting, screenplay, and cinematography. It takes on taboos of same-sex relationships, exploring relatable themes not just about sexuality, but about family dynamics and the confusing twists and turns of growing up. Throw in a scorching hot summer, a tension-filled love triangle, the beautiful dirt roads of Italy, and you’ve got the perfect romance movie to watch on Valentine’s Day (or even during the summer!).

The Shape of Water (2017)

For those looking for a thrill this Valentine’s Day, we recommend Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water”, a dark fantasy film that tells of the love between deaf-mute Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) and an amphibian man (Doug Jones) found in the waters of South America. A story of international intrigue, “The Shape of Water” is set at a secret government laboratory in the United States during the height of its Cold War with Russia. Through the elements of magic realism, “The Shape of Water” helps its viewers understand the fluidity of love, while transporting them into a completely new world where anything is possible. 

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Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

Selena Gomez and Paul Rudd star in one of Netflix’s most inspiring releases. Ben (Rudd) begins his story in the middle of a divorce, taking on a job as a caregiver to Trevor (Craig Roberts), an 18-year-old who suffers from muscular dystrophy. With the reluctant permission of Trevor’s mother, the two take a roadtrip to see the World’s Deepest Pit and encounter Dot (Gomez) and Peaches (Megan Ferguson) on the way. Although not the most romantic in its literal sense, “The Fundamentals of Caring” touches on love as more than just sexuality. While Dot and Trevor do give us a taste of romantic feeling, the movie also sheds light on familial love — between Dot and her father, Trevor and his mother, and Peaches and her baby. Ultimately, the movie warms hearts through Ben and Trevor’s friendship, which is where it all begins. 

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Ryan Gosling stars in this heartwarming feature film as Lars Lindstrom, a painfully shy twentysomething whose story begins as he introduces his family to his new girlfriend, Bianca — who also happens to be a doll. “Lars and the Real Girl” portrays love as it is or as it can be — confusing, imperfect, but most of all, self-sacrificing. Through the understanding of Gus (Paul Schneider), Lars’ older brother, Margo (Kelli Garner), Lars’ coworker and eventual love interest, and the townspeople, viewers see Lars as he slowly heals from his past traumas in this heartwarming comedy-drama.

Warm Bodies (2013)

Half horror movie, half romantic comedy, “Warm Bodies” is one of those movies that’ll make you laugh and then make you think. Centred on a zombie-human relationship, “Warm Bodies” introduces us to R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer), who, after a zombie apocalypse, must bridge a seemingly impossible difference. The story begins as R falls for Julie and saves her from a zombie attack. In the ensuing scenes, R and Julie form a meaningful relationship, which in turn transforms R to being... almost human again. Enjoy this thrilling romance movie with friends this Valentine’s Day for a truly exciting night. 

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

If you’re looking for a quirky romance film, look no further than “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. Michael Cera portrays Scott Pilgrim, an awkward 22-year-old who falls in love with Ramona Flowers (Mary Winstead). While Ramona may seem typical,  her past continues to haunt her in the form of her seven evil exes whom Scott Pilgrim must defeat. Inspired by your classic superhero films, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is a fun, lighthearted rom-com flick that truly packs a punch. 

Seoul Mates (2014)

Much can be said about Filipino romance films, but trust that “Seoul Mates” is not like most. To start, the story centres on a Filipina transwoman and a gay Korean man, which in itself, poses a whirlwind of complications. Mimi Juareza acts alongside Jisoo Kim to bring these characters to life as they stumble through relationships, cultural stigmas, and their own sexuality. While the movie starts off on a serious note — with the two protagonists, Alice (Juareza) and Joon (Kim), about to jump off a bridge — it is able to balance drama with a bit of lightheartedness thanks to the actors’ grace, witty scriptwriting, and beautiful Seoul scenery. 


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