Top 10 Unconventional Romantic Movies (post the 90s)

Who does not love a good, mushy romance? But there comes a time when the usual rom-com is just not enough; when you need something more gripping, something with more depth and soul. If you are looking for a story that has more heart, then the below list should have you covered.

1. Benny and Joon (1993)

Cast : Johnny DeppMary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn

Director : Jeremiah S. Chechik

This is Johnny Depp minus all the crazy wigs and outlandish costumes and Mary Stuart Masterson showing what made her the ideal female lead in most movies of this genre in the late 80s. The story revolves around Benjamin “Benny” Pearl (Aidan Quinn)  and his mentally ill sister Juniper “Joon” Pearl (Mary Stuart Masterson), whose lives are turned topsy-turvy when a strange eccentric man named Sam (Johnny Depp) comes to live with them.

Best Scene : Johnny Depp channeling his inner Buster Keaton in the bread roll dance at the diner.


2. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Cast : Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton,Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin

Director :  Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch is an ace when it comes to depicting even the most bizarre situations in a way that makes you feel – ‘hmm, this might actually happen!’ This movie is no exception. It is the story of centuries-old vampire lovers Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), going through pangs of longing for each other as they try to go about their lives and challenges of getting the ‘good stuff’ for survival. Will the entry of Eve’s temperamental sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) destroy the fragile thread that holds Adam and Eve together?

Best Scene : When Eve tries to cheer up Adam and they both dance to Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love


3. On The Edge (2001)

Cast :  Cillian Murphy, Tricia Vessey, Jonathan Jackson andStephen Rea

Director :  John Carney

This less known gem is one of Cillian Murphy’s first forays as a leading man. The story is about  Jonathan Breech (Cillian Murphy) and the time he spends at a psychiatric hospital in Dublin. He meets Rachel (Tricia Vessey) and together they can be self-destructive or each other’s anchor. What will it be?

Best Scene: When Jonathan drives his car off a cliff. The look on his face will give you chills!


4. Sightseers (2012)

Cast : Alice Lowe ,Steve Oram

Director : Ben Wheatley

Don’t all of us want someone who is just as crazy as us? Even if it is a penchant for killing! This dark comedy chronicles the caravan trip of a seemingly average couple – Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe).  The trip brings them closer as they gradually discover each other’s inner demons.

Best Scene: The final scene is truly engaging!


5. Candy (2006)

Cast : Heath Ledger, Abbie CornishGeoffrey Rush

Director : Neil Armfield

An adaptation of  Luke Davies‘s novel Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction, this Australian drama revolves around heroin addicts Dan (Heath Ledger) and Candy (Abbie Cornish) who love each other as much as their daily fix. However, circumstances force them to rethink their gradual descent towards self-destruction.

Best Scene: The opening sequence in the spinning amusement park ride perfectly captures the metaphor of the film.


6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind (2004)

Cast:  Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst,Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood ,Tom Wilkinson

Director:Michel Gondry

If you haven’t heard of this one then you have truly been living under a rock! This sci-fi romance is about an estranged couple Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) who have erased each other from their memories. However, over time they are drawn to each other once more. Though the plot seems outlandish, the acting and the execution that runs like a gripping thriller is enough to keep you engaged.

Best Scene: Joel’s memory erasing sequence is both heartbreaking and funny at the same time.


7. Her (2013)

Cast : Joaquin PhoenixScarlett Johansson,Amy Adams, Rooney MaraOlivia Wilde

Director : Spike Jonze

In the not so distant future, there is Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a depressed and lonely man who gets involved in  a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the operating system of his phone personified through a female voice. The film depicts many issues like depression, loneliness and man’s increasing dependency on technology.

Best Scene: The book monolog scene will leave you teary eyed.


8. Perfect Sense (2011)

Cast :  Eva GreenEwan McGregor

Director : David Mackenzie

The film follows a budding romance between a chef Michael (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist Susan (Eva Green) when an epidemic begins to spread throughout the world and humankind begins to lose all their sensory perceptions one by one. They find love and comfort in each other as the world slowly dips into chaos.

Best Scene: The ‘make me special’ sequence where the couple tells each other their deepest secrets.


9. The Lobster (2015)

Cast : Colin Farrell, Rachel WeiszLéa Seydoux

Director : Yorgos Lanthimos

This futuristic drama tells a love story set in a city where single people are given 45 days to find a partner before they are turned into an animal. David (Colin Farelle) escapes the system and starts a forbidden romance with a short-sighted woman (Rachel Weisz). Colin Farelle is a revelation in this one..Not to be missed!

Best Scene: The final scene.


10. Never Let Me Go (2010)

Cast : Carey Mulligan, Keira KnightleyAndrew Garfield

Director : Mark Romanek

Based on  Kazuo Ishiguro‘s  2005 novel of the same name, this film is about a love triangle that develops between three friends,  Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) who meet at a boarding school called Hailsham. Together, they experience adolescence and adulthood in a grim world,all the while wary of their doomed fate.

Best Scene: When Kathy and Tommy confront Madame (Nathalie Richard)


So how do you like my list? What is the best not-so-sappy romantic movie that you have watched? Leave a comment!