Top 18 romantic movies (2016) - US/UK & Foreign romcoms



When it comes to romantic movies, the line between sentimental crap and gripping storytelling can be extremely thin. We tried to separate the wheat from the chaff for you.
The Vore's Film staff selects the top best romance movies of 2016 in cinema or on DVD or Netfix. Are Angelina Jolie, Joe Swanberg & Lee Toland Krieger our new romance genre directors?

One of the genres almost always requiring a suspension of good taste is the romantic film genre. Even great foreign romance films like French romantic classics, and most rom coms produced in Hollywood and the UK do not shy away from dreadful cliches or cheap sentiment. And then there are Sundance factory indie romantic films that attempt a level of sincerity but more often than not don’t hit home (The Spectacular Now is one of these films that carefully avoids rom com cliches but falls in the trap of typical indie sincerity cliches). Some films however, the films that will be discussed here, manage to give us fresh and playful reworkings of a genre that is both excruciating and enjoyable at the same time.


romance genre statistics

romance2016
Genre popularity
86%
Genre ranking#10 (List of most popular genres)
Familiar facesEmilia Clarke, Dakota Johnson & Brad Pitt
Trending moviesThe Age of Adaline, By the Sea & Nobody Wants the Night
Amount of genre films per year from 2010 to 2017

536 romance movies scheduled for release this year.

The classic romantic comedy is told to be dead. Looking at the statistics you might say the genre is growing, but it includes many movies that are for marketing purposes labeled as romantic, without actually having the traits of a real romance movie. Nonetheless, the typical genre films like 'You've got Mail' and 'When Harry met Sally' might be gone, but there is plenty more new stuff coming our way.

List of highest grossers of the decade & budget

TitleBox officeBudget
Bridesmaids (2011)169M32.5M
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)116M40M
Little Fockers (2010)148M100M
The Great Gatsby (2013)145M101M
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)$132M$21M
(Read: Who needs big budgets? 25 low budget success stories!)


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Best romance movies on Netflix or DVD in 2016

2010's best rated romance movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).

  1. Before Midnight (14-06-2013, 109 minutes)
  2. It won't come as a huge surprise that this film ended up on the list. For people in their thirties probably a film they can identify with very well. Before Midnight is the third in a series of films that have followed each other up with 9 years inbetween each. In this last one the couple is in their thirties, is married and they have children together. Nothing quite turned out as they expected, but even without the glamour and the adventurous lives, they have plenty to talk about. One of the best dialogue driven films out there. In 2014 Linklater is coming with a film about a boy who has filmed since he was a kid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euOJkb0U8vE
    StarringEthan Hawke, Julie Delpy & Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
    Director Richard Linklater (Before Sunset & Before Sunrise)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  3. Blue Is The Warmest Colour (19-10-2013, 179 minutes)
  4. The very best French film of 2013 and 2014, but also the best romantic film of the 10's. It is filled with lust, love, betrayal, but it is especially about what it means to grow up, experience love, and explore your sexuality. It is also a highly controversial film because of its explicit lesbian love scenes, and because of the alleged poor working conditions for the two beautiful French actresses. Nonetheless, it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and it is an essential must-watch film.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2OLRrocn3s
    StarringLéa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos & Salim Kechiouche
    DirectorAbdellatif Kechiche (Black Venus, The Secret of the Grain & Games of Love and Chance)
    CountryBelgium France
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  5. About Time (08-11-2013, 123 minutes)
  6. By all means the most conventional romantic comedy on the list, but it is one reinforcing the British domination of the romantic comedy genre. It ties in perfectly with all those hugely enjoyable (yet sappy) British films like Love Actually, Nothing Hill etc. It comes as no surprise that it is directed by UK romance king Richard Curtis. About time is a sweet film that made this list because it does not take itself too seriously. The premise of the film (a man can travel back in time and relive all the days of his life, and undo his mistakes) is ridiculous, and the characters fortunately feel the same way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7A810duHvw
    StarringDomhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams & Bill Nighy
    DirectorRichard Curtis (Love Actually, Bean & Notting Hill)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  7. Her (10-01-2014, 126 minutes)
  8. A film clearly missing Charlie Kaufman's touch, and giving us 100% Spike Jonze. This means less clever writing, less irony, and overall less enjoyment. BUT a way more romantic film. The film is sweet, sincere and a definite romance movie. Joaquin Phoenix does a great job at playing a sensitive sappy writer who is dating his Operating System. As you might have guessed, the film is set in the future where people can have actual relationships with an OS, including romantic ones. A sweet, but especially scare notion if you ask me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6p6MfLBxc
    StarringJoaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams & Scarlett Johansson
    DirectorSpike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich & Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  9. Drinking Buddies (25-07-2013, 90 minutes)
  10. For everyone who has heard of Mumblecore, but felt that these kind of films could be intolerable pretentious hipster crap, this is a good film to actually get introduced to the Mumblecore movement. It is Joe Swanberg's most commercial film thus far, and has a great cast. It is light, funny and opens your eyes to things in the most subtle way. It shows us the complexity of friendships and love relationships. One of my favorite films of 2013. New Girl's Jake Johnson stays close to his character, but also goes beyond being just the goofball.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxuxkQF7Bak
    StarringOlivia Wilde, Jake Johnson & Anna Kendrick
    DirectorJoe Swanberg (Happy Christmas, You're Next & V/H/S)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  11. U Ri Sunhi (12-09-2013, 88 minutes)
  12. The amount of Asian romantic comedies flooding the market yearly is incredible. Especially South-Korea and Japan have a huge production capacity when it comes to romance. Unfortunately most of these flicks are even worse and more shallow than Hollywood rom coms. Our Sunhi is a whole different story. It is a film by the magnificent auteur filmmaker Hong-Sang Soo about a twenty-something girl who finds calm love with an old professor but still has to face her violent past boyfriend.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hvoTyfZ5Pk
    StarringJae-yeong Jeong, Yu-mi Jeong & Sang Jung Kim
    DirectorSang-soo Hong (In Another Country, Woman on the Beach & Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors)
    CountryKorea South
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  13. Celeste & Jesse Forever (21-12-2012, 92 minutes)
  14. Already getting critical acclaim for his comedy The Vicious Kind with Adam Scott, director Lee Toland Krieger has now turned to romance. With Celeste and Jesse Forever he has made a terrifically delightful and honest film. For some odd reason the film has remained under most people's radar, while it has an incredible cast and great writing. If you are looking for a little feel-good film to lighten your mood, have a laugh, and actually learn somewhat of a lesson, then Celeste and Jesse Forever is your go-to film. In 2015 this director is returning with yet another more classic romance film about a woman in the 20th century who is rendered ageless after an accident.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQoH1IGRB3w
    StarringRashida Jones, Andy Samberg & Elijah Wood
    DirectorLee Toland Krieger (The Age of Adaline, The Vicious Kind & December Ends)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  15. Enough Said (11-10-2013, 93 minutes)
  16. An honest and charming little comedy starring James Gandolfini (The Sopranos) in one of his last roles. And he is great, you will see a whole different side to him. It shows us how difficult maintaining relationships can be and how special it is when you find someone you are simply comfortable with. Julia Dreyfuss finds the man of her dreams in this film, but makes a mess of things. She befriends his ex-wife, but fails to tell either of them that she knows their ex-partner, and that way finds out things about her new lover she was not supposed to know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCFO0KreAKQ
    StarringJulia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini & Catherine Keener
    DirectorNicole Holofcener (Friends with Money, Lovely and Amazing & Please Give)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  17. What If (15-08-2014, 98 minutes)
  18. What If might very well be the first proper effort Daniel Radcliffe made as an actor after the Harry Potter series (or at all, for that matter). In this nice little romcom he plays Wallace, a young Brit disappointed-by-love living in Toronto. At a party he walks into the perfect girl. They have a wonderful night, exchange phone numbers but… she has a boyfriend already. For better or worse, they start a platonic relationship. But what if they both had been single?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A86JGbBEaBk
    StarringDaniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan & Megan Park
    DirectorMichael Dowse (Fubar, Goon & It's All Gone Pete Tong)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  19. The One I Love (08-08-2014, 91 minutes)
  20. The One I Love is a pretty original take on a well-known theme; a couple is looking for ways to revitalize their relationship and decides to go on a well-deserved holiday in a luxurious resort. All is well at first, but things start to get stranger and stranger as they encounter each other’s idealized doppelgangers. Writer Justin Lader truly reinvents the worn-out genre by adding a weird sci-fi touch to it while confronting the viewer with hard questions about the sustainability of love and relationships.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCOvhojlZzQ
    StarringMark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss & Ted Danson
    Director Charlie McDowell (Bye Bye Benjamin & Fighting Jacob)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  21. The Fault In Our Stars (06-06-2014, 126 minutes)
  22. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss
    StarringShailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort & Nat Wolff
    Director Josh Boone (Stuck in Love, The Vampire Chronicles & Lisey's Story)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  23. Begin Again (11-07-2014, 104 minutes)
  24. Irish director John Carney returns to familiar grounds after the renowned Once (2006) with yet another musical romance drama, even though Begin Again tends slightly more towards comedy. Central in the story is a young aspiring British singer/songwriter (Knightley) trying to make ends meet in New York City after she broke up with her boyfriend. Just as her wells seems dried up, she meets a once important record producer (Ruffalo) who helps her launching a career. Begin Again works as a joyful celebration of the comforting capacity of music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTRCxOE7Xzc
    StarringKeira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo & Adam Levine
    Director John Carney (Once, On the Edge & Zonad)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  25. The Spectacular Now (13-09-2013, 95 minutes)
  26. Sure sure, I was badmouthing this film in the introduction, and I am sticking to my guns. But it cannot be denied that The Spectacular Now deserves a mention on a list like this. Many other websites are actually ranking it as the no. 1 film of 2013. And indeed, it has its enjoyable moments, and the overall tone of the film is not that bad, but the forced sincerity is too much too handle. It is always a dangerous balance to maintain, but when annoying insincere actors like Mike Teller are delivering the lines, the thin line is already crossed in the first few minutes. It is about the local party guy/clown who takes an interest in the invisible but genuine girl next door. It is good enough to go see. Chances are I am being to cynical.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDTBLSkUmYk
    StarringMiles Teller, Shailene Woodley & Kyle Chandler
    DirectorJames Ponsoldt (Smashed, Off the Black & The End of the Tour)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  27. Beyond The Lights (14-11-2014, 116 minutes)
  28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfcfZn8nq3w
    StarringGugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker & Minnie Driver
    DirectorGina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees, Love and Basketball & Disappearing Acts)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  29. The Lunchbox (20-09-2013, 104 minutes)
  30. I was going into this film with the worst of expectations. It may be noted that I am not the biggest fan of Bollywood cinema, or Indian cinema in general. And the trailer makes it seem like one of the most over the top Asian sentimental films of 2013. And sure it is sentimental, but the feel good factor and the surprising nuance make it into a pretty decent Indian romantic comedy. It is about a young housewife and an older men who communicate through letters in his lunchbox, a lunchbox that once was delivered to him by mistake.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwYN-XS92yY
    Starring Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur & Nawazuddin Siddiqui
    DirectorRitesh Batra (Café Regular, Cairo, Gareeb Nawaz's Taxi & The Morning Ritual)
    CountryIndia
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  31. Don John (27-09-2013, 90 minutes)
  32. There is no way that you have missed out on this one. The catchy trailer was everywhere. And the film itself also did not disappoint. The lesson to be learned was meager and a little bit too much forced upon the audience, but the film itself was funny, light and innovative. Moreover, it was long over due for a Hollywood film to address the topic of internet pornography, and it did so in a very fresh and recognizable manner. As the directorial debut of Joseph-Gordon Levitt, the film has set itself up to be a great start of his career besides acting. It wont achieve such romcom status as his 500 Days of Summer, but it is a great flick.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAhtdVdc3Y4
    Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson & Julianne Moore
    DirectorJoseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper, Inception & The Dark Knight Rises)
    CountryUnited States
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

  33. Gloria (31-10-2014, 110 minutes)
  34. Chilean cinema is great. 2013 was no exception, and Gloria was together with No the most talked about film from Chile. It is a touching story about a 58-year old woman in Santiago who after a divorce and with the children leaving the nest is seeking for true love. She thinks she has found the right guy, but it turns out to be a little more complicated. A very recognizable film with exceptionally well shaped characters. One of the better foreign romantic drama comedies out there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO52-rdTX-M
    StarringPaulina García, Sergio Hernández & Diego Fontecilla
    DirectorSebastián Lelio (Christmas, Fragmentos urbanos & La sagrada familia)
    CountryChile Spain
    Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

2017 releases

Tulip Fever (24-02-2017, 107 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omOWlPASLq4
StarringAlicia Vikander, Cara Delevingne & Judi Dench
DirectorJustin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl )
Themesart, infedility, love, historical, romance,
Keywordsbased on a novel, dazzling,

Battlecreek (01-02-2017, 97 minutes)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPsTXllUcs4
StarringBill Skarsgård, Paula Malcomson & Claire van der Boom
DirectorAlison Eastwood (Rails & Ties )
Themesillness, parenting, drama, romance,
Keywordspretty, touching,

New romance movies out now

Best recent & upcoming romance movies with release dates.

Maggie's Plan by Rebecca Miller

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbJ49IUyCcA
Release date20-05-2016
CountryUnited States
StarringGreta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke & Julianne Moore
Previous releasesThe Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Associated with comedy, drama, romance,

Me Before You by Thea Sharrock

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh993__rOxA
Release date03-06-2016
CountryUnited States
StarringEmilia Clarke, Jenna Coleman & Sam Claflin
Previous releasesThe Hollow Crown & Legacy
Associated with drama, romance,

How To Be Single by Christian Ditter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrDI4-BSovs
Release date12-02-2016
CountryUnited States
StarringDakota Johnson, Alison Brie & Rebel Wilson
Previous releasesLove, Rosie, The Crocodiles & Vicky and the Treasure of the Gods
Associated with comedy, romance,

Blackbird by Benedict Andrews

Release date2016
CountryUnited States
StarringRooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn & Indira Varma
Previous releasesNational Theatre Live: A Streetcar Named Desire
Associated with drama,

Nobody Wants the Night (05-02-2015, 118 minutes))

Starring French power house actress Juliette Binoche, this upcoming adventure/romance film tells the story of a determined woman looking for her missing husband, the famous Arctic explorer Robert Peary. As she embarks on a dangerous search party in the remote part of northern Canada, she meets a young Inuit who appears to be Peary’s secret lover. The common goal to find their beloved unites their faith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KJwXhVZddc
Director Isabel Coixet (Elegy, My Life Without Me & The Secret Life of Words)
Starring Juliette Binoche, Rinko Kikuchi & Gabriel Byrne
Similar moviesKumiko, the Treasure Hunter & The English Patient
Themeslove, nature, travelling, women, drama,
CountryBulgaria France Spain
Keywordsadventurous, biographical,
Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

By the Sea (13-11-2015, minutes))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUFZOO9zO0Q
Director Angelina Jolie (Maleficent, Salt & Mr. and Mrs. Smith)
Starring
Similar moviesCarol & Last Tango in Paris
Themesarts, love, travelling, writing, drama, romance,
CountryUnited States
Keywordsarty, historical,
Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

Digging for Fire (21-08-2015, 85 minutes))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9OgBzdzEsY
DirectorJoe Swanberg (You're Next, Happy Christmas & Drinking Buddies)
StarringJake Johnson, Rosemarie DeWitt & Orlando Bloom
Similar moviesThe Overnight & Queen of Earth
Themesinfedility, opportunities, relationships, drama,
CountryUnited States
Keywordscharming, entertaining, nice,
Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

Love in Khon Kaen (02-09-2015, 122 minutes))

The renowned Thai director who rose to international fame after winning the Golden Palm at Cannes for his intriguing film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives will return in 2015 with his first full length feature film in five years. According to Indiewire, the film is about a lonesome middle-age housewife tending a soldier with sleeping sickness who falls into a hallucination that triggers strange dreams, phantoms and romance. So besides romantic, expect it to be unconventional, to say the least.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw9t34jusSo
Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Syndromes and a Century, Blissfully Yours & Tropical Malady)
StarringJenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi & Jarinpattra Rueangram
Similar moviesAn & Loong Boonmee raleuk chat
Themesdreams, memories, military, drama,
CountryFrance United States
Keywordsabsurd, mystical, nonsensical,
Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix

The Age of Adaline (24-04-2015, 112 minutes))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UzSekc0LoQ
DirectorLee Toland Krieger (The Vicious Kind, December Ends & Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012))
StarringBlake Lively, Michiel Huisman & Harrison Ford
CountryUnited States
Buy/stream it Amazon / Netflix
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