Happiness and heartbreak: A guide to romance movies

20th Century Fox

By Megan Evans, A&E Editor

Valentine’s Day is a special day when people take time to appreciate their loved ones a little more. These five romance movies are some of my personal favorites, and are perfect for getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit. Whether you have a special someone or not, these romance movies focus on more than just having a relationship; they focus on the importance of family, friendships and unconditional love. While some of these movies may make you shed a tear, they all contain heartwarming scenes and portray aspects of love and happiness.



‘‘The Notebook’’ (2004):


This movie is based on the book written by Nicholas Sparks. Viewers are taken through the lives of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun. Meeting at the age of 17, they had no idea how much their lives would change.

The movie switches back and forth from the present, where Noah and Allie live in a nursing home together, to the past, where the two are young and where the possibilities are endless. In her old age, Allie suffers from dementia. She barely remembers who her husband is, and in order to try to regain her memory, Noah reads her a book of their love story that Allie wrote herself.

Through Noah’s reading, viewers are able to see flashbacks of how the two met, how they separated, and how they found their way back to each other again.

This movie takes you back to the South in the 1940s, which makes the movie more engaging and interesting because viewers are able to see the attire, lifestyle and the way that people spoke during that time period. It’s also interesting to see how the idea of “love” is portrayed during that time.


‘‘The Last Song’’ (2010):


Ronnie Miller thought that her summer visiting her dad would be painfully awkward and pointless. Ever since her parents got a divorce, she never wanted to talk to her dad again.

Not being able to handle the uncomfortable stares and small talk from her father and mother, Ronnie decides to take a walk on the beach and is knocked to the ground by a muscular, brown hair, blue-eyed volleyball player — Will.

After meeting for the first time, the two seem to not be able to get away from each other. As their relationship flourishes, so does the relationship between Ronnie and her father.

However, good things always seem to come to an end, and Ronnie is faced with the darkest and most heartbreaking time of her life.

This movie takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. From hope and happiness to heartbreak and sympathy, a box of tissues is definitely an essential while watching.


‘‘The Longest Ride’’ (2015):


Sophia and Luke seem to be complete opposites. Sophia is a typical college girl. She’s part of a sorority, is focused on studying, and is working hard towards getting an internship in New York that involves her true passion: art. Luke, a country boy, is a professional bull rider who is trying to make his way up the rankings to become one of the best bull riders in the world.

One day, Sophia’s friends beg her to come with them to a bull-riding event. At first, Sophia is hesitant to go, not wanting to leave her studies. Little does she know, her decision completely changes her life.

Meeting Luke at the rodeo and then again at a bar afterwards, the two begin to fall for each other. Their first date, however, brings about a whole new change to their lives.

Driving back from their date down a dark, empty, road during a storm, they see something odd in the forest area below the street. A car is on fire. Rushing to see if anyone is inside of the car, they find an old man, barely conscious.

As Sophia calls 911, Luke helps the old man get out of the car. The man mutters something to Sophia — to grab a box that was still in his car. She quickly reaches for it and snatches it out of the car, right before the car erupts in flames.

The man is rushed to the hospital, and Sophia patiently waits, with the box in her hands, to see if he will be OK. She opens up the box, and finds a plethora of envelopes containing notes written to a woman named Ruth.

When Sophia is finally able to visit the man, he tells her that he hasn’t been able to read the notes in years, due to his poor eyesight. Sophia offers to come back and read the notes to him everyday. The letters contain an important story: the story of the old man, named Ira, and his wife Ruth.

As Sophia reads the letters, viewers are taken back to the past when Ruth and Ira were young. Viewers are able to witness the passionate, heart-rending, lively relationship of Ira and Ruth, along with witnessing Luke and Sophia’s relationship struggles and happy moments.

Just like “The Last Song”, watching this movie is likely to bring you to tears. Being able to see Ruth and Ira’s relationship along with Sophia and Luke’s takes viewers through two different stories, and two different lives of each couple.


‘‘13 Going on 30’’ (2004):


Jenna Rink is an awkward and pre-pubescent 13 year-old girl who desperately wants to fit in and be popular. She wants to hang out with the “Six Chicks,” the girls at her school who gather everyone’s attention. Everyone wants to be them. Most importantly though, Jenna wants to look like the women she sees in magazines. She wants to be 30.

For her 13th birthday, Jenna gets the popular girls at her school to come to her birthday party, along with Chris Grandy, a boy that all the girls want. Jenna’s best friend and next door neighbor, Matt Flamhaff, attends the party as well.

However, the party is far from fun. Eventually, the girls trick Jenna into staying in her basement closet, thinking that she’s going to play “7 Minutes in Heaven” with Chris Grandy. While Jenna is waiting in the closet, everyone leaves except for Matt. Jenna then realizes what has happened, and blames Matt for everything.

She starts crying and makes a wish. Little did she know her wish was magic. She wishes she was “thirty, flirty, and thriving” and everything changes.

Jenna wakes up in an apartment in New York. Calling for her parents, she quickly realizes that things are different. She’s older. She has her own apartment. There’s a strange man in her bathroom.

Amid all of this confusion and stress, Jenna rushes outside to find a car waiting for her. A woman named Lucy is waiting, beckoning for her to get in the car. Jenna soon realizes that this is her best friend, and they both work as editors for Poise magazine, a reputable fashion magazine, just like the ones she used to read when she was 13.

Jenna finds out that she has gotten everything that she had ever dreamed of. She was popular in high school — she went to prom with Chris Grandy, and even became the leader of the popular group. She also got the job of her dreams. But one thing was missing — Matt.

Jenna finds Matt, and he tells her that they stopped being best friends in high school. Ever since  her birthday party, she never spoke to him again. Jenna begins to realize that the person that she is now is not who she wants to be.

Trying to figure out her place in her life, she attends exclusive parties, meets new people, forms close bonds and tries to rekindle her friendship with Matt, which may be turning into love. Although this movie isn’t all about romance (it’s also a comedy), it teaches you about staying true to yourself, and that trying to be popular or fit in doesn’t always work out. Being yourself and sticking with the people who care about you is worth so much more.


‘’To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’’ (2018):


Five love letters. Five boys. For as long as she can remember, Lara Jean has been hiding her five letters.

Based off of a best-selling young adult novel by Jenny Han, this movie was an instant hit when it was released on Netflix in August.

Every time she has fallen in love with a boy, she has written a love letter to him, complete with an addressed envelope. Having never sent them, and never planning to, Lara remains nonchalant, living life worry-free.

But one day, her younger sister Kitty finds her secret letters, and mails them to every single boy: Peter, Lucas, Josh, John and Kenny.

Lara is mortified, mostly because one of the letters that she wrote was sent to her older sister Margo’s ex-boyfriend, Josh.

Lara knows that she can’t face Josh after what has happened, and she knows that if Margo found out that she was in love with Josh, she would be devastated. To make sure that Margo never knows, Lara Jean comes up with a plan.

She makes a pact with Peter Kavinsky, another boy who received one of her letters. He agrees to pretend to be in a relationship with her, because he wants to make his ex jealous. The two make a contract stating the rules of their fake relationship.

During their time together, Lara Jean comes out of her shell and discovers who she really is. She is no longer shy and self-conscious. Realizing that Peter brings out the best in her, she begins to fall in love, and Peter falls even harder.

Although this movie is essentially one big high school romantic-comedy cliché, complete with an angsty best friend and popular, athletic male love interest, It’s a super sweet feel-good movie and it’s so good you’ll forget all about the clichés.

New Line Cinema
Touchstone Pictures
20th Century Fox
Revolution Studios
Awesomeness Films