This story could have been entitled, “Love in the age of Covid-19: confessions of an asymptomatic hopeless romantic”. And the focus could have been about the struggle lonely people are having these days.
But it’s mostly about Love Stories in inspiring films; otherwise known as “feel-good movies”. Perhaps it’s also intended to get you in the mood for Love in defiance of the pandemic.
Let’s face it. 2020 really knocked the wind out of most people. Dating as a means to meet potential romantic partners screeched to a halt back in March due to the COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) pandemic.
We’ve been told to stay home and shelter in place all year.
Bars and restaurants are closed or reduced to take-out only.
To make matters worse for singles, we’ve all started wearing masks for those rare moments we step out of our homes.
And since early 2020, we’ve been staying at least 6-feet from each other — cutting off any chance of making new friends or finding love.
Yes, as far as single and looking people are concerned…
These are the Dark Ages.
If you’re here just for the list of movies, you can skip to the end. But you’ll miss some of the good stuff.
Seductively, in strolls Streaming Video On-Demand (VoD)
Some folks — forced to stay home — resorted to streaming movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even Disney+. Tens of millions of people to be exact!
Hopeless romantics like me, and some newly paired couples, binge-watched all the heartfelt ROM-COMS and touching films available during our pandemic downtime.
As a result, I predict an uncommonly high number of births in December and January. But that’s another story.
These are Historic Times of Disconnection & Separation
The topic of Romance during a global catastrophe is so important there’s already an international study on the subject.
“The Love in the Time of COVID project was born out of the need to understand the experiences and challenges that individuals and couples are facing during and because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From social isolation due to quarantine, to changes in work environments, to the closing of public spaces, the COVID-19 outbreak is profoundly impacting our close relationships around the world in unprecedented ways in modern history. It will impact us in ways we don’t yet fully understand.”
— Love in the Time of Covid (website)
These streaming services met a need for a large percentage of people who suddenly had time on their hands and needed an outlet. Some just needed to cry a little. Most are now longing for some kind of human connection.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Life seems difficult to describe without some kind of spiritual meaning. And we all know to have meaning is to Love something, as in a “meaningful relationship”.
Yet here we are trapped in our homes weary of strangers who might be shedding the virus. It’s a real concern so most of us are putting off any real search for romance until after the pandemic subsides.
The hope that one day liberty will return and we will be able to go forth — to pursue happiness — and be vulnerable to Love once again is carrying us through this. You know what they say, “good things are worth the wait”.
You can’t really ask someone out for dinner these days. While many restaurants will try to be open during the winter, that still doesn’t mean meeting up with strangers is going to be simple. Many restaurants will offer outdoor dining, but as winter sets in, that seems risky.
The new trend is social-distanced dates. But that too has it’s challenges.
For now, it’s best to keep yourself busy and wait for the pandemic to subside before returning to in-person dating of people outside your safe bubble.
In the meantime, I developed this list of romantic movies that each tell inspiring love stories.
The Criteria to make the list of Movies that Inspire Love
Love can appear in the small gestures that have great meaning. Film makers know this. To make the list I had to experience the small acts of kindness and love that brought tears to my eyes.
Like the unforgettable moment in “Braveheart” when Wallace returns the thistle Murron gave to him decades earlier when they were both just children. She realizes that he has kept that thistle close to his heart ever since she gave it to him more than a decade earlier. That kind of everlasting love and endearing sentiment touches us emotionally.
I had that “ugly cry” look often during the few days I watched and re-watched all these movies [yes, real men cry]. You can imagine the copious amounts of tissue I went through doing research for this sob story.
But what does a 3-time divorcee know about love or romance? Let’s just say I have a lot of experience with heartbreak and affairs of the heart.
In the movie, Forrest Gump, Forest says, “I’m not a smart man. But I know what love is.” Forrest Gump after all is a movie about Love and Romance.
I’ve let my heart be vulnerable more times than I can count. And I’ve felt the pain of falling in and out of relationships. I’m not afraid to admit I have feelings. It may not be smart to open your heart to love, but that’s a for sure way to learn what love is.
Listen, you don’t have to trust me. Critics agree — these movies are well-respected and timeless love stories that people around the world fell in love with. And you will too.
That’s why I created this list of movies that have some element of extraordinary romance or some emotive example of love that satisfies the longing we have for meaningful connection.
Without further ado…
The Top 10 Love Stories you can Especially Enjoy During a Pandemic (and be Inspired to Find Love)
These movies make the cut, but they’re not in any order despite that they’re numbered. You will have to be the judge in how you might rank them because each has their own unique surprise and warm feelings for different people.
Once is a remarkable hidden gem of a Love Story that’ll find it’s way into your heart as it did mine. It’s also a sweet and gentle award-winning movie that’ll get you right in the feels. It asks the question, “How often do you find the right person?” And the answer is, Once. This is a must-see film.
2. Lost in Translation
For me this is an especially tender kind of Love Story. The film presents a unique perspective on what it means to be lonely and alone in very crowded city in a foreign country. The desperate need of human connection is on display in this movie. And how delightful it is to find a soulmate unexpectedly. But circumstances don’t always permit love to flourish forever. Lost in Translation is about ignoring traditional stereotypes and letting go of societal norms in order to find Love and companionship.
3. Love Actually
This is a Love Story from the perspective of several somewhat connected people from diverse backgrounds on course for finding romance in this often humiliating Love story. The mushy-sweet and awkward kind of humiliation, actually. You’ll add this one to your Holiday regulars list.
4. Notting Hill
This movie is one of my go-to annual holiday picks, much like Love Actually. It’s the softhearted and sappy nature of the film that makes it easy to cozy up to. The casting of Hugh Grant and his endearing self-doubt makes for a great story. This movie has elements of Four Weddings and a Funeral, but it makes a strong case for being a fairly believable fairytale Love Story in the end.
5. Silver Linings Playbook
This anxious Love Story elevates the idea that Love conquers all. It’s hard to imagine these two falling in Love with all the difficulties they both face, and yet the magic happens. Although the movie has some anxiety-producing and often tearful scenes, it shines as a testament that Love is boundless.
6. The Hundred-Foot Journey
This dreamy multi-layer, culturally rich film is more than just a Love Story. It’s about people, language, music, culture, food, sublimity, and preconception. In the end it’s about prioritizing what and whom you Love in your life.
7. True Romance
Most people wouldn’t expect to find a Quentin Tarantino-penned script on a list of most romantic movies list. But here we are! This racy, somewhat violent, and often awkward fast-paced love story is full of surprises for everyone. Like reality, this version of romance is unique and has a life of its own — it’s all in the title after all.
Chocolat is a whimsical fairytale kind of Love Story that’s magically delicious. It’s Disney-esque feel doesn’t take away from the warm feeling you’ll have watching this film. It’s many layers are certain to chisel away at even the most stubborn unromantic types. This is definitely a hot chocolate on a rainy day kind of movie.
Serendipity presents the age-old question, do you believe in fate? Would you risk the rare, singular opportunity of love take a chance that lightning might strike twice in the same place? Falling in Love and then losing touch for long periods of time makes for a great Love Story.
This movie presents what might happen if you dare in the same way that One Day (on the list below), Before Sunrise and Same Time Next Year spans the test of time.
For me this is a true Love Story that creeps up on you. It starts off like any awkward road trip comedy with contrasting characters who adventure and get sidetracked along the way. But for two of the main characters Love finds a way. This movie might just make it into your heart as well.
11. One Day (The Bonus Movie)
I had to throw in another love story. One Day, much like Serendipity above, is another timeless love story filled with missteps, make ups, and missed opportunities. One Day takes us on the long journey of timeless Love, through sadness, happiness, and the uncertainty of life.
Movies that made the “honorable mentions” list (not in any order):
These are all incredible love stories that you should check out for yourself.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Before Sunrise Trilogy
Midnight in Paris
Nights in Rodanthe
Under the Tuscan Sun
Tell me which film was your favorite, or which romantic movies did I miss in the comments.
After the Pandemic is Gone
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness amid a global pandemic, economic collapse, and the extraordinarily challenging year we’ve gone through is incredibly difficult.
But once we’re free to roam about and mingle once again, it’ll be worth the wait. Love is worth it. Be inspired and put yourself out there.
In the meantime, enjoy a few movies that might just touch your heart and give you something to look forward to.