5 Best movies with an alternative take on relationships


Most Hollywood rom-coms have become ridiculously predictable and the usual girl working for Vogue and falling in love with a handsome doctor storyline is never far when a new romantic comedy is released each year by a major studio. However, every now and again, a gem can be found amongst these copycat movies, where the story of everyday people is shared and the normality of real-life relationships can be seen on the big-screen. Not only are these alternative takes on mainstream Hollywood rom-coms totally refreshing, but they may also make your relationship seem all the more normal and in some cases very relatable!

So to highlight some of the more relatable rom-coms (unless you do actually work for Vogue and have fallen in love with a handsome doctor/cowboy/craftsman), we’ve made a list of the best alternative takes on newly formed romance that will feed your guilty pleasure for rom-coms while also relating to your own everyday relationships!

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

500 Days of Summer relationship movie

The best thing about (500) Days Of Summer is that “this is not a love story”. This awesome movie follows the trials and tribulations of being in a failing relationship. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect casting for a story of cute beginnings blossoming into real-life relationship issues than with Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The duo have incredible on-screen chemistry and both are familiar with indie productions in the past, which makes for no surprise when you see how brilliantly the two stray from the typical ‘boy meets girl’ vibes that we always see in mainstream Hollywood rom-coms.

(500) Days Of Summer is unique in so many ways, between the layout of the movie jumping between timelines, to the character development, the audience gains a more authentic-feeling insight into the genuine struggles of relationships that are nearing the end. Although the movie still has the typical clichés that you would see in a mainstream Hollywood rom-com, the real takeaway from this alternative production is the breakdown of a relationship, and how it shines some normality on the fact that not all relationships last. I know this sounds a bit depressing, but it’s actually pretty refreshing and for that reason, I couldn’t recommend (500) Days Of Summer more!

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Revolutionary Road 2008

Revolutionary Road is one of the most incredible movies for insights into unhappy marriages and the process of how this can occur in a relationship. The movie is incredibly powerful as it illustrates the overwhelming strain that everyday life can have on a couple. As Frank (Leonardo Di Caprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) swear to never conform to a life of convention, they find themselves breaking this promise when their life doesn’t turn out as planned – with April turning to a thankless life of a housewife and Frank joins a career he never wanted. This movie shines a light on what life may have been like for couples during the 1950s when societal gender roles and responsibilities take a toll on households of this era.

We already know from Titanic that Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet have amazing on-screen chemistry. However, Revolutionary Road shows audiences that this duo can create the complete opposite, with amazing power and realness. Not only does this movie resonate with anyone who has ever had a failed relationship or people who yearn for a more exciting life, it also illustrates the pressure that society can have on people, especially in the 1950s – where appearance and social class were everything.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Blue Is the Warmest Colour Lesbian relationship

If you’re looking for a genuine coming-of-age story, filled with real emotion, then you seriously need to watch Blue Is The Warmest Color. This French independent movie is an incredibly powerful display of what real love looks like as a youthful lesbian couple and for this reason, Blue Is The Warmest Color is equally important for internationally breaking down barriers and stigmas for the LGBTQ+ community. Lesbian sexuality is one of the most powerful themes in this movie, as it explores teenage identity and orientation, which audiences rarely see in mainstream Hollywood romances. If you’re looking for a movie that is more than just ‘boy meets girl’ in a fantasy romance setting, then you need to watch Blue Is The Warmest Color. Not only does this awesome movie tackle issues of social class and sexual orientation, this indie provides a platform for normalizing love and heartbreak on every level.

This movie is incredible and the actresses are some of the best you’ll ever see on the big-screen. With huge international success and just a budget of €4 Million, this amazing movie raked in more than $19.5 Million at the Box Office. Blue Is The Warmest Color received the Palme d’Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Golden Globes.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain gay love story

Pretty much everyone has heard of Brokeback Mountain, and although there’s a few reasons, one of the most controversial was the fact that this movie featured two gay characters as the premise for the story. Although Brokeback Mountain starred two incredibly popular mainstream Hollywood actors of the time, the movie’s premise was so taboo for the era. However, upon its release Brokeback Mountain accumulated nearly $180 Million at the Box Office, making it one of the most successful movies of the year in 2005.

If you’re not familiar with the story, Brokeback Mountain follows the lives of two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) as they fall in love while travelling together in 1963. This journey is both as physical a trek as it is an emotional ride of sexual identity and genuine love. Not only was the movie taboo for 2005, but as it is set in the 1960s, we see what life was like for homosexual men during this era.

Brokeback Mountain is not only a fantastic story, but it was one of the most quintessential movements for th progression of homosexual orientation in mainstream Hollywood cinema. To this day, there still hasn’t been another movie as large that has been released in Hollywood featuring two gay characters as the premise. For this reason, Brokeback Mountain remains pivotal for the representation and integration of queer cinema in Hollywood.

Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine realistic love story

Blue Valentine is an awesome movie that shines a strong light on the struggles of real-life relationships. Although the movie has a stellar cast, this Hollywood production is far from the usual mainstream rom-com layout. The movie follows the story of a married couple Cynthia (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) from the beginning of their blossoming love to the end of the tragically failing marriage years later.

Blue Valentine provides an insight into the genuine struggles that married couples tackle on a daily basis as well as taboo themes of abortion and emotional hardships that you don’t normally seen in mainstream Hollywood romances. Blue Valentine is the ultimate movie to watch if you’re looking for something more ‘real’ than the typical happily ever after scenario.

Written By


I've always had a deep love and fascination for movies, being an especially strong advocate for the weird, foreign, underrated, under-budgeted and unfairly NC17 rated films of our world. Cinesister is the embodiment of this passion (which some might call an obsession).

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