Rom-drams. They’re a thing. Not quite as mainstream as their first cousin the rom-com, but a definitive movie genre nonetheless. When thinking about these types of films, I’ve realized that there’s even a solid romantic drama sub-genre: rom-drams with a twist.
In honor of the last movie on this list, which is new to the Box and Redbox On Demand today, here are some great picks if you’re into not-so-predictable love stories.
Her – In this utterly original and Oscar-winning rom-dram with a sci-fi twist, Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore, a lonely and awkward man who falls in love with the female voice (Scarlett Johansson) of his computer’s virtual assistant. Powered by artificial intelligence, the assistant — which names itself “Samantha” — is eager to learn and adapt and seems to truly have feelings for Theodore. But she might also be evolving enough to start having wants and needs of her own. It’s a fascinating meditation on love and the power of true human connection.
Ruby Sparks – This movie is similar to Her in that it has several fantastical elements and deals with a female object of affection who might find her current relationship too confining. Paul Dano stars as Calvin, a fiction writer who suddenly finds that one of his characters, Ruby (Zoe Kazan, who also wrote the script), has physically manifested herself in the world. At first, Calvin is literally living out his dreams with his new girlfriend who sprung from the page. But eventually, Ruby finds it hard to meet the unrealistic standards Calvin’s set for her in his stories, putting the happy ending Calvin’s always envisioned at risk.
One Day –Based on one of my all-time favorite books, this adaptation from director Lone Scherfig features Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as Emma and Dexter — two star-crossed friends/lovers who first met after their college graduation. The movie checks in on them on the same day across 18 years and shows the twists and turns their lives have taken and how their relationship has changed (yet persisted) through it all. Have tissues ready for this one!
Last Christmas –And finally, new to Redbox is the movie on this list that’s closest to the rom-com category, but holds a surprising twist that’s pretty serious. In her first post-Game of Thrones role, Emilia Clarke shines as Kate, a woman who really needs to get her act together in life while working as an elf at a year-round Christmas store. She meets Tom (Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians) randomly, and he helps her figure out her priorities — so much so that Kate finds herself falling for him. But things are not quite as they seem in their relationship … and that’s all you’re gonna get out of me!
What are some other twisty rom-drams you’d recommend?