Top 10 Relationship Movies Of All Time

Gay and Katie Hendricks by Gay and Katie Hendricks | December 20th, 2007 | 27 Comments
topic: Inspirational Media, Relationships

It’s that time of year when there is nothing better than snuggling up, staying warm and watching a movie with your friends or family. Here are our nominations for the best relationship movies of all time. Our criteria combined artistic merit with the ability of the movie to shed light on the inner workings of relationships, and how to maximize their potential. In addition, all the movies we selected share that elusive quality known as heart.

1) Moonstruck

This masterpiece has many things to recommend it, but if we were going to pick just one thing it would be the tour-de-force speech about victimhood and responsibility that Nicholas Cage gives in the basement of the bakery. It’s not only brilliant acting but also shows exactly how people can get trapped in a painful moment in the past that causes them to adopt a view of themselves as victims and reject love that’s being offered to them in the present.

2) The Holiday

What a treasure! It’s got a lot of useful wisdom in it about how to get unstuck from past relationships so you can be present in the moment to give and receive love. Pay particularly close attention to Kate Winslet’s tirade toward the end when she’s finally closing the door on her boyfriend, the quintessential handsome cad she’s been putting up with for way too long. If you’ve ever been lied to by someone who’s says they love you, you’ll laugh and wince and learn a lot at she gives him his come-uppance.

3) The January Man

This overlooked gem is a thriller that we recommend primarily because of one brilliant scene. Watch closely the scene at the beginning between Kevin Kline and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the restaurant at the ice-skating rink. It has one of the best examples ever of how to speak honestly in relationships.

4) Truly, Madly, Deeply

This heartful drama, directed by Anthony Minghella, is one of the most beautiful movies we’ve ever seen. It not only has magical performances from Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, it also teaches powerful healing-lessons about how to come to terms with loss and grief. One high moment of the movie comes when the characters quote a poem from Pablo Neruda.

5) Monsoon Wedding

This comedy/drama, directed by Mira Nair, is a loving look at the complexities of an Indian culture in which arranged marriages often match partners whose hearts belong to others. But this wise movie speaks to a universal problem: when you withhold a truth from your partner, you pull back from the relationship and project your own fears and fantasies onto the other person. The film shows a beautiful example of how to resolve this problem through authentic emotional expression. When the truth is finally spoken, the betrothed partners find a depth in each other (and themselves) that had gone unseen before.

6) Love Actually

Oh, how do we count the joys of this multi-faceted heart-fest? First, you get to feast your eyes and ears on some of the greatest actors of our time: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Colin Firth. Second, there is a wildly funny turn by Bill Nighy, an aging rock star who makes an improbable promise he ultimately must make good on. Third, the movie touches on themes that everyone has confronted at one time or another: the challenges of communication, forgiveness after a betrayal, the healing power of love, even the transformation of a feisty secretary (nicknamed “Plumpy” by her father) into a Prime Minster’s consort.

7) Tootsie

In our opinion, the most perfect comic screenplay ever written. Then, when you add Dustin Hoffman’s performance, one of the greatest in the history of film, you have a movie for the ages. The primary relationship-wisdom explored in the movie is the search for authenticity. It captures brilliantly the struggle for authenticity that happens in every close relationship. Each of us is wrapped in layers of persona, the masks we wear to get through the rigors of childhood and adolescence. When love emerges and takes us on its eternal journey, the masks are revealed as what they are: covers for the inner conflicts we fear and the inner magnificence we deeply seek to express.

8) All Of Me

The Buddha taught a crucial piece of relationship wisdom that’s brought to life in this comedy classic: each of us must integrate the masculine and feminine elements within us to be fully enlightened. The story is that, due to bizarre circumstances, half of Steve Martin’s body is occupied by the spirit of a wealthy rage-aholic (played to mean-spirited perfection by Lily Tomlin.) The relationship wisdom you gain from the movie is important, even life-changing: until we become one with all parts of ourselves, we cannot be fully present for the one we love.

9) Jillian’s Vantage

One of the greatest short films ever made, this movie was in the first collection sent out by The Spiritual Cinema Circle. Made by a gifted filmmaker named Geno Andrews, Jillian’s Vantage brings together a man and a woman who are dealing with their life-challenges in very different ways. From a relationship perspective, “Jillian’s Vantage” touches on a crucial issue we all face in relationship, how to come to terms with the flaws we perceive in ourselves. The movie shows us, with great sensitivity and wisdom, how to shift our view of those flaws, and by doing so, heal them.

10) A Cool, Dry Place

This is one of the best movies ever made about the realities of commitment. The characters in this movie reveal complex layers and committed lives. We love it that the dad lives out the job loss and child-care issues that usually appear in the woman’s role. We love it that the characters are intelligent and that we can learn something about deep bonding from a film that is so entertaining. We also love seeing a soft, caring relationship between a father and son. Vince Vaughn gives a stunning performance here, the best work we’ve seen from him.

What are your favorite relationship movies of all time?

Comments

  1. I love Love Actually. It’s one of the best feel-good movies of all time, and fun watching whether you’re single, married, or in a relationship :)

    Joe Rogel | December 26th, 2007 | Comment Permalink
  2. City of Angels

    Tania | January 10th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  3. I thought Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was one of the best and most interesting relationship movies of all time.

    Joelle Klein | February 7th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  4. I love “While You Were Sleeping” because it has so many relationships. The imagined relationship, the relationship with the family, the relationship with the neighbor..the relationship that almost doesn’t happen…
    And it was funny and sweet.

    Pam | February 15th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  5. Thank you for coming up with the name of the movie for which I was trying to remember the title. I knew that Alan Rickman was in it (it is so contrary to the types of characters he usually plays – thats what made it so good!!)…I loved Truly, Madly, Deeply.

    Dawn | February 15th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  6. I love Love Actually and The Holiday. Also, Notting Hill; Breaking and Entering; Possession (2002); Shakespeare in Love. Also love the SCC movie from last fall, Deja Vu. All relationship movies.

    Pat Stang | February 15th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  7. One of my favorite relationship movie is “The Bridges of Madison County” I’m like the woman always trying to do the right thing and think more of how others feel than I do of how I feel.

    Mariama | February 15th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  8. The world according to Garp. Those people survived major craziness and tragedy.

    mary | February 16th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  9. I just watched On Golden Pond again last night after all these years and was reminded of the deepest love between partners that have grown old together, raised children, dealt with adversity, and now look at death. I had forgotten just how beautiful this film was.

    Candice | February 16th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  10. My favorite relationship movie is Notebook. It is a story about a lifetime commitment through conflict and illness that is sweet, endearing and opens the heart to all possibilities.

    Jeanne | February 16th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  11. I love both Shine and The Fisher King, both of which demonstrate how we can hurt those we love when we’re afraid, or heal when we love. They’re both about the redeeming power of love and are a great message of hope. Also, Letter to Brezhnev, in which a young girl falls in love with a man who lives in Cold War Russia, but is unstoppable in her determination to be with him, no matter what anyone thinks – magical!

    Ray | February 19th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  12. “Annie Hall” and “High Fidelity”

    Linda | February 20th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  13. [...] for all the positive comments and thoughtful posts inspired by our earlier Top Ten list. We’ve been working on a second list, on our way to what will ultimately become The Top 100 [...]

  14. I actually think the John Cusack character in High Fidelity was extremely narcissistic . He tracks down all his old girlfriends to heal himself, but doesn’t care about making peace with the woman or what effect his past actions had on them. I found him self-absorbed and not a example of a health person seeking a loving relathionship. It was all about him.

    Joelle Klein | March 25th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  15. “I actually think the John Cusack character in High Fidelity was extremely narcissistic.”
    That was the whole point. By the end, he learns to think of his girlfriend first, to think about what she would like, rather than being selfish – actively or passively – all the time.

    Justin | June 27th, 2008 | Comment Permalink
  16. How could anyone forget “The Way We Were” which emphasizes that love is just the beginning. Being true to who you are and following your path are as important.

    Zaraji | July 10th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  17. I love the film Love actually,The note book,Holiday,reign on me? and for me the film Under the Tuscan sun really gave me girlpower in a very hard period of time in my life.This website was like a miracle for me to find,because so many give me tips on all those great movies I missed/Lost :)

    Mina | March 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  18. I forgot “PS I Love You”

    Mina | March 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  19. I love the movie “Parenthood.” The relationships in this movie really come together in a comical yet serious sort of way. I also love the new TV series with the same name.

    Lisa | July 2nd, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  20. If subtitles don’t scare you away see “L’Ultimo Beso” and “Hijo de la Novia”. Both great films about relationships.

    Misael | October 12th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  21. The Holiday is fab! I can’t get enough of it. Jude law is to die for in that movie. I’ve spent some great nights curled up watching that film.

    Mary | October 12th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  22. “Braveheart” fight for freedom for those we love.

    Greg | January 14th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  23. Harold & Maude, Hilary & Jackie, Unbearable Lightness of Being!! All 3 great films with beautiful relationships!

    Ana Maria Lagasca | February 16th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  24. Unfaithful,- great movie!

    Anna | April 9th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  25. Well, Rocky is not a love story per say, but I think the relationship between Rocky and Adrian is one of the best Love stories of all time.

    Joan | May 8th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  26. Cocktail, one of the most important relationship movies of all time.

    jax | September 25th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  27. Angy | June 26th, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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