Love is a complex and multifaceted emotion that can blossom in the most unexpected places and circumstances. Throughout cinematic history, filmmakers have explored the boundaries of romantic relationships, pushing the envelope to portray unconventional and unusual love stories. Some of them are mainstream comedies, and others represent real dramas, but they are united by the common cause of showing the audience that the world of love, romance, and dating is unique, convoluted, often complex, and not as easy or ethereal as we sometimes think of it. Many famous directors tried their hand in this field and succeeded, including Jim Jarmusch, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Spike Jonze to name a few. From dark vampire romance to polyamory to kinky relationships, here are six movies that delve into the realm of unique and unconventional love.
The Dreamers (2003): Exploring Intimacy and Polyamory amidst Turmoil
This captivating movie is set against the backdrop of the 1968 Paris student protests and directed by legendary Bernardo Bertolucci. The story follows American student Matthew (Michael Pitt) as he befriends French siblings Isabelle (Eva Green) and Theo (Louis Garrel). United by their shared love for cinema and rebellion, the trio forms a close bond.
Amidst the political upheaval and societal unrest, the film depicts the intricate dynamics of an unusual romantic relationship that develops among the three characters. As their connection deepens, The Dreamers challenges traditional notions of love and explores the blurred lines between friendship, attraction, and intimacy. Through a mix of intellectual conversations and emotional exchanges, the movie offers a nuanced portrayal of the complexities and vulnerabilities inherent in unconventional relationships.
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Her (2013): Embracing Love in the Digital Age
Spike Jonze’s Her is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant movie that explores unconventional romance. Set in a near-future LA, the story follows Theodore portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, a lonely and sensitive man who develops a deep emotional connection with an advanced artificial intelligence operating system Samantha, and even tries dating her online and offline at the same time.
As the couple’s bond deepens, the film explores the complexities of love, intimacy, and human connection in an increasingly digital and technologically-driven world. Through their interactions, Her raises poignant questions about the nature of love, the boundaries between humans and technology, and the profound impact that relationships—both conventional and unconventional—can have on our lives. The movie’s unique portrayal of an unusual romantic relationship invites viewers to contemplate the evolving landscape of love in an age defined by rapid technological advancements.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007): A Heartwarming Tale of Mental Health Challenges
In Lars and the Real Girl Craig Gillespie navigates the realms of loneliness and human connection. The story revolves around Lars, a shy and socially awkward young man who introduces his family and community to Bianca, a lifelike doll he treats as his girlfriend. As the town rallies around Lars, they collectively embrace this unusual relationship, highlighting the power of compassion and understanding in the face of mental health challenges. The movie delicately explores themes of acceptance, empathy, and the transformative nature of relationships, showcasing how an unconventional romantic bond can lead to profound personal growth and healing. This is a real hidden gem for some of Ryan Gosling fans.
Secretary (2002): Unconventional Desires and Emotional Discovery
Directed by Steven Shainberg, Secretary is a provocative and emotionally charged movie. The story follows Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young woman with a history of self-harm, who takes a job as a secretary for lawyer E. Edward Grey (James Spader). As Lee and Grey engage in a unique power dynamic that blurs the lines between employer and employee, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and intimacy.
It explores themes of BDSM and dominance-submission dynamics in a sensitive and non-judgmental manner. Through their interactions, Secretary portrays an unusual romantic bond that is built on mutual consent, vulnerability, and understanding. The movie challenges societal norms and conventions, inviting audiences to question preconceived notions about love, desire, and the intricacies of human connection.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013): Eternal Love through the Ages
This is a really mesmerizing story that offers a unique take on romance. The plot revolves around Adam and Eve, two centuries-old vampire couple who have shared an enduring bond throughout history. As immortal beings, they navigate the complexities of their relationship while grappling with their place in a world that is rapidly changing.
The film’s unusual romantic line is characterized by its eternal nature, where Adam and Eve’s love has transcended time and societal norms. Their connection delves into themes of longevity, intimacy, and the challenges of eternal existence. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, starring Tom Hiddleston along with Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive explores the depth of love that endures over centuries, painting a poetic portrait of a relationship that defies the constraints of mortality.
The Reader (2008): Age-gap Romance Inspired by Love to Reading
In The Reader story follows Michael Berg, a young man who embarks on an intense affair with an older woman, Hanna Schmitz. Their tabooed relationship is marked by its passionate nature and a shared connection through reading.
The film’s unusual romantic line is defined by the age difference between Michael and Hanna, as well as the significant role that reading aloud plays in their bond. The Reader explores themes of memory, morality, and the lasting impact of choices, delivering a captivating portrayal of an unconventional relationship that spans decades and continues to shape their lives. Stephen Daldry directed a poignant and thought-provoking drama that tends to express the complexities of love, guilt, and hidden truths.