It’s 2018. It’s time to face facts, that love is anything but conventional. The white picket fence version of the American Dream has been exchanged for a more inclusive outlook on sex and relationships.
So this Valentine’s Day, instead of hate-watching another rom-com featuring America’s supposed sweethearts acting out a predictable love story format, opt for a film that celebrates love in a less traditional way. From steep age gaps to technological counterparts to romantic murderous rampages, there’s a movie for every type of couple. These are just a few of our favorites.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
Interracial relationships may not be as big of a deal today, but in 1967, this movie made waves. Joanna (Katharine Houghton) and John (Sidney Poitier) are an interracial couple who bring their parents together for dinner to announce their engagement. It helped spark a conversation on racial tensions in America, one that remains more relevant than ever.
Harold and Maude (1970)
There was a 52-year age gap between Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon when they starred as Harold, a young man obsessed with suicide, and Maude, an 80-year-old eccentric. Although extremely taboo, their romance remains one of the most underrated and obscure in movie history.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) are madly in love, and the one thing that fuels their relationship is their mutually insatiable appetite for murder. As they travel the country on a homicidal rampage, they become America’s unlikely sweethearts.
At the prime of her career, Christina Ricci starred as Carolyn, a sorority girl and the epitome of the American dream. But when her sorority takes on mentoring challenged athletes, she finds herself falling in love with a developmentally disabled young man named Pumpkin (Hank Harris).
Before Fifty Shades of Grey fulfilled the inner fantasies of America’s most vanilla housewives, Maggie Gyllenhaal mastered the role of a submissive. Lee (Gyllenhaal) is a young woman with a history of emotional issues. After finding a job with dominant attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader), they spark a sadomasochistic relationship.
The Dreamers (2003)
Set against the student riots of ’60s Paris, Matthew (Michael Pitt) befriends twins Théo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green) over their shared love of films. When their parents leave them unattended for a month, Matthew finds himself consumed with their unusual intimacy.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Although he’s played leading man and romantic interest to the likes of Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Carey Mulligan, Ryan Gosling’s most memorable leading lady might be made from plastic. A shy introvert, Lars (Gosling) surprises his family when he announces he has a new girlfriend. But after finding out his date is actually a sex doll, they play along with his delusion at the request of his doctor.
Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have been best friends their whole lives, and subsequently, their sons Ian (Xavier Samuel) and Tom (James Frecheville) found the same sense of camaraderie. But when the women both begin steamy affairs with each other’s son, their dynamic begins to fall apart.
In the digital era, it becomes natural to rely on our devices in one way or another. But this Spike Jonze movie takes that concept to a new level. When Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is left divorced and heartbroken, he becomes consumed with a new operating system that develops into a unique entity. Developing a bond with the program named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), they begin to fall in love.
Hello, My Name is Doris (2016)
Still coping with the death of her mother, introvert Doris (Sally Field) remains at the same job with the same clothes and the same friends she’s had for decades. But when she meets her younger new co-worker, John (Max Greenfield), she finds a strange motivation to try new things.