Beyond the Fairytale: 7 Films that Show the Different Sides of Love

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow. Even though the origins of this day have dark and sinister beginnings, the one the world celebrates today is the one that was created by Hallmark to boost up sales. They, like Hollywood, profited from spreading the false image of what Romance and Love is all about.

I grew up in a country where we didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. The first time I ever heard about it was at seventeen listening to Janis Ian’s song “At Seventeen”. I didn’t understand the specific reference of “The valentines I never knew” but I totally could relate to the song hearing the line “When dreams were all they gave for free to ugly duckling girls like me”. So, you can understand my frustration when all we can think of on February 14th is a traditional kind of love.

Valentine’s Day is associated with traditional romantic love, but in reality, love takes on many different forms. Whether it’s the love between siblings, the love of self, or the unrequited love, there are countless ways to explore and understand the complexity of human relationships. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or somewhere in between, there’s always something to be celebrated.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve compiled a list of 7 movies that go against the traditional view of what Valentine’s Day is about, and instead showcase love in all its complicated, messy, and beautiful forms.

Here are 7 Movies that Show the Complexities of Love:

#1 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This thought-provoking film explores the idea of loving and losing, and the lengths one will go to hold onto a memory of love. The film follows the tumultuous relationship between Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate WInslet), as they undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories.

As their memories slowly fade away, the audience is left to question the true meaning of love and if it’s worth holding onto the pain in order to keep the love.

#2 – The Pursuit of Happyness

This heart-wrenching film explores the love between a father and his son. Will Smith stars as Chris Gardner, a struggling single father who will do anything to provide for his son. Despite the hardships and obstacles they face, Chris’ love for his son never wavers.

The film highlights the sacrifices parents make for their children and the unbreakable bond between a parent and child. Chris fights against all odds to give his son a better life. It shows that love can be found in unexpected places and that it can take many forms. It is a reminder that family, not just romantic love, is a crucial aspect of life.

#3 – The Lobster

This dark comedy is a unique take on the concept of love. The story takes place in a dystopian society where single people are given 45 days to find a romantic partner or they will be turned into an animal of their choosing.

The movie is a commentary on the societal pressure to be in a relationship and the absurdity of the dating game. It’s not a traditional romantic movie but it is a thought-provoking and unique take on the theme of love. It also shows the comedic side of love and how society views it.

#4 – Her

This science fiction film explores the concept of love in a unique way. The movie is set in a near-future Los Angeles, where Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely writer, falls in love with Samantha, a highly advanced operating system.

The movie delves into the complexities and nuances of a relationship that is not between two human beings, but between a human and an AI.

It raises questions about the nature of love and connection, and what it means to be truly human. It also explores the emotional and psychological aspects of love in a thought-provoking and emotional way. It’s not a traditional love story but it is a modern and unique take on the theme of love.

#5 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

This film is a love letter to the power of imagination and the importance of living life to the fullest.

The movie tells the story of Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller), a timid and daydreaming photo editor who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and adventure.

Along the way, he develops a romantic connection with a co-worker, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), but the movie is more about Walter’s personal growth and finding a sense of purpose in life than a traditional romance story.

It’s about the power of imagination and taking risks, showing that love is not just about finding the right person but also about becoming the right person. It’s a heartwarming and inspiring story that celebrates the power of human connection, self-discovery, and personal growth.

#6 – The Shape of Water

This film explores a very unconventional and unique form of love, that between a human and a sea creature.

The movie tells the story of a mute custodian, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), who forms a deep emotional and romantic bond with an amphibious creature who is being held in a secret government facility.

The movie is a love story that breaks boundaries, challenging the audience’s perception of what love is and who is capable of it. It’s a story of acceptance, empathy, and the power of connection and love across species, showing that love knows no boundaries and it can take many forms, even the most unexpected ones. It also explores the darker side of love, how society can view it, and the power of self-sacrifice for love.

#7 – Moonlight

This film tells a powerful and emotional story of love and self-discovery, specifically exploring the complexities of love and identity within the Black gay community.

The movie is divided into three chapters and follows the life of Chiron, a young man growing up in poverty-stricken Miami, as he navigates his sexuality and identity.

The movie is not a traditional romance story, but it’s a powerful and poignant exploration of the struggles and triumphs of love and self-acceptance. It highlights the importance of representation and the power of connection, family, and community in shaping one’s identity and finding acceptance. It also deals with themes of masculinity, poverty and the criminal justice system in a raw and honest way, making it a unique and powerful film for Valentine’s Day.


These movies are a reminder that love is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Whether it’s the love between a parent and child, the love between friends, or the love between unlikely partners, these films showcase the many different forms that love can take.

So, if you’re feeling a bit down this Valentine’s Day, remember that love comes in many forms and there’s always something to be grateful for. So curl up with a bowl of popcorn and enjoy a movie that celebrates the many different types of love. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Now it’s YOUR TURN – Are there any other movies you think should be added to this list? Why?

Would love to get your input in the comment box below

2 thoughts on “Beyond the Fairytale: 7 Films that Show the Different Sides of Love”

  1. Spielberg (via Kubrick’s) movie AI – explores the idea of humans’ ability to love something that they created, which I guess has implications as Man as God the creator which also is featured in Blade Runner where the replicants seek out their maker in search of a longer life to free themselves from slavery and have the chance to have complete human feelings.

    I think Spielberg said of AI something like imagine if you had a toothbrush that knew you so intimately that it personalised what it did, would we have a relationship with it, a kind of love? Similar to the movie ‘Her’ of course, it seems filmmakers are questioning us as humans to stretch the boundaries of love, perhaps so we can overcome our prejudices and love better, not only ourselves but the world we live in.

    There is of course and I think you know this well Vered, the many types of love as the Greeks knew it too -

    1. Great point James. Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies of all time… The link you put is a GREAT one for the different types of love. I would love to get your best movie for each of those…

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