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30 Movies Like The Notebook You Should Watch Next

"The Notebook," the 2004 film based on Nicholas Sparks' novel of the same name, brought the romantic drama genre to new heights of sexy schmaltziness and had legions of fans furiously depleting their tissue supplies. One had to be diligent with one's tear-wiping in order to properly view and salivate over Ryan Gosling's sculpted physique, after all. 

If you reveled in that film's steamy yet sentimental heart-string yanking then fear not, there's a wide variety of similar lovelorn cinematic fare for you to explore. She's rich but he's poor, he's dead but she's alive, she's got a scholarship but he barley graduated — there's plenty of star-crossed, boombox-hoisting, pottery-spinning romantic exploits to melt even the most cynical cinephile's ticker. So grab your remote, a jumbo-sized box of Kleenex, and let's explore the filmic tear-jerkers and sniffle-inducers you should definitely cue up next.

Remember Me

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Robert Pattinson was, much like "The Notebook" star Ryan Gosling, a peak Hollywood hunk. In between playing sparkly vampire Edward Cullen in the "Twilight" film franchise, Pattinson starred in the 2010 coming-of-age drama "Remember Me." Pattinson plays rebellious Tyler Hawkins, whose strained relationship with his power-lawyer father Charles (Pierce Brosnan) is rooted in deep family tragedy. Tyler, who audits classes at NYU, schemes to sleep with and then dump fellow student Ally Craig (Emilie de Ravin) as an act of revenge against her police officer dad (Chris Cooper) for arresting him and his friend. However, Tyler's plan backfires when he and Ally develop true feelings for each other.

Like "The Notebook," "Remember Me" has a tragic twist ending concocted to wring tears out of viewers, proving that sometimes even the strongest of loves cannot defy fate. And like Gosling's portrayal of Noah, Pattinson's star charisma is on full display in "Remember Me" as Tyler. So if you want to watch a moody performance from a brooding Hollywood heartthrob, this movie delivers.

The Last Song

The film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel "The Last Song" has all the familial angst, secrets, romance, and tragedy you come to expect from a Sparks movie. Miley Cyrus plays jaded musical prodigy Veronica "Ronnie" Miller, a New York City teenager forced to spend the summer with her estranged father, Steve (Greg Kinnear), who escaped hectic city life for small-town Wrightsville Beach, Georgia. Ronnie's been accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School, but refuses to attend to spite her father — a former Julliard professor — and resents being forced into small-town exile. Things change when Ronnie meets handsome Will Blakelee (Liam Hemsworth), who woos Ronnie with his penchant for protecting sea turtles. But Will is not the hero-in-a-half-shell that Ronnie is led to believe, and soon she questions Will's motivations. Her life full of unsure emotions, Ronnie not only has to decide if her and Will's love is real, she must also confront her father's secrets.  

Just as "The Notebook" served as the genesis of a real-life romance for stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (via E! News), so did "The Last Song" for Cyrus and Hemsworth (via Cosmopolitan). Cyrus and Hemsworth's on-screen chemistry sizzles like humid summer day at the beach. If wind-swept embraces of beautiful people on idyllic sand dunes is your vibe, "The Last Song" just might be the first stop for your next romantic movie fix.  

The Lake House

A neglected house restored, a fated romantic correspondence, and a love that transcends space and time are at the center of the film "The Lake House." Reuniting beloved "Speed" co-stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, "The Lake House," like "The Notebook," places its lead characters' love at odds with time. Dr. Kate Forester rents a lake house outside of Chicago and begins a mysterious correspondence with architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) through the house's mailbox. Soon, Kate and Alex discover they are actually living in the same house, but two years apart. Kate, living two years in the future from Alex, learns of Alex's fate and tries to change it through their correspondence.

Bullock and Reeves' chemistry is undeniable, with even Bullock musing that if they had dated perhaps their relationship would have longevity (via Harper's Bazaar). Applying logic to the film's contrived time-traveling paradoxes is not of concern, as the pleasure of "The Lake House" is mainly derived from Bullock and Reeves' genuine affection for each other. So come to the movie for the charismatic lead performers, but stay to figure out how the plot works.

Nights In Rodanthe

"Nights in Rodanthe" is the third cinematic pairing of Richard Gere and Diane Lane, who starred together in the crime drama "The Cotton Club" and the erotic thriller "Unfaithful." Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, "Nights In Rodanthe" twists the Sparks-plot formula by focusing on a love story about older adults. Adrienne Willis (Lane), on the verge of divorce and estranged from her daughter (Mae Whitman), takes care of her friend Jean's (Viola Davis) seaside bed-and-breakfast. The only guest is surgeon Paul Flanner (Gere), whose grief over a botched surgery and guilt about his undeveloped relationship with his adult son (James Franco) causes him immense suffering. Adrienne and Paul fall in love, with their tragic romance healing their relationships with their children.

The Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus calls "Nights In Rodanthe" "​​derivative and schmaltzy" and "mottled by contrivances that even the charisma of stars Diane Lane and Richard Gere can't repair." But why watch a movie like "Nights In Rodanthe" if not for the schmaltz? The film is as cozy as its North Carolina setting, so get your fluffiest blanket, a box of tissues, and snuggle into this weepy romance.

The Longest Ride

A modern-day love story about two young lovers from divergent backgrounds intertwines with a romance set in the 1940s in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' "The Longest Ride." Bull rider Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) falls for art student Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson). Sophia befriends elderly Ira Levinson (Alan Alda) after she and Luke rescue him, and his box of letters, from a car crash. The letters, written by Ira, chronicle his relationship to his late wife, Ruth. The love story of young Ira (Jack Houston) and Ruth (Oona Chaplin) unfolds through flashbacks, as Sophia reads the letters aloud to Ira. Mirroring Ruth and Ira's past romantic struggles, present-day Luke and Sophia also face similar challenges, with their differences possibly too much reconcile.

With its flashback romance, disparate lovers, and copious letters, "The Longest Ride" is like "The Notebook" but with added cowboy hats and bucking broncos. As Variety notes, this movie goes "the longest with audiences for whom this is not their first Sparks rodeo." So saddle up with "The Longest Yard" if you want to watch beautiful people overcome the odds to find their happily-ever-after. 

Safe Haven

"Safe Haven" pushes the boundaries of escapist romantic fare into the absurd with a "cheap, out-of-the-blue supernatural twist" (via New York Times) that adds a spectral dimension to the usual Nicholas Sparks story formula. Based on the book of the same name, "Safe Haven" follows Erin Tierney (Julianne Hough) as she flees an abusive relationship in Boston and finds a new love with widower Alex Wheatley (Josh Duhamel) in the seaside town of Southport, North Carolina. Erin changes her name to Katie, seeing safety in reinventing her life, but soon her police detective husband Kevin (David Lyons) tracks her down, causing havoc in the lives of both Katie and Alex.

"Safe Haven" does its best to be a mysterious thriller, but as USA Today notes, "its focus remains squarely on sappy romance." The movie is pleasantly adrift in lovely soft-focus moments between Hough and Duhamel, complete with a canoe ride spoiled by rain, just like in "The Notebook." But it's the surprise ending of "Safe Haven" that injects some M. Night Shyamalan-esque energy into what would be a route romantic Nicholas Sparks film. If you're a fan of "The Notebook" and "The Six Sense," you'll find refuge in this "Safe Haven." 

Dear John

Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried star in "Dear John," the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel that tells a story of young love challenged by war and time. US Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant John Tyree (Tatum) meets college student Savannah Curtis (Seyfried) while on leave and the pair promptly fall in love. John is deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and he and Savannah promise to foster their romance via letters. Years pass, but time and distance prove to be insurmountable obstacles for their love –but no matter what life throws at them, Savannah and John never stop caring for each other. 

If longing and aching for lost love is appealing in any way, then "Dear John" is the movie for you. The film taps into liminal romantic angst just like "The Notebook," where the movie's central relationship status is constantly in flux. And as the ending of "The Notebook" is a testament to enduring love, so is that of "Dear John," with John and Savannah's proving that love is not just passionate lust, but also compassionate friendship. 

Me Before You

Based on the novel of the same name by Jojo Moyes, the romantic drama "Me Before You" goes straight for the tears while missing the mark with its handling of sensitive subjects. Listless and bumbling Lou Clark (Emilia Clarke) finds work as a caregiver for former-banker Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), who was paralyzed after a car accident. Worldly Will and working-class Lou clash at first, but soon grow close and fall in love. But Will, insisting that he wants Lou to live her best life, makes a choice that will forever impact both their lives. 

Upon its release in 2016, "Me Before You" faced criticism from disability rights advocates for its treatment of disabilities (via The Guardian), with Will's decision to end his life was bashed for portraying his disability as a life-ending problem (via Self). As problematic as "Me Before You" is, it's definitely a tear-jerker of the highest order, and as Richard Lawson noted in his review for Vanity Fair, "I cried at the end. Which is, of course, the whole point." If an ugly-cry a la "The Notebook" is what you're looking for in a film, please head directly toward "Me Before You." 

The Fault In Our Stars

The heartbreaking teen drama "The Fault In Our Stars," based on the young adult novel of the same name by John Green, spins a tale of young love cut tragically short by cancer. Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is a teenager living with thyroid cancer, and at the urging of her mother Frannie (Laura Dern), she begins attending a cancer patient support group. There, she meets Gus (Ansel Elgort), whose cancer is in remission. Hazel and Gus bond over the book "An Imperial Affliction" and travel to Amsterdam to meet its author Peter Van Houten (Willem Dafoe), only to be met with his scorn. Soon Gus' cancer returns and he and Hazel, with some unexpected help, take on his diagnosis with a sense of love and hope. 

 "The Fault In Our Stars" delivers genuine tears. Rather than leaning into sweeping melodrama like "The Notebook," "The Fault In Our Stars" thrives on tackling "challenging themes, offering real issues with the young protagonists to wrestle with" (via Los Angeles Times). However, both films are bolstered by their charismatic performers, with Woodley singled out in "The Fault In Our Stars" as a "first-rate actress" (via the AV Club).

One Day

"One Day" follows the relationship of Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) and Emma Morely (Anne Hathaway) on the same day over the course of 18 years. Dexter and Emma are "just friends," sublimating their long-time mutual attraction in favor of career ambitions and relationships with others. Moving through years of job transitions, failed lovers, and growing families, Dexter and Emma finally realize their love for each other. Their romance is understood to be fated, even if they don't know it themselves.

The will-they, won't-they relationship tension of "One Day" mirrors that of "The Notebook." Dexter and Emma try to settle down with others, but these partnerships are not meant to be. While it's fairly clear that Dexter and Emily will end up with each other, it's their tumultuous journey that tugs at the heart. The path to love is rarely clear, and the journey of "One Day" offers a satisfying narrative for those who believe in destiny. 

A Walk To Remember

Get out the tissues for "A Walk To Remember," the teen weepy starring Mandy Moore and Shane West. Another film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks-penned novel, the movie packs in a lot of drama in under two hours. Popular high school senior Landon Carter (West) falls in love with the meek Baptist minister's daughter Jamie Sullivan (Moore). Landon, forced to perform in the high school play as a punishment, secretly seeks help from Jamie, wishing not to jeopardize his popularity. But Jamie has a secret of her own, one that will change the trajectory of Landon's life forever.

Filled with Sparksian clichés (lovers from different backgrounds, parental estrangement, secret illnesses) and unrelenting in its heartbreak, "A Walk To Remember" will induce blubbering in even the most steel-hearted of viewers. These, of course, are positive attributes for those who love "The Notebook," an equally unabashed tearjerker of a film. And while "A Walk To Remember" may be "tooth-rottingly sentimental" (via BBC), everyone needs a cinematic sweet treat every once in a while.


"Atonement" is a tragic love story steeped in jealousies and misunderstandings, following the consequences of a crime over the course of decades and the impact on those in its orbit. "Atonement" starts in the 1930s, when a letter containing an explicit joke from housekeeper's son Robbie (James McAvoy) about aristocratic Cecilia (Keira Knightley) gets intercepted and misinterpreted by Cecilia's younger sister, Briony (Saoirse Ronan). This sets off a chain of devastating events that seemingly can never be repaired. Jumping forward in time, World War II rages and Briony seeks atonement for her mistakes, and works to undo the devastation she inadvertently wrought on Robbie and Cecelia's lives. 

"Atonement" plays with similar themes to "The Notebook," but amps up the sophistication and genuine tragedy. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, this movie is a melodrama with class. And let's not forget that Kiera Knightley's iconic slinky green dress in "Atonement" is one of the great cinematic visuals of the '00s, holding its own with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams' rain-soaked embrace in "The Notebook."

Brief Encounter

Director David Lean's adaptation of the Noel Coward play "Still Life," "Brief Encounter" is one of cinema's great weepy romances. During her weekly shopping excursions, bored British middle-class housewife Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) repeatedly runs into Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard), a doctor who consults at the local hospital, and the two strike up a friendship. Their casual meet-ups turn into deeper feelings, bordering on infidelity. Soon, Laura and Alec must decide if their love is strong enough to withstand the judgmental trappings of their bourgeois lives. 

Heart-wrenching yet subdued, The Guardian says of "Brief Encounter," "only those with a heart and brain of stone could fail to be moved." A film whose passion lurks in the unstated, "Brief Encounter" may not have the overt eroticism of "The Notebook" (no shirtless muscle men here), but the underlying romantic tension of its leads sizzles on the screen. Simply put, "Brief Encounter" walked so that "The Notebook" could run.

P.S. I Love You

Through a series of letters left to her by her deceased husband Gerry (Gerard Butler), Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank), goes on a trans-continental adventure to rediscover happiness in her life in "P.S. I Love You." Holly dutifully follows the letters' instructions, going to Gerry's home country of Ireland, visiting his favorite pub, and even unknowingly befriending his childhood pal, William (Jeffery Dean Morgan). Working through her grief proves difficult and despite many emotional setbacks, but Holly goes along with the letters — finding not only love for herself but perhaps for others, too. 

"P.S. I Love You" uses letters as a framing device to link past and present, a gimmick similarly employed in "The Notebook." Past-Gerry communicates with present-day Holly just as past-Allie's journaling is read by present-day Noah. The film's beautiful Irish landscapes elicit similar pleasures to that of the lush North Carolina setting of "The Notebook." "P.S. I Love You" is full of whimsical romantic charm with a side of travelogue, which is sure to please any film fan looking for an escape.

Away From Her

"Away From Her" delicately tackles how Alzheimer's disease affects the dynamics of long-running relationships. Actor Sarah Polley makes her directorial debut with this adaptation of the Alice Munro short story "The Bear Came Over The Mountain," displaying the deftness of a seasoned filmmaker. Screen legend Julie Christie stars as Fiona, a retired woman who checks into a nursing home after she feels her Alzheimer's disease is making her a risk to herself. Her husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent) agrees to the facility's 30-day "adjustment" period for patients, isolating them from visitors. When Fiona and Grant reunite, not only does Fiona not remember Grant, but she's partnered with fellow patient Aubrey (Michael Murphy). Grant is challenged by Fiona and Aubrey's closeness, and he must decide whether his personal emotions or his love for Fiona will win out. 

As in "The Notebook," "Away From Her" examines a long-term relationship through the lens of memory loss. However, "Away From Her" trades in sweeping gestures of romance for a more nuanced take on fidelity. Tenderly heartbreaking yet affirming in its depiction of love, "Away From Her" is a quiet film that definitely stays with viewers long after it's over.

Dirty Dancing

You'll have the time of your life twisting the night away with Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) in the classic '80s film "Dirty Dancing." Taking place at a Catskills resort in 1963, "Dirty Dancing" has all the great romance elements of a film like "The Notebook." Clean-cut Baby finds sexy excitement with rebellious resort dance instructor Johnny, with their rendezvous at the resort staff's "dirty dancing" party leading to a dance partnership-turned-romance. Of course, Baby's father Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) disapproves of Baby and Johnny's relationship. Can Johnny and Baby overcome both personal and societal pressures and be together?

"Dirty Dancing" is about as iconic as you can get in terms of romantic movies. With sparkling performances by Grey and Swayze, an iconic soundtrack with an Academy Award-winning song, and quotable lines like "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," "Dirty Dancing" is essential viewing for all romance film lovers.

Some Kind Of Wonderful

The John Hughes-penned "Some Kind of Wonderful" takes a sensitive look at high school socio-economic strata and how these differences impact teenage lives. Working-class Keith (Eric Stoltz) and his friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) seek to improve their social rankings at school. Keith has a crush on popular girl Amanda (Lea Thompson), who is dating wealthy jerk Hardy (Craig Scheffer). Amanda eventually dumps Hardy, but she uses Keith's infatuation with her as a way to prove she doesn't need Hardy. Unbeknownst to Keith, Watts harbors a secret crush on him, even though she helps him pursue Amanda. Keith's auto mechanic dad Cliff (John Ashton) is obsessed with him going to college, but Keith wants to make his own decisions regarding his future.

Like "The Notebook," "Some Kind of Wonderful" plays with rigid social class expectations and people's struggle to defy them. Keith faces parental pressures to conform. Cliff wants what's best for Keith, projecting his social anxieties onto his son. "A simple, lovely and thoughtful teenage story," (via Variety), "Some Kind of Wonderful" is a great entry in the '80s teen film canon.

Say Anything...

Is there a more legendary movie moment than Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) longingly hoisting his boombox above his head, with Peter Gabriel's song "In Your Eyes" blasting from the speakers? This scene unfolds in the teen drama "Say Anything...," Cameron Crowe's directorial debut about love, angst, and deception. Underachiever Lloyd plays "In Your Eyes" to show his love for Diane (Ione Skye), his scholarly love interest, who has broken up with him at the behest of her overprotective father Jim (John Mahoney). Diane has been awarded a prestigious fellowship in England and Jim sees unambitious Lloyd as a distraction to her studies. However, Jim's superficial concerns about Lloyd duplicitously cover for his own deceitful behavior. Undeterred, Lloyd pursues Diane, wanting to take care of her in ways that her father can't.  

According to the Rotten Tomato Critic Consensus, "Say Anything..." is "one of the definitive Generation X movies" and "is equally funny and heartfelt." The film's romance is subtle and grounded in "ordinary everyday lives and rituals of kids in their late teens," per RogerEbert.com. In many ways, "Say Anything..." stands in opposition to the grandiose love gestures found in "The Notebook," but both films express their respective visions with iconic scenes of devotion, with Lloyd's boombox scene just as evocative as the famous "The Notebook" embrace in the rain.

Before Sunset

The second film in Richard Linklater's "Before Trilogy," "Before Sunset" is most like "The Notebook," playing with ideas of memory and reflecting on relationships of the past. Taking place nine years after "Before Sunrise," this film catches up with Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), with both having not seen each other since their fateful night in Vienna. Jesse has written a novel based on their encounter and their potential reunion is speculated about by the public. Indeed, Céline and Jesse reunite, sharing details of their lives since they met while they meander through the streets of Paris, their mutual attraction rekindled.

All the "Before Trilogy" films are must-watches for romantic movie lovers, but "Before Sunset" is the series' kindred spirit to "The Notebook." Céline and Jesse, separated by geography and time, have moved on with other people but they never stopped thinking about each other. "'Before Sunset' should speak to anyone who's let that one great love slip away," notes Variety, but like in "The Notebook," these two lovers are meant to be with each other.

Love Affair

1939's "Love Affair" marked the top of the Empire State Building as the unofficial rendezvous point for fated lovers everywhere. Starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer, "Love Affair" chronicles the romance of playboy artist Michel Marnet (Boyer) and singer Terry McKay (Dunne). Michel and Terry, both engaged to other people, meet on a transatlantic ocean voyage. They decide to meet atop the Empire State Building six months after their trip, giving them enough time to sort out their affairs in order to make their relationship work. But tragedy strikes on the day of their meeting, with their fateful reunion interrupted. Will Terry and Michel ever meet again? 

"Love Affair" has been remade several times, notably in 1957 as "An Affair To Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and in 1994 as "Love Story" with real-life couple Warren Beatty and Annette Bening. If you're a fan of "Notebook"-esque melodrama, then this story is for you. Any iteration of "Love Story" serves up deliciously maudlin romance but for the true film-buff, definitely start with the original.

Endless Love

The second film adaptation of the Scott Spencer novel, 2014's "Endless Love" was criticized by the Washington Post as "Nicholas Sparks fan fiction," but that's high praise indeed for this series of movies. Scholastically gifted high school senior Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) has good grades but few friends. David (Alex Pettyfer) crushes on Jade and the two become lovers, much to the chagrin of Jade's father, Hugh (Bruce Greenwood). Choosing David over her medical school internship, Jade finds genuine happiness in her life. But Hugh despises David, stopping at nothing to sabotage their love.

According to USA Today, "Endless Love" "might as well be one long montage of yearning gazes, tender kisses and lovers splashing in sundry bodies of water like playful otters." Again, this swipe intends to deter viewership, but a movie like "Endless Love" is not meant to be a critics' darling. Its pleasure comes from beautiful people defying villainous authority figures to love each other. "Endless Love" might not become a cinematic classic, but it serves up some delicious wrong-side-of-the-tracks lovers drama, just like "The Notebook." 


A modest film with a blockbuster romance, "Once" weaves a story of star-crossed street musicians that breaks even the sturdiest of hearts. In Dublin, street-busking musician Guy (Glen Hansard) discovers a flower-seller Girl (Markéta Irglová) is also musically inclined and they strike up a partnership. Guy writes songs about his ex-girlfriend, lamenting over her move to London. Romantic tensions underlie their musical collaborations, but slowly they understand their life circumstances might not nurture their love.

"Once" was celebrated by critics, a film "littered with moments of transcendence, musical and otherwise" (via A/V Club). Hansard and Irglová won an Academy Award for their song "Falling Slowly," a track that Variety places in its Top 20 Best Original Song Oscar Winners of All Time list. The pair, like Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams of "The Notebook," developed an off-screen romance after the film wrapped. Director John Carney noted the pair's chemistry while making the film, calling Hansard and Irglová his "Bogey and Bacall" (via Washington Post). Truly, "Once" is a cinematic love story for the ages.

Brokeback Mountain

Prepare to ugly-cry at "Brokeback Mountain," a sweepingly intimate movie that Roger Ebert heralded as the "story of a time and place where two men are forced to deny the only great passion either one will ever feel." The film starts in Wyoming in the summer of 1963 when two cowboys, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), are hired by Joe Aguirre (Dennis Quaid) to herd his sheep on Brokeback Mountain. Jack and Ennis' romance begins here, but their relationship remains clandestine, hidden over the years under the guise of fishing trips. They both marry, have families, and take on careers, but their feelings for each other carry on, with neither Jack nor Ennis ever forgetting their summer on Brokeback Mountain.

So much of what happens in "Brokeback Mountain" is in what goes unsaid. Jack and Ennis, gay men living in an intolerant society, face scrutiny and fear death because of their love. Celebrated as a defining moment in modern cinema (via Empire), "Brokeback Mountain" is achingly beautiful and unbearably tragic. Fans of "The Notebook" will find Jack and Ennis' love story just as fatefully endearing as that of Allie and Noah's.  

About Time

Rachel McAdams gives another sparkling romantic performance in the time-traveling fantasy film "About Time." In the movie, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers the men in his family have the ability to travel back in time. Tim's father James (Bill Nighy) warns him off using his powers for riches and fame, so Tim decides to use them for love. He meets Mary (McAdams), and uses his time-traveling abilities to secure her love, but he soon finds his time-hopping jaunts manipulate their relationship, for better or worse. 

Garnering comparisons to both "Groundhog Day" and another McAdams film, "The Time Traveler's Wife," "About Time" serves up life-lessons with laughs and sentimental tears. Like in "The Notebook," "About Time" captures the fleeting nature of time passing, conveying that savoring precious moments binds love together. Tim jumps through time with his superpowers, and Noah time-travels through the written word, with both men moving through the decades for the women they love.

The Lucky One

The movie poster for "The Lucky One" explicitly states the film is "from the best-selling author of 'The Notebook,'" so make no mistake, "The Lucky One" is for "Notebook" lovers. It's yet another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks movie featuring exceedingly attractive actors (Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling) in a picturesque Southern seaside town (Louisiana), with the two finding themselves in a romance permeated by secrets. U.S. Marine Logan Thibault (Efron) returns from duty, determined to track down a woman in a found-photograph that he has deemed his "guardian angel." Traveling to Louisiana, Logan finds the woman, Beth (Schilling), who is unaware of Logan's intentions. The love story unfolds from there, with a dead brother, abusive ex-husband, and budding father-son relationship thrown in the mix for maximum Sparkisan effect.

"The Lucky One" is tailor-made for Nicholas Spark fans, with the Rotten Tomatoes Critical Consensus noting the film's pleasure point is with those familiar with "the Nicholas Sparks formula." This movie is for the fans, and the  Los Angeles Times calls it "predictable, pure of heart, sentimental and never straying from the boy-meets-girl basics, or the surface, for that matter." "The Lucky One" is ready-made to charm ardent Sparks fans.  

City Lights

Any true lover of romance movies needs to put Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" on their list of must-watch films. Listed by the American Film Institute as the number one romantic comedy of all time, "City Lights" has indelibly left its mark on cinema. "City Lights" stars Chaplin as his iconic character The Tramp, who becomes instantly smitten upon meeting a blind flower shop girl (Virginia Cherrill). Unfortunately for the shabby Tramp, she inadvertently identifies him as a wealthy man. The Tramp's crafty relationship with a drunken millionaire provides the front he needs to keep up his money ruse with the girl, becoming her kindly benefactor. But if she knows The Tramp's true poverty-stricken identity, will she still retain her fondness for him?

"City Lights" is "one of the best underdog romance movies ever, with an ending that will light up any heart" (via Rotten Tomatoes). If you've never watched a Chaplin movie and you love "The Notebook," "City Lights" is a great entry point into the cinematic world of a master filmmaker.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Jacques Demy's all-singing melodrama "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" follows young lovers torn apart by circumstance. In the French seaside town of Cherbourg, young umbrella shop girl Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) falls in love with auto mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo). Guy gets drafted into the Algerian War and the two consummate their love before his departure. Geneviève soon discovers she's pregnant and her mother (Anne Vernon) convinces her that Guy has moved on, encouraging her to do the same. Returning from war, Guy finds his world changed, and his must decide if his heart, and his life, can evolve. 

"The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" plays out as if Allie and Noah never reunited in "The Notebook." Geneviève and Guy make choices informed by outside factors, their romance being one of the most bittersweet in cinema. Tears flow, drawn from eye ducts with the help of the film's sweeping score and beautiful cinematography. Sorrowfully cathartic, "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" may not satisfy those who wish for happy endings, but its realism offers comfort to the broken-hearted. 

The Vow

Based on the true story of Kim and Krickett Carpenter, the 2012 film "The Vow" features Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams starring as a young married couple who must rediscover their love for one another after a tragic accident. Leo (Tatum) and Paige (McAdams) Collins are involved in a car crash that puts Paige in a coma. When she awakens, she remembers nothing of Leo or their marriage. Paige's estranged, wealthy parents Rita (Jessica Lange) and Bill (Sam Neill), neither fans of Leo, lean into Paige's amnesia, taking her in and urging Leo to divorce Paige. While Paige pieces together her past, including why she left her family, law school, and her former fiancé (Scott Speedman), she soon discovers the choices that led to her present circumstances. 

The New York Times notes in its review of "The Vow" that both Tatum and McAdams have "both done time in the Nicholas Sparks school of tragico-preposterous inspiration," with Tatum starring in 2010's "Dear John" and McAdams in "The Notebook." Though the Toronto Star disparages the film by saying "not even Channing Tatum's bare bum, clearly a Hail Mary pass lobbed at the ladies in the theater, can distract from the turgidly sappy goings on," they clearly don't understand this is an asset. So don't turn the other cheek to "The Vow," because any fan of "The Notebook" will be over the moon with its touching romance.   


Containing one of the most romantic movie moments ever (via Yahoo!), arguably just as memorable as the rain embrace in "The Notebook," the romance-with-a-touch-of-the-supernatural blockbuster "Ghost" spins a tale of love caught between dimensions. When Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) is killed by a mugger, he becomes a ghost and discovers his death was not random but was, if fact, planned by his co-worker Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn). He seeks help from psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to avenge his death and protect his girlfriend Molly Jensen (Demi Moore).

Featuring an Academy Award-winning performance by Whoopi Goldberg and an Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay, "Ghost" was a cultural phenomenon upon its release in 1990, becoming the highest-grossing film released that year (via Box Office Mojo). Swayze and Moore deliver poignant performances, and, of course, make pottery together in the most sensual way possible. Part romance, part thriller, and with a touch of comedy added to offset the ample tear-jerking, "Ghost" "offers viewers a poignant romance and is "one of the more enduringly watchable hits of its era" (via Rotten Tomatoes). 


A triumph of cinema, "Casablanca" is widely considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time, with the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus stating that it's "an undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance." Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman ignite the screen as former lovers ensnared in the drama of World War II. In 1941 Morocco, Rick Blaine (Bogart) runs his nightclub, Rick's Café Américain." One day, his old-flame Ilsa Lund (Bergman) walks into his gin joint, seeking help for her and her resistance-leader husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). They need safe passage to the United States and Rick has the required "letters of transit" to make it happen. Still haunted by his old affair with Ilsa, Rick must decide if he's up to the task.

Succinctly summarized by Roger Ebert, "Casablanca" is "about a man and a woman who are in love, and who sacrifice love for a higher purpose." Even upon its release in 1942, critics were lavishing praise on the film, calling it "a rich, suave, exciting, and moving tale" brimming with "urbane detail" and "crackling dialog" (via New York Times). If you have not seen "Casablanca" and you love "The Notebook," stop what you're doing and make "Casablanca" your next must-watch movie.