If you’re in the mood for some Netflix and Chill during these steamy summer months, you’ll love this list of movies based on romance novels! Add a few to your queue and snuggle in, just don’t forget to read the book first.
The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks
The Notebook has it all: Allie and Noah fell in love as teenagers only to be torn apart by class differences and familial obligations. They reunite years later for some much needed closure before Allie marries a successful man her parents approve of—and with whom she has fallen in love as well. If you haven’t seen this movie already, I don’t care what rock you’re living under; crawl out from beneath it, and bring your tissues.
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The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene
One of my favorite historical novels was turned into a film starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes. The story starts at the end: two years ago, Sarah ended her affair with writer Maurice, for reasons he never understood and could never forgive. The movie takes you back in time as you learn how Maurice and Sarah met, fell in love, and what led to Sarah’s decision to leave him, all the while watching Maurice become entrenched in jealousy, trying to find a way back into Sarah’s heart.
Cruel Intentions (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Piere Choderlos)
Les Liaisons Dangereuses was written by Piere Choderlos de Laclos in 1782—in France. But thanks to movie magic, this film (retitled Cruel Intentions) is set among Manhattan’s teen elite in the 90’s. Kathryn and Sebastian are step-siblings, and despite their mutual appreciation for the lustier things in life, have never slept with one another. Kathryn bets Sebastian that because of his bad boy rep he’ll never be able to win the heart (and body) of Annette, a new girl at their school who is a self-proclaimed virgin until marriage. If he does win, though, his real prize will be her. Of course, Sebastian falls for Annette and the results are catastrophic. (They’re making a TV show sequel to the movie, so once that comes out, you’ll know where to find me.)
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
The most romantic movie of all time may not have been on your to-watch list before, because I get it: who want to watch a movie that’s so long there’s an actual intermission in it? But hear me out: Gone with the Wind is the most swoonworthy romance there is, about a girl who thinks she can find the things she wants by manipulating the men around her…until she eventually realizes that she will only be happy once she is honest with herself. This movie will remind you that there once was a time before technology—the scenery is as beautiful as the kiss scenes!
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Okay, technically this isn’t a romance novel, but hear me out: who says a romance can’t be about a woman falling in love with herself? The bestselling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert in which she quits her job, quits her marriage, and decides to find herself by eating, praying, and eventually, loving her way through the world, stars Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem. The romance doesn’t pick up until the last third of the movie, but nothing after the words Javier Bardem should be necessary to convince you, so I’ll just end with them: Javier. Bardem.
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska star in this adaptation of Jane Eyre, a novel by Charlotte Brontë about an orphan girl who, after becoming a governess, finds herself falling in love with a wealthy and mysterious man. Michael Fassbender could have chemistry with literally a brick wall or a fake sunflower plant or me, if asked politely, so do yourself a favor and watch him clench his jaw a lot in this movie.
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
We’ve got a couple of tragic romances on this list, so here’s one that you know going in ends in a Happily Ever After! While technically not a “romance novel”, The Princess Bride tells the love story of Buttercup, “the most beautiful girl in the world”, and Wesley, her family’s stable boy. Buttercup and Wesley fall in love, but he leaves to find his fortune and be deserving of her—and dies in the process. Buttercup becomes engaged to the terrible king Humperdnik, lives in misery, and is even kidnapped by a rival kingdom! She is rescued by a man in black who eventually reveals himself to be her true love, Wesley! Equipped with a cast of hilarious characters, The Princess Bride is the best movie to watch when you’re feeling even a little bit blue.
A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks
Every millennial kid sobbed buckets at this movie when it first came out, and possibly hasn’t seen it since, it’s so heartbreaking. But the love story between bad boy Landon and Christian good girl Jamie is worth the re-watch; it’s one of those films that withstands the test of time. Landon meets Jamie while being forced to participate in the school play—because of his bad behavior, it’s that or expulsion. Over time, he finds himself drawn to Jamie, who warns him not to fall in love with her. By then, of course, it’s already too late for them both: Landon leaves his old life and friends behind to be with her, and when Jamie reveals a devastating secret to him, they cling to one another despite all hope being lost. Mandy Moore is a gem in this movie, and if you’ve never slow danced to “Only Hope” while all your friends looked on in jealousy, then you haven’t lived.
What film adaptations of romance novels do you love?