The author name of Nicholas Sparks lives up to its shining name. Sparks indeed fly between his characters featured in his penned romantic novels. But somehow, after making us fall in love with the characters that are already in-love in his stories, there’s always a downfall. Thus, the subgenre of the tragic-romantic narrative gets heightened with his works. And perhaps The Notebook is the most notable of the lot.
Released in 2004, the movie version stars Ryan Gosling as a guy from the poorer side of life. Of course he has to meet someone totally opposite him in many ways. That would be the character of Rachel McAdams, who plays the daughter of a tycoon. When poor boy and rich girl fall in love, many types of hell break loose!
While the whole film is heartwarming and tear-inducing, the ending gives a twist that surprises people. That’s where the tragic part kicks in. But this is not the only Hollywood depiction of a star-crossed tragic kind of love story. There are many other movies like The Notebook that got produced. Check them out!
Perhaps nothing says “tragic romantic” more than the film Romeo+Juliet. It was here where Shakespeare first used the term “star-crossed lovers” after all, since that is what tragic romance is all about. So this rightfully belongs in the first choice of our movies like The Notebook list.
This 1996 adaptation by Baz Luhrmann is very faithful to the original text by The Bard. The tragic lovers here are played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The film practically lifts the pages of dialogue text closely. However, it’s the interpretation of the story that leaves audiences at awe with this version.
The movie plays around with many contemporary issues of the time. Luhrmann uses the pervasiveness of media to depict parts of the story. Gun violence is very rampant and commonplace, yet used creatively to sync with the old text’s details. And of course, the love story is as authentic as it can get.
Leo and Claire play their roles here so well, and so electrifying. Their chemistry is undeniable, and it helps the story push further. So go watch this version and rediscover Shakespeare anew!
When you say the names “Jack and Rose,” only one word comes to the minds of people: Titanic.
This greatest blockbuster of all time stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a drifter who won tickets to ride the new ship Titanic. Onboard, he meets a beautiful woman, Rose, played by Kate Winslet. The two get smitten with each other, obviously. But fate has something else in store for them.
This is one effective film that earns its spot in our list of movies like The Notebook. We already know that the love affair is doomed from the start. Whether they like it or not, the ship will sink! But we still bought the romance portion and tried to ignore the tragic portion. Good job, James Cameron!
Sometimes, it’s really about letting the love story unfold first. Then the tragedy would come in later like a slap in the face. Go watch!
By the title alone, this film is already tragic in nature. We know somebody died, okay? So yeah, it must be one of the couples who turned into a ghost. But we still fell in love with the tragedy.
This 1990 classic stars Demi Moore as Molly, in that undeniable ‘90s haircut that everyone imitated. She’s an artist who just transferred to a new apartment with her longtime fiancé. This man is Sam, played by Patrick Swayze, who works as a bank employee.
One night, the couple is out on a date, when they fall victim to hold-upping. The robber had a gun, and ends up shooting Sam who struggles with it. His spirit is yanked out of his body, seeing his lifeless body and his fiancée.
Sam tries to find out the robber, and the tragedy becomes a mystery whodunit. Later, it is revealed that there must be more to this robbery. Sam tries to communicate with Molly, but it’s hard if you’re already ethereal.
See this classic. It’s a must!
4. My Best Friend’s Wedding
What’s more tragic than being in love with someone, only he falls in love with someone else? Even if My Best Friend’s Wedding has a comedic tone, it turns tragic because of this storyline premise.
The 1997 film stars Julia Roberts as Julianne, a food critic who gets a call from her college best friend Michael, played by Dermot Mulroney. Back in school, they promised each other that they will marry each other if they haven’t gotten hitched by the time they turn 28 years old.
An excited Julianne receives the call, since she already turned 28. Michael’s turn to “turn” will be a few weeks away. In reality, Julianne is secretly in love with Michael for the longest time. But what she finds out from him is that he is getting married soon… to someone else.
The tragedy here turns comedic once Julianne hatches ways to separate Michael from his soon-to-be bride. Will she succeed? It’s not in our list of one of those movies like The Notebook if we give you the answer! Go find out for yourself!
5. The Lakehouse
What if you can fall in love with someone through letters, and try to meet up, only the other one doesn’t show up? Well, we couldn’t say more about The Lakehouse without revealing its ending. And boy, that ending really makes this film qualify in our list of movies like The Notebook.
This 2006 remake of a Korean film stars Sandra Bullock as a doctor who rents a lake house somewhere in Wisconsin. Her co-star is Keanu Reeves playing an architect who is also renting the same lake house. But what’s strange here is that they communicate using the mailbox in the lake house.
What’s even stranger is that he is living in 2006 at the lake house, while she is living in 2008 at the same lake house. The mailbox seems to send magical letters since they can apparently correspond with each other through it – and through time!
It’s kinda tragic how you would think they could consummate their love for each other. But the film will indeed surprise you. Go watch it!
6. The Vow
What if your own wife can’t remember that you’re her husband? Such a tragedy that would be, right? But that’s what happened to the couple in The Vow. And that’s also the reason why the film is in our list of movies like The Notebook.
For one, the film tells the tale of a happily married couple, Paige and Leo. Played by Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, they meet an accident one day. Their car gets violently rammed by a truck. They both end up in a hospital.
The husband recovers earlier than the wife. When she comes to, however, she could remember things in her life. But it’s her husband she couldn’t recall. Even if he continues to remind her of so many things between them, she still doesn’t remember him,
Now isn’t that such a tragedy. Where will this kind of story end up? Well, go see for yourself – and prepare the tissues for crying.
7. 500 Days of Summer
The 2009 film 500 Days of Summer is a cult fave among hopeless romantics and probably hipsters, too. The independent film vibe of the story is what catches people’s attention. Plus the fact that it’s included here in our list of movies like The Notebook would provide another interesting clue.
The film is about Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, narrating how he had a failed relationship with a girl named Summer. He works in a greeting card company as a writer of happy greeting cards. He meets Summer there, one day, as a new employee.
At first, he is only intrigued by her. Soon, he develops a crush. But that crush doesn’t seem to be reciprocated at the beginning. But the two still develop and pursue a friendship. Then it turns into a relationship of sorts. But things also fall apart eventually. And Tom tries to recall why.
The film is cute and endearing, also heartwarming. Go check it out if you’re into this thing.
8. West Side Story
How about a musical version of a tragic romantic film? The 1961 movie musical West Side Story provides this storyline, then.
Set in New York, this movie musical is actually an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. And we already know what went on with those two, right? Only this time, the Romeo is Tony, a Polish-American while Juliet is Maria, a Puerto Rican beauty.
Life would be better if there were no hindrances to innocent love stories. But this is a good adaptation, since it brings us to modern times. And we all know how modern times are full of tragic stuff. For example, the warring clans in the Shakespeare original is turned into warring teen gangs. And their warring is heavily racially inclined.
This genius of an adaptation makes you sing and dance while Tony and Maria try to negotiate their love with their surroundings and loved ones. It doesn’t help that their corresponding “urban tribes” try to damage each other in many instances. So what’s a girl and boy to do? Watch and find out!
9. The Time Traveler’s Wife
The 2009 film The Time Traveler’s Wife is yet another tragic but romantic story that plays with the element of time, and also genetic disorder.
This is the story of a man who seems to be afflicted by some kind of disorder. He ends up time traveling to different eras and time. Sometimes, he returns to the same place, but time has already passed – or hasn’t passed. In these trips, he meets a woman who becomes his wife later on – or early on?
It’s obvious from this kind of storyline that it’s one of those movies like The Notebook. The romance part is a heartwarming one. But the tragic part is something that science could probably explain – or at least tries to.
Imagine having your husband travel to and fro, in both your lifetime. Meeting each other in various parts of your existence is quite a feat to achieve. And yes, it could also get nerve-wracking.
It’s hard to explain the details of this film without giving much of it away! So go watch it for yourself, and enjoy the journey.
10. The Reader
What happens when the woman you love keeps a secret that might save her life, but refuses not to divulge it? That is the basic premise you will find in the film The Reader.
Starring Kate Winslet, the 2009 film features her character Hannah, a German blue-collar worker. She meets a feverish teenage boy named Michael in the late 1950s whom she helps after hurling on the street. The boy comes back later to thank her for helping, and that’s when their sexual relationship starts.
During their quieter moments, Hannah indulges Michael to read her some stories from the books he is studying in school. This becomes a bonding moment for them, and gets repeated. But when she changes her job, she disappears without telling Michael about it.
Later in life, though, Michael becomes a law student, and they watch trials as part of the study. In one trial, she recognizes one of the women accused – Hannah. Apparently, she has a dark past as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp during the war.
The tragedy element here is not truly knowing what will come out of this trial for her. What’s also romantic is how the grown-up Michael tries to help Hannah from being sentenced in prison. What do you think will happen? Watch to see! This is the film where Kate Winslet won an Academy Award for her performance, so it’s a must-see indeed!