Top-Rated Romantic Movies of the 2000s That You Shouldn't Miss

Romantic Paris
Romantic Paris / Fred Van Schagen/GettyImages

With the turn of the new millennium, romance as a genre established a solid place in the lists of critics and audiences alike. As filmmakers deviated from run-of-the-mill storytelling and movies from different cultures were propelled into international recognition, the 2000s left us with evergreen classics all movie-goers swear by.

Yi Yi (2000)

A three-hour journey between a wedding and a funeral, Edward Yang's Yi Yi, drives us through the warren of events in the Jian family from Taipei. Known for its subtleness, the film is a poetic portrayal of ghosts of the past, the uncertainties of the present, and hope for the future.

The captivating cinematography and universal characters allow the viewers an immersive dive into the world of love, loss, and loneliness in modern society. Even though he left the world too soon, Yang has given cinephiles an unforgotten movie.

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Based on two characters whose partners are having an affair with each other, In the Mood for Love is considered the greatest work of auteur filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. The movie's charm is so that it is hailed as a romantic masterpiece, even with the premise of unfulfilled love.

While the plot is clichéd, the sizzling chemistry of the actors, cinematography, music, and Wong's improvisation style of direction makes it much more than a movie about adultery. If you are a fan of contemplative cinema, then this film is for you.

Before Sunset (2004)

Before Sunset is the second installment in Richard Linklater's romantic trilogy, where Jesse and Celine meet in Paris nine years after their fateful one-night encounter in Vienna.

The movie also has a conversational flow like its predecessor, but the dialogues now carry melancholic undercurrents. The idealism of youthful romance is replaced with the world-weariness of two star-crossed lovers trapped in their personal demons. Still, there's a solace in the fact that they both feel the same way about each other, and the ambiguous ending offers a glimpse of a second chance.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

While Joel and Clementine might have forgotten the memories they had of each other, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett gave us memorable performances in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This Charlie Kaufman movie is an extraordinary sci-fi romance dealing with the permanent deletion of bittersweet memories of an ex-lover.

The moving and surreal depiction of an unconscious Joel trying to save the relics of Clementine while undergoing the procedure shows us our conflicting emotions for a love that has withered away. As destiny pulls them back again, we wonder if the other person is worth risking heartbreak for the second time.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Adapted from the Jane Austen classic of the same name, Pride and Prejudice has become one of the best romantic movies of all time and ranks high among period pieces of Hollywood. Playing the enemies-to-lovers theme, Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen set everything aflame with their fiery romance.

It's incredible to see Joe Wright achieve such perfection on his directorial debut. From sets and costume designs to the depiction of social conventions of the 18th century, he reaches cinematic excellence even while taking creative liberty.

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También is a coming-of-age story of two teenage boys on an impulsive road trip with a beautiful, older woman.

The film is set against the volatile socio-political conditions in Mexico after seven decades of uninterrupted ruling by a national party. Beneath its explicit surface, the movie brilliantly explores class inequality, the liminal space between adolescence and adulthood, and life's fragility.

Amélie (2001)

Director Jean-Pierre Jeneut's Amélie takes us on a delightful ride as the titular main character explores the little joys of life and strives to bring happiness to others. The vibrant cinematography and the whimsical screenplay add to its charm.

Amélie carries a child-like innocence as we see Paris through the eyes of the endearing and shy yet quirky Amélie. In a classic fairy tale fashion, she falls in love with a handsome man, who's just like her, and we are left with warmth bubbling in our chests as the film ends.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Nestled in the breathtaking beauty of the American countryside, Brokeback Mountain echoes the tragic story of two lovers, mirroring the ugliness of human society. Centered around contrasting personalities—Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack, desperate for a happy ending, and Heath Ledger's rigid and restrained Ennis—the film packs a gut-wrenching punch with these two powerhouse performers. 

Displaying themes of forbidden love and toxic masculinity, the movie gives us a poignant romance simmering with a deep yearning. Ang Lee's realistic and compassionate handling of the subject has made it a milestone film in mainstream queer cinema.


In case you are new to the world of cinema, we hope this comprehensive list gives you a taste of love in different forms. From heartbreaking to heart-warming, from the real world to beyond the realms of reality, you will find emotions galore.