If you’re reading this, then you’ve definitely sobbed while Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams screamed, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird!” at each other. And look, we’re right there with you. The Notebook is the very definition of an epic romance, but Allie and Noah’s love story is just one of many tear-jerking Hollywood romances out there. Trust us. There are other movies like The Notebook capable of making you swoon and sob simultaneously — even though we do concede nothing will ever fully compare to Gosling and McAdams’ rain-soaked, 2005 MTV Award-Winning Best Kiss.
At its heart, The Notebook is a story of forbidden love. Noah is a poor boy who catches the eye of southern heiress Allie, and even though their summer romance is life-changing, her parents would never approve of him. The pair spend most of the movie proving there’s no obstacle their love can’t overcome. But then comes the heartbreaking twist ending: the revelation that, while they do spend a lifetime together, Allie’s dementia will one day rob her of her memories of her one true love. Cue all the tears.
That’s the bittersweet icing on top of this perfect movie romance that blends the star-crossed lovers’ trope with just the right amount of tragedy. It’s the tragic element that also happens to be the easiest ingredient to screw up in a movie. Happily (but also tragically), the 30 films on this list strike just the right balance between telling a sprawling love story and breaking viewers’ hearts into a million tiny pieces. Pay attention, Notebook fans, because these are the movies you need to watch the next time you’re in the mood for a fictional romance every bit as grand as Noah and Allie’s.
Romance Movies Like The Notebook
1. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
McAdams is clearly the queen of tragic love stories. In this heart-wrenching film, she plays Claire, who falls in love with a time traveler. The catch is her time-traveling husband Henry (Eric Bana) can only travel within his own timeline, and as a result, their love story unfolds out of order. For Claire, her story with Henry is a linear one that begins when she meets him as a child. But for him, it’s all a bit of a jumble, made all the more complicated by the fact that he never knows where or when his jumps through time will take him. Still, their love remains a constant even though the threat of heartbreak is ever-present for the couple.
2. The Photograph (2020)
Told across two timelines, The Photograph is as much about making peace with your family history as it is about finding a person who makes your heart beat a little faster. The film stars Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield as two people who have an instant attraction to each other — but before Rae’s character, Mae, can commit to a romantic future, she needs to reckon with the secrets her mother kept from her. Among those secrets is the identity of her father and what happened between her parents all those years ago.
3. Dear John (2010)
Like The Notebook, Dear John is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. The story centers on a soldier, John Tyree (Channing Tatum), who falls for a college student named Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) while he’s home on leave. Sadly, despite their deep connection, John is sent back to Afghanistan while Savannah moves on with her life. But in true Sparks’ fashion, the characters end up reconnecting at the most inopportune moment.
4. The Longest Ride (2015)
Another Sparks’ adaptation, The Longest Ride is perfect for anyone who likes their romance with a side of cowboy action. The movie actually follows two couples: professional bull rider Luke (Scott Eastwood) and art student Sophia (Britt Robertson), who spar over Luke’s choice of a profession, and the story of Ira (Jack Huston) and Ruth (Oona Chaplin) as recounted by an older Ira, played by Alan Alda. As you may have guessed, it’s Ira and Ruth’s romance that will really give your tear ducts a workout, as the elderly Ira shares the story of the long road he and Ruth traveled together before and after World War II.
5. The English Patient (1996)
Thanks to Seinfeld, The English Patient was reduced to a punchline for much of the ’90s. But, if you ask us, it’s past time for this breathtaking film to get the recognition it deserves. It’s an epic movie in every sense of the word, and it’s one chock full of forbidden love, sexy sand storms (yes, those are a thing), and at least one hair-washing scene designed to make viewers weak in the knees. If you love bittersweet love stories told across multiple timelines (and let’s be real, if you’re a fan of The Notebook, then you obviously do), this Best Picture-winner is an absolute must-see.
More Weepy Romance Movies Like The Notebook
6. Sylvie’s Love (2020)
7. Atonement (2007)
8. Loving (2016)
9. Ghost (1990)
10. Definitely, Maybe (2008)
11. A Walk to Remember (2002)
12. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
13. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
14. About Time (2013)
15. P.S. I Love You (2007)
16. The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
17. The Last Song (2010)
18. Big Fish (2003)
19. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
20. Amour (2012)
21. An Affair to Remember (1957)
22. Bright Star (2009)
23. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
24. The Lucky One (2012)
25. The Vow (2012)
26. Message in a Bottle (1999)
27. Dirty Dancing (1987)
28. Carol (2015)
29. The Big Sick (2017)
30. One Day (2011)