10 Great Rom-Coms With Positive Messages

A split image of She's The Man, Crazy Rich Asians, and Enchanted

Many rom-coms have not aged well in this day and age. Quite a few films boast questionable dynamics, unsavory situations that go unexamined, and problematic characters. Other movies have self-centered protagonists who come out on top and get everything they ever desire, despite showing that they don’t deserve it.


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However, although the genre possesses many problematic entries, many rom-coms still resonate due to their positive messages. Some have more universal themes and lessons that continue to hold up well, while others were arguably ahead of their time in scrutinizing and criticizing certain societal beliefs.

10 Lack Of Self-Control And Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms Will Catch Up

Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic’s Rebecca loves shopping. Unfortunately, she takes her love of all material things to such extreme lengths that it’s obviously more about the thrill of the transaction than obtaining additions to her wardrobe. Rebecca cannot bring herself to limit her impulsive spending, even when she has too many things or accumulates large bills she can’t pay.

Rebecca digs herself into a financial hole. Throughout Confessions of a Shopaholic, she shows how hard she must work to climb out of her debt. In a time when consumerism is common and rom-coms encourage emotionally-driven decisions, this 2009 film gives a good dose of reality regarding financial choices.

9 Jane Should Have Been True To Herself From The Start

27 Dresses

When 27 Dresses starts, Jane has been stuck in a job that she isn’t passionate about because she has a crush on her boss, George. Irony strikes when her vivacious sister Tess comes to town and starts a relationship with George.

Though Tess and George’s relationship quickly becomes an engagement, Jane holds on to her crush and ignores the sparks she has with Kevin. Jane doesn’t bring herself to confess her feelings until the wedding falls apart. Though she and George give it a try, Jane quickly realizes their chemistry is lacking and that she loves Kevin after all. 27 Dresses teaches its audience that Jane should have been true to herself earlier.

8 Relationships Are A Two-Way Street

My Best Friend’s Wedding

The 1997 film My Best Friend’s Wedding subverts rom-com expectations. Jules is inherently unsympathetic because she tries to sabotage her best friend Michael’s wedding so she can have him for herself. Unlike other films of the genre, the protagonist doesn’t succeed in her romantic manipulations.

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Jules gets unmasked in front of multiple people and rebuked for her actions. She even admits she was wrong. In the end, Jules redeems herself by helping Michael marry Kimmy, the woman he actually loves. Refreshingly, instead of treating an unheroic protagonist as deserving everything under the sun, My Best Friend’s Wedding teaches audiences that relationships are a two-way street.

7 Good Families Will Prioritize Happiness

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

The 2002 indie film My Big Fat Greek Wedding shows that a loving family will care about happiness. Toula feels stifled in her large Greek family and wants to do more than work in the family restaurant and marry according to expectations. Toula gets the chance when she enrolls in classes and begins dating non-Greek Ian.

Although Toula’s father, Gus, is aghast at her choice, he warms to the idea. When Toula questions whether her imminent marriage is harming her father, her mother comforts her by saying that the reason they emigrated from Greece was so their children “could live.” The scene where Gus gifts Ian and Toula a house is one of My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s most emotional moments and signals his acceptance of the couple.

6 Love Can Come From Anywhere

Enchanted

Giselle and Robert from Disney’s Enchanted make an odd couple. He is a cynical real-world divorce lawyer while she is a formerly-animated fairytale character who dreams of happy endings and true love. Her habits of breaking into song and making clothes out of any fabric confuse and frustrate Robert.

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Robert annoys Giselle with his constant pragmatism and lack of imagination. Nevertheless, their differences balance the other out. Robert overcomes his jadedness while Giselle becomes less of an animated archetype and more of a real woman. Though it initially seems they will wind up with other partners, Robert and Giselle prove they belong together.

5 Alvy And Annie Prove That Sometimes, It Just Doesn’t Work Out

Annie Hall

Alvy from Annie Hall struggles to comprehend why his relationship with the titular character failed. The film shows their relationship differed from Alvy’s first two marriages. The two are compatible and get along well, and they admit their love for each other.

However, Alvy and Annie hit irreconcilable differences, from flexibility in their relationship to trying new things. Even a breakup and reunion don’t solve the disagreements. Eventually, the couple splits for good after a failed marriage proposal and a wistful last meeting. Alvy concludes that love is essential, and Annie Hall teaches its audience that sometimes, it just doesn’t work out.

4 Don’t Be Afraid To Stand Your Ground

Crazy Rich Asians

In Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel is stunned to find out that her boyfriend Nick is extremely wealthy. His family is hostile and negative about her American lower-class background and the revelation that she was born out of wedlock.

Nevertheless, out of love for Nick and her self-respect, Rachel invites Nick’s elitist mother Eleanor to mahjong. She explains that she rejected Nick’s proposal for his own sake and allows Eleanor to “win,” proving to Eleanor that she can prioritize family. Before departing, Rachel declares that if Eleanor’s dream for Nick comes true, it will be because of her. Rachel stands up for herself, which is always inspiring to see.

3 Anyone Can Grow Into A Better Person

Clueless

Cher from Clueless is spoiled and naive, but she isn’t a bad person. She is concerned for her father’s health, believes that giving Tai a makeover and helping her climb the social ladder is helpful, and makes insights that, while clumsy, aren’t completely wrong.

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Cher also proves that she’s capable of growth. She realizes that she loves Josh and accepts that she doesn’t know as much as she thought. She resolves to be better and live a more purposeful life, like leading the school’s Pismo Beach disaster relief cause. Clueless is an inspiring film because the main character shows that although she has flaws, anyone can change for the better.

2 An Unsupportive Relationship Isn’t Worth It

She’s The Man

She’s the Man follows Viola, a passionate soccer player who is devastated when the Cornwall girls’ team gets cut. When the girls request to try out for the boys’ team, they encounter a barrage of misogynists who accuse girls of being athletically inferior. Viola tries to get her boyfriend Justin’s support, but he firmly sides with his team and shuts down communication with the irritating line, “end of discussion.

Viola is unwavering in her dreams and goals. Moreover, she won’t let any boyfriend come between herself and her ambitions. In the end, she proves she can have both when she joins Illyria’s soccer team and dates Duke, who is much more encouraging of her talents.

1 It’s Okay To Reassess Dreams

13 Going On 30

Jenna Rink from 13 Going on 30 wants to be “30, flirty, and thriving.” On her 13th birthday, when she accidentally uses wishing dust, she finds her yearning fulfilled. Now 30 years old, Jenna works for Poise magazine, dates a famous hockey player, owns the latest clothes, and leads a glamorous lifestyle.

However, Jenna reassesses the person she’s become. She has a bad relationship with her parents and treats others poorly. When she returns to her teen self, Jenna rejects the negative aspects of the future she wants. Often, people feel obligated to stick to dreams they have long held. 13 Going on 30 teaches the audiences that it’s okay to grow and change your mind. With experience, people may no longer want the same goals.

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