10 Must-Watch Romantic Movies like ‘After’ That You Must See

By Louie Fecou
Published: February 25, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
10 Best Movies like After you must watch
'After' (2019) Film Image (Credit to Aviron Pictures)

The movie After was directed by Jenny Gage, based on the novel of the same name by Anna Todd. Released in 2019, cynical reviewers did not receive the film well. However, that did not stop it from becoming a minor hit at the theater, making nearly $70 million on a $14 million budget. We have put together 10 best movies like it in case you need a similar fix.

The story follows college freshman Tessa and her romantic dalliances with bad boy Hardin, despite already being in a relationship with her boyfriend, Dylan. It did so well that it made it into a film series that is still ongoing.

10. Cruel Intentions (1999)

As well as sharing a star, Selma Blair, this entry has a sort of “truth or dare” moment similar to After and is also based on a book, although from way back in the 18th century. However, this is a much seedier and darker affair and focuses on wealthy New York students. More sinister and ruder than After. If you like edgier content in your romantic drama, this might pass the night.

9. The Last Summer (2019)

If there is one lesson to learn from high school romantic dramas, it must be not to fall in love before you venture off to college. Those long-distance relationships can be tricky, which is the king of the point of this entry on the list. We follow a group of teens on the edge of that life-changing moment in a coming-of-age story that fans of After will enjoy watching.

8. The Notebook (2004)

This is a classic of the genre and is a must-watch, although, to be fair, if you are a fan of After, you will probably have already watched this. With Ryan Gosling and Rachael McAdams as the romantic leads, this feature already has a lot of clouts, and there are some iconic scenes that fans will never forget. Perhaps a little cliched now, but praised highly on its release; if you only watch one movie on this list, it should probably be this one.

7. Roman Holiday (1953)

So run with me on this one. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn star in this tale of a rogue princess who decided she had enough royal duties, bumping into an American reporter in Rome. For him, it could be the story of his career, but they begin slowly falling in love and have the time of their lives before reality rears its head in the final act.

Beautifully shot on location and filled with iconic imagery, this odd couple relationship does have its similarities thematically with After. It is a classic that deserves to be watched by a modern audience to see how they used to make them back in the day.

6. Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen and Diane Keaton star in this brilliant study of relationships between two very different people in what has to be Allen’s most well-loved film. The tight script and nonlinear study of why things didn’t work out are both hilarious and poignant and have been used as a template for many movies but never really equaled.

The chemistry between the leads and the doomed relationship is the stuff of movie legends, with some of the most quotable dialogues in screenplay history. It won Best Picture at the Oscars when they mattered.

5. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Here is another iconic entry in this list, and another one you have no doubt seen, but this romantic drama, with a lot of dancing, follows Baby and Johnny in the Summer of 1963, in one of the most successful and celebrated romantic dramas of all time. The relationship between the two leads is immersive and believable and mirrors the bad boy prevalent in After, but the dance premise here is the real hook. Often imitated, never surpassed, and a template for the genre forever.

4. Reality Bites (1994)

Ah, the mid-nineties, grunge, floppy hair, and a directorial debut from Ben Stiller can only mean Reality Bites. This story of the angst-ridden musician and the amateur documentary maker that he falls for is a classic tale of a bad boy finding redemption in this romantic drama with a hugely recognizable cast.

Look for Winona Ryder, Steve Zahn, Ethan Hawke, and Janeane Garofola in this slice of nineties romance held fondly in the minds of the nineties audience that watched it back when Hanson was at the top of the charts.

3. A Walk to Remember (2002)

Here is another romantic drama based on a book of the same name, and this one is a little more somber than some of our entries. The relationship at the core is between bad boy Landon and the minister’s daughter Jamie. The two are thrown together, initially reluctant to acknowledge their growing friendship but eventually discovering a natural bond. Just like After, this film did not receive much critical reception, but what do they know? It did great box office, is a bit of a tear-jerker, and still has fans.

2. Endless Love (1981)

Now, this might surprise you, but this romantic drama was actually Tom Cruise’s first movie, but he only had a small part in it, but it’s still a good trivia fact to remember. Again, we have a couple that should not be together, and it is also based on a book. Set in Chicago, Jade, and David fall in love, but there are all kinds of strange subtexts at work here, making this a bit more psychological than some of our other suggestions. Things don’t go well for our fiery lovers, but at least we got a great soundtrack.

1. The Fault in our Stars (2014)

Let’s finish on a high with this adaptation of the novel by John Green, which finds our central couple finding love going through cancer treatment. The film was a box office monolith with just a $12 million budget; it made over $300 million, not counting what it made on its DVD release. Praised for its screenplay, characters, performances, and subject matter, this gem never goes too far in any direction and has a clever, often witty, script that helps the audience get through the dark premise. 

Do you have any other recommendations for movies like After? Let us know!

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