Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook has gone on to become the most notable of romantic dramas. The film is set in 1940s South Carolina where a romance blooms between the mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) and the wealthy Allie (Rachel McAdams). Their romance is considered forbidden given that their parents do not approve of such courtship. Their relationship is further complicated when Noah is sent off to serve in World War II. Though such conflict seems to separate them, their love endures in a tragic and touching way, making for one of the best tear-jerkers of all-time.
With its period-piece romance, The Notebook was a sleeper hit at the time and has gone onto become a cult favorite among those seeking somber romantic dramas. It’s become one of the top stand-by films for those seeking to have a good cry during a cozy evening. But you can only watch it so many times before the tears start to become stale and you can practically recite Gosling and McAdams lines by heart. The good news is that the novels of Nicholas Sparks are in no short supply that numerous films have been adapted from his dramatic novels. His work has become so prolific that even the many somber dramas that followed carry a tone of being Sparks-esque. Here are 10 films of a similar nature if you’re planning on tearful movie night of romance and drama.
The Lake House
The Lake House is a romantic drama that blends elements of the fantastical for a long-distance relationship separated not by miles but years. A lakeside house is home to an architect and doctor who reside two years apart. They’re able to speak with each other via the mailbox with the letters they send. The two soon fall in love with each other even if they only know each other through the letters they send. But can such a romance work if they never meet? Directed by Alejandro Agresti (Buenos Aires Vice Versa), this remake of the Korean film Il Mare by Kim Eun-jeong Kim Mi-yeong features a cast that includes Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dylan Walsh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Christopher Plummer.
Based on the novel of the same title by Nicholas Sparks, Safe Haven tells the story of Katie Feldman moving to a small town off the coast of North Carolina. Hoping to get a fresh start, she takes on the job of a waitress and tries to keep to herself. That may be hard to do when she starts falling for the widower Alex and his children. Such love may be hard to seek when Katie has yet to come to terms with her dark history that follows her to such a cozy location. Directed by Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?)This film is a mixture of tragic drama and thriller elements that stars the likes of Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders, David Lyons, and Red West in the final film of his career.
A Walk To Remember
As one of the earlier adaptations of the written works of Nicholas Sparks, A Walk To Remember follows the life of high school student Landon Carter, seeking more from his meandering life in North Carolina. He soon finds herself falling for Jamie Sullivan, a woman he used to make fun of with his friends. They soon develop a relationship but question how it can survive when they both seem so different. Directed by Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House), this coming-of-age romance stars Shane West, Mandy Moore, Peter Coyote, and Daryl Hannah.
What if you could go back in time and do things differently with the one you love? About Time takes the concept of time travel and uses it to weave the story of how one many with such abilities can perfect a relationship. When Tim Lake learns he has this ability, passed down from his father, he tries to use it to improve his eventual marriage to Mary. But he may not be prepared for how much he alters his future and the lives of others when he continually jumps back in time to redo whatever wrongs he feels need correcting. Written and directed by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Yesterday), this touching mixture of science fiction and drama features a stellar cast that includes Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie.
Me Before You
Based on the novel by Jojo Moyes (who also wrote the screenplay), Me Before You follows the life of the youthfully spirited Louisa “Lou” Clark who takes various jobs to support her family. But her chipper attitude is stretched to the limit when she becomes the caregiver for the wealthy and paralyzed Will Traynor. Having been paralyzed by an accident, Will has a very cynical approach to life. Perhaps Lou can break him out of his funk and learn to find the joys in the world. Perhaps even a romance could bloom as their bond grows stronger. Directed by Thea Sharrock (The One and Only Ivan), the film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, and Brendan Coyle.
The Longest Ride
In yet another drama adapted from a Sparks novel, The Longest Ride finds romance in the country. Luke was once a bull-riding champion that has now set his sights on winning the love of the college student Sophia. But both of them seek different things out of life and they may find themselves going down diverging paths. Luke wants a life on the rodeo circuit while Sophia seeks to head off to New York. But perhaps the insight of an elderly man with experience in love can help them find a way to make their relationship work. Directed by George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food), this Southern-style drama stars Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, and Alan Alda.
The Fault in Our Stars
If you’re seeking a drama that’s just as powerful a tear-jerker as The Notebook, look no further than The Fault in Our Stars. Based on the novel by John Green, it’s the story of the teenager Hazel Grace Lancaster stricken with cancer. Forced to attend a support group by her parents, she meets the other cancer patient of Augustus Waters. With similar interest and great chemistry, love is in the air for the two patients. But will it be a love that lasts? Directed by Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) with a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (Paper Towns), this coming-of-age drama features the talents of Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, and Willem Dafoe.
Five Feet Apart
For those who want more films akin to The Fault In Our Stars, Five Feet Apart should give you the same sense of touching tenderness about teens in love amid health issues. Stella Grant is a teenager with cystic fibrosis that has vastly shortened her life, forcing her to stay in the hospital for treatment. Part of her condition means she needs to keep herself six feet apart from other patients with cystic fibrosis for risk of infection. She may be tempted to break that rule, however, when she starts falling in love with Will Newman, the latest patient in the ward who is finding life hard to be thrilled about when it’s become so shortened. Eventually, he warms up to her and forbids romance forms. Directed by Justin Baldoni (Jane the Virgin), the film stars Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, and Moisés Arias.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Greg Gaines is a high school senior who spends most of his time keeping to himself and crafting movie parodies. But his perspective on life shifts greatly when he learns that his former classmate and friend Rachel Kushner is stricken with leukemia. They soon hit it off well and he introduces her to his friend Earl who helps with the filmmaking. As Rachel enters into chemotherapy, Greg and Earl continue churning out more movies to entertain Rachel as she goes through a tough time. But Greg may not have enough footage to cope with Rachel’s inevitable fate. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (American Horror Story) and based on the novel by Jesse Andrews, it’s an off-beat coming-of-age drama with a cast that includes Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, RJ Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal, and Connie Britton.
In this remake of the Japanese film A Song to the Sun, teenager Katie Price lives a sheltered life due to her Xeroderma Pigmentosum, which makes her extremely sensitive to sunlight. Spending time outside in the daytime could prove to be fatal. But when she starts falling for the hunky teen Charlie Reed, she may be tempted to break that rule for the sake of a social life outside of the household. Her nights become a ticking clock as she struggles to live a life filled with more than just family love. Directed by Scott Speer (Step Up Revolution), this tender and quirky drama stars Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Rob Riggle, and Quinn Shephard.