Maybe because of Valentine’s day, maybe inspired by a post on romantic films I just read, I started thinking about love and relationships.

Love is complicated -and bizarre sometimes. It has always been. We tend to say that romance is more difficult, and relationships more challenging nowadays than in the past, but that’s not really true! Just think about Greek mythology, ancient history and literature: Psyche and CupidCleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet…These stories are anything but ordinary, or simple!

True love, devotion, acceptance, cruelty, selfishness, jealousy, betrayal. When it comes to relationships, it’s not just pure and simple love. Ultimately, it’s all part of our complex human nature…

Motion pictures, from their very beginning, have captured all these feelings in countless love stories, ranging from light-hearted romantic comedies to profoundly dramatic true stories.

For this post I chose 12 films with unusual love stories. They all have something in common: they are  original, provocative and thought-inspiring, the kind of films that you keep thinking about for a long time after seeing them…

1) HER, 2013

Unconventional love Her posterThe plot: Theodore, a recently divorced lonely man decides to purchase OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system. He quickly finds himself attracted to Samantha, the voice behind his OS1, and as they spend time together, he eventually falls in love with her.

The film’s essence: Is technology leading us to more isolation, rather than connection?

Go see it, because…:  I loved everything about Her: the flawless cinematography, the great acting (Joaquin Phoenix is amazing, as usual), the futuristic -polluted- Los Angeles as a background (actually filmed in Shanghai), but most of all the thought-provoking story, which makes as wonder whether smart phones, computers and social media are really “social”.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Lars and the real girl, Bladerunner, Ex Machina

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2) 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, 2009

Unconventional love 500 days of Summer 2

Unconventional love 500 days of Summer posterThe plot: This is a witty romantic story about Summer, a woman who doesn’t believe in true love, and Tom, the guy who falls for her. The story is presented in a non-linear format, each scene being introduced by which of the 500 days it is.

The film’s essence: What if you believe you found your soul mate, but the other person is not into you?

Go see it, because…: As one of the first lines of the movie states: “(…) you should know upfront, this is not a love story”. True, (500) Days of Summer is not the usual romantic comedy, but that’s precisely its strong point: it manages to be very romantic, while being caustic, original and stylish, with added values the great music, the wonderful cinematography and the superb acting…

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The perks of being a goldflowerHigh fidelity, Punch-Drunk Love

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3) RUBY SPARKS, 2012

Unconventional love Ruby Sparks posterThe plot: Calvin, a novelist with writer’s block sees in his dreams “the perfect girl”. When he begins writing about Ruby, his dream girl, she becomes a real person and they start a beautiful relationship together. But when the relationship doesn’t go as he wants, Calvin is able to change her by typing and changing the story.

The film’s essence: Do we accept others as they are, or we try to change them to our convenience?

Go see it, because…: This is a very clever, Pinocchio-like tale about finding our perfect match, our acceptance of the other person in our relationship -or how we try to control and manipulate them. Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano are great as Ruby and Calvin; Kazan also wrote the script.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Weird Science, Simone

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Unconventional love Eternal Sunshine posterThe plot: Joel and his girlfriend Clementine undergo an experiment to have the memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. But through the process of loss, they actually discover what they had to begin with.

The film’s essence: We can get someone out of our mind, can we get them out of our heart?

Go see it, because…: A quirky but remarkable story which, in a very original manner, deals with love at first sight, soul mates, and destiny. The fascinating way the memory-erasing procedure is showed serves as background for more existential issues: Do memories make us what we are? Would you erase bad memories from the past? Most importantly, the film reminds us that many times we don’t value what we have, until we lose it.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Lost in translation, Mr Nobody, Synecdoche, New York

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Unconventional love Breaking the wavesUnconventional love Breaking the waves posterThe plot: In a deeply religious Scottish town, Bess, a naive woman, falls in love and marries to oil rig worker Jan. When Jan leaves home to work at the rig, Bess prays to God that he returns for good; Jan does return, but paralyzed due to a work accident. Unable to perform sexually, Jan convinces Bess to have sex with other men, which she comes to believe is God’s work to help Jan get better.

The film’s essence: How far would you go for love?

Go see it, because…: This compelling, disturbing story may break your heart, but it is undeniably the upmost love story, of pure and unconditional love, told by -always unconventional- Lars Von Triers. The acting of Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard is just incredible.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The Lobster, Harold and Maude

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Unconventional love The purple rose of CairoUnconventional love The purple rose of Cairo posterThe plot: Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey’s Depression years who, searching for an escape from her dreary life, goes often to the movies. One day after losing her job, she goes to see the film “The Purple Rose of Cairo”. To her surprise, Tom Baxter, a young archaeologist in the film walks off the screen, stating that he has fallen in love with her.

The film’s essence: When reality is too harsh, can we live in a world of dreams?

Go see it, because…: This is one of Woody Allen’s most original and inventive movies, hilarious and touching at the same time, blurring the limits between imagination and reality. While it can just be seen as a romantic, fantastic story, I believe this film is much more than that: a reflexion on the nature of existence, when pure love contends cruel reality, and escapism takes the place of reality acceptance.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Midnight in ParisAlice

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Unconditional love Amelie

French comedies Amelie posterThe plot: Amelie, a daydreamer waitress living in Paris, decides to anonymously help people being happy. By doing so, she discovers love and happiness herself.

The film’s essence: Can a stranger change your life forever?

Go see it, because… This enchanting French film is original, romantic, heart-warming, showing that there is love and magic everywhere, even in simple things of life… The outstanding cinematography, Audrey Tautou’s superb performance and the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen add up to make this movie a timeless gem… I already wrote about this movie here.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Like water for chocolate, The House of the Spirits

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Unconditional love Medianeras

Medianeras-cartelThe plot: Martin, an agoraphobic website designer and Mariana, an underemployed architect, live on the same street in Buenos Aires. They both feel depressed and lonely. They seem to be the perfect couple, but what are the odds of meeting each other?

The film’s essence: What if your soul mate is just nextdoor, but you didn’t have the chance to meet each other?

Go see it because…This Argentinean film is very original, as it tells the story of a couple before they meet each other. It describes perfectly the feelings of loneliness and alienation people experience in big cities; it’s touching and cinematically beautiful. I already wrote about this movie here.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Serendipity, In the city of Sylvia

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Unconditional love Wings of desire

Unconditional love Wings of desire posterThe plot: Two angels have been wandering around West Berlin, giving help and comfort to all the lonely and depressed souls they meet. After many centuries, Damiel, one of the angels, falls in love with Marion, a beautiful, lonely circus acrobat and wishes to become human in order to experience human love and the joys of everyday life.

The film’s essence: Have you ever been touched by an angel?

Go see it because…Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire is regarded as one of the best non-american movies of all times. It’s deeply phylosophical, visually mesmerizing and truly inspirational. Many interesting ideas and perspectives are implied, but the film basically make us think about the beauty of simple things in everyday life, even the most mundane, and the richness of our feelings and sensations; it also reminds us that we should give up our ethereal existence as observers, to actually live and enjoy our life.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Faraway, so Close! (the second part of Wings of Desire), City of Angels (the American remake, much lighter and blander)

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Unconventional love Edward ScissorhandsUnconventional love Edward scissorhands posterThe plot: Edward is an extremely gentle and good-hearted man, but with a scary appearance: he has scissors instead of hands. One day Avon lady Peg finds him hidden in his Gothic mansion, and she decides to take him to the town to live with her family. But fitting in the conservative town is not that simple. Only Kim, Peg’s daughter eventually realises what a remarkable person Edward is, and as they become enamoured, she is the one who helps him when the entire town turns against him.

The film’s essence: How easily do we accept people who are different?

Go see it because… This is Tim Burton’s most personal and insightful film, a modern fairy tale, a poignant reminder on how we, as a society, tend to disdain people that are different, whether this means disabilities, sexual preferences, people who think out of the box, or whoever doesn’t fit into the rigid patterns our society imposes.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Corpse bride, The Phantom of the Opera

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11) MELODY (a.k.a S.W.A.L.K.), 1971

Unconventional love MelodyUnconventional love Melody posterThe plot: Two 12 years-old youngsters, Daniel and Melody, declare to their parents that they want to get married, not in the future but right now. The film follows the complications caused by their firm determination: mockery from their classmates, rebellion against teachers, parents’ concern. The story is told from the children’s perspective.

The film’s essence: What can be purest than childhood love?

Go see it because…I first saw this movie when I was about 13and since then it has stayed etched in my memory -and my heart… Seeing it now from a more critical, adult’s point of view, Melody still remains a beautiful and touching film; but I also see it now as an interesting study on the meaning of love as experienced by a child. It raises some interesting thoughts: Is it really possible to feel true love during childhood? Or real love comes when our body gets ready through adolescence and adulthood? Melody also transpires a nostalgia, on how our feelings change when growing-up, from genuine and idealistic  into more “mature”, less emotional or pure. The film soundtrack is also wonderful: Bee Gees’s Melody fair and First of May, and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young Teach your Children, among others.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Moonrise Kingdom, Submarine

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12) ENOUGH SAID, 2013

Unconventional love Enough SaidUnconventional love Enough Said posterThe plot: Divorced Eva is a masseuse leaving in Los Angeles. One nigh at a party, she meets and befriends Marianne, a sophisticated poet who always criticises her ex-husband; and Albert, a divorced man with whom -although initially not physically attracted- she becomes involved. With their relationship on firm ground, Eva learns that Albert is Marianne’s ex-husband, and starts doubting whether she should stay with Albert or believe his judgemental ex-wife.

The film’s essence: When it comes to love, do you listen to your heart or you get influenced by other person’s opinion?

Go see it because… what makes this movie so unique is, paradoxally, that is such a common and realistic story. It’s honest and touching, bittersweet and smart. It may be best appreciated by people in their 40s-50s, struggling with divorce, teenager children, and getting again involved in a serious relationship. With great acting by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (this was his last film), it depicts perfectly how many times we get swayed by others instead of trusting our feelings.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The “Before” trilogy, Two lovers

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Which one is your favourite unconventional love story? Would you add any other film to this list?


Traveling may elicit many feelings: fun, joy, sadness, empowerment. There are trips though that can change your life…

Check out this list of movies showing life-changing trips, geographical, but also spiritual… Maybe they will inspire you to find your next travel destination….


Motorcycle Diaries 1The plot: Based on the journals of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. While being a medical student, he and a friend went on a motorcycle road trip throughout South America. Besides fun and adventure, they find their own selves and their destiny…

It inspires travel because…. a road trip in South America, the intimate contact with its people, but also a self discovery journey…This movie certainly inspired me, and this trip is at the top of my lifetime “Bucket list”…

Quote:“Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I’m not the same me I was”.



Seven years in Tibet 1The plot: Based on the true story of Austrian Heinrich Harrer, who travels to the Himalayas to climb Mt. Nanga. After going through several incidents, he becomes one of the two foreigners in the Tibetan Holy City of Lhasa. There he befriends with the Dalai Lama, changing his life forever…

It inspires travel because….the film introduces us to Tibetans lifestyle, and shows us how a trip can transform someone, from being selfish and arrogant to wise and spiritual…Besides, the beautiful Tibetan scenery…

Quote: Dalai Lama: “We have a saying in Tibet: if a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good”.



Into the Wild 2 resizedThe plot: After graduating from university, top student Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions and hitchhikes to Alaska to live into the wild. Based on a true story.

It inspires travel because…the idea of abandoning everything to pursue a road trip throughout the United States has inspired many people. The movie captures very nicely the american natural beauty.

Quote: “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it”



the_secret_life_of_walter_mitty 1 resizedThe plot: When his job gets threatened, Walter embarks on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined.

It inspires travel because…a day dreamer finally discovering the real world. From New York all the way to Iceland and the Himalayas…

Quote: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life”.



The-Beach-630x407 1The plot: A young American backpacker travels to Thailand, and searches for a hidden beach, supposed to be paradise on earth.

It inspires travel because….Who doesn’t want to find the perfect, secluded beach? The Maya Bay, where the movie was filmed has inspired a lot of travellers, becoming one of the major tourist attractions in Thailand.

Quote: “And me, I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, ’cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…”



Under the Tuscan sun 1 resizedThe plot: Based (loosely) on the biographical novel of Frances Mayes. When her perfect life gets unexpectedly messed up, Frances goes on a bus tour to Italy, and there she impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany. While restoring the villa, she eventually finds herself, and love…

It inspires travel because….when everything seems lost, a trip can change our lives. Add the beautiful Tuscan scenery…

Quote: “Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different”



outofafrica1The plot: Karen Blixen, a Danish woman, moves to Africa and starts a coffee plantation. While her sentimental life gets complicated, she gains a much better understanding and respect for the African culture. Based on a true story.

It inspires travel because…the breathtaking African scenery

Quote: “Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road”



aubergeespagnole- 3 resizedThe plot: Xavier, a French student, moves to Barcelona. There, he shares an apartment with other foreign students. Together they will live a series of adventures that will change his life.

It inspires travel because…the student life, the cultural exchanges, with Barcelona as a background.

Quote: “When you first arrive in a new city, nothing makes sense. Everything’ s unknown, virgin… After you’ve lived here, walked these streets, you’ll know them inside out. You’ll know these people. (…) it’ll belong to you because you’ve lived there”



lostintranslation windowThe plot: Two americans meet each other in Tokyo and experience the cultural and language differences between themselves and the Japanese.

It inspires travel because…traveling sometimes make us bond to people that influences us forever. The movie captures very well Japanese culture, and shows some beautiful shots in Kyoto…

Quote: “Let’s never come here again because it would never be as much fun.”



EAT PRAY LOVEThe plot: A woman unhappy with her life takes off on a journey, and finds herself while eating in Italy, praying in India, and loving in Indonesia.

It inspires travel because….Although Liz’s character did not inspire me, neither I liked much the movie, there are breathtaking landscapes, delicious food and nice music (I love this song…). Besides, who wouldn’t want to go on a trip from Italy to India to Bali?

Quote: “If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (…) and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue (…) then the truth will not be withheld from you.”



Before midnight_fotor



These three beautiful movies inspire travel, each one in a different way: young couple meeting in Vienna, their reunion in Paris, their vacations in Greece. Read more here.


The release of the latest Linklater’s movie, Boyhood, is a good excuse to say a few words about his previous work, which happens to include three of my favourites films:

Before sunrise, Before sunset and Before midnight.

Before sunrise


Before Sunrise (1995) introduces Jesse, an american guy (Ethan Hawke), and Celine, a french girl (Julie Delpy), who meet on a train to Vienna, and a connection immediately begins between them. They both know though that this would be their only night together…

Jesse and Celine find each other again in Paris in Before Sunset (2004). It takes another nine years to discover what happened to them in Before Midnight (2013), this time in Greece.

Before Sunset


In Before Sunrise, the couple was 23 years-old and full of dreams; we find them a little more mature and wiser at their 32 in Paris. In Before Midnight, they are 41, they have worries, frustrations and they seem tired. Their endless conversations about their future, dreams and ambitions have turned into talks about the problems they face and the mistakes they have made.

And there resides the beauty of this trilogy: It’s romantic, but also pragmatic. It’s not a happily ever after story, it’s what we expect would happen to every relationship after many years of coexistence…

Before midnight


Although I loved all three films, my favourite by far is the second one, Before Sunset. The first film is fresh and simple, but the second one is a masterpiece. The subtle dialogues, that are so natural and believable; how coincidence and fate are exposed; the long shoots as they stroll in Paris that, instead of becoming boring, they make you not want to loose your attention, not even for a second… Before midnight, in my opinion, loses a little bit of its charm when they discuss with the other couples. I believe that Hawke and Delpy achieve a better chemistry when they are alone and talking….

In conclusion, the trilogy as a whole is a must-see and I recommend you to see it in its chronological order. It’s insightful but simple, subtle but transparent, sentimental but realistic. No fancy Hollywood special effects, just feelings…