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Jim Stugress and Anne Hathaway in "One Day" | Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "Irreplaceable You" | Source: Facebook/OneDayMovie | Youtube/Netflix
Jim Stugress and Anne Hathaway in "One Day" | Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "Irreplaceable You" | Source: Facebook/OneDayMovie | Youtube/Netflix

15 Movies like ‘A Walk to Remember’ and ‘The Notebook’ for Those Who Love Bittersweet Romances

Milla Sigaba
Sep 05, 2023
07:15 A.M.

Romance novelist, screenwriter, and film producer Nicholas Sparks has proven with his works that some of the greatest love stories are also some of the most painful. Like his tearjerkers "A Walk to Remember" and "The Notebook," these 15 movies will move you emotionally.

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Over the years, Nicholas Sparks has become synonymous with the romance genre when it comes to writing, as he is the mastermind behind greats — that were also adapted into films — such as "The Lucky One" and "Dear John."

However, his classics, "A Walk to Remember" and "The Notebook," have earned iconic status. Despite their moments of heartbreak and grief, their portrayal of true love has inspired many people and other movies just like them.

After releasing "The Notebook" in 1996, Sparks outdid himself yet again in 1999 when his book, "A Walk to Remember," was published. While both books are set in different periods, they brilliantly capture the thrill and devastation of young love that grows into long-lasting love in different ways.

"The Notebook" was single-handedly responsible for Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams' booming careers, as they starred as Allie and Noah in the film adaption. Mandy Moore also became a fan-favorite for her role in "A Walk to Remember."

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So whether you're in the mood for a good cry or to feel the magic of romance again, movies like "The Notebook" and "A Walk to Remember" will do the trick.

'Dear John'

In 2010, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried played John Tyree and Savannah Curtis in "Dear John," another Sparks-inspired film about a young couple who fall hopelessly in love and try to make their relationship last after John is deployed.

However, following 9/11, John re-enlists, leaving his relationship with Savannah, as they constantly write to each other. Viewers watch with teary eyes as he returns with a glimmer of hope, only to find Savannah has moved on.

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'The Last Song'

"The Last Song," co-starring exes Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, follows the life of a rebellious teenager forced to spend her summer with her father, with whom she has a strained relationship. She soon falls in love with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed volleyball player.

Like "The Notebook," one of "The Last Song's" leads fell in love with someone from the wrong side of the tracks. But their relationship is threatened as Cyrus's character's dad's cancer diagnosis leads to an unraveling of secrets.

'Remember Me'

Robert Pattinson plays a New Yorker dealing with a strained home life when he meets a girl who is seemingly a breath of fresh air following his parents' divorce and his brother's passing.

However, the actor's love interest also carries the baggage of losing a loved one, and while the two leads end up falling in love, viewers soon learn "Remember Me" does not have a happily ever after ending.

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'Blue Valentine'

If you're a fan of films that capture the true reality of relationships, then "Blue Valentine" will have you hooked. Gosling and Michelle Williams play a couple on the last leg of their marriage, and the film documents their attempt to rebuild their relationship.

The movie cuts back and forth between the present and the past to reveal the stars' younger selves — when they were still in love — compared to what they had become and how their relationship eventually crumbled.

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'One Day'

After meeting on the night of their University graduation, two friends — played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess — agree to meet on that date every year to keep track of each other's lives.

However, viewers watch as the two friends play increasingly more significant roles in each other's lives, and their friendship blossoms into something more. But, like "A Walk to Remember," Hathaway and Sturgess' characters in "One Day" are parted by a dramatic death.

'P.S. I Love You'

In "P.S. I Love You," actress Hilary Swank offers an honest portrayal of grief as she plays Holly Kennedy, a widower still coming to terms with her husband's death.

Eventually, she finds she is not on the painful journey alone, as she discovers that her late husband, played by Gerard Butler, has left her ten messages aimed at helping her ease her pain and turn a new leaf.

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'The Fault in Our Stars'

"The Fault in Our Stars" has become the modern-day poster child of the bitterness of love as two teenage cancer patients who meet in a support group spark a friendship, set out on a journey to meet their favorite author, and later fall in love.

Like "A Walk to Remember," John Green, the author of "The Fault in Our Stars," captures what it means to find and lose the one in what feels like an instant. The film also tackles grief and how your first love always stays with you in one way or another.

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'Me Before You'

In this 2016 film, Sam Claflin plays a young, successful banker who is paralyzed following a motorbike accident. His new and unwelcomed condition saw the banker, who once had it all, attempt to take his own life.

But after meeting Louisa Clark — played by Emilia Clarke — his bubbly and whimsical caretaker, the pair tear a page from Sparks' "A Long Walk to Remember" and go from enemies to lovers, to being separated by death.

'Atonement'

Co-starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, "Atonement" tells the harrowing tale of a woman from a wealthy background who defies the odds when she falls in love with her family's groundskeeper.

Like "The Notebook," "Atonement" occurs during the Second World War, and McAvoy's character's deployment takes a toll on his relationship. The film follows the movie's stars' relationship for decades, leading to its emotional and Academy-Award-nominated end.

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'Sweet November'

In 2001, Keanu Reeves broke from his role in "The Matrix" and shared the silver screen with Charlize Theron in the romantic drama "Sweet November." In the movie, Reeves agrees to live with Theron for one month after being the reason she is kicked out of a DMV test following a failed attempt to cheat.

At first, their obscene living arrangement is more of a business agreement. Still, despite their night-and-day personalities, Reeves and Theron's characters find themselves in a world of complications as they develop feelings for each other.

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'La La Land'

Gosling and Emma Stone joined forces again for this 2016 musical, where they play struggling artists trying to make their relationship work while pursuing their dreams. However, viewers are left in suspense as the characters' romance appears to get in the way of their ambitions.

Years later, the duo bumped into each other after becoming successful in their chosen career paths. In a dream sequence, there was an imagination of what their lives would have been if they had ended up together as their careers were thriving.

'Irreplaceable You'

In "Irreplaceable You," Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman play childhood friends-turned-lovers who have their whole world shattered once she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

In an attempt to cope with her numbered days, Mbatha-Raw spirals into an obsession with getting her partner ready for life without her while trying to find him another partner.

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'Five Feet Apart'

What would have been a beautiful story of young love is bound to leave you an emotional wreck as Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse play two teenagers suffering from cystic fibrosis.

However, despite always having maintained a distance of five feet and being confined to the not-so-romantic sterile walls of a hospital, the teenagers fall in love, unlocking a world of emotion, equal parts beautiful and painful.

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'Bright Star'

"Bright Star" is based on the life of famed poet John Keats and captures his romance with his long-time friend — who had always harbored feelings for him — played by Abbie Cornish. While he initially did not respond to her advances, he later opened up to her.

Despite the disapproval of those around them and becoming the talk of the town, Cornish and her co-star characters fight for love. However, their story did not end happily, as she had to deal with loss.

'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

In this fascinating romance, Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play a couple, Clementine and Joel, who meet on a train journey and endure a tumultuous relationship. Following their breakup, the exes agree to a procedure that promises to erase their last memory of each other.

However, things did not go as planned, and even after their memories were deleted, they still found each other again. The couple agreed to try again after learning that their previous relationship left them with bitter memories.

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