The 14 Most Romantic Sci-Fi Movies to Watch This Valentine's Day
Sci-fi may not sound like the most intuitive genre for romance, but amid the robot apocalypses, dystopian governments, and demonic bunnies, there have actually been some great love stories. Here's our list of the eleven most romantic sci-fi movies to hunker down and marathon this Valentine's Day:
14. The Hunger Games/Divergent
Romance is obviously a large factor in both of these series, but they made the bottom of the list because the love story(ies) in The Hunger Games films didn't really work for me, and everything other than the love story pretty much failed in Divergent. But if you're looking for a decent YA adaptation with a terrible love story or a fairly terrible YA adaptation with a decent love story, then these will do.
13. Safety Not Guaranteed
Similarly, the "love story" aspect was what worked for me the least in this adorable and underrated sci-fi indie. But it's always worth watching, and the relationship between the main characters is endearing and feels genuine, whether you buy into their "true love" or not.
12. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
This is not at all the first movie you'd think of when you think "romantic movie," but you probably all know why I included it.
11. Never Let Me Go
Beautifully shot, well-acted, and haunting, both the novel and the film explore lofty and fascinating questions about identity and personhood, while also building a subtle love story between the two main characters.
10. Z for Zachariah
A vastly underrated little sci-fi indie that explored romantic relationships in a post-apocalyptic landscape, Z for Zachariah showcased Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine at the top of their games, and while the movie is not exactly uplifting, the chemistry between Robbie and Ejiofor is not to be missed.
9. The One I Love
We didn't even know that this romantic genre-bender was sci-fi until embarrassingly late in the game, but it is. It starts off like a typical (albeit depressing) romantic drama, in which a married couple tries to resuscitate their ailing relationship, but then sets itself apart with a refreshing sci-fi twist.
8. Warm Bodies
Possibly the first "zom-com" (I apologize for using that term, it's so cutesy), this zombie apocalypse movie was less 28 Days Later and more romantic coming-of-age story. Although a love story between a human and zombie doesn't necessarily sound promising, the earnestness, intelligent sense of humor, and chemistry between leads Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer all make this an unexpected pleasure.
7. The Amazing Spider-Man movies
The Amazing Spider-Man films get a bad rep, and some of it is deserved, as the plots were nonsensical, the villains were completely anticlimactic, and the disparate elements just didn't mesh together. But the movies are still worth watching for the performances alone, and the chemistry between Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy surpasses that of any other superhero couple in recent memory (with the possible exception of our first place entry).
Wall-E's depiction of a romantic relationship was not only adorable and a great example of selfless love, but had the distinction of making the audience care about a relationship in which they were only able to exchange two words.
5. Donnie Darko
[Credit: Pandora Cinema]
Donnie Darko is mostly thought of as a cult classic, but the love story aspect is very unsung, as both the characters and the actors work wonderfully together. Plus, if you really think about it, the entire plot, and especially the ending, is driven by love (but not in an annoying, Interstellar kind of way).
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
[Credit: Focus Features]
The classic sci-fi romantic comedy, this beloved film took the concept of memory modification and crafted an alternately heartbreaking and hilarious character drama.
3. Edward Scissorhands
The first Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration (and also most successful, in my opinion), Edward Scissorhands is a magical fairy tale for grown-ups, with a love story that manages to be sweet without crossing over into saccharine.
[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
With all the AI apocalypse movies floating around out there, it's nice to see a slightly more optimistic take on things. The nuanced writing and pitch-perfect performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson made this a sweet, soulful love story between a man and his computer system, as well as a commentary on modern relationships that was incisive without being cynical.
Of all the many, many wonderful things about Deadpool, it is a shockingly romantic movie. Wade and Vanessa have a crackling, witty chemistry that can't be found in any other superhero romance to date, and while I'm looking forward to Vanessa becoming Copycat and having a more substantive role, this is certainly a love story worth watching.
And it helps that almost everything else about the movie is perfect as well. Read our spoiler-free review here, or check out our slightly spoiler-y 13 best moments.