35 Romantic Fantasy and Sci-Fi Movies You Should Totally See

Science fiction and fantasy stories have long captured both the hearts and minds of people for decades. They are delightfully multifaceted, unique, and beautiful just like life itself. Take these stories out of paper and bring them into film, and you have the formula for infinite possibilities to explore the world and the human psyche.

Science fiction and fantasy movies are usually already wonderful by themselves without romance. However, there have been brave storytellers over the years who dared mix the two genres.

There have been hits and there have been misses. What makes some sci-fi romance and fantasy romance movies work is the fact that they aren’t limited by any time nor space, giving their creators more leeway to dig deeper into humans’ capability to love.  

These are the movies which I think are hits:

 

Sci-Fi:

  1. Happy Accidents (2000)

    Happy Accidents takes place after a time traveler named Sam (Vincent D’Onofrio) meets Ruby (Marisa Tomei) and falls in love with her. Sam travelled from 400 years in the future and to the present to try and save Ruby from a fatal accident.

    This indie Sundance movie, which teaches us to seize the moment, has been given accolades for its crafty dialogue and the chemistry of D’Onofrio and Tomei. Their on-screen chemistry gave life to the complicated storyline and which I think makes the movie an overall enjoyable film. 

  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

    Jim Carrey (Joel) and Kate Winslet (Clementine) play a couple who, after a painful breakup, undergo a new technology where their memories are erased. In the end though, the couple realizes that it is through loss that love can be found again. With this unusual storyline and stunning visual effects, the film has become one of the generation’s beloved classic sci-fi rom coms.

    Despite the seriousness of the plot, the movie delicately portrays the complexity of relationships and how love takes root beyond memory while being funny as hell. It’s heartbreaking while hilarious at the same time. Jim and Kate has done a wonderful job bringing out the emotions of the characters.

  3. WALL-E (2008)

    WALL-E is the only remaining waste-collecting robot on an abandoned Earth. When Eve, a robot from a space ship in outer space, lands on Earth to find signs of life, WALL-E meets her and eventually the two fall in love with each other. When Eve is taken though, WALL-E unintentionally travels to the space ship where Eve has come from and this journey eventually help decide the future of humans.

    Aside from the splendid animation and sounds, what really sets WALL-E apart from all other sci-fi romances is the robot’s exemplary depiction of selfless love. It doesn’t hurt that WALL-E’s innocence is way adorable too. WALL-E and Eve show audiences how love doesn’t need too many words to be felt.

  4. TiMER (2009)

    TiMER is set upon a world where people are able to know if they’ve met “the one” through a digital timer on their wrists. However, Oona’s (Emma Caulfield) TiMER is blank, meaning her “the one” hasn’t used the service of the TiMER yet. Oona then decides to date guys without TiMERs and have them use the service to know who her soulmate is. Everything seemed hopeless, until Oona meets Mikey (John Patrick Amedori), whose TiMER is signed up to go off in a few months. Oona wants to make sure, but Mikey is more spontaneous.

    This romcom is enjoyable to watch and surprisingly tugs at the heart strings despite its simple storyline. It provides a lot of LOL moments perfect for a light-hearted watch. 

  5. Never Let Me Go (2010)

    Ruth (Keira Knightley), Kathy (Carey Mulligan), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) live in a society where some children are bred to become organ Donors. Heart wrenchingly, they have no choice but to live out their purpose and die after all organs have been used. As children though, they are raised and taught in an English boarding school where they find normalcy in their futures. But as they grow into young adults and fall in love, they have to come to terms with the reality of the future that awaits them.

    The love story is understated, but Knightley, Mulligan, and Garfield has sensations jumping out from the screen with their superb acting and will have you questioning your identity and purpose.

  6. Perfect Sense (2011)

    This film is about love at the wrong time. Susan (Eva Green) and Michael (Ewan McGregor), respectively a scientist and a chef, fall in love at a time when an epidemic that robs people of their sensory perceptions breaks out. Despite the panic in the world, the couple decides to stick together.

    This movie isn’t the best of romantic sci-fi films, nevertheless it makes us appreciate the many little things people usually take for granted, mainly our perceptions. 

  7. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

    Up and coming politician David Norris (Matt Damon) gets a chance encounter with Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), who inspires him enough to make a winning speech. Years later, they bump into each other again, but they soon realize that their “fate” shouldn’t be with each other. A group called “Adjustment Bureau” is determined to keep this future of theirs and the two try to run away from the bureau.

    The central plot of this film isn’t about romance. It’s more of free will vs. destiny. It’s an enjoyable film. The movie could certainly do better. However, what I really like about it is that it teaches the valuable lessons that “our future is in our own hands.”

  8. The Fountain (2006)

    Tommy (Hugh Jackman) is a scientist on a mission to search for the medical breakthrough that will save his dying wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz), from cancer. In his quest to save her, he travels through time and take the form of three people – past (16th-century conquistador), present (scientist), and future (astronaut) – whose lives intersect. It’s in his final journey as an astronaut where he finally realizes the meaning of life, love and death.

    This movie is stunning in visuals and touches on the deeper emotions that come with love and loss and how the two are intertwined.

    The movie has been at best an underrated masterpiece and the trailer doesn’t really do it justice. Still, you can watch it below:

  9. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)

    The movie is set in a time where (you guessed it) it’s the end of the world. An asteroid is about to hit Earth. Dodge (Steve Carell) is left by his wife on the spot of the announcement of the asteroid. His neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) gives him a letter from his former love. As Dodge goes on a trip to find the woman he loves, Penny accompanies him, and the two embarks upon a journey that will change their remaining life on Earth

    Beautifully shot, the movie is charming in its love story’s subtlety. The love story doesn’t begin until the end, but that’s the best part of it. It is with friendship and imminent death that Dodge realize what real love is.

  10. Upside Down (2012)

    This romantic sci-fi adventure stars Kirsten Dunst (Eden) and Jim Sturgess (Adam) who must fight for their love while living in two separate planets, each with a different social class. Just like Romeo and Juliet, their love is forbidden. Despite this, Adam is determined to profess his love to Eden even when facing certain death.

    Upside Down is downright daring and tasteful in its visuals. Perhaps this fact overcame the depth of the narrative, but it’s still a great film that’s certainly imaginative and challenging. In the end though, it’s really just all about love and attempting to do the impossible to fight for it.

  11. Cloud Atlas (2012)

    Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent play different characters throughout five centuries. As their souls are reincarnated, so are their relationship and bond with each other. Cloud Atlas gives audiences a deeper perspective into how our actions breeds consequences to our lives and the people that we love.

    It’s quite an intellectual movie, but its visually stunning shots and rich emotional characters will draw you in. It’s one of those films that inspires reflection into our life’s decisions and how they can affect everything around us. Apart from the storyline, the romance, and the philosophies portrayed in the film, what’s really great about Cloud Atlas is how every member of the cast is able to give justice to their own characters.

  12. Warm Bodies (2013)

    A young and odd zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) falls in love with a human girl named Julie (Teresa Palmer) whom he saves from an attack. This strange need to protect Julie starts an unusual relationship between the two that begins R’s transformation into a human. R isn’t the only “transformee” though. As the local undead slowly regain their humanity, R and Julie must confront their budding romance while setting in motion events that will see a world nobody thought possible.

    Warm Bodies is kind of like a coming-of-age story than a romance story, but it’s the first film I’ve seen that takes a surprisingly charming twist on zombie apocalypses. Hoult and Palmer’s chemistry on screen is astonishingly effective as well in bringing possibly the first human-zombie relationship movie that has wit, sincerity, and humor. 

  13. The One I Love (2014)

    A married couple, Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), take a vacation to fix a distressed relationship. However, their trip takes a strange turn when they experience weird things that further stress their relationship.

    The One I Love isn’t your typical sci-fi romantic film where the sci-fi setting is introduced head on right at the beginning of the film. Rather, it blows up in your face not until the end. Ethan and Sophie would seem like your ordinary troubled couple at the beginning, but the film’s sci-fi twist at the end is what makes this film a must-watch. Sorry, no spoilers here.

  14. Her (2014)

    A lonely and socially awkward writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is going through a divorce. After buying a highly-intelligent operating system, Theodore forms a romantic relationship with the OS named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) who’s able to fulfill Theodore’s every need. Despite the strong feelings he has for Samantha, Theodore finds himself doubting the love.

    The storyline, dialogue, and performances from Phoenix and Johansson makes Her a perceptive and tasteful film. It’s the actors’ performances though which really takes the cake on this film. It’s also intriguing to explore the love between a man and an artificially-intelligent OS which isn’t far from happening in the modern world. It also does a side comment on most relationships nowadays without the usual pessimism.

     

    Moving on to Fantasy films...

  15. The Princess Bride (1987)

    A young boy (Fred Savage) is read a fairy tale by his grandfather (Peter Falk) while sick in bed. The story is called “The Princess Bride” and it’s a story passed down from grandfather to grandson for generations.

    The Princess Bride is a classic romantic tale about love and adventure. A young and beautiful girl named Buttercup (Robin Wright) is engaged to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), but she is kidnapped so that a war will ensue. Westley (Cary Elwes), who has returned as Dread Pirate Roberts, comes to save her. Along the way though, he makes an unlikely friendship with a thief, a swordsman, and a giant.

    Yes, the ending is predictable. It’s obvious the girl and the boy ends up together anyway. The plot is simple but it is that, along with pirates, giants, and rodents, which makes it engaging to both young and old audiences.

  16. Big (1988)

    Josh Baskin is a 12-year-old boy who goes to a carnival machine to wish for adulthood. His wish is granted the next morning and he wakes up as an adult (Tom Hanks). His personality hadn’t changed though. He is still the same 12-year-old kid inside. He must now live as an adult while falling in love for the first time.

    Big is one of the best fantasy romance movies of all time. It’s got your typical fantasy plot but the execution is clever and consistent until the end. It’s very entertaining and funny and tells a deep lesson in the end.

  17. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

    Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) is a gentle man who has scissors for hands. He is taken in by a kind lady who finds him living in isolation. The lady brings him to her home in the village and Edward falls in love with the lady’s daughter (Winona Ryder). The film starts out light at first, with the entire community fascinated with Edward, but the movie takes a dark turn when jealousy and envy strikes.

    The story of Edward Scissorhands is one of the few films which depict the true nature of mankind through magic and a simple story. It’s a tragic love story, yet it promises hope in the end. It’s also a real tearjerker, so get your handkerchiefs ready for this one.

  18. Ghost (1990)

    Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) are a young married couple in love, but tragedy strikes when Sam is killed in an accident. His spirit cannot rest though since his death wasn’t an accident after all. Sam’s spirit tries to warn Molly of the danger she’s in with help from a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg).

    It’s no doubt that Ghost has all the markings of a commercial film. However, watching the film will reveal how it actually shows how people deal with the death of a loved one. It’s surprisingly funny and touching for a supernatural film.

  19. Groundhog Day (1993)

    Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a cocky and pompous weatherman who has no appreciation for his job nor his viewers. What he hates the most though is Groundhog Day, an annual event he has to cover for the fourth time in a row. This time though he goes to the event with his station’s new producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott). After the event, the three are forced to stay in town due to a snowstorm. The next day however, Phil finds himself reliving Groundhog Day, then the next day, then the next day, and so on. He uses this to his advantage and forms a relationship with Rita, but as he wakes up to relive the day over and over, he realizes he has the chance to get things right with her every day.

    This film might not come off as your typical love story as a whole. On the surface, it looks like Phil is given a chance to become a better person, but once Rita gets in the picture, it teaches us all an important lesson about love – you can’t cheat it.

    It is this lesson about love that finally stops Groundhog Day from repeating.

  20. Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

    This movie is a “fresh” (if you can still call it that) take on the classic tale about the princess. Danielle (Drew Barrymore) becomes a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters after her father dies. Despite the suffering, Danielle remains a happy young lady, until one day when she meets the dashing Prince Henry (Dougray Scott). It would seem that Prince Henry is changing Danielle’s life, but it’s really Danielle who’s changing Henry’s.

    This movie is just a great, light-hearted movie overall. Drew is one of the reasons that brought this film to life, bringing about the lessons of pain and truth that comes with love.

  21. What Dreams May Come (1998)

    When Chris Neilson (Robin Williams) dies, he finds himself in heaven that’s better than anything he could have imagined. However, he finds that without his wife (Annabella Sciorra), heaven isn’t complete. Apparently though, his wife committed suicide after his death and she went to hell for it. Chris tries to save her and risks being in heaven for it.

    It’s a long movie, but it is well worth watching. It’s a sad but beautifully done film which reminds us of how Williams is also a great dramatic actor. Keep your tissues close, because it’s a real tearjerker. 

  22. Vanilla Sky (2001)

    An egotistical and vain publishing magnate named David Aames (Tom Cruise) finds his career ending when he gets involved in a vehicular accident with former lover Julianna Gianni (Cameron Diaz). The excellent twist will make David realize how he’s completely taken his life for granted.

    This movie might come off as confusing and you might need to watch it again to understand it. However, the ending is superb and the storyline will keep you engaged enough that you won’t want to leave your screen. It’s also an eye-opener to the valuable lesson that we should appreciate every moment in life – the good and the bad.

  23. Tuck Everlasting (2002)

    Tuck Everlasting follows the love story of young Winnie (Alexis Bledel) and Jesse Tuck (Jonathan Jackson), who is part of a family of immortals after drinking from the fountain of youth centuries ago. The family later tells Winnie their secret. Wanting to be with Jesse forever, Winnie must choose between drinking to become immortal and be with Jesse and remain mortal and eventually die someday.

    This movie is beautifully done with a superb cast. Apart from the sweet and engaging love story between Winnie and Jesse, what sets this movie apart is that it also teaches the importance of life and death. As the book says, “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life.”

  24. If Only (2004)

    Ian Wyndham (Paul Nicholls) is a businessman who puts his work ahead of his girlfriend, a musician named Samantha (Jennifer Love Hewitt). When Samantha dies in a horrific car accident after they couple goes through their first major argument, Ian is given another chance to get things right when the day starts over.

    I know, it’s quite a sappy cliche story, but despite that, I think it’s genuinely romantic and touching film that makes you appreciate what you have while you have it. It also doesn’t hurt that the ending isn’t cliche.

  25. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

    Zia (Patrick Fugit) kills himself after getting depressed over his breakup with girlfriend Desiree (Leslie Bibb). He then finds himself in a strange desert-landscape afterlife with people who have committed suicide. Zia finds a job at a pizza place and learns that Desiree also killed herself a few months after he died. Zia sets off on a journey to with Eugene (an electrocuted Russian rocker) and a hitchhiker named Mikal, who thinks she’s in the place by mistake and is looking for the people in charge. Their journey takes them to a place where miracles happen.

    Wristcutters is a film with touching characters that you wouldn’t usually find moving. You’ll find yourself having some laughs over a delicate topic such as suicide. It’s quirky and quite cheerful for such a melancholic storyline. 

  26. The Lake House (2006)

    A frustrated architect named Alex (Keanu Reeves) and a lonely doctor named Kate (Sandra Bullock) have both lived in the lake house, but two years apart. The two find themselves exchanging love letters directly through the house’s mailbox despite the difference in years.

    The Lake House is an extraordinary film that express convey how time is no longer important when it comes to feelings, emotions, and decisions. This film is surprisingly intellectual while being emotionally engrossing at the same time. By the end of the film, you’ll find yourself hooked at the eventual meetup of Alex and Kate. 

  27. The Science of Sleep (2006)

    Stéphane Miroux (Gael García Bernal) is a shy man preoccupied with his imagination and dreams. He comes to Paris after the death of his father in Mexico to live closer to his mother. He falls in love with his charming neighbor Stéphanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and tries to enamor her by showing her his world.

    It’s magic set in reality but this film is not for those who aren’t too keen on using their imagination. The visuals are well made in every respect. The romance between Stéphane and Stéphanie cannot have been as engaging without the arresting performances of Bernal and Gainsbourg.

  28. Stardust (2007)

    Stardust follows Tristan (Charlie Cox) who goes off into a mysterious and forbidden place beyond the walls of his village to please the village heartthrob (Sienna Miller). Tristan wants to give his “love” the fallen star. However, the star isn’t what he thought it would be. It has transformed into a she, an arresting girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes). Tristan isn’t the only one after Yvaine though. Eventually, he’ll find himself trying to win Yvaine’s heart instead when he discovers true love.

    This fairy tale has all the makings of a great movie – fantasy, adventure, romance, comedy, action, engaging story, great cast, and amazing visuals. Unlike other sappy romances (which this film isn’t), this movie is for both girls and gals. It’s an overall fun movie that you and your bae should watch.

  29. The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

    Henry de Tamble (Eric Bana) is a librarian with the gene that allows him to travel, but he cannot control this ability. As you can guess, this creates difficulties for his love life. But when he meets Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams), they have dinner and later Clare confesses that she had known him since she was little. The two later fall in love and gets married, but Henry’s time travels ends up putting his life in danger.

    The Time Traveler's Wife is generally a chick flick but it’s competent enough to interest viewers. What’s interesting is the overall concept of the film which renders it beautiful with a well thought out cast.

  30. Scott Pilgrim Versus the World (2010)

    Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a whiny twenty-something who aims for success playing in his band. He’s still hung up from his ex, who is now a success in her own band. Despite this, he dates Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), a high-schooler five years younger than him. But when Scott sees Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he falls hard for her but he can’t seem to break up with Knives while wooing Ramona. To win her over, Scott must battle her seven evil exes to death.

    This movie is smartly done with its spectacular special effects and video game references. But more than that, it surprisingly has a lot of heart.

    While a simple love story overall, this movie is about fighting for love and becoming a better person in the process. However, a more important lesson is taught in the end, which is that learning to love yourself first, which comes with self-respect and being completely honest with people you love. 

  31. Midnight in Paris (2011)

    A successful screenwriter and aspiring novelist named Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) goes on vacation in Paris with fiancee Inez (Rachel McAdams). While walking alone one late night, he finds himself meeting a strange group that takes him back to the 1920’s. As he tags along with the group every night as they travel back in time, Gil starts questioning whether he wants to stay in the present. He also gets smitten by a performer named Adriana (Marion Cotillard) which makes him question his relationship with Inez as well.

    The film is magical in all aspects. Not only is Paris magnificent in the present portrayed, but it glows in the 1920’s. Just the city itself makes the film magical already. The cast performances are quite exceptional as well. This film is overall charming and smart, and will make you question whether the grass is really greener on the other side.

  32. Ruby Sparks (2012)

    A young and successful author named Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano) finds himself unable to make his next novel. With his therapist’s advice, Calvin uses an old manual typewriter to create a colorful female character named Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). The next morning, Ruby comes to life and Calvin is dating her. However, Ruby doesn’t know she’s a fictional character written by Calvin.

    This film is dark and deep for all its humor. In its entirety, it’s a pleasantly surprising film that manages to veer from the Hollywood stereotype films. It’s an intelligent treat for a romantic film, yet it also offers so much more heart. It’s about the human need to control a relationship to feel loved and make a relationship perfect.

  33. Mood indigo (2013)

    In a surreal Paris, a wealthy bachelor named Colin (Romain Duris) does nothing finish creating a cocktail-making piano device and eat weird food made by his chef Nicolas. While attending a friend's party, Colin meets Chloe (Audrey Tautou). They fall in love and marry, but tragedy strikes when Chloe contracts an unusual illness and a flower starts growing in her lungs. Colin’s fortune shrinks as he tries to keep Chloe alive, which can only be done when she is surrounded by fresh flowers.

    What’s particularly remarkable about this film is that despite its genre, there was no CGI used. The use of color is spectacular as well – bright and varying at first but as the story progresses, they become dull and gray. The ending will surprise in its melancholy.

  34. About Time (2013)

    Upon turning 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) learns from his father that the men in his family have the ability to travel in time. Being awkward with the girls, Tim uses his newfound ability to find love. He later moves to London to work as a lawyer and marry the girl he loves, Mary (Rachel McAdams). However, Tim doesn’t just use his ability to fix his life, but he uses it to fix the lives of his family and friends. He learns that these can have dangerous consequences though.

    What made me really appreciate this film is how in the end, it makes you realize that the power to fix your mistakes isn’t as important as cherishing and enjoying each moment in life. Despite the fantasy genre, the film doesn’t offer much magic in visual imagery, but the magic can be felt more in the heart. Yes, it’s cheesy, but you have to watch the movie for yourself to see what I mean. 

  35. In Your Eyes (2014)

    A lonely housewife named Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) and a struggling ex-con named Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) suddenly find themselves sharing a bizarre connection. They can see and feel each other’s experiences despite being thousands of miles apart. Because of this connection, the two come to share an intimacy that’s unmatched despite having never met.

    This movie is romance a sci-fi twist that balance each other out. It’s not as engaging at first, but the originality of the story will get you hooked eventually, then there’s no turning back. It’s a funny yet touching romance film worth seeing even at least once.

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