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Lesser Known Romantic Movies with Happy Endings!

Updated on February 12, 2018

Austenland DVD

Hidden Gem #1: Austenland

I think many of us ladies will admit we have a secret desire to live in an Austen where we catch the eye of Mr. Darcy. In this movie, the heroine Jane is obsessed with all things Austen. So much so, that she uses all of her savings for a trip to England to an immersive Jane Austen experience at Austenland. Unfortunately, she can only afford the low level "copper" package which has limitations to the luxury. Loved, loved, loved this movie!!! Such a cute and fun way to entertain all of us Austen fans! It was so funny, the characters so entertaining, and actually a few twists and surprises! Jennifer Coolidge is hilarious as the buxom Ms. Charming who is trying a bit to hard to be a prim and proper Austen lady. I must say I was thrown off a little there in the middle about the direction the romance would take, but the ending was perfect in my book! If you are a fan of Austen, and of Pride and Prejudice especially, I can't imagine you will not love this movie! A friend and I took a chance on it for a girl's movie night and laughed and "aw"ed the whole way through!!! And, she was not even a big Austen fan before this! The movie is based on a book by Shannon Hale which I really enjoyed as well. As much as I enjoyed the book, I think I slightly preferred the movie version of the romantic conclusion.

DVD cover photo
DVD cover photo | Source

Hidden Gem #2: North and South (not the Civil War story)

The second movie I want to talk about is North and South starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage. And, no it isn't the Patrick Swayze steamy Civil War drama/romance. This movie was one I just stumbled upon by accident when browsing Netflix Instant one night when my husband was out of town and I wanted a chick flick to watch. I loved all things Austen and classic period pieces...though you have to be careful because this genre contains an abundance of tragic endings!!! But, North and South looked like it had potential. It is a BBC video production based on a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell and has the backdrop of class warfare between the people of the North of England and the South of England during the time of the industrial revolution. It reminds me a lot of Pride and Prejudice which is probably my all time favorite of the romantic period pieces. There is a handsome, brooding and misunderstood hero and a beautiful noble-hearted heroine at odds with him. When, I watched the mini-series....which I stayed up to 3am to finish because I HAD to see how it ended...I could NOT believe I had never heard of it before! It was exactly up my alley with the time period and the romance! It also has very good closure...another important feature to me! If you are an Austen fan or love historic romantic period pieces, I think you would really enjoy this movie! And, it is on Netflix Instant as of right now! So check it out! I hope you love it as I did and find a new favorite! You can check out the summary here at the IMDB website

Closure: 9.5/10
Happy Ending: Yes

Hidden Gem #3: Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters is also a wonderful movie/mini-series. It is also a period piece and romance. It is also based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. The story of a country doctor's daughter and some of the people and families that are in her life and society. A variety of characters with different social statuses are presented. The heroine Molly is very endearing as she always puts the needs of others about her own. You are really pulling for her to have a happy ending! The hero of the story, Roger, is a little clueless which can be frustrating! But, I thought it had a very satisfying ending and good romantic closure. There are some tragic moments to the story but overall the main characters have a very happy ending! Also, last time I checked this was on Netflix Instant.

Happy Ending: yes

Closure: 9 (I was a little frustrated not to see them kiss, but the scene in the rain...oh-la-la!)

Interesting side note: Elizabeth Gaskell died before she finished this book but the movie gave the story an ending I approve of!


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Hidden Gem #4: Dear Frankie

This is another hidden gem of a movie! It is a British film set in Scotland. A very sweet story about a mother's love for her son, Frankie, and their relationship. A mother, played skilfully by Emily Mortimer, has always told her son that his father was pursuing a noble profession as a sailor on a ship. Conveniently this ship is nowhere near where they are located in Scotland. Frankie has always written letters and corresponded to his father while at sea. Unknown to him the letters have been intercepted by his mother who replies to the letters representing herself as Frankie's father. Imagine mom's chagrin when Frankie's father's ship is suddenly scheduled to port at their town in a few days! Throw in some romantic tension with Gerard Butler (this is my absolute favorite Gerard Butler movie!) to make the story even better. I will warn you the closure is pretty poor in the romance aspect of the film maybe a 3 on a scale of 10 (oh, how I have wished for a sequel!!!) but there was hope....and the romance is secondary to the main story of the film. This is still a unique and touching film that will warm your heart. Hope you enjoy this sweet and quiet film as much as I did!


Hidden Gem #5: Under the Greenwood Tree

This is another great period piece film! Based on a book by Thomas Hardy, it tells the story of a young woman, Fancy Day who returns to her home village as a teacher. She is pursued by a rich man, a minister and a common worker. Her father longs for her to have a rich life above what he feels is common for the village folk. She must figure out some things about herself in order to decide which suitor is her true love. Before this movie, I never knew hand washing could be so romantic! It is nice story with some humor and of course frustrations along the way. But, all is well at the satisfying ending. Good closure as well! This one also happens to be on Netflix Instant at this time.

Hidden Gem #6: Our Mutual Friend

There seems to be a pattern here of period pieces! This is a British miniseries based on the last complete novel of Charles Dickens. As the story progresses, several story lines are told simultaneously, and the connections between all characters eventually become known. The film's central focus is on two potential couples and the conflicts that arise in their relationships due to money and societal norms. When a spurned suitor becomes obsessed with one character, the story takes a dark turn. Even as things turn bleak and seemingly hopeless, the happy ending will make it all worthwhile! Love conquers all!!

Hidden Gem #7: Far From the Madding Crowd:

And yet again there comes another period piece! The problem with period pieces is that sometimes they are filled with tragedies and depressing endings! I have to do a little research before I am willing to put my heart into a period piece movie. This 2015 film based on a Thomas Hardy novel is not only filled with beautiful scenery, but also with an achingly painful love story....that fortunately is resolved with a happy ending. The two main characters (who have great names like Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak) grow and learn a great deal during this story. I will admit I was extremely frustrated at times with our heroine who was so stubborn and blind when it comes to the quiet brooding farmer who loves and supports her. Perhaps if the movie had given more of her back story as to what events had shaped her personality...but nevertheless I still loved the movie and the love story!

I don't want to spoil all the twists, turns and even tragedies that occur, but I will assure you that if you like happy endings for the main characters and love story....then you won't be disappointed with the sweet and satisfying ending.

Hidden Gem #8: Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit is a miniseries based on a serial novel by Charles Dickens and has several screen adaptations. I greatly enjoyed the 2008 PBS Masterpiece Classic miniseries starring Claire Foy (before she was playing the young Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix series The Crown) and Matthew MacFayden (who is the actor that plays Mr. Darcy in the newest Pride and Prejudice movie!!). It is the story of the young lady, Amy Dorrit, the kindest and gentlest of souls, born in low social circumstances (grew up in a prison even!). She has a secret love for Arthur Clennam -a gentleman who is clueless to her affections. There are many plot twists, turns and frustrations along the road, but they eventually result in a happy and satisfying ending.

Hidden Gem #9: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

This charming movie is set mostly in the span of a single day. It occurs in London just before World War II. I love that there are really two romances in this one. Miss Pettigrew who is a good soul very down on her luck has the chance to become the social secretary of an American up and coming singer/actress. Many adventures ensue as Miss Pettigrew follows along with her employer. Miss Pettigrew is a character the audience is really pulling for and I found her outcome as well as the overall happy ending of this one extremely satisfying. If you like the bad guys to get what is coming to them and the good to prevail and be rewarded with true happiness, then you will likely be satisfied as well!

Hidden Gem #10: Love and Friendship

For those of us who love Jane Austen, this is a fun addition to your Austen movie library. This movie is based on a short novel written by Jane Austen entitled, Lady Susan. It is filled with Jane Austen's wit which pokes fun at the society and social rules of the time. I enjoyed the humor but also the sweetness. The lead character of Lady Susan played by Kate Beckinsale is not a traditional heroine....she is more of the villain... However, Lady Susan entertains with her conniving and selfishness. It is nice to see her sweet daughter and other side characters receive the happy ending I think they deserved. Not a traditional Pride and Prejudice type tale -the sweet heroine and romance are more of a side story in the shadow of Lady Susan's antics - but still a fun period piece with intelligent humor and of course a smidge of true romance.

Hidden Gem #11: Dr. Thorne

My newest treasure is the short period piece mini-series called Dr. Thorne. I stumbled across this film on Amazon Prime Instant Video and am so glad I did! It is an adaptation of a Anthony Trollope novel from the mid 1850s that was scripted by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame). It reminded me a lot of a Jane Austen story with a touch of Dickens. It has wonderful wit regarding the social classes, many entertaining characters and of course a sweet love story. The story is of the pure-hearted but socially inferior Mary Thorne and the chain reaction of events that is set into motion by the deep love between Mary and the socially superior but poor Frank Gresham. Frank and Mary share a strong love and bond, but Frank's family opposes them at every turn due to the need for a wealthy match for Frank to save their home and lands. The wonderful title character of Dr. Thorne, Mary's uncle and local doctor, is involved in all the intertwining story lines. I hope you enjoy this fun tale as much as I did!

Hidden Gem #12: Stonehearst Asylum

This 2014 movie is a based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story. So you can imagine that it is not exactly your typical romance! Set in the late 1800s, it is an eerie, mysterious story of a young psychologist (played by Jim Sturgess) who takes up a new job in a mental asylum where things are not as they seem. He is strangely drawn to one of the female mental patients (played by Kate Beckinsale). What ensues is a mysterious and suspenseful story with a strong element of romance. It also has a few surprise twists in the ending. It gave me a little bit of the feeling of Shutter Island but with a slower pace and less disturbing subject matter. An added bonus is the work of talented supporting actors like veterans Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine. If you love mystery and quiet psychological thrills with your romance, then I think you would enjoy this film. I know I did!

Go Indulge Yourself!

So now that you have a list, grab a box of chocolate, snuggle up on the couch and enjoy these romantic movies!


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    • cpaldridge profile image

      Christy Aldridge 12 months ago from MS

      Thanks Mark! Hope you find one you like!

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 12 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Thanks for the list. I love movies and will look out for these.

    • cpaldridge profile image

      Christy Aldridge 16 months ago from MS

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment Joseph! I haven't thought about that movie in a long time, but you are right! I remember it being a sweet story of a couple growing to genuinely love each other. I need to watch it again and refresh my memory! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Joseph Giampapa 16 months ago

      "A Walk In The Clouds" is a beautiful movie, often missed... but has true depth of the "power of love" and sadly often overlooked.

    • cpaldridge profile image

      Christy Aldridge 3 years ago from MS

      I agree!!:)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Sometimes it's those lesser known movies that are wonderful little gems!

    • cpaldridge profile image

      Christy Aldridge 3 years ago from MS

      Thanks Victoria Lynn! Hope you find one you like!:)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Neat! I've never heard of any of them! I may have to check a few out. Cool hub!