Top 10 Best Time-Travel Romance Movies

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Top 10 Best Time-Travel Romance Movies

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
If these time travel rom-coms prove anything, it's that true love knows no bounds.
Transcript
True love knows no bounds. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Time-Travel Romance Movies.

For this list, we’ll be including films that involve time loops. However, both the time travel and the romance have to make up a significant portion of the plot/story. That means films like “The Terminator,” which features a romantic subplot but is first and foremost an action flick, will not be included.

#10: “Kate & Leopold” (2001)


Director James Mangold rarely dips his toes in the romantic comedy genre, but when he does he’s known for delivering endlessly entertaining high-concept flicks. “Kate & Leopold” is no exception, asking audiences to suspend their disbelief for just over two hours in order to appreciate the humor and love shared between the two titular characters. The film is about a 19th century duke who finds himself transported to modern day New York City. There he meets Kate, a market researcher, and the two quickly fall in love. The film doesn’t overplay the time travel aspect of the story, instead choosing to focus on the relationship between the two leads. Hugh Jackman earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance and it’s easy to see why.

#9: “Back to the Future Part III” (1990)


Known more for its depiction of time travel than for its romantic subplots, few could deny that the “Back to the Future” film series has featured a number of iconic romances. In fact, the original film was almost exclusively about Marty trying to make his parents fall in love. In “Back to the Future Part III,” it was Dr. Emmett Brown who found himself pierced by cupid’s arrow, falling for fellow science-lover Clara Clayton after saving her from an untimely demise. While the film is far from a rom-com, the scenes featuring Doc and Clara are undeniably sweet and their relationship brings closure to a part of Doc’s arc we never thought we needed to see.

#8: “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986)


While dated in some areas, “Peggy Sue Got Married” is nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable film, with big names both on-screen and off. Helmed by legendary director Francis Ford Coppola and starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage, the film tells the story of a jaded divorcee trying to get over her ex-husband’s infidelities, who is suddenly transported back in time to her senior year of high school. While in the past, she gleans information about her future that she’d previously overlooked and, in the process, manages to forgive her husband’s mistakes. The film is worth revisiting for Turner’s performance alone, which earned her an Oscar nomination.

#7: “Somewhere in Time” (1980)


While time travel romance flicks often lean towards the comedic, there are others that throw themselves wholeheartedly into the melancholic nature of finding the love of your life in the past. One such film is “Somewhere in Time,” starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Reeve plays Richard Collier, a playwright living in 1980 who is bewitched by the portrait of a woman from 1912. Through the power of hypnosis, he travels back in time to be with her, and the two quickly fall in love. The chemistry between Reeve and Seymour is palpable, making the film’s ending all the more emotional.

#6: “The Lake House” (2006)


While critics were quick to judge “The Lake House’s” for its convoluted premise and narrative inconsistencies, others, such as Roger Ebert, were quick to point out that “A time travel story works on emotional, not temporal, logic.” When viewed from that perspective, “The Lake House” is not only one of the best romantic films of the 2000s, but one of the most imaginative time travel flicks as well. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock deliver passionate performances as two lovers living in different times, who manage to communicate through their lake house mailbox. Rooting for two characters to get together despite their difficult circumstances has never been so easy.

#5: “Midnight in Paris” (2011)


“Midnight in Paris” might just be Woody Allen’s most complete film. It’s certainly one of his best written, winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The film centers on screenwriter Gil Pender, who is obsessed with the literary world of the 1920s. During a visit to Paris, he is magically transported to his dream era, where he meets everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Pablo Picasso. He also meets and falls in love with a beautiful muse named Adriana. However, despite the vigor he once felt, he soon discovers that his ideal time period may eventually sour on him. So, will he continue to escape to the 1920s or learn to function in his own time?

#4: “13 Going on 30” (2004)


Be careful what you wish for! “13 Going on 30” is about Jenna Rink, a girl who wants nothing more than to be one of the popular girls. However, when the popular girls pull a mean prank at her 13th birthday party, she cries and wishes that she could be a 30-year-old woman. The next morning, she is both shocked and elated to wake up in her 30-year-old body. Unfortunately for Jenna, it appears she turned into a bit of a jerk during those missing 17 years and is now estranged from both her parents and her former best friend, Matty. Featuring heartfelt and hilarious performances from Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, “13 Going on 30” is a coming-of-age story that definitely sticks the landing.

#3: “Groundhog Day” (1993)


The time travel genre is as much about second chances as it is about imaginative plot devices. From “If Only” to “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” time travel is often used as a way to show wayward men the error of their ways. Few films did it with as much heart and humor as “Groundhog Day.” Known for Bill Murray’s curmudgeonly performance and popularizing the time loop trope, the film touches upon everything that makes cinematic time travel great. From getting to punch the annoying guy in the face to finally winning over the woman you love, the film is pure escapism. However, at its core, it’s about love and the things we’re willing to do for it… such as spending 10,000 years in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

#2: “The Time Traveler's Wife” (2009)


Starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams as the titular time traveler and his wife, this film weaves a complicated narrative, one that involves one of cinematic history’s most impossible romances. Bana plays Henry DeTamble, a man who sporadically travels through time with no control over when he will disappear or where he will end up. Keeping him grounded is his wife Clare, who knows more about him than he does about himself - thanks to his constant unplanned temporal travels. Through their love for one another, they manage to endure the trials and tribulations of Henry’s condition… for a time. All we’ll say is that you’d be wise to have a box of tissue ready at the end of this one…

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

“When We First Met” (2018)

“Happy Accidents” (2000)

“Safety Not Guaranteed” (2012)

“Time After Time” (1979)

“Les Visiteurs” (1993)

#1: “About Time” (2013)


Featuring a who’s who of lovable actors, from Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams to Bill Nighy and a young Margot Robbie, the film is about a young man who upon turning 21 discovers that the men in his family can travel to different points in their own lives. Armed with this newfound knowledge, Gleeson’s character embarks on a quest to win over the love of his life. Along the way, he discovers what it means to live each day as if it were the last and to cherish the time he has with his friends and family. Featuring great writing and a fantastic soundtrack, “About Time” is the perfect date night flick. Exactly how many time travelers can McAdams date, though?
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