Romance is a genre that has the power to captivate audiences and allow them to live vicariously through its heartwarming and emotional storytelling. Writing a successful romance script requires a delicate balance of interesting characters, authentic emotions, and relatable conflicts with realistic stakes.
One of the best ways to learn to be a better writer is to read material in the genre you aim to write. For screenwriters, studying scripts can provide valuable insight into how to obey and subvert genre conventions.
So, get ready to swoon because today I’m exploring 5 of my favorite romance films to learn from!
“Love and Basketball” Screenplay
Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood
“Love and Basketball” is a sports romance film that perfectly blends themes of love and ambition. The film follows Monica and Quincy, two dedicated basketball players pursuing their dreams, who fall in love.
The script highlights the importance of creating well-rounded characters with goals and dreams outside of romance. “Love and Basketball” skillfully uses basketball to explore the characters’ individuality while also using the sport to convey their passion.
Written by Alice Oseman
“Heartstopper,” the hit Netflix show based on Alice Oseman’s webcomic, is the touching story of two teenage boys’ burgeoning love. The show excels at portraying the teenage characters and their relationship in a young and innocent way. While some teen shows have characters who feel and act like adults, “Heartstopper” really nails teen characterizations.
The screenplay’s authentic depiction of young romance should be studied by any writer interested in crafting intimate and relatable moments.
While I haven’t been able to find any scripts from the show, I highly recommend checking out the webcomic! Reading the webcomic and watching the show offers real insight into the show’s creation. Sometimes, the webcomic almost feels like you’re looking at storyboards for the show.
“When Harry Met Sally” Screenplay
Written by Nora Ephron
“When Harry Met Sally” stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal as the titular characters we follow after chance meetings over 12 years. Written by Nora Ephron, this script features everything Ephron was celebrated for as a screenwriter, her love of romantic comedy, strong female characters, and clever wit.
This timeless film explores friendship and love through humorous and authentic conversations. “When Harry Met Sally” teaches aspiring writers the importance of building a strong foundation for a romantic relationship in a film.
There’s also much to learn about time and change in this script, as the film takes place over several years, requiring the characters to grow and evolve.
“The Big Sick” Screenplay
Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
“The Big Sick” is a romantic comedy based on Gordon and Nanjiani’s real-life romance and struggles as an interracial couple faced with the threat of serious illness. By drawing from their own real-life experiences, Gordon and Nanjiani can craft genuine feeling characters and relatable situations.
“The Big Sick” also exemplifies the importance of cultural representation in love stories by presenting a cross-cultural tale that connects with viewers from all walks of life.
“The Shape of Water” Screenplay
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
“The Shape of Water” is a wonderfully unique fantastical romance that defies expectations. Set in a top-secret government lab in the 1960s, the film explores the romance between a mute custodian and an amphibian humanoid being held captive.
The script explores ideas such as unconventional love stories and breaking barriers for love. “The Shape of Water” does a fantastic job of depicting the depth of the relationship between the two main characters. The romance in this film is conveyed to extend beyond things like language or societal norms.
This script is an excellent reminder to aspiring writers that romance can be found in unexpected places.
Romance movies have the uncanny ability to tug at our heartstrings and remind us of the importance of love in our own lives. By studying romance scripts like those mentioned in this blog, aspiring romance writers gain a better understanding of the genre.
From writing vulnerable characters to exploring cross-cultural relationships and defying societal conventions, each script offers unique insights into the art of telling an unforgettable love story.
Romance movies have touched the hearts of audiences since the birth of film and seek to remind us that love knows no limits and can often be found in unlikely places. Hopefully, these tales of romance can inspire you in your own writing. Happy writing!