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Lesser Known Romantic Movies with Happy Endings!


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

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!

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!


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!

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.

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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!

  • STONEHEARST ASYLUM Trailer - YouTube
    With Ben Kingsley based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe! Official Page ⇨ ➨ Join us on Facebook

Hidden Gem #13: Brooklyn

This is a 2015 movie about an Irish immigrant girl who comes to Brooklyn in the 50's looking for a better life. The lead female role of Eilis Lacey is played by Saoirse Ronan - who is herself and Irish-American. Several friends had told me how good this movie was but for some reason it remained an unwatched recording on my DVR for many months before I decided to finally check it out. I was so glad I did!! I loved seeing things from the point of view of a new immigrant to America. I also enjoyed the imagery from the time period both in Brooklyn and Ireland. My favorite part though was the adorable and endearing romance between Eilis and her love interest Tony. Tony has to be one of my favorite male characters ever!! Such a sweetheart!! There is definitely a period of concern for how their love story will turn out. Don't worry to much though because you can see the title of this hub...

Hidden Gem #14: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This Netflix film based on a novel of the same name by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows has so much to love! As much as I love happy stories, this movie has its share of sorrows. Part of the subject matter is the occupation of the English channel islands during World War II so you can imagine there is much sadness woven through the story. However, there is also much humor with the colorful characters. Of course, a sweet love story between the two lead roles, portrayed by Lily James and Michiel Huisman (one of the haunted siblings in another Netflix series -The Haunting of Hill House), is also developed throughout the novel. I also had no knowledge about this part of World War II and the occupation of the channel islands so I enjoyed the historical aspect as well.

I loved the movie so much that I also read the book. It is arranged in the format of letters back and forth between the various characters. There are some differences between the book and movie but I enjoyed both equally. I highly recommend the book also. In the book, you find a lot more details in all the historical information and meet several additional characters.

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!

For Extra Movie Fun

  • Light-hearted Chick Flicks with Happy Endings
    Some fun chick flicks (I found these on Netflix streaming but not all are still available)....In my opinion, and for what it is worth...I am a sucker for romance....even the cheesy made-for-tv kind!


Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on April 10, 2019:

Thanks Ciel! I do agree there are a few that are great even with a sad ending - A Walk to Remember comes to mind.

Ciel Clark on April 06, 2019:

Have seen a couple of these, great recommendations. There are a certain type of sweet sad movies/books I love. Happy ending or not.

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on May 08, 2018:

Thanks for your comment Rashmi! I will think about other movies to suggest! Have you seen Wives and Daughters? It is based on a book by the same author as North and South and (though not as awesome as North and South) has some good romantic yearning!

Rashmi on May 06, 2018:

Hi, thank you for this list. I LOVE North and South. That last scene --ooooh! :) Do you have any more like that? I'm looking for intense, angsty romances that have a happy ending.

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on April 30, 2018:

Thank you LS for your comment! You have inspired me to think of some more lists!! I love talking about good movies and tv shows!!

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on April 30, 2018:

Thanks Natalie for your commnet! I agree I LOVED North and South so much!! I love a period piece miniseries with a happy ending!!

LS on April 27, 2018:

Thanks a lot for your list! Please continue to create such lists in future. I knew all the movies there in the list but not the TV series.

Natalie on April 08, 2018:

Wonderful list. Somehow I’ve seen most of these movies already. Don’t know how I find these amazing movies even though they are not as popular as other other romantic movies or period dramas. We need more like North & South and Little Dorrit by the way! Love mini series with a happy ending!

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on March 25, 2018:

Thanks AnnyHuf! I can see your point on Love and Friendship but I considered it happy because the characters with good hearts and intentions ended up happy:) I totally agree with you on Tess of the D'Urbervilles!! Such an unnecessarily SAD ending!!! Thankfully Hardy gave a happier ending with Far from the Madding Crowd! I will check out Scarlett! Thanks!

AnnyHuf on March 22, 2018:

I loved this list and thank you very much for pointing out all the hidden gems for I dearly love me romantic period movie. I'll be sure to see them all. The only one I disagree with is Love and friendship because it wasn't a truly happy ending in my opinion. But thank you once again, it's so hard to find good period movies with a satisfying ending. For example I've invested three good hours in Tess of the D'Urbervilles which was a captivating story, but the ending was so needlessly bitter. Fault of Thomas Hardy really for playing such tricks. I'd recommend 'Scarlett' 90s version if you liked gone with the wind, with Timothy Dalton. Very passionate and although little more trivial than the original I enjoyed the heroine and her shenanigans.

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on March 02, 2017:

Thanks Mark! Hope you find one you like!

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on March 02, 2017:

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

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on November 06, 2016:

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!

Joseph Giampapa on November 06, 2016:

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

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on September 25, 2014:

I agree!!:)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on September 25, 2014:

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

Christy Aldridge (author) from MS on September 25, 2014:

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

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on September 25, 2014:

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

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