Star-crossed lovers have enough obstacles on their path to true love without time travel. But the glitch of time travel brings a new aspect of excitement to romantic relationships. These are the best time travel romances that bring the two lovers across time together. Yet keep them apart by their heart-wrenching, devastating plots.
Time travel has always been a fascinating subject, one ideal for movie climaxes. With time, things can go seriously south, if you mess with it. Showstoppers in this genre like Back to the Future(1985), have shown how a teenager like Marty McFly can almost eliminate his own existence by preventing his parents from falling in love in the past.
However, time travel movies can be appreciated, whether it’s based on healing the world like in Bill & Ted Face the Music(2020) or based on the magical romance and heartbreak that transcends time (quite literally).
Without further ado, here are some of the best time-travel romances ever.
This enthralling movie starring Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh shows how two people destined for each other, are bound to meet in one timeline or the other. Elizabeth lives in 1863 in Boston while her pen pal Scott lives in 1998.
When bowing to societal pressure, Elizabeth has to go out with an upper-class man she has no feelings for, she writes down her feelings addressed to a “Dearest”. That letter tucked away in a secret compartment of her drawer travels through time and Scott, who recently bought the drawer, in his timeline, finds it.
Discovering this mysterious letter, he decides to reply and magically, Elizabeth back in 1863 gets it.
Soon, they start talking about their lives and the ups & downs they’re going through. And a sacred bond of friendship grows while Scott indefinitely falls for her. She too falls in love with a man in her timeline, who sadly passes away in the battle of Gettysburg.
Only to realize, that that man and Scott are one and the same.
Just as a tragic event severs their connection, Scott goes to Elizabeth’s home long after her passing to find all of their “Love Letters”. And he meets the reincarnation of Elizabeth there. What started as a secret letter to express one’s own feelings makes these characters find their true love, even if it’s across timelines, making this movie one of the best time-travel romances to ever exist.
2. The Time Traveller’s Wife (2009)
The Time Traveller’s Wife isn’t only one of the best time travel romances but also one of the most swoon-worthy love stories ever. Right off the bat, the steaming chemistry between Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams engulfs its viewers.
This movie interweaves through the romance of Henry DeTambe, a time-traveller and Claire Abshire. It follows the unchronological life of Henry from meeting his wife as a child to their struggles to have children. The most interesting aspect about this movie is, despite Henry being the traveller, Clare knows more about him. She’s even aware of their relationship during their ‘first meeting’.
Playing out the downsides and upsides of having a superpower you can’t control; this film delves into the emotional struggles of being in love with someone who might know exactly how your life will play out.
In this movie, a mystifying romance blooms between two individuals, Kate Forrester (Sandra Bullock) and Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) who live at the same Lake House. Except two years apart! A true long-distance romantic relationship develops between the two characters when they each start writing to each other, still trying to figure out the mysterious communication across time. And who could ever think that your mailbox could be a time portal?
And thus, 2004 Alex falls in love with 2006 Kate. Coursing through life while still yearning to see each other, this movie, based on the acclaimed South Korean movie, Il Mare, is a perfect time-travel romance.
“We’re all travelling through time together every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.“Tim Lake, About Time
Starring in heart liberating movies where people fall in love and travel back in time is second skin to star Rachel Adams. From The Time Traveller’s Wife to Midnight in Paris to About Time, she has delivered the best time travel romances to ever exist.
This movie revolves around Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who inherits the unique ability in the male line of his family to move backwards in time within their own memory. Early on, a shade of a romantic comedy emerges as Tim begins to redo his first impression with the love of his life Mary aka Rachel McAdams. But as the film develops, we see Tim growing up and establishing various rules to prevent carefree meddling with time.
About Time teaches its viewers so much about cherishing the time we have with those we love because time catches up to everyone, time-traveller or not alike.
A classic, sweet romance with elegant cinematography that will make you fall in love with it. Student Richard Collier, played by the dashing Christopher Reeve, stays over at the Grand Hotel to find himself enamoured with the portrait of a beautiful woman. So much so, that he finds himself travelling back to the year 1900 from 1972 to meet this love at first sight.
But will love endure such a big-time difference? Will Richard’s effort to meet his someone, somewhere in time, complete him? Watch this fantastic time travel romance to feel yourself travelling to another era.
Another time travel romance graced by Rachel McAdams. A spellbinding romance following the story of Gil and his fiancée, Inez who take a vacation to Paris. Gil, mesmerized by the beauty of Paris, plans to settle there but Inez begs to differ.
One late night stroll turns into an invitation to a fabulous party, seemingly from the 1920s. Gil, a writer in the making, meets guests like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude among others, and gets enthralled by Paris and its famous dead.
Beguiled by finding himself mysteriously back in the 1920s at every midnight, this aspiring author needs to make a choice. A rose-tinted life with his fiancée or one with the nostalgic, rich past. For all lovers of art & literature, a journey to see famous personalities and their charming behaviour in life.
The movie is based on the accidental rip caused in time by a physicist, Stuart who accidentally brings his great-great-grandfather, Leopold, a handsome bachelor of the 1800s into the 2000s New York. Leopold being a man of independent thinking, gets fascinated by a 21st century, career-driven woman, Kate, who happens to be Stuart’s ex-girlfriend.
We see that with career and social expectations, each has grown cynical about the very notion of falling in love.
However, they get close and fall for each other. But inevitable differences arise and he returns back to his time. But that’s not the sad ending, this movie leaves us on.
This movie shows us the potential and calibre of an old-fashioned modern romance ignited through a rip in time.
If you had another day left with the love of your life, what would you do?
That’s the problem faced by Ian, who loses beautiful violinist Samantha in a car crash, in this time travel movie. Ian wakes up every day knowing he has another shot to save the girl of his dreams.He strives every day to change the events of time while stuck in this time loop.
But will he succeed?
Will they ever be together again?
Time-travel movies have something special in store for all kinds of viewers. Your Name (popularly known as Kimi No Nawa) is one of the most appreciated anime movies ever.
Your Name tells the story of a high school boy in Tokyo and a high school girl in a rural town, who suddenly and inexplicably begin to swap bodies. Things become even more complicated when they realize, that they’re living in two different timelines; and in the boy’s timeline, the girl has already passed away from a natural disaster.
This stunningly animated movie brings you a romance that will make you sob by the end of it. It is truly an enigmatic and beautiful experience, one of the best time-travel romances, in anime.
10. Palm Springs (2020)
Imagine, being stuck in a time continuum loop. Imagine you wake up every day of your life to have the same events repeated again and again.
Well, that’s the case for our protagonist, Nyles played by the amazing actor, comedian Andy Samberg. Now, being in a situation such as this can be monotonous. Until you find another person, who can share this journey, Sarah played by Cristin Milioti.
On the surface, the movie seems to be a time-travel rom-com but it soon digs deeper into the secrets that these characters hold. Palm Springs is one romantic comedy that can even remind you of your own timetable during the lockdown.
As a thirteen-year-old in the 1980s, all Jenna Rink wants is to skip over her teenage years and live as a sophisticated and self-assured 30-year-old. Little did she know that being 30 isn’t as fascinating as it sounds.
Thinking that having a dream apartment, a fabulous wardrobe, an athlete boyfriend can make a person fulfilled in life, thirteen-year-old Jenna’s wish comes true.
Unfortunately, Jenna realizes that this is not what she wanted. The only one that she needs is her childhood best friend, Matt, a boy that she thought destroyed her 13th birthday party. But when she finds him, he’s a grown-up and not the same person that she knew.
Moving through the struggles of the grown-up world, Jenna (Jennifer Garner) finds her true love and realizes that simplicity with a bit of sparkle is what we all need in our lives.
Peggy Sue is an unhappy woman on the verge of divorce attending her 25-year high school reunion after leaving her cheating husband (Nicolas Cage). Magically, she finds herself reliving her senior year and she’s faced with whether or not to change some of the choices she grew to regret as an adult. Would you tweak your high school choices in hopes of a better future?
Mike O’Donnell is a 37-year-old man, miserable at the way his life has turned out. Disappointed in his career choices, distanced from his wife & children, is quite not the life he had in mind for himself. He wishes to have one chance to do it all over again. And so, fate gives him another chance to be happy.
Having been a talented basketball player, he decides to go back to high-school to try out that possibility again; to the very high-school, his children are at now. Soon he realizes that his destiny is something else. It is to mend his relationship with his children and his wife, who was once his high-school sweetheart.
A romantic comedy that teaches tough lessons from life, starring the “high-school expert”- Zac Efron.
14. When We First Met (2018)
The only place to be stuck in, that is worse than a time loop is the “Friendzone”. Unfortunately, our protagonist Noah Ashby meets the girl of his dreams, Avery but takes too long to make a move and gets friend-zoned. When he gets the opportunity to travel through time and alter the night that they met, he does it over and over again until he gets everything perfect.
A hilarious, sweet and romantic movie about time travel starring Adam DeVine and Alexandra Daddario. One that you can definitely add to your list of the best time-travel romances.
Winter’s Tale is set in 1895 on the streets of New York and based on the novel of the same name. Peter, a seasoned thief goes to Beverly Penn’s mansion to rob it. She catches him in the act and over the next interactions, they fall in love. She tells Peter a story about how everyone is born with a miracle inside them – a story that acts as the central theme for this film.
The story then jumps to modern times showing us Peter again. But he has amnesia, setting the story for the rest of the movie. The search for his memories and lost story, the search for love, creates the premise of a beautiful time travel romance, that is breath-taking to watch.