The Most Achingly Beautiful Stories Of First Love Ever Seen In Film

I have never spent entire summers in my family's villa in Northern Italy. I have never been a 17-year-old boy caught in the wrenching process of falling madly in love with an older American named Oliver. I have never done such lurid things to a peach.
And yet, while watching Elio and Oliver fall towards each other in Call Me By Your Name, I vividly remembered the unique mania of being 17 and in love. I remembered analyzing my crush's movements, hoping each glance was conveyed a message just for me. I remember, just barely, the physical ache. I remember actually feeling bad for adults, because their priorities were not the right ones. The unrelenting, unceasing, all-consuming of first attraction — that's what you'll see, and that's what you'll recall, while watching Call Me By Your Name.
This movie, out November 24, is an honest and authentic addition to the "Movies About First Love" genre. Here are some of the others.
Read These Stories Next:
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A and Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) in Every Day (2018)

Every Day depicts a complicated romance — but a philosophically pure one. Each day, A wakes up in a different body. And every day, he seeks out Rhiannon, the girl he loves. A and Rhiannon love each others' souls. It's as idealistic and moving as it sounds.
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Harold (Bud Cort) & Maude (Ruth Gordon) in Harold and Maude (1971)

Likely, you have a fixed image in your mind of what "first love" is — and the relationship you'll find in Harold and Maude between a morose 17-year-old boy and a rambunctious 79-year-old woman isn't it. But that's what movies are for! Reminding us that relationships are sometimes too grand and too surprising to fit inside the box of what's normal. If you sneer at all things romantic and cheesy, Harold and Maude will be even more likely to melt your heart — it's that authentic.
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Elena Mendola (Agnese Nano) & Salvatore Di Vita (Marco Leonardi) in Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Like Call Me By Your Name, the love story depicted in Cinema Paradiso is especially romantic because a) It's set in Italy and b) It's set in a nostalgic version of the past. While growing up in a small Sicilian village, Salvatore loves only two things: Cinema, and Elena. He comes of age through devoting himself fully to those two loves. With a particularly beautiful theme played when Salvatore and Elena are together, Cinema Paradiso captures the drama, the drama of a first (and forbidden) love.
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Tita (Lumi Cavazos) & Pedro (Marco Leonardi) in Like Water For Chocolate (1992)

First love's so powerful that it can make magic happen. Literally. Tita La Garza falls in love with Pedro at first sight, but is bound by her family's stringent tradition that the youngest daughter may never marry, and must always care for her mother. So, it's arranged that Pedro marry Tita's sister instead. Tita, in charge of cooking for the entire La Garza clan, unintentionally stirs her emotions into the food, and infect all with her feelings of heartbreak and attraction.

Why yes, Marco Leonardi from Cinema Paradiso is also in this movie about first love. After watching both movies, Leonardi will be your new favorite floppy-haired dreamboat.
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Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) & Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) in Titanic (1997)

Rose is 17 when she meets Jack Dawson aboard the Titanic, and has her world split open to the pleasures of life that exist outside her bubble of rarefied wealth and manners. Unfortunately, there isn't time for Jack and Rose to experience the full, healthy cycle of first love, from instant attraction to mutual dissolution. Instead, their love is preserved forever as it was for those few hours aboard a doomed ship. We have a feeling Rose's first love will always be the deepest.
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Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) & Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) in Love & Basketball (2000)

Monica and Quincy have their first kiss when they're just 13-year-old next-door-neighbors with the same aspiration: Playing professional basketball. Love and Basketball tracks the four "quarters" of their relationship, as they progress from kids to college stars, and get even closer to achieving their dreams.
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Judy Ramirez (Judy Marte) & Victor Vargas (Victor Rasuk) in Raising Victor Vargas (2003)

During one sweltering summer day in New York, Victor tries to salvage his reputation as a romantic loser by approaching one of the most desirable girls in the neighborhood, Judy Ramirez. To Victor's surprise, they end up developing an uncertain, but genuine, relationship. Every aspect of their love story feels earned — probably because Rasuk and Marte were not experienced professionals at the time of the movie, and were close to their characters' age.
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Ally (Rachel McAdams) & Noah (Ryan Gosling) in The Notebook (2004)

You can debate the merits of The Notebook all you want — but its depiction of an enduring love has undeniably riveted audiences for over ten years now. Through a series of wildly romantic gestures, Noah, a poor boy, convinces Ally, a rich girl, to go on a date with him. From there, it's history — but Ally's parents don't approve of her romantic choices, and make their lives very difficult.
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Jacob (Anton Yelchin) & Anna (Felicity Jones) in Like Crazy (2011)

Do yourself a favor and bring many tissues and a steely resolve to any viewing of Like Crazy, because this movie will tear you apart. Jacob and Anna fall desperately in love during their last semester of U.C.L.A. Unfortunately, there's a countdown to their romance — Anna's not a citizen of the United States, and her student visa is expiring. Out of sheer romantic impulsivity, Anna overstays her visa. The U.S. government, not sympathetic to acts of sheer romantic impulsivity, proceeds to ban her from reentering the country. After that, Jacob and Anna have to negotiate just how far they'll go for each other.
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Sam (Jared Gilman) & Suzy (Kara Hayward) in Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

In 1965 on an island off the coast of New England, two middle-schoolers decide to shirk the confines of the adult world, and run away together. They take only the essentials: Suzy brings along her kitten and some books, and Sam, the camping equipment. With a hurricane coming, the cast of quirky adults imagined up by Wes Anderson have to find Sam and Suzy.
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Aimee (Shailene Woodley) & Sutter (Miles Teller) in The Spectacular Now (2013)

You might think you've seen The Spectacular Now, the story of a bookish girl and a wild boy falling in love in love with a wild boy, before. But while The Spectacular Now tackles a typical high school romance, it does so with more authenticity and accuracy than any other movie you've seen attempt it (and there certainly have been many).
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Hazel (Shailene Woodley) & Gus (Ansel Elgort) in The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

The Notebook is glorified because Noah and Ally's first love is the same as their last love. You'll see the same phenomenon take place in The Fault in Our Stars, only much, much, much sadder, because Hazel and Gus are teenagers who meet in a cancer support group. They're loving each other on limited time.
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Eilis Lace (Saoirse Ronan) & Tony (Emory Cohen) in Brooklyn (2015)

In the 1950s, Eilis leaves behind her mother and sister in her small Irish village, and emigrates to Brooklyn. Eilis, overwhelmed by the pace and customs of America, is unbearably lonely — until she meets Tony, the son of Italian immigrants, at a dance. Later on, Eilis must briefly return to Ireland, where she reconnects romantically with a childhood acquaintance. Brooklyn adds dynamics of homesickness, familiarity, and duty to the typical elements of a love triangle. Eilis has a helluva choice.
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Elio (Timothee Chalemet) & Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Each year, Elio spends the entirety of the summer at his family's Italian villa. The summer he's 17, Elio finds himself drawn to Oliver, his father's research assistant living with them for five weeks. At first, Elio and Oliver deny the chemistry that's so clearly taking place between them during their river swims and bike rides. Thankfully for us, they don't deny it for long.
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