Five great long distance relationship movies that will make you laugh, cry, think, and feel encouraged in your own long distance relationship. Counting down to the number one pick…
Number 5: Going the Distance (2010)
Let’s start off with a light-hearted film that deals with a long distance relationship head-on. Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, follows a new couple’s budding romance when one moves to San Francisco and the other stays behind in New York.
Perhaps the best part of this film is how it portrays other people’s reactions to the couple’s long distance relationship. Family members and friends sometimes project their own insecurities onto others when they give relationship advice. On the other hand, they can bring up valid concerns that the couple might be too close to the situation to address. This film offers a humorous take on these often-tricky conversations.
Number 4: The Five Year Engagement (2012)
In The Five-Year Engagement, Justin Segal and Emily Blunt star as engaged lovers whose lives keep getting in the way of their union. The movie follows their relationship through different life stages, including a period where one person moves across the country for the other to avoid a long distance relationship.
This sweet, occasionally erratic film helmed by two charismatic stars is a great example of how circumstances can affect a relationship. Although the five years are not long distance in this film, it will appeal to long distance couples because they’ll recognize the changes and conversations the couple goes through as they make decisions about where and how to bring their lives together. It’s a particularly interesting example of what can happen when one person moves for love to a place where they don’t seem to have a purpose.
Number 3: Atonement (2007)
Wartime movies regularly feature long distance relationships. Atonement follows a couple constantly kept apart by the changes in their world. Keira Knightly and James McAvoy’s romance is barely getting started when disaster strikes. They face wartime dangers, both on the front and in London during the Battle of Britain, and they must stay in touch primarily through letters.
This one might make you cry, but long distance relationship veterans will be able to relate to the struggle of being apart from someone you love when you must savor your rare moments together. The bittersweet ending provides a new twist on the intersection of love and tragedy in fiction.
Number 2: You’ve Got Mail (1998)
This film isn’t about a long distance relationship in the strictest sense, but it features a relationship built primarily over email. In You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star as business rivals who don’t realize their online flirtation is actually with each other.
The couple falls in love when they are communicating across a distance, even though they actually live in the same city. It’s a testament to how an unexpected connection can develop when the usual trappings and complications of dating are removed, and the words matter most. Their love develops from afar, just as it does for many long distance couples who meet online these days.
Honorable mention: Sleepless In Seattle (1993). Also starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, this is another film where we see the couple falling in love from a distance. The sweet moments will resonate with any long distance couple, especially those in the early stages of their romance. Meeting through a radio show might be less relatable for the average LDR couple, but it’s a classic!
Number 1: The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Based on Audrey Niffenegger’s bestselling novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams as the ultimate long distance couple. Not only do they have to deal with distance, they are often separated across time! Due to a genetic quirk (don’t think too hard about it), Bana is regularly pulled away to different time periods and different stages in his romance and marriage.
This film explores the pathos of spending a lot of time apart from someone you love. McAdams’s plight is heart-wrenching because she spends much of her time waiting for her husband and wondering if he’ll make it back to her. She has to build her own life when he’s not there and make the most of the times they do have together.