When we're not trying to imitate Lady Gaga's belts in the A Star Is Born trailer, we're likely swooning over her character Ally's epic romance with the grizzled singer-songwriter Jackson (Bradley Cooper). Hollywood loves a romance taking place onstage or over a guitar, but the theme that truly carries over into all of our favorite romance movies is a couple falling for each other thanks to their mutual love of something else. These movies like A Star Is Born will inspire your inner romantic and, yes, might include a song or two, but I'll be too busy smiling into my popcorn to mind a less musical take on love.
A Star Is Born isn't as sunny and optimistic as some other romantic or musical movies, but an equal mix of cheery and realistic content makes for a satisfying movie marathon. If you're in the mood for straight-up fluff, you'll find a few options below, while other picks definitely appeal more on those days when you just need a good cry about love. While a powerful ballad or sweet musical montage is key for portraying romance onscreen, life can't always be like a song. So, once your voice has gotten a little hoarse from perfecting Gaga's vocals, check out some of these movies to help you come to terms with whatever romantic scenario you're currently facing.
1. 'La La Land' (2016)
Before there were Gaga and Cooper, there were Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. In La La Land, their struggling artist characters channeled the Golden Age of Hollywood by breaking into visually stunning tap dance numbers. Like in A Star Is Born, the desire to create something unique through their separate work (Stone played an aspiring actress, while Gosling's character was a jazz musician) forms a deep bond between them. They might not have huddled closely over a microphone as Ally and Jackson did, but the dancing Seb and Mia pull off in the film serves as a means to convey their growing attraction to each other. Plus, singing along to "City of Stars" never truly gets old.
2. 'The Last Five Years' (2014)
With heartbreak comes an eventual ability to realize what the relationship taught you. If the minutiae of breakups fascinates you, this movie based on a 2002 Off-Broadway musical is right up your alley. Told from the alternating points-of-view of married couple Jamie and Cathy, The Last Five Years tracks the pair's tumultuous relationship over time. Jamie becoming a breakout novelist parallels Cathy's struggles to work in musical theater, while the two also face the obstacles of infidelity and professional jealousy. It doesn't exactly have a happy ending, but The Last Five Years will help you come to terms with your latest shaky relationship.
3. 'Dirty Dancing' (1987)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a decade with more legendary romantic movies than the 1980s. Although watching When Harry Met Sally... or a John Hughes teen film is always a good idea, Dirty Dancing perfectly fits the show business theme of A Star Is Born. 17-year-old Baby's summer takes a sexy turn when she meets dance instructor Johnny on her resort vacation, and when his partner can no longer perform, Baby steps in and gradually falls in love with Johnny. What happens next will definitely bring you the time of your movie-watching life.
4. 'Southside with You' (2016)
Some couples fall for each other while in pursuit of their art, and others grow to love each other while just working together in the same office. Documenting Barack and Michelle Obama's first date in 1989, Southside with You also explores the future First Lady's hesitation to start a relationship with law student Obama, who she then supervised at a Chicago firm. We all wish we could have a relationship worth singing about, but most of our experiences are as sweetly ordinary as the Obamas' romance, and viewers might need that dose of reality after seeing the gritty glamour of A Star Is Born.
5. 'A Star Is Born' (1954)
There are three previous adaptations of the Star Is Born story, but the 1954 version is particularly lauded because it included a comeback role for former child star Judy Garland. It stars Garland as aspiring singer Esther Blodgett and James Mason as onetime screen idol Norman Maine. While Cooper's Jackson Maine convinces Gaga's Ally that she can sing to huge crowds, Norman focuses on persuading Esther to pursue work in films. Old Hollywood movies can turn drastically bleak quite quickly, and while A Star Is Born definitely has its darker moments, there's a reason why cinephiles adore these kind of films. Try this out if you want to understand the history behind Cooper's decision to direct another A Star Is Born adaptation.
6. 'Love & Basketball' (2000)
When was the last time you watched a sports movie that wasn't an Air Bud sequel or a DCOM? Love & Basketball is the rare sports film focusing on a pair of adults, following childhood sweethearts Monica and Quincy as they both try to play basketball professionally. While Quincy has natural talent, Monica must work devotedly to maintain her momentum in the sport. The story continues through the couple's college years, family drama, separation, and experiences of trying to succeed in the NBA and WNBA. We need movies about romance in other high-pressure industries, and Love & Basketball definitely needs more playtime.
7. 'Letters to Juliet' (2010)
As seen in Letters to Juliet, careers aren't the only thing that cause tension between potential couples. When struggling journalist Sophie wants to help the elderly Claire track down her teenage sweetheart in Italy, Claire's concerned grandson Charlie tries to intervene, believing that the search will only hurt Claire. Instead, Sophie's devotion to finding Claire's lost love wins over Charlie, and the two have a Shakespeare-tinted romance that aspiring world travelers dream of. This movie covers the idea of love more than Sophie and Charlie's actual bond, but its sunny setting of Italy can coax out anyone's inner romantic.
8. 'Amelie' (2001)
Like with Letters to Juliet, sometimes romance is more about your connection to a place rather than another person. Amelie is a love letter to Paris and the beauty of helping strangers find happiness. Although the film includes the shy Amelie's growing affection for a quirky man, the whimsical, otherwordly vibes of this movie are what will spur on your romantic side. If you're prepping for your umpteenth screening of A Star Is Born, perhaps you can interpret Amelie's individuality as a nod to Gaga's own eccentric side as an artist.
9. 'Moulin Rouge!' (2001)
With a stage adaptation possibly hitting Broadway this spring, Moulin Rouge! covered song mashups years before Glee was even a thing. Taking place in the year 1900, the story follows English poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) as he falls in love with Nicole Kidman's Satine, the star of the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris. The acclaimed film's soundtrack is eccentric but satisfying, mostly consisting of romantic song covers that will get you in the mood if the vintage Parisian setting just wasn't enough. Don't be alarmed if you want to belt "Your Song" from the rooftops after watching this.
10. 'The Artist' (2011)
Even after scoring the Oscar for Best Picture, The Artist didn't exactly become the most memorable movie, but in case you missed this homage to the "talkies" replacing silent film in Hollywood, its swoony moments are a must see. The innocent yet heartfelt connection between silent film star George and new screen icon Peppy will send you down a path of pursuing Old Hollywood's finest onscreen romances. From tap dance numbers to John Goodman, The Artist includes everything we love about the movies, and it's a palpable celebration of the film industry.
After some of these movies have officially swept away your heart, top off your experience with another singalong to "Shallow." A Star Is Born is in theaters now.