Mexican cinematography is well known, especially for its dramas and interesting thrillers. But romantic movies are also among the most interesting and there are a few really worth watching. Almost always a combination of a romance and drama or comedy, they often deal with controversial topics, pretty brave for a deeply religious country such as Mexico.
Based on novels, lots of biographical movies, with brilliant narratives and excellent actors, this cinematography might be a good idea if you want to see something a bit different than usual. This is the list of the 12 best Mexican romance movies of all time.
Como agua para chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate, 1992)
Based on one of the most famous Mexican novels of all time, this movie puts on screen everything we loved so much about this story. We meet Tita and her two sisters who spend their days in a remote Mexican village, dreaming of something more than they are offered, especially Tita, the youngest.
Her destiny is already written and she has no power of changing her. As the youngest, she is never to get married and has to take care of her family. But Tita is in love with Pedro and has no intention of following the rules. She is devastated when her mother offers Pedro her sister instead of her, but when he accepts just to be near her, she realises that this is her chance to be with him.
Although originating from both Mexico and the United States, this movie has to be mentioned here, too. It is a biographical story about the most famous and influential Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, made by the most popular Mexican actress, Selma Hayek. It is a drama about her difficult and tragic life, but also an unusual love story that shows her sensitive side.
The movie follows mostly her relationship with Diego Rivera, her lover and mentor and her controversial love affair with Leon Trotsky, but also her other side as the brave and uncompromising woman who led a life full life. It is an excellent movie with brilliant performances by Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina and Geoffrey Rush.
Todos queremos a alguien (Everybody Loves Somebody, 2017)
This romantic comedy is pretty typical, but still worth mentioning. It is about Clara Baroon who seems to have it all, at least on the surface. She is a doctor, has a beautiful house in Los Angeles and a family that loves her. But her love life is a mystery and an enigma to her. And her family expects her to find someone, too.
She needs to attend a family wedding in Mexico and asks her colleague to pose as her boyfriend. Everything is going so smoothly upon their arrival, but suddenly her ex-boyfriend appears after having completely disappeared from her life. Clara will now have to decide whether to try and revive her past or deal with some new emotions that she has been feeling.
Cuatro lunas (4 Moons, 2014)
This romantic drama centres on four stories about love and self-acceptance. Told from four perspectives, all of them deal with issues present in everyday life. The first story is about an eleven-year-old boy who starts experiencing feelings towards his male cousin. He needs to keep it a secret so his struggle becomes even more difficult.
In the second story, we meet two former childhood friends who start a relationship but one of them fears getting caught which makes everything pretty complicated. Then we follow a long-lasting gay relationship which is jeopardised when a third person appears. And finally, the fourth story follows an old man who fantasises about men and tries to raise money to experience it.
Before Night Falls (2000)
This movie is a co-production between the United States and Mexico but it would be a shame not to mention it here. It is one of the most beautiful romances between two men ever put on screen. It is a biographical story of a Cuban poet and journalist, Reinaldo Arenas from his childhood in Oriente to his death in New York.
Arenas lives in Havana, Cuba and joins Castro’s rebels. At the same time, he falls in love with the wealthy Pepe with whom he has a love/hate relationship that lasts for years. His openly gay behaviour and his writing get him into trouble so he ends up in prison. He meets Lazaro Gomes and flees with him to Manhattan where they live in poverty. But Arenas never stops writing, making his words an act of revenge.
Biutiful is one of the most famous Mexican movies of all time, a tragic psychological drama with romantic elements. It received two Oscar nominations, for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor. Javier Bardem is Uxbal, a single father of two who struggles to get by day by day in Barcelona. After he finds out that he suffers from a terminal illness, his world starts falling apart.
Uxbal needs to sort his life out and find someone to take care of his two children. Their mother suffers from bipolar disorder and spends her days drinking and his brother is connected more to his ex-wife than to him. Uxbal will go through a difficult process with some other things that are bothering him and in the end, we will get a pretty ambiguous finale where we will be left to speculate about what happened to Uxbal and his family.
El callejon de los Milagros (Midaq Alley, 1995)
This interesting movie takes us to downtown New Mexico to a neighbourhood where we follow the stories and relationships of various people. They are Don Ru, the owner of the local pub; his wife Eusebia; his son and his friend Abel who decide to find happiness in the USA; Susanita who dreams of marrying a wealthy man; the beautiful Alma and many more.
It is told from Don Ru, Susanita and Alma’s point of view. It is a story of love, friendship, loss and hope, of people who want a life that they deserve and mostly dream of finding it outside the boundaries of their neighbourhood. It was a big hit when it got out and praised by many international critics as well.
Amar te duele (Love Hurts, 2002)
This love story depicts the differences between social classes in Mexico and gives us an insight into a forbidden relationship between Renata, a young high-class girl and the poor Ulises. They fall madly in love but have to fight against conservative views that don’t approve of rich girls going out with boys without money.
Renata’s parents use the most drastic means and send Renata to Canada, only to stop this relationship to grow and become stronger. But Renata and Ulises will try to do everything they can to keep their love intact and save their relationship.
Sueno en otro idioma (I Dream In Another Language, 2017)
This is a beautiful romance drama that shows the importance of a language. It is about a language that dies and Martin is a linguist who will try and do everything to keep this language alive. He will try and connect the two last speakers of the fictional indigenous language but they haven’t spoken to each other for more than fifty years.
Martin will manage to track them and we will learn the reasons behind their long-lasting feud. This movie is a heartbreaking story that teaches us not to take life for granted and to be honest and try and speak put minds. It wasn’t easy for the two main protagonists but in the end, they managed to say to each everything they wanted.
Me estas matando Susana (You’re Killing Me Susana, 2016)
One morning Eligio wakes up and finds out that his wife Susana left him for no reason and without any explanation. She simply disappeared and Eligio is going to do everything to find her. His quest is going to take him from Mexico City to a university in Iowa where he finds Susana who has decided to move on without him.
She is tired of his childish behaviour and Eligio will have to face himself in order to get back the love of his life. It will not be easy, given the fact that he is now in a foreign land with a completely different culture. But Eligio will have to try and change his behaviour and finally grow up. This is a warm story of late growth and the challenge we have to go through to get what we want. Among everything, it is an unusual love story, too.
Solo con tu pareja (Love in the Time of Hysteria, 1991)
This hilarious romantic comedy is Alfonso Cuaron’s first full feature movie and it gained a lot of international claims, even before becoming a huge success in Mexico. It tells the story of a womanizer Tomas who is falsely diagnosed with AIDS by Silvia, a nurse who he went out with but eventually cheated on.
Tomas can’t deal with this situation and decides to commit suicide, but in the meantime connects with another crush of his who wants to join him in death. Slowly things are starting to unravel and Tomas and Clarisa will begin to plan a completely different scenario.
Enamorada (Enamoured, 1946)
This black and white romantic war drama was inspired by Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It takes back to the time of the Mexican Revolution when a guerilla general and his troops take down the town of Cholula, near Mexico City.
He demands contributions from the wealthiest citizens, but his plans get disrupted when he falls in love with Beatriz Panafiel, the temperamental daughter of the town’s richest man.