15 Rom-Coms With Twist Endings, Because Love Is Unpredictable
Let’s face it: as much as it’s fun to watch romantic comedies, they’re often predictable, following the same tropes and wrapping up the story with a happy ending. But luckily, not every rom-com follows the same formula. There are plenty of rom-coms with twist endings that shake things up, whether it’s allowing the protagonist to finally realize they’re better off with someone else besides than the person they’ve been pining for, or having their relationship end with an unexpected, harrowing experience. Spoilers ahead!
But more often than not, these twists are best viewed with an introspective lens, making viewers question their own relationships and think about why the characters’ love stories didn’t go according to plan. We see this in 500 Days of Summer, where Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesn’t end up in a relationship with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), because he spends most of his time idealizing her instead of getting to know her. And then there are movies like Chasing Amy, where the couple tries so hard to make things work, yet ultimately realize they aren't a good fit for each other.
These twist endings aren't bombastic — they actually tend to feel more realistic, because, like in real life, anything can happen and things don’t always work out the way we want them to. If you’re looking for rom-coms that don’t follow the traditional formula, give one of these a try.
1. 'The Family Stone'
Sarah Jessica Parker plays Meredith, an uptight, conservative woman who visits her boyfriend's family for the holidays. Feeling like an outcast, she calls in her sister Julie (Claire Danes) for help. And the women find unexpected romances during the trip.
2. '500 Days Of Summer'
After trying to win Summer's heart, Tom ultimately accepts that she's not the right person for him and finds love with someone else.
3. 'Definitely Maybe'
Throughout the movie, Will (Ryan Reynolds), who is in the midst of a divorce, tells his daughter (Abigail Breslin) about his past romances, without disclosing which of the women is her mom, a la How I Met Your Mother. And, in the end, his daughter comes to terms with her parents' divorce by realizing that his dad still has feelings for a past love who isn't her mom, encouraging him to go after her.
4. 'Kissing Jessica Stein'
Jessica (Jennifer Westfeldt) always thought she was straight, until beginning a relationship with a woman and falling in love with her. But, instead of having their own happily ever after, the couple realizes that they're not meant to be and break up, remaining friends.
5. 'Only You'
After a Ouija board and a fortune teller claim that a man named "Damon Bradley" is her soulmate, Faith (Marisa Tomei) spends her whole life waiting for the guy, not forgetting him even when she eventually gets engaged to someone else. When the mysterious Damon calls right before her wedding, she decides to drop everything and travel to Italy to find him. But fate works in mysterious ways.
6. 'Cruel Intentions'
Cruel Intentions is much darker than a traditional rom-com. Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) and Annette (Reese Witherspoon) finally get together, but destiny isn't done with them.
7. 'Win A Date With Tad Hamilton'
Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) is the lucky winner of a date with movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel). Her dream guy starts to have feelings for her too, but their romance doesn't go according to plan.
8. 'Chasing Amy'
Amy (Joey Lauren Adams) finds herself unexpectedly into her male friend Holden (Ben Affleck), despite only being attracted to women throughout her life. Though they fight for their relationship, they find that sometimes it's just not meant to be.
9. 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'
Peter (Jason Segel) wants nothing more than to get back together with his famous ex (Kristen Bell), but once the opportunity to rekindle their romance comes, he realizes he's better off with his new love interest (Mila Kunis).
10. 'They Came Together'
Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler star in this unconventional and satirical romantic comedy where the couple doesn't end up together.
11. 'My Best Friend's Wedding'
In this classic, Julia Roberts plays Julianne, who had an agreement with her best friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney) that if neither of them were married by the time they turned 28, they would marry each other. But once Michael's set to marry someone else, Julianne comes to terms with her feelings and decides to sabotage their wedding. But despite spending the whole movie trying to win over Michael, Julianne is ultimately unsuccessful — and it's for the best.
12. 'Leap Year'
Anna (Amy Adams) has been eagerly waiting to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day, when it's an Irish tradition that men who are proposed to by women have to accept. They make the trek, but the outcome isn't quite what she expected.
13. ' About Time'
The twist ending in this time travel rom-com forces protagonist Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) to choose between having a third child and making his wife Mary (Rachel McAdams) happy, or being able to continue seeing his late father. And his decision is heartbreaking.
14. 'The Break Up'
This rom-com follows former couple Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) as they attempt to salvage their relationship after a breakup. But at the end, they decide to go their separate ways.
15. 'Harold And Maude'
This is one of the most unconventional love stories of all time, following the relationship that develops between young adult Harold (Bud Cort) and 79-year-old Holocaust survivor Maude (Ruth Gordon). Maybe the inevitable ending isn't so much of a twist, considering her age. But it's definitely not the rom-com norm.
Not every rom-com is formulaic. These inventive love stories will keep you on your toes.