Romantic movies tend to follow a set formula – boy meets girl, they fall in love, receive advice from their BFFs, hit a rough patch, and get back together after he rushes to the airport to stop her from leaving. 

But what makes a great romantic movie? We decided to check with an expert on the subject and asked bestselling Australian romance author Leesa Bow what she considers to be the essential ingredients…

the essential ingredients of a good romantic film

“The lead character needs to be strong, or grow in strength during the course of the movie to solve his or her problems on their own accord. It’s not just about falling in love or searching for love – love can help one find the strength to overcome obstacles. Walk the Line is a favourite not only for the story, and of course the music. I LOVED the characters. Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix were delightful together.”


“Comedy is a must. The Proposal and The Back-up Plan always make me laugh. I could watch these movies on repeat. I can’t go past Bridget Jones. Bridget Jones’s Baby is a feel-good romantic comedy.


“I’m a romance author so there has to be a Happy Ever After, or at least Happy Ever After For Now. Even if the emotional strings are pulled tight and you are faced with tough moral decisions, love must win. If you prefer something deeper, not something light and fluffy, then I recommend The Light Between Oceans.”

“Aesthetically appealing characters. It doesn’t hurt to have someone like Ryan Gosling to watch in Crazy, Stupid Love – especially the scene where he takes off his shirt. Emma Stone’s response is the best.”

The Legend of Tarzan is my top pick as it ticks all the boxes. Romantic—hell yeah! Action—the best when Alexander Skarsgård fights shirtless. Those Vs on his hips. Oh. My. Did you see those? And Margot Robbie was brilliant. Strong. Determined. A fighter. Hell, I love her. And we were transported to an exotic place. Double tick.

Leesa Bow is the author of The Bay Series comprising Winning the Player, Charming the Outback, Jardine, Caught Out, Winning the Game and Playing for Time. Meet the sportsmen of The Bay with a fierce determination to win, and the women who will push them to fight harder.