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15 Tragic Movies About the Forbidden Relationship.

forbidden relationship movies
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Forbidden love is one of the most dramatic themes that cinema can touch.

In the ideal scenario, the two meet, fall in love and live in peace and harmony until death. But, unfortunately, reality rarely indulges people with such stories, and on the way to happiness, you have to overcome many trials. For this reason, films about forbidden love respond to viewers who sincerely worry about the fate of the heroes of modern cinema.

Today I have collected fantastic forbidden relationship movies with tragic endings.

And these are not romantic melodramas with an obligatory happy finale. Instead, these are pictures about the insane and relentless power of love, films about unusual relationships that have caused societal condemnation.

Best romantic movies about forbidden love.

The Reader, 2008. 16+

IMDb 7.6

West Germany, 1958 Michael Berg, a boy of fifteen, suddenly feel unwell on his way home from school. The tram conductor, thirty-six-year-old Hanna Schmitz, is the only person who offers to help him.

Hanna is illiterate, and now the young lover reads the classics to her. It is unclear what she finds delightful – literature or passion with Michael.

The Reader is very honest and open about complex and often taboo topics: Nazism, illiteracy, and the vast age difference between a man and a woman.

It is a frank, complex story about pain, remorse, and forgiveness. A tale that settles in the soul forever.

Notes to a Scandal, 2006. 16+

IMDb 7.4

Humanities teacher Sheba Hart starts an affair with her 15-year-old student. A secret connection threatens to become public when another teacher named Barbara discovers it.

No more unhappy creature exists in the world than a lonely old maid.

There is no more naive creature in the world than a young woman who did not have time to be a girl.

And there is no more dreamy creature in the world than a high school student whose hormonal development is far ahead of his mental one.

This film is about two women who are passionate about love. But one betrays this feeling for the sake of momentary passion, and the other confuse love with obsession.

Queen of Hearts, 2019. 18+

IMDb 7.1

Another film is about the love of a young guy and an adult woman- a successful lawyer, mother of two children, and an exemplary wife falls in love with her husband’s stepson.

Women in such misalliances have been on the screen, if not positively, at least characters understandable to a broad audience. However, in this case, everything is somewhat more complicated. Over the past decade, we have become accustomed to the fact that these are men -selfish and abusive. But the real question is who has the power.

The film is shot very beautifully. Pleasant cold tones are more suitable than ever because the feelings in the family of heroes are also cold. And I loved the minimalistic soundtrack.

Beware – there are a lot of very explicit scenes in the film.

The World to Come, 2020. 18+

IMDb 6.3

In the courtyard of the XIX century, the woman is assigned the unenviable role of the shadow of her spouse. 

Abigail does housework and helps her husband on the farm, and meeting a young neighbor gives hope for happiness. A female friendship develops into a passionate romance, but even the brightest feeling cannot cope with the harsh laws of the time.

The film is set in the USA in the 19th century. But the same scenery, characters, and relationships would easily fit the description of modern life somewhere in the provinces.

Besides the apparent difficulties LGBT people have in a traditional heteronormative society, the film vividly illustrates how a woman belongs to a man. And her fate depends on the man.

The film is atmospheric, completely laconic, and imbued with feelings, memories, hopes, and sadness.

Cold War, 2018. 16+

IMDb 7.5

It is a story of impossible love in an unbelievable time. They meet in the ruins of post-war Poland. Different origins and dissimilar temperaments – it seems that they are entirely incompatible. And yet they can’t get away from each other. 

Over the years, they part and meet repeatedly – in Berlin, Yugoslavia, and Paris. Politics, vicissitudes of fate, and their shortcomings stand in the way of their love, but nothing can break the connection between two hearts.

Cold War is a film that intersects two things that always haunt a person and always hurt him: love and politics. It is not a masterpiece but it deserves to be known and watched.

The Silent Storm, 2014. 16+

IMDb 5.2

The films about forbidden relationships continue with a drama set on a secluded Scottish island. The mines close and the city empties, but the local fanatical pastor doesn’t want to leave his flock and church. His wife is forced to stay with him, suffering because of her husband’s despotism. 

Then one day, a delinquent orphan from Glasgow is brought to the island to atone for his sins under the tutelage of a strict mentor and round-the-clock work. And the lives of all three begin to change.

Stunning views of the Isle of Mull add some much-needed beauty and lighten the weight of the harsh life story.

A dramatic romance with impeccable acting will appeal to sentimental and vulnerable women.

Grand Central, 2013. 18+

IMDb 6.2

One of the great examples of forbidden love in movies is the story of a young man named Gary. He has always avoided things like family, marriage, and relationships. One day, Gary managed to find a profitable job at a French nuclear power plant under construction. There he gets good money, finds great friends, and true love. Gary meets his friend’s fiancee. 

A passionate romance breaks out between the characters. But once Gary receives a dose of radiation at work, now he is threatened with dismissal, moving to another place, and, as a result, farewell to Karole.Forbidden love and radiation gradually poison Gary. Every new day is a threat.

What crazy things is a person ready to do for the sake of love, which, perhaps, will never be? What sacrifices can a person in love make to maintain this feeling? Will he be able to sacrifice his health to prolong his intimacy with his loved one? 

The protagonist of the French melodrama Grand Central found strength and perseverance in an attempt to maintain an unattainable love.

Anna Karenina, 2012. 18+

IMDb 6.6

This film is based on the ageless classic of Lev Tolstoi. The meeting between Count Vronsky and Anna Karenina grew into a real passion, sweeping away everything in its path. However, the connection between a married woman and a young officer soon became a problem and an occasion for gossip. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, Anna is forced to make a difficult choice between feelings and family.

The result of the joint efforts of the screenwriter, director, and team of artists was the film, which is expectedly beautiful but also unexpectedly exciting and complex. Moreover, this picture allows us to talk about the author’s reading of the novel in the best sense of the word.

Match Point, 2005. 18+

IMDb 7.6

It is one of the most intense forbidden relationship movies. Chris is a tennis player who has lost his former glory. The hero of the picture left the big sport and now gives private lessons to wealthy clients. Among his students is the aristocrat Tom. A friendship develops between young people. Tom invites Chris to a family dinner, where he introduces his sister Chloe. The girl clearly feels sympathy for the tennis player, and he does not want to miss such a profitable game. But his genuine interest is Nola – Tom’s beloved.

But the tragedy is that the situation in which Chris finds himself requires a choice. The ending causes shock, discontent, and perhaps even fear.

Woody Allen wrote a great script with every character well developed, a scenario in which the relationships of different characters are brilliantly interconnected.

Where Hands Touch, 2018.

IMDb 6.5

It is a story about interracial relationships. We see the tender love of Lena, the daughter of an African American and a German woman, and Lutz, a young Aryan, the son of an SS officer, in Berlin in 1944. 

The film is clearly underestimated. These days many movies are made on the theme of eternal values – love, betrayal, courage, and kindness.

This story is very emotional, and the ending tears the soul to shreds. I recommend viewing it.

Brokeback Mountain, 2005. 16+

IMDb 7.7

Before our eyes is tragic and, at the same time, romantic drama. Between 1963 and 1983, a pair of cowboys develop a relationship that they desperately try to resist as they deal with conflicting feelings about their lives and future.

Behind this story lies the truth about struggle, resilience, patience, masculinity, friendship, and love. We see two people who overcame everything: society, stereotypes, cruelty, rejection, disagreements, unfortunate twists of fate – everything to be together no matter what. Save your emotions for the finale; it will amaze you.

I recommend this picture to anyone who wants to watch a touching, heartfelt movie with constant emotional swings and a tragic ending.

Lolita, 1997. 18+

IMDb 6.8

It is a classic adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s masterpiece about a professor named Humbert who is obsessed with his underage stepdaughter. The portrayal of love in the film is seemingly absurd and taboo. The image of the naughty girl Lolita, played by 14-year-old Sue Lyon, is a time bomb designed to blow up Humbert’s utterly ordinary life.

But the sad ending befell both.

VV Nabokov’s novel ‘Lolita’ is one of the most scandalous novels of the 20th century.

The director Adrian Lyne is a true erotomaniac who filmed Lolita with great sensuality. Heartbreaking music by Ennia Morricone gave the final scene such an incredible charge of tragedy. It is an outstanding drama.

The Thorn Birds, 1983.

IMDb 7.9

A mini-series tells us about Maggie Cleary, who falls in love with her family’s spiritual father, the priest Ralph de Bricassart. Ralph is also crazy about the heroine, but the vow before God is more vital for him than earthly love, so their relationship turns into sheer torment. However, no matter how cruel love may be, the heroes accept it as a happy gift and remain faithful to each other until the end of their lives.

To know more, check out my The Thorn Birds movie review.

Damage, 1992. 18+

IMDb 6.7

Their relationship develops rapidly. Yesterday they did not know each other, but today they are already lovers. A man reaches out to a woman, feeling a secret in her, her vulnerability and defenselessness. He wants to protect her from all the world’s troubles, to close himself, help, understand, and save this miracle for himself. Only for myself! After all, only with Anna is he insatiable, unrestrained, and wildly jealous (as it turned out! And earlier, he didn’t even suspect it in himself!)

Anna attracts men to her. Her silence. The look of dark eyes.A short haircut. Sensual lips. The very modesty, restraint in everyday life, and a boundless sea of emotions in bed. A secret lives in this girl.

Stunning French director Louis Malle made a powerful film about irresistible feelings.

Asylum, 2005. 18+

IMDb 6.1

Stella is the respectable wife of the reputable psychiatrist Max Raphael. The whole family follows him when a man gets a new position in the clinic. Stella draws attention to one of the patients in the clinic – Edgar. The characters are fast approaching. The woman is not even afraid that Edgar ended up in a hospital after the murder of his wife out of jealousy.

When Edgar decides to run away from the clinic, Stella leaves the family. For a while, the fugitives are happy because now, no one can interfere with their love. However, soon the husband finds Stella and, by force, returns her to the family.

Scottish director David Mackenzie made an excellent melodramatic thriller based on the novel by British writer Patrick McGrath.

Movie shock! Striking to the core and leaving an impression for a long time.

forbidden relationship movies
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Sad and happy romance movies that make you cry.

Final words.

Do you like films about solid and destructive feelings? Which of them impressed you the most? Write in the comments. Let’s discuss it together.

Share this blog post if you enjoyed it. I would really appreciate it!

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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  • This list of forbidden relationship movies sounds like just the type of shows I would like to watch. Thanks for the movie reviews.

  • Great compilation of tragic movies featuring forbidden relationships. I’ve just added a few more films to my most watch list! Thank you for the ideas!

  • I am not a fan of solid and destructive feelings but there are some good stories behind some of these movies, and “useful” mistakes that we can all learn from.

  • Broke Back will always be one of my favourites! They both did such a good job at portraying something that I recall being so controversial at the time!

  • I dont’think I’ve seen any of these. I thought of Bridges of Madison County. That was a good show.

  • What a good list of forbidden romances. I have watched a few that were mentioned, but I’m definitely adding some to my must see list.

  • Wow! Other than brokeback MT I had never heard of any of these! But I think basically all of them sound like something I need to add to my list! Now I’m excited for the next movie night!

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I`m in love with movies and psychology. Here I write how we can use movies for healing and self-growth. Also, be sure to check out my movie lists. You will find cool suggestions for movie night.

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