10 Romance Movies That Feature The “Right Person, Wrong Time” Trope


This article contains references to suicide

Released on September 30th, 2022, Bros is the newest rom-com that is taking the US by storm. Sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and receiving several positive reviews from critics, Bros gathers a stellar cast to discuss themes, such as sexuality and fear of commitment, in a high-spirited and easy-going way. However, for better or for worse, it’s one of those movies where the threat of the “right person, wrong time” trope prevails until the very end.

While it might take some time before everyone gets to watch it, some fans of Bros might want to take at several other great romantic movies that feature this trope (with a few even managing to turn it into a happy ending).


La La Land (2016)

Available To Stream On DIRECTV

La La Land‘s mesmerizing cinematography and impeccable musical numbers are vital for the vibrant love story the film is interested in telling. Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) are two struggling artists with different life perspectives; she’s a high-spirited aspiring actor looking at the future, and he’s a talented musician finding comfort in the past.

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Together the two support each other in their professional journeys but ultimately fall out of love. La La Land offers a case of “it’s one of the other” when it comes to balancing love and ambition. Even though the couple doesn’t end up together, the final scene shows the honest admiration they share for one another and how grateful they were to be part of each other’s lives.

The Big Sick (2017)

Available To Stream On Amazon Prime Video

The Big Sick is an adorable true story about the real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gardner (played by Zoe Kazan). Kumail is an important modern comedian, and he felt like he had an interesting story to tell; even though he’s happily married to Emily after thirteen years together, the movie actually tells the story of how they grew apart due to unexpected reasons, a moment in their lives that ended up strengthening their bond in the future.

In the film, Kumail meets the girl of his dreams, Emily, but is torn about pursuing the romance due to his parents wanting to arrange a marriage for him. However, when Emily falls sick due to a mysterious illness, Kumail contemplates reshaping his own beliefs. The Big Sick shows how soulmates can eventually meet each other in a turbulent moment of their lives, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try working it out in the future.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Available To Stream On DIRECTV

One of the best period movies set in the ’80s, Call Me By Your Name is an intimate look into a young man’s sexual awakening, portrayed by Timothee Chalamet, as he engages in a secret relationship with an older man.

The chemistry of the main couple is unique and the build-up of their passion is just as engaging as the actual affair. Shying away from romantic cliches, Lucas Guadagnino conducts the narrative at ease through breathtaking Italian landscapes and fragments of life seen through the eyes of both lead characters. Unfortunately, it becomes clear, as time passes, how the relationship between them is something temporary and will lead to a broken heart and an upsetting, yet thoughtful final scene.

Head On (2004)

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Head On was considered one of the most controversial and gut-wrenching movies of its time when it won the Golden Bear back in 2004. It’s a heartfelt showcase of tormented souls finding comfort in one another, as a suicidal young woman (Sibel Kekilli) tries to convince a troubled older man (Birol Ünel) to marry her, leading up to an act of violence that will change their lives forever.

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In Head On‘s case, while the two lovers managed to find peace together, it wasn’t enough to get rid of the demons of their past. Once they finally settled their lives, it was already too late to carry on anything truly substantial.

Miracle Mile (1988)

Streaming Available On Hoopla

After 30 years of searching, Harry (Anthony Edwards) finally found everything he ever wished for: Julie (Marie Winningham), the woman of his dreams; beautiful, clever, and understanding. However, before they could consummate their love, Harry accidentally discovers a nuclear war has started and missiles will destroy his city in one hour.

It’s not every day that one must give up on love because of the actual end of the world, (which makes Miracle Mile one of the best-lighthearted films that all of sudden get really dark). Even with the world collapsing around Harry and Julie, offering no chance of salvation, viewers can’t help but cheering for them to make it out alive together.

In The Mood For Love (2000)

Available To Stream On HBO Max

In The Mood For Love offers a true mix of honest feelings; viewers will find themselves with an earnest smile on their faces and then one minute later tears will be running across their cheeks. A classic from Hong Kong, the film tells the melancholy story of a man (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) and a woman (Maggie Cheung), who live in the same building and find out that their husband and wife had an affair with each other.

Although delicate gestures and heart-rending conversations, viewers see the spark of love igniting the once-monotonous lives of the couple, but a series of setbacks and accidental disagreements cause the two to part ways although they never forget the powerful connection they once shared.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

Streaming On STARZ

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind is a movie that depends on tricking viewers into thinking this is a story with an unhappy ending. In the end, the message that prevails is that the time might not be right at some point, but when it comes to the right person everything will eventually fall into place.

The film takes place in a future where people are able to erase people from their memory. After learning his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) successfully erased him, a man (Jim Carrey) decides to do the same, only to realize a little too late he might still love her. Taking place almost entirely inside a character’ mind, the movie counts on a beautiful twist in the end.

Midnight In Paris (2011)

Available To Stream On DIRECTV

Midnight In Paris does a great job at presenting a special, idealistic dream: during a trip to Paris, a nostalgic writer (Owen Wilson) is mysteriously sent back to the 1920s every day at midnight, where he’s surrounded by legendary artists, moveable feasts, and the exciting idea of living in the past.

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The writer finds himself deeply infatuated with a capricious muse from the past but soon must decide between carrying out his life in the present or giving in to nostalgia. Eventually, realizing that people crave the past regardless of the time they live in, he makes the hard decision to stay in the present for good.

Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Available To Stream On AppleTV+

One of the hidden gems of 2022, Cha Cha Real Smooth is a sincere rom-com that encompasses both a coming-of-age narrative about a young man (Cooper Raiff) in his 20s as well as the story of an older woman (Dakota Johnson) trying to get a grip on her turbulent life. Together the two create a powerful bond, but their romance is ultimately left only as a promising possibility.

Cha Cha Real Smooth offers plenty of wholehearted quotes that will hit different generations just as hard, and the chemistry between veteran actor Dakota Johnson and Cooper Raiff is beautifully captivating.

Before Sunrise (1995)

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Before Sunrise might be the ultimate “right person, wrong time” movie. In the film, Jesse and Celine casually meet on a train and instantly forge a powerful connection, deciding to jump off and stay a night wandering around Vienna.

Throughout a few hours, the two share a burning love but are forced to part ways on breath of the morning. Ending in a sad tone, fans of the movie can at least breathe a sigh of relief when taking the second movie of the “Before” trilogy into account, when the “right time” eventually comes.

Next: 10 Great “Plotless” Movies About People Hanging Out, According To Reddit


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