The release of a new Nicholas Sparks movie (Dear John) serves as a reminder that audiences love a good cry. It's true -- as much as we enjoy romances where our heroes end with a kiss as they look forward to their bright future, we're even more enamored with romantic movies where the lovers are doomed, doomed, doomed.
Here are seven fine examples of romantic tragedies, films in which the main characters don't get what they want, maybe never will, and no one leaves the theater whistling a happy tune:
James Cameron's epic saga may turn into a kick-ass action flick in its last act, but the movie's heart belongs to its heroes, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet). Cameron presents a fairly cliched tale of class-difference love with so much elegance, charm and wit that it feels like he's treading new territory. It also helps that his two leads are spectacular actors. In classic romantic tragedy style, we know from the outset that the lovers won't end up together -- yet we root for them anyway.
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
A rare film that goes in so many unexpected directions that it leaves the audience breathless with tension, delight, and anticipation, Michel Gondry's masterwork is stunning not only for the performance he draws out of Jim Carrey, but for his deft hand at making concrete the nebulous inner worlds of emotion and memory. With Kate Winslet, again, as the object of desire, Eternal Sunshine is another film that ends on a melancholy note, but it couldn't have ended any other way.