Get Lost in History With These 5 Captivating Romantic Dramas

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5 period dramas that will leave you mesmerized by the past.

The Duchess (2008)

The Duchess is one of those films that is more of a historical fantasy: the filmmakers allowed themselves a lot of liberties in their treatment of the real story of the main character — Duchess Georgiana Cavendish. But this is still okay for feature films — especially such as The Duchess, which, in addition to an impressive cast, has delightful costumes and heartbreaking drama of a young woman.

While still very young, Georgiana (Keira Knightley) married the Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (Ralph Fiennes), but their family life was not what the girl had imagined it to be. William is cold and overbearing, and so Georgiana, feeling lonely in her marriage, begins to focus on social events, politics, and new friends. However, her tyrant husband gradually manages to take away her most precious things: her close friend Elizabeth (Hayley Atwell) and her lover Charles Gray (Dominic Cooper).

Orlando (1992)

Aside from the stunning Tilda Swinton in the lead role, the charm of Orlando is in the fact that the film begins as a historical romantic drama and then turns into a reflection on the question of gender. It is based on Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando: A Biography about a young Englishman, Orlando, who was ordered by Queen Elizabeth I to stop growing old.

Orlando is set in 1603, when the queen, fascinated by the beauty and youth of the young aristocrat, makes him her favorite. She soon dies, but Orlando remains young and beautiful for the next 350 years, during which he tries to do poetry, becomes the English ambassador to Constantinople, and one day wakes up as a woman and is forced to look at the world in a different way.

Eiffel (2021)

Martin Bourboulon's ambitious project tells the story of the world-famous Gustave Eiffel (Romain Duris) and the two main things in his life. The first was Adrienne Bourgès (Emma McKay), whom Eiffel fell in love with as a young, unknown engineer. The second was the tower, which was destined to become one of the symbols of Paris.

In 1886 Eiffel rejects the proposal to create a project for the 1889 World's Fair, since it was not his style: he creates “useful, cheap and durable objects”, and the giant metal tower in the city center does not fit the description. But after Gustave meets the woman he was madly in love with in the past, he changes his mind. She is now married to his friend Antoine and so they can't be together. But that does not stop Eiffel from dedicating the greatest of his works to Adrienne.

Cold War (2018)

The Polish film premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where director Paweł Pawlikowski won the Best Director Award for his work on it.

The black-and-white romantic drama tells the story of the relationship between Wiktor (Tomasz Kot), the director of a folk ensemble, and a singer named Zula (Joanna Kulig) amid the reality of the Cold War. The film covers 15 years of their lives; the locations change constantly, from Berlin, to Paris, to Warsaw. Like the rest of the world during this historical period, Victor and Zulia are at war with each other, but as we know, there is a thin line between love and hate.

Cold Mountain (2003)

Another love story set during the war in Anthony Minghella’s film Cold Mountain, based on the novel of the same name by Charles Frazier. Instead of a Europe in ruins after World War II, we see the U.S. torn by a conflict between the South and the North.

The Civil War disrupts the relationship between Ada (Nicole Kidman) and Inman (Jude Law) after he enlists in the Confederate Army. In an effort to return to his beloved, Inman decides to defect, while Ada is forced to manage her father's estate alone, faces hunger, poverty, and has to deal with the greedy Captain Teague (Ray Winstone), who intends to claim not only Ada but her farm as well.