I sat down to write this with the intention of talking about romantic movies that were not widely know,  a list of sleepers you probably haven’t seen that you could break out on a Saturday night. Then something happened. I wrote it and realized what I really wanted to share was a couple movies I love, that are stories about strong women who survived disappointment, adversity, lies, terrible advice, nasty mothers and bad men. I couple of them are even the true stories of real women.

Here are five movies you have to see:

Becoming Jane- The story of Jane Austen my favorite author who’s life as it turns out was just as dramatic and as moving as one of her own novels. After this movie you’ll get where she was coming from. Plus,  the love interest is played by none other than the fabulous and handsome James McAvoy.

Persuasion– This is the Jane Austen story I love the most. It’s about an old maid (who at the time was all of maybe twenty five) who regrets taking some bad advice and  lives her life at home with a terrible family when the man she loved and lost returns…

Miss Potter– The story of Beatrix Potter writer of best selling childrens books of all time. I didn’t think I would like this movie and avoided it at Blockbuster. Then I caught it on HBO one day and was enthralled. Beatrix Potter had lived such an interesting life with a mother that …….well, I think you’ll like this one too.

Atonement– This a movie that is beautifully to watch even when they cover ugly territory. There’s something about this love story that moves you, it’s tragic and powerful. James McAvoy goes from being a passionate yet young at heart character to a….well, I’m not giving you all the details, rent it and grab a box of tissues.

Penelope-This one isn’t really a true romance as much as a fairy tale. I love this story and you should make the teens in your life watch it as if it’s a documentary. The story is about acceptance. And it happens to have James McAvoy. Have I mentioned that I love James McAvoy?

Most of these stories are not your typical romance, but they open us up to the question- Do all happy endings have to be immediately proceeded by a trip down the isle by a smiling couple who live the typical and unrealistic “happily ever after”? Can a happy ending look different? Can it be a life well lived that produced great art? One that moved people? How about the life of a woman that produced six of the worlds most loved novels but never married or had a child? Can your mothers opinion not matter is she’s shallow and nasty?

I’m just saying- but regardless of the deep discussion of what makes a happy ending these are all great stories. And James McAvoy is smoking hot!