4 Riveting Romantic Costume Dramas

FOX Searchlight Pictures
Do you love romantic costume dramas? If you just answered with the enthusiasm of an Elle Woods-level “yes!” then you have come to the right place. The following list includes three feature films and one television miniseries.

Despite having written about the following romantic costume dramas in the past, there remains an ability to find something new to lavish praise upon and point out. Without further ado, here are four romantic costume dramas that should enrapture you.

“Far from the Madding Crowd”

My affection for this magnificent film is no secret. Unlike its genre peers, “Far from the Madding Crowd” is not about solely rooting for its likable protagonist, Bathsheba, to find love.

It is also about hoping its other leading character, Gabriel Oak, will as well. From the start, it is clear that Oak loves Bathsheba and he demonstrates that selflessly throughout. The enduring question is whether his patience, understanding, and chivalry, will be given the recognition that his innate possession of those virtues, merit.

“Far from the Madding Crowd” expertly executes a quadrangle that’s true north is never a question mark. Whether Bathsheba Everdeen will ever realize it -- is. Tension like that is hard to come by, and it is well worth the wait to see how it gets resolved.

“Far and Away”

Ron Howard’s breathtaking opus centers on the sophisticatedly spirited, Shannon, joining forces with the determined dreamer, Joseph, to carve out a new life. It is a film that demonstrates how star-crossed romances should be done. Shannon and Joseph's story is beautiful, empowering, and incredibly romantic.

The love that develops between the characters is founded on a nurtured appreciation for one another. Their relationship does not happen overnight, and it is that steady growth that gives it its depth. It is an unusual attribute to find portrayed in modern romances, as lust tends to be at the core of most of today's takes.

“Far and Away” runs along the lines of courtly love and all its yearning. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise's electrifying on-screen connection bringing Shannon and Joseph's lovey story to riveting life.

“The Young Victoria”

Few real-life love stories are as romantic as how they are portrayed on-screen. Based on everything I have read, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had one of those rare real-life fairytale romances.

Despite some fictional flourishes, “The Young Victoria” captures the apparent essence of their bond, beautifully. Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend’s tender chemistry carrying scenes of fiery passion and quiet poignancy.

Albert’s love for Victoria and efforts to win her shine particularly bright in this portrayal. As does Victoria's enormous regard for her future husband. Their individual, vibrant personalities are showcased, and when they come together, it is a fireworks show. Elegant, exquisite, and mutually respectful -- what is shown is an ideal love for someone to share.

Few more romantic gestures have been captured on-screen, than the sight of the couple’s desks being moved together. Their ability to work right next to/across from each other serving as a winning symbol of their marriage. Partnership. It is a marvelous thing.

“North & South”

If you believe love at first sight and star-crossed romances are overrated, then “North & South” is the romance for you. The love story that unravels between John Thornton and Margaret Hale in the captivating 2004 miniseries adaption is everything a slow-burn should be.

It is about discovering and developing the characters separately. Taking the time for them to grow into love with each other. Add in Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe's striking performances with the series' marvelously crafted script, and you have a recipe for great anticipation.

Capitalizing on its closing moments is the stunning musical accompaniment of Martin Phipps’ “Northbound Train.” Stirring the soul just enough while at the same time highlighting a quiet sense of serenity. Few endings have made me cry and “North & South” is among those in that exclusive company.

Where to Watch Them

“Far from the Madding Crowd” is available to rent and buy on Amazon Prime Video. As of February 2020, “Far and Away” is available via HBO and for rent and purchase on Amazon Prime Video. “North & South” is streaming on Prime Video via Brit Box.