Strictly speaking, a romance is a type of film that can fit into any film genre. The common element in all romances is a focus on the emotional relationship between two intimately acquainted people. Beyond that, anything goes when it comes to film romance. Romantic dramas and comedies are film staples, and romantic musicals are some of the most beloved films in the musical genre. Some science fiction, fantasy and adventure films can have strong romantic elements in their narratives.
All romances, however, share an interest in what happens when two people fall in love with one another. A typical romantic plot follows two people as they meet. They realize that they have a strong emotional connection with each other. They confront obstacles that the world puts between them and a happy relationship. In romantic dramas, these obstacles may be serious issues with dire consequences. In romantic comedies, the lovers' path is blocked with funny pitfalls that can range from the subtly witty to the broadly physical.
The romantic comedy in particular has long been a favorite with American viewers. The usual "rom-com" plot has a man and woman meet in an unlikely situation that puts them at odds with each other. They discover later that their initial dislike for one another has given way to romantic affection. The characters' struggle with their true feelings provides the film's comedy. The classic romantic comedies of the 1930s and 1940s shaped the genre in its early days. Decades later many popular actors owed a large portion of their career success to their roles in romance movies online.