Based on the eponymous novel by Jenny Han, ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is a romantic drama series that revolves around Belly, who spends her summer vacation at her family friends’ beach house in Cousins Beach. There, she reunites with her close friends, brothers Conrad and Jeremiah, and before she even realizes it, she is in the middle of a love triangle as she finds it difficult to choose between the two.
Created by Jenny Han, the coming-of-age series explores several intriguing themes such as love triangles, teen love, and different kinds of complications that love can bring to one’s life. These themes and some comedic elements of the narrative keep the audience hooked through each episode. If you particularly enjoy watching such romantic dramas, you might be interested in the recommendations we have listed below. You can watch most of these movies like ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. The Spectacular Now (2013)
Directed by James Ponsoldt, ‘The Spectacular Now‘ is a romantic drama movie based on the 2008 eponymous novel by Tim Tharp. The story revolves around a spoilt young brat named Sutter and a typical nice girl named Aimee. Despite their prominent differences in personalities, the two get to know each other and eventually fall in love. However, they must deal with all the complications that life and love throw their way to maintain their relationship. Even though the theme of a love triangle is not present, ‘Spectacular Now’ is a coming-of-age story about teen love and the challenges that might come with it, just like ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty.’
6. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
With Andy Tennant at the helm, ‘Sweet Home Alabama‘ is a romantic comedy movie that follows Melanie, a New York socialite recently engaged to the ideal bachelor in the city, Andrew. However, before she can marry him, she must get a divorce from Jake, the man she married in high school. So, after seven years of separation, she travels home to Alabama to obtain a divorce.
However, things take a strange turn as sparks begin to reignite between Melanie and Jake. The theme of a love triangle is ever so present in the Reese Witherspoon-starrer, making it similar to ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty.’ Moreover, the dilemma of being unable to choose between two lovers is something the protagonists face in the series and the movie.
5. What If (2013)
Based on TJ Dawe’s and Michael Rinaldi’s play ‘Toothpaste and Cigars,’ ‘What If’ (originally titled ‘The F Word’) is a romantic comedy movie helmed by Michael Dowse. It centers around Wallace, who is on the verge of losing faith in relationships after having several failed ones. His hopes get high again when he meets Chantry, who is already in a relationship with someone else. As they spend more time together, they become best friends and start falling for one another. Apart from the love triangle, what links ‘What If’ with ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ is that both showcase what it is like to fall for one’s best friend.
4. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)
Based on Jenny Han’s novel titled ‘P.S. I Still Love You,’ ‘To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You‘ is a teen romantic comedy movie by Michael Fimognari. The story continues from where the first installment of the movie trilogy leaves off, with Lara Jean and Peter making their relationship official. However, things get complicated soon when another recipient of her infamous love letters connects with her and enters her life. Both ‘To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You’ and ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ are based on Jenny Han’s works, and each includes a teenage protagonist in the middle of a love triangle.
3. The Kissing Booth (2018)
Helmed by Vince Marcello, ‘The Kissing Booth‘ is a teen romantic comedy movie based on the 2012 eponymous novel by Beth Reekles. The narrative follows a late-blooming teenager, Elle Evans, who finds herself entangled in a budding romance with her senior Noah, who happens to be the elder brother of Lee, her best friend. When things get serious between Elle and Noah, the former’s relationship with Lee gets tested. Much like ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty,’ this one also involves two brothers and a girl, and the complications that falling for one of them brings to the protagonist’s relationship with the other.
2. The Thing Called Love (1993)
Starring River Phoenix and Samantha Mathis, ‘The Thing Called Love’ is a romantic drama movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich that revolves around Miranda Presley, an aspiring musician who wants to make a name for herself in Nashville. When two of her new friends start falling for her, several difficulties arise while she tries to focus on her professional career. Similar to ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty,’ ‘The Thing Called Love’ also sees two of the protagonist’s friends in love with her, making it hard for her to decide.
1. The Half of It (2020)
Directed by Alice Wu, ‘The Half of It‘ is a heartwarming coming-of-age romantic drama movie that revolves around Ellie Chu, a reserved Chinese-American student. She agrees to help the school jock, Paul, to woo a girl named Aster by writing a love letter for her impersonating him. What complicates the situation is when Ellie becomes good friends with Paul but secretly starts desiring Aster. The ensuing love triangle makes ‘The Half of It’ quite similar to ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty,’ along with the protagonists’ transformation into confident young women.