6 Movies About Intercultural Relationships That Will Give You Wanderlust

The beauty of traveling to another country or living in a diverse hometown is that you have to constantly dismantle your worldview. Seeing your culture through the eyes of an outsider is a humbling experience; conversely, learning about someone else’s can expand your horizons. You learn about other rituals, traditions, languages, and beliefs, all while developing a deeper understanding of your own background. You learn to think differently.

However, when you become romantically involved with someone from another country or culture, this all becomes magnified. The challenges to your established mindset occur more regularly, and the personal growth you experience starts to define you. Intercultural relationships are spectacular. 

That said, let’s celebrate some rom-coms about intercultural relationships that will make you not just swoon, but want to step outside your comfort zone. Whether that means leaving the country or simply broadening your dating pool is up to you. 

2 Days in Paris (2007)

Rezo Films

This movie thoroughly details the isolation, confusion, and wonder that Americans can feel in other countries. The twist here is that this movie’s American protagonist, Jack (Adam Goldberg) isn’t traveling solo; he’s with his girlfriend (Julie Delpy) in Paris. He just doesn’t understand her. As his girlfriend Marion reconnects with old flames and discusses sex openly with her parents, Jack realizes that she’s different from the woman he thought she was. He also learns not to slut-shame so much – a lesson sadly ahead of its time. Ultimately, 2 Days in Paris is a rom-com that challenges both its characters and its viewers, for everyone’s benefit. Watch 2 Days in Paris on Peacock, Tubi, and FreeVee.

The Big Sick (2017)

Amazon Studios

This breakout film for Kumail Nanjiani follows a Pakistani man, Kumail (Nanjiani), who has second thoughts after breaking up with a woman, Emily (Zoe Kazan), who suffers from Still’s disease. It’s funnier than it sounds, and even earned an Oscar nomination for Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon, who wrote the script together. In fact, the characters in the movie were inspired by Nanjiani and Gordon. Additionally, all of the conflicts related to Kumail’s Pakistani heritage are rich and believable. By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for everyone, including Kumail’s protective Pakistani parents, thanks to the feeling that you’ve discovered Kumail’s culture alongside Emily. Watch The Big Sick on Prime Video.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

IFC Films

You can skip the unnecessary sequels and go straight to the source: Nia Vardalos’s 2002 breakout movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This movie holds up surprisingly well in 2024, thanks in no small part to its near-anthropological, hilarious dissection of Greek-American culture. The scenes of Toula’s Greek family interacting with her very White boyfriend will resonate with anyone who’s felt nervous about “meeting the parents.” Watch My Big Fat Wedding on Max.

Touch of Pink (2004) and The Wedding Banquet (1993)

Mongrel Media

Touch of Pink is a deep-cut inspired by another deep-cut. Taking its name from the 1962 Cary Grant movie That Touch of Mink, this forgotten queer comfort food film follows a Muslim Kenyan expat, Alim (Jimi Mistry), and his Canadian boyfriend, who run into the closet when Alim’s mother arrives for a surprise visit. Equal parts coming-out story and culture shock comedy, Touch of Pink creates a pleasant queer fantasia with its small budget. It even stars Kyle MacLachlan as the ghost of Cary Grant, which is a sentence I’ll probably never write again. This movie isn’t brilliant, but it works for a quick pick-me-up. Watch Touch of Pink on Fubo.

Central Motion Picture Corporation

Alternatively, for a more challenging – but more artfully constructed – rom-com about a closeted, queer, intercultural relationship, check out The Wedding Banquet (1993), which follows a Taiwanese man and his Jewish partner as they keep their love hidden from prying eyes. Incidentally, it’s the second feature film from Brokeback Mountain helmer Ang Lee. Watch The Wedding Banquet on Pluto TV.

Red, White & Royal Blue (2023)

Amazon Studios

British culture can sometimes feel alien to Americans. Thus, this queer confection about a British prince and the son of the American president has enough culture clashes to earn a spot on this list. Naturally, many of the movie’s clashes arise from the nuances of the British royal system, which isn’t exactly “everyday British culture,” but alas. Americans never fully understand those pesky Brits, even when Blue’s American protagonist tries, adorably, to do so. Anyway, this cute movie accurately depicts the difficulties of dating someone from a different culture who happens to be a member of the Royal family (I assume.) Watch Red, White & Royal Blue on Prime Video.

About the author

Evan E. Lambert

Evan E. Lambert is a journalist, travel writer, and short fiction writer with bylines at Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Going, Mic, The Discoverer, Queerty, and many more. He splits his time between the U.S. and Peru and speaks fluent Spanglish.