Normally, we recommend movies that are similar to other movies, but we're here to talk about movies like The Selection series for a reason — there are a fair number of interesting and similar films.
The Selection is set in a country that's a dystopian post-United States, where society is divided into a strict caste system and now has a royal family—the highest caste. When it’s time for Prince Maxon to marry, it’s decided to make it a contest. Women from different social standings come to the palace to compete for the prince’s hand. One girl is America Singer, an artist. She’s uninterested in being queen, but takes her place in the “Selection” because of pressure from her family, and after her secret boyfriend dumps her because he’s beneath her.
However, America’s feelings begin to change after she actually meets Maxon and they start becoming friends. Things get even more complicated after her ex, Aspen, shows up as a new palace guard and they need to pretend not to know one another. Then, there’s also the angry rebels who keep attacking and want to upend the rigid social system. In addition to maybe finding love, America might also become responsible for saving the kingdom.
The first novel in this young adult series by Kiera Cass came out in 2012. It has almost been adapted a few times, but nothing’s panned out. If you’re tired of waiting and want to stream content like The Selection series, check out the seven movies below.
The Hunger Games (2012)
This film is also based on a popular YA series about a brazen teen girl protagonist, which came out around the same time. Unfortunately for Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), the stakes are much higher. Her prize isn’t marrying the future king, it’s not being murdered in a nationally televised program. Like America, her plight is also used for society’s entertainment, and both are put in this situation against their wishes.
Each woman also finds themself torn between two love interests— the boy they grew up with, and the boy who represents a better future. Both stories also contain action scenes of people rebelling against their oppressors, and Katniss, like America, is considered a symbol of hope.
The School for Good and Evil (2022)
In an old timey European village, two outcast teen girls and best friends dream of escaping to a better life. Soon, they find themselves at a magical school that teaches the heroes and villains from fairy tales and legends how to be good or evil. Their friendship is tested after they’re sorted into opposite schools, which neither feel suits them. They also start crushing on the same guy, as outside forces try to bring the whole academy down.
The Selection is a take on Cinderella, while this movie actually incorporates fantastical characters. There’s also elements of a love triangle, and societal upset. The strong female friendship between Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), also draws parallels between the one America forms with fellow contestant Marlee. Viewers also get to see a lot of pretty dresses that readers only get to imagine on America and her friends.
Watch on Netflix
The Menu (2022)
Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Margot, another young woman who doesn’t belong, thrust into a situation with the elites of society. Margot is brought along as a last minute date, by Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), to a super exclusive and isolated restaurant run by a renowned, reclusive celebrity chef. It’s very theatrical and bizarre, but the wealthy patrons don’t notice. As the several courses are served it becomes clear the chef has nothing but contempt for his rich guests, and doesn’t plan on letting anyone leave.
Margot finds herself in a position where she must choose a side and fight, if she wants to survive. As the rebels become more of a presence in the Selection books, America also has to unexpectedly choose which society she should help. Like Margot, she only finds herself put in this endangered situation because of her relation to an important man. The Menu is definitely for a more mature audience, but both stories are still commentaries on the haves and have nots.
Watch on Max
A Royal Runaway Romance (2022)
A restless princess, Amelia (Philippa Northeast), falls in love with the American artist who just completed her portrait. She comes up with a plan to drive across his country and reunite with him, but is reluctantly assigned a bodyguard, Grady (Brant Daugherty). Along their travels, they both catch feelings, and the princess realizes she might have given her heart too freely the first time.
Amelia shares similarities with both Maxon and America. Maxon was tired about having to do what his family said and royal trappings, he just didn’t have the opportunity to escape his life for a while. And like America, Amelia also finds herself torn between two suitors, including one in charge of her protection. Since this movie originally aired on Hallmark, there aren’t a bunch of dark, adult storylines, so the story is lighter and more accessible, like The Selection’s.
Watch on Hallmark Movies Now
Secret Society of Second Born Royals (2020)
There’s the heirs, then there’s spares, and this movie is about the latter. The second borns from various royal families learn they have powers and are sent to a special school to train, so they can defend their kingdoms. When a mysterious force begins threatening their families, they speed up their education and jump into the fray.
This teen movie stars Disney fave Peyton Elizabeth Lee as bonus princess Sam, and also courts a young adult audience like The Selection series. Sam sees what she thought her life would be quickly change, just like America. She also has to deal with groups who are unhappy with the status quo, and step in to protect those she cares about. Sam and America also share a love of music, and would have been content to play their instruments, if destiny hadn’t had other plans.
Watch on Disney Plus
The Host (2013)
The Host is a standalone sci-fi romance based on a YA novel about a post-apocalyptic Earth, after parasitic aliens invade. The aliens “body-snatch” humans, but an issue arises when the consciousness of one teen girl, Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), refuses to let an alien fully take over her body, so they start to share a life. The alien is supposed to use Melanie’s memories to locate humans in hiding, but she won’t let them, and they go on the run. The girls also find themselves torn between Melanie’s boyfriend and another human boy.
Despite the obvious, both stories cover themes of identity issues, and outsiders learning to fit in to their new place in society. Melanie is able to convince her alien companion to choose the side of protecting humanity, and the alien gains acceptance into their resistance group. Eventually, America matures and acclimates to being comfortable among elites.
Watch on Max
The Darkest Minds (2018)
The Darkest Minds is another adaptation of a YA sci-fi novel about a Hellscape version of America, where only a teen girl can make things right. In the future, most children have died, and the ones who survived developed superpowers. They are divided into a strict caste-like system based on their skills, with the most powerful being executed. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) is able to pass as less special, and put in a concentration camp instead. She eventually escapes and teams up with another group of kids who’re on the run. Soon, they realize it might be in their best interests to stop running and fight back instead.
Despite the heavy subject matter, Ruby still has time for a bit of romance with the heroic Liam (Harris Dickinson). Their relationship is sped up because they’re under threat when they come together. This mirrors the heightened stakes of America and Maxon’s love affair, as they have to survive several rebel attacks during their courtship. The faction of people who want to alter how society is structured also look to Ruby as the spark for change, just like there’s rebels who look to America.
Watch on Tubi
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Jenna is a freelance writer who covers TV, film, and all things pop culture. Her work has appeared on Teen Vogue, The Mary Sue, and Women & Hollywood, among other outlets. In her free time, she alternates between watching romcoms, romantic period dramas, and true crime, and is making her way through the list of movies on the National Film Registry.