If you’re looking for something to watch while cuddled up on the couch with your sweetheart, Netflix has you covered. From comedies to dramas, classics to originals, here are 10 of the best romantic movies to stream on Netflix.
Update, 8/15/22: We’ve replaced two movies that have left Netflix’s platform with new and up-to-date recommendations.
In her novel Bridget Jones’s Diary, author Helen Fielding created a modern-day successor to the works of Jane Austen, and the movie, starring Renée Zellweger as the title character, captures the same wit and charm. Bridget is a London singleton torn between the affections of her caddish boss (Hugh Grant) and her seemingly dour childhood friend (Colin Firth). Although it’s obvious which man is the right choice, Bridget’s journey remains fresh and funny, and the movie keeps its focus on the character’s personal growth along with her romantic prospects.
Falling in love can make two people feel like they are the only ones in the world, and in Destination Wedding, stars Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are essentially the only two people in the movie. Although Destination Wedding takes place over the course of a wedding weekend full of guests, no one else ever speaks or even appears in the foreground of a scene. Reeves and Ryder play two bitter, reluctant wedding attendees who are both cynical about love. They engage in clever banter and then, of course, fall for each other, while retaining their caustic wit and pessimistic perspective.
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Although its title (which stands for “designated ugly fat friend”) makes it sound like just another crass teen comedy, The DUFF is a sensitive and funny story about transcending high school labels. Mae Whitman plays Bianca, who is horrified to discover that she’s been labeled a DUFF. She enlists the aid of popular football player Wesley (Robbie Amell) to make her over, in return for her help passing science. Of course, their arrangement turns into a more romantic connection. The DUFF may be predictable, but it features appealing characters whose burgeoning relationship feels genuine and earned.
A sort of teen LGBTQ twist on the classic Cyrano de Bergerac story, The Half of It features two teens who are in love with the same girl. One is shy Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), who agrees to become a ghostwriter for the love letters by lunkheaded jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) to the beautiful and popular Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire). Although both Ellie and Paul want to be with Aster, the movie is as much about the unlikely burgeoning friendship between the nerd and the athlete as it is about their efforts to land the mutual girl of their dreams.
Comedian and former The Daily Show contributor Jessica Williams gets some much-deserved spotlight in the upbeat romantic comedy The Incredible Jessica James. Williams plays the title character, a confident and charismatic playwright who’s reeling over her latest breakup. Set up on a blind date by her friend, she bonds with app developer Boone (Chris O’Dowd), who’s also still getting over his ex. Williams’ effervescent screen presence and her chemistry with O’Dowd make the familiar, low-key story feel fresh and vibrant.
Jeff Nichols’ Loving is about a landmark court case in American history, the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that legalized interracial marriage throughout the country. But it’s also about the married couple at the center of that case, the appropriately named Lovings.
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play Richard and Mildred, who want nothing more than to be left alone to raise their family in peace. The strength of their love is what allows them to challenge an ingrained legal doctrine so that they can enjoy the simple right to be together as husband and wife.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread is a twisted sort of romance that takes until the final scene to fully reveal itself, but that reveal places the central relationship in a whole new light. Daniel Day-Lewis stars as eccentric and demanding fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock, who begins a relationship with a waitress at the local diner he frequents. Alma (Vicky Krieps) seems to clash with Reynolds’ domineering personality, but she eventually asserts a domination of her own, and the couple finds a unique sort of love within their kinky power dynamic.
One of Netflix’s first breakout original romantic comedies, Set It Up, is a breezy and fun story about two couples falling in love, both inadvertently. Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell play the harried assistants to high-powered executives played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs.
The assistants conspire to spark a romance between their bosses as a way of alleviating some of the pressure they’re under, and obviously, in the course of the scheme, the assistants fall in love themselves. It’s predictable but entertaining, with engaging characters and genuine humor.
The romantic misadventures of teenager Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) begin here with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on the young adult novel by Jenny Han. This endearing, unassuming comedy launched a hit trilogy for Netflix, starting with the story of Lara Jean’s private letters to her crushes somehow being distributed to the boys she secretly admired.
Noah Centineo co-stars as one of those crushes, who makes a pact with Lara Jean for a sham relationship (to make their respective objects of affection jealous) which, of course, turns real.
The template for pretty much all subsequent romantic comedies, Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally tackles the age-old question of whether straight men and straight women can truly just be friends. The answer for Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) is ultimately no, but the way that they build such a solid, supportive friendship first is what makes their eventual romance so rewarding.
Future rom-com auteur Nora Ephron writes a warm, witty screenplay, with supporting characters played by Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher whose own romance is nearly as appealing as the main love story.
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