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 romance movies centered on love and relationships you can stream on Netflix.
Update, 1/27/23: Because When Harry Met Sally left Netflix, we’ve replaced it with a fresh pick. We’re still confident these are the best romantic movies to watch right now.
Adapted from an Annie Proulx short story, director Ang Lee’s Western drama Brokeback Mountain is a milestone in LGBTQ representation, but it’s also an achingly romantic story about two people who are deeply in love but kept apart by societal expectations.
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as a pair of cowboys who steal private moments together while maintaining appearances with their unhappy wives. The memorable cry of “I wish I knew how to quit you” is recognizable to anyone who’s fallen for someone who’s unavailable, for any reason.
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.
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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.
Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts make for a perfect romantic pairing in the lovely Notting Hill. Written by rom-com titan Richard Curtis, Notting Hill stars Roberts as a famous actress (no stretch there) who unexpectedly finds love with Grant’s unassuming bookstore owner. They struggle to meld their very different lives over the course of various missed connections and misunderstandings, while Roberts and Grant remain effortlessly charming and funny the entire time.
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.
Writer/director/star James Sweeney explores the fluidity of sexuality in the witty, fast-paced rom-com Straight Up. Sweeney plays Todd, who starts questioning his identity as a gay man after many failed attempts at dating. When he meets the charming, intelligent Rory (Katie Findlay), he feels like he’s found his soulmate, even though intimacy with her is just as difficult for him as it was with men.
Straight Up explores the boundaries of what romance and sexuality really mean, while showcasing sparkling banter and a creative visual style.
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.
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