How long do we have before Netflix releases an original romantic comedy called Netflix and Chill? I give it one or two years, tops, before we’re subjected to 120 minutes of star-crossed millennials falling for each other while watching Stranger Things. Until then, though, we’ll have to make do with the current crop of romantic movies on Netflix. Luckily for you, dear reader, we've put together this list of the best romance movies on Netflix.
Oh, and Netflix: if you want that rom-com idea, just send us a check.
This article will be updated periodically to reflect changes to Netflix Streaming.
Will (Ryan Reynolds), a 38-year-old dad, is in the midst of a divorce. After his ten-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) has her first sex-ed class, she demands to hear the story of how Will and her mother met. Her dad shares his romantic history with her, framing it as a mystery: which of Will's women did he ultimately end up with?
Rom-coms tend not to be critically acclaimed, and that’s okay–there’s definitely some cinematic junk food on this list. But Amélie is the exception to the rule: it’s a rom-com that film buffs love. Maybe that’s because it’s French, or maybe it’s just because it’s a truly charming story and a well-made film. Strange and sweet, the film follows the title character–a beautiful girl who has lived a reclusive life–as she explores love and the world around her.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Bridget Jones’s Diary is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, which is a little book by Jane Austen that you might have heard of if you’re into romance or sometimes go outside and speak to humans. Riffing on Austen is an ambitious concept, if not a new one, but the film pulls it off thanks to strong performances from Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant. Zellweger earned an Oscar nomination for her efforts.
Gwen (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Eddie (John Cusack) are the high-profile stars of the new film Time Over Time. Unfortunately, they're also going through a nasty breakup, one that the movie's publicist Lee (Billy Crystal) is determined to keep under wraps throughout the press tour. But when a romance begins to blossom between Gwen's personal assistant Kiki (Julia Roberts) and Eddie, the private breakup stands to become very, very public.
Man Up stars the very funny Simon Pegg and Lake Bell as a pair of cynical London singles who meet cute after Nancy (Bell) picks up a self help book a stranger left behind on the train. Because of the book she's carrying, Jack (Pegg) mistakes Nancy for his blind date. Rather than telling Jack the truth, Nancy joins him for a surprisingly emotional first date—but can their new-found connection survive when it's based on a lie?
Forrest may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he's endearing and loyal to the ones he loves. Forrest Gump was released in 1994, twenty-three years ago, but it's a film that continues to inspire and move us to tears. While Forrest has a below-average IQ, he's an incredibly interesting man who has experienced some of America's most important historical events, all while trying to make time for the love of his life, Jenny.
This is a movie that will definitely make you cry–even you skeptics.
The Incredible Jessica James
This Netflix original stars the ridiculously charming former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams as Jessica James, a struggling playwright reeling from a difficult break up with her ex, Damon. She rebounds with Boone (Chris O'Dowd), a recent divorcee who volunteers to keep tabs on Damon for Jessica via social media. Boone and Jessica have great chemistry, but what makes this rom com super easy to love is Jessica's passion for theater, and for the students she teaches.
Paige (Gillian Jacobs) and Sasha (Leighton Meester) have been inseparable for years. But when Paige's internet date with Tim (Adam Brody) develops into a serious relationship, Sasha feels left behind. Whereas most romantic comedies feature a wisecracking best friend content to play second fiddle to the heroine's love interest, Life Partners takes a realistic but funny look at the way female friendship can be compromised by one or both friends finding a romantic partner to share their life with.
Set in 1987, this sweet, nostalgic romantic comedy follows James (Jesse Eisenberg) during his first summer working at the theme park in his hometown. At first, James is depressed that his family's financial worries require him to have a part-time job the summer before he moves to New York for graduate school, rather than spending the summer traveling across Europe as he had initially planned. But James, who is inexperienced with romance, soon develops a crush on his coworker Em (Kirsten Stewart), who recently moved back home from New York. Their romance has a rocky beginning, but it's easy to root for James and Em to give each other a chance. Anyone who ever worked a shitty summer job will relate to the dysfunctional but fun relationships between the Adventureland workers.
The bittersweet final chapter in Richard Linklater's Before Trilogy, Before Midnight picks up the story of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline's (Julie Delpy) romance nine years after the events of Before Sunset. In the interlude, Jesse and Céline left their respective partners, married each other, and became parents to twin girls. Over the course of a vacation evening spent without their children, the movie reveals how the inherent compromises of the past nine years have taken a toll on the lovers. Before Midnight is a look at the difficulties faced in even the most idyllic relationships, but ultimately argues that a passionate, equal, intimate partnership can be rewarding despite its challenges.
Must Love Dogs
After a disastrous divorce, preschool teacher Sarah (Diane Lane) is pressured by her family to date. Sarah's sister Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) creates a not-entirely-truthful profile for her on the dating website perfectmatch.com, which eventually leads to a tumultuous first date with Jake (John Cusack). Jake and Sarah have a tentative attraction to each other, but both of them have been hurt before. Will their spark survive Sarah's nosy family, the interference of the dangerously attractive Bob (Dermot Mulroney), and the weight of Jake and Sarah's respective baggage? The answer, of course, is yes; but you'll enjoy watching Jake and Sarah realize that for themselves.
While You Were Sleeping
Sandra Bullock plays a lonely token collector for the Chicago Transit Authority in this charming —and festive!—90s rom com. Lucy (Bullock) develops a crush for a regular commuter at her station, Peter (Peter Gallagher). When Peter is thrown on the tracks during a mugging, Lucy saves his life — and accidentally leads the nurses at the emergency room to believe that she's the comatose man's fiancée. Caught in a string of lies she never intended to tell, Lucy finds herself growing close to Peter's concerned family, particularly his brother Jack (Bill Pullman).
After spending one magical night together in New York, cellist Lyla (Keri Russell) and Irish rocker Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) are separated abruptly, and Lyla is involved in a tragic accident that she is led to believe killed their unborn child. Years later, Lyla learns that her son with Louis survived the accident and is living in New York. As Lyla, Louis, and their son are drawn together again by fate, they will learn that music is more powerful than they could have ever believed.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is the "how to" columnist for women's magazine Composure. When she sets out to write a piece on how to turn off a new man within ten days, she settles on Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) as her unwitting subject. But Andie doesn't realize that Benjamin is playing her, too — and when the pair find themselves undeniably attracted to each other, their mutual deception may lead to heartbreak.
Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, this 2007 movie doesn't get the credit it deserves for being a truly swoon-worthy fantasy romance. In order to win the heart of his beloved, Tristan (Charlie Cox) sets out across the wall into fairy land to capture a fallen star, who has the human form of a woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). As Tristan and his captive embark on the long return journey across the wall, the two will have to evade the traps of a witch driven mad in her quest for eternal beauty, and will find themselves pushed together in the process.
Adapted from the award-winning musical of the same name, Rent follows a diverse group of artists struggling to survive and find connection in New York in the late 90s. As they grapple with AIDs and imminent eviction from their living space, the found family of young bohemians hold tight to their convictions and each other as they fall in and out of love in America at the end of the millennium.
Eagle vs. Shark
This New Zealand rom com was written and directed by Taika Waititi, the hilarious mind behind What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It centers around the off-kilter romance between fast food cashier Lily and video game store clerk Jarrod, who hit it off at Jarrod's dress-as-your-favorite-animal party. After bonding, the two learn about each other's dark pasts. Jarrod's turbulent family history pulls him back to his hometown, with Lily in tow.
Sleeping With Other People
During a sex addicts anonymous meeting in New York, Jake and Lainey — two college misfits who took each other's virginity once upon a time — are surprised to run into each other after drifting apart years ago. Since college, they've each had a string of destructive, toxic relationships. The two commit to just being friends, deliberately setting aside their sexual chemistry in order to provide a level of kindness and intimacy for each other that neither has been able to find in a romantic or sexual relationship. But the harder they try to keep their relationship platonic, the more undeniable their feelings for each other become.
Southside With You
This touching biopic recreates the real-life events of the first date between former First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Barack Obama. Barack, a summer associate, has fallen for his supervisor, Michelle Robinson. During an afternoon of ice cream and community organizing, the pair discover an undeniable connection.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
When actress Sarah (Kirsten Bell) breaks up with him after five years of dating, composer Peter (Jason Segel) is devastated. He tries to escape his heartbreak by taking a trip to Hawaii, but is horrified to discover that Sarah is staying at the same hotel with the man she left him for, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis) takes pity on Peter, who is obviously devastated. As Peter tries to mend his broken heart in Hawaii — all while avoiding his ex— he and Rachel discover they have a connection. A sweet, silly rom com that will warm the heart of anyone who's ever utterly embarrassed themselves during a breakup, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a hilarious romantic escape.
Featured still from "Southside With You" via Netflix.