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.
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.
Grease has been around for so long that it’s easy to forget how complicated its take on romance is, particularly for a 50’s nostalgia piece originally penned in the early 1970s. Grease takes on all the troubles of teenage romance, including peer pressure and sex. This classic 1978 film version stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, of course, and features the soundtrack that became a best-seller.
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.
Safe Haven isn't my favorite Nicholas Sparks movie, but if you're looking to add a Sparks title to your next Netflix and chill night, it's your only bet. The movie stars Julianne Hough as Katie, who leaves an abusive marriage and hides from her husband in Southport, North Carolina, where she comes to care for handsome widower Alex (Josh Duhamel) and his children. With the help of Alex and her mysterious neighbor Jo (Cobie Smulders), Katie builds a new life for herself… but her husband isn’t far behind.
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.
Featured still from "The Incredible Jessica James" via Netflix