Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
While 2010’s Matthew McConaughey acted in roles for acclaimed works like The Wolf of Wall Street, Mud, and True Detective, not to mention his Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, 2000’s Matthew McConaughey was our favorite leading man for rom-coms, including The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold, and of course, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Ghosts is a play on A Christmas Carol: Connor (McConaughey) is a rich womanizer who doesn’t believe in love. After an embarrassing display at his brother’s rehearsal dinner, Connor’s deceased uncle pays him a visit, and tells him three ghosts will show up and take him through his romantic past, present and future.
At this point, you might be a little jaded about Nicholas Sparks movies. They all seem to follow the same overall formula, have at least one tragic twist, and should definitely come with packets of tissues. But 15 years ago, before we knew about Sparks’s tropes, we saw The Notebook, the third Sparks adaptation—and we were too busy falling in love with Noah and Allie’s love story to care if the whole thing was a little cheesy.
The film that made Nicholas Sparks a household name, it’s filled with iconic lines (“It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over.”); incredible chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams (surely we’re not the only ones who still think about that MTV Awards kiss); and enough romantic scenes to give us completely unrealistic expectations about our own love lives.
All in all, it’s the perfect 2000s-era romantic movie—and now that it’s on Netflix streaming, we get to watch Noah and Allie fall in love over and over again.
Faith, Hope & Love
If you love a good romantic dance movie—think 2004’s Shall We Dance?, or the more recent Silver Linings Playbook—you should give this movie a chance. Dancing with the Stars alum Peta Murgatroyd stars as Faith Turley, a woman who enters a dance contest in hopes that the prize money will allow her to fix up her dance studio. But she’ll need a partner—in this case, single dad Jimmy Hope.
Both Faith and Jimmy have been hurt in the past...but as they learn to trust one another as dance partners, their relationship develops in ways neither could have expected.
He's Just Not That Into You
Based on , this 2009 romantic comedy featured a lot of talent, including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, and Justin Long.
While Gigi (Goodwin) is the main link between all the characters, the story unfolds much like Love Actually, with many smaller, interrelated storylines rather than an overarching plot. You’ll have to watch for yourself to see who winds up with a happy ending!
Fans of Irish romance will find a lot to love in the 2010 rom-com Leap Year. Anna, a high-strung real estate stager, is tired of waiting for her long-term boyfriend to propose, but she's too traditional to propose herself.
Luckily, there's a loophole: Anna flies from Boston to Ireland for leap day to take advantage of an Irish custom that women can propose to men on leap day.
But Anna's scheme is complicated when a storm traps her in the backwater town of Dingle, where she has to take shelter in the inn of Declan O'Callaghan (Matthew Goode).
Although she and Declan immediately butt heads, Anna offers to pay him for escorting her safely to Dublin in order to make her proposal. But along the way, Anna start to question herself for the first time ever.
The Perfect Date
Noah Centineo stars as Brooks, a high school senior hoping to go to Yale and pursue his passion for technology.
When Noah discovers a way to get paid for taking his classmate's cousin Celia (Laura Marano) to a school dance, he is inspired to design an app that allows him to accompany teenage girls in need of a date.
But as Brooks' scheme starts to run away from him, he almost misses the powerful but complicated connection developing between him and Celia.
P.S. I Love You
Holly (Hillary Swank) and Gerry (Gerard Butler) are enjoying life as a young married couple, when Gerry dies suddenly of a brain tumor.
Still deeply in mourning, Holly is shocked on the eve of her 30th birthday to receive a message and present Gerry arranged for when he knew he would likely not live to see his wife reach this milestone.
The message is the first of several notes Gerry arranged to be sent to his wife after his death, which ultimately lead her on a trip to Ireland—and to finding herself, and love, again.
Always Be My Maybe
Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) have known each other since they were next-door neighbors growing up in San Francisco.
Sasha's parents worked long hours at their store, so Saha came to view Marcus' family as her own. While the two are in high school, Marcus' mom dies suddenly, and Marcus and Sasha channel their grief into an awkward sexual encounter in the backseat of Marcus' car.
Over a decade later, Sasha is a successful celebrity chef trying to distance herself from her family. Marcus' life hasn't changed much since high school: he's dedicated to living at home with his aging father, playing in his long-time band, and staying in the Bay area.
When a recently-dumped Sasha returns home briefly to open a restaurant, the childhood best friends are forced to reconnect.
Featuring an already-legendary cameo by Keanu Reeves, this sweet and hilarious rom com is a second-chance romance that's perfect for a night of Netflix and chill-ing.
A Cinderella Story
This beloved teen romantic comedy spins a modern take on the classic Cinderella fairytale. Sam Montgomery (Hillary Duff) lives in LA with her vain and narcissistic step-mother Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge) and her two daughters.
Sam works at her late father’s diner to save money for college, which only makes her a target for ridicule in school. The only place Sam can find a reprieve is in her online penpal, who goes by the name “Nomad.”
Little does Sam know, but her penpal is actually the popular football jock Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray). The two of them agree to meet at their school’s Halloween dance, and though Sam arrives in a masquerade mask, the two kindle feelings of love.
However, when Sam must leave at midnight to return to the diner before Fiona realizes she left, she never reveals to Austin her true identity. With nothing but a dropped cell phone to go on, Austin begins the search for the girl of his dreams.
The Princess Switch
It's Christmas all year round with this delightfully cheesy holiday romance, the streaming giant's answer to the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies.
The Princess Switch is the Netflix equivalent of a Hallmark movie, and filled with all the delightful cheesiness Hallmark fans have come to expect. Vanessa Hudgens does double duty as Chicago baker Stacy DeNovo, and her doppelganger, Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro.
Recently-heartbroken Stacy agrees to take a trip to the fictional country of Belgravia to participate in a baking competition. While there, she meets the betrothed Lady Margaret.
Both are understandably struck by their identical looks, and decide to switch identities for a few days (like you do) so that Margaret can have some time out of the royal Belgravian spotlight. Baking fiascos, royal hijinks, and romance of course ensue.
The perfect so-bad-it's-good movie to watch with friends or like-minded family this holiday season, The Princess Switch is as insubstantial and delicious as a candy cane.
The Knight Before Christmas
In The Knight Before Christmas, Vanessa Hudgens continues her run as Netflix's go-to Christmas rom-com star. Brooke (Vanessa Hudgens) thinks happily ever after is nothing but a fairy tale. But all her beliefs are challenged when she hits a strange man named Cole (Josh Whitehouse) with her car.
Cole calls himself Sir Cole, and insists he's a time traveling knight from the Middle Ages. Practical Brooke assumes Cole is confused by the accident, and takes him in until he's recovered.
As she and Cole get to know each other and prepare for the upcoming holidays, Brooke begins to wonder if there's a chance Cole could really be who he says. And if he's actually a knight from the past, what is Brooke supposed to do with the growing feelings she has for this historic hunk?
What do you get when you pack 20 stars into a two-hour film? One of the most biggest romantic comedy box office hits of all time: Valentine’s Day had the second biggest opening for a rom-com, with Sex and the City taking the lead.
Another film with various interconnected plots, Valentine’s Day takes place on February 14th, and shows multiple couples dealing with various highs and lows in their relationships. It was also the film that sparked the Tay-Tay relationship—Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner met on set of the film, and dated for four months afterwards.
Based on Anna Todd's book series of the same name—which in turn was based on One Direction fanfiction—After stars Josephine Langford as Tessa.
A high-achiever in high school, Tessa is determined to stay focused and pursue a business degree now that she's moved away from home to college. But everything changes when she meets British bad boy Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin).
Although the pair initially butt heads when they first meet, Tessa soon finds herself dreaming of Hardin, despite her boyfriend back home. Everyone who knows Hardin warns Tessa to stay away, but beneath his cold exterior Tessa knows Hardin can be deeply caring.
Although After is problematic at times, it's certainly a fun new-adult romance movie if you're looking for something to stream that will allow you to turn your brain off and get lost in a super-angsty, super-steamy romance.
A new addition to Netflix's ever-growing collection of Hallmark Channel-like holiday romances, Santa Girl follows Santa's daughter Cassie Claus (Jennifer Stone). Eager to experience life outside the North Pole, Cassie convinces Santa (Barry Bostwick) to let her attend college for one semester.
While there, Jennifer finds herself falling for confident JR (Joshua Cody) and developing a close friendship with Sam (Devon Werkheiser).
But as she grows closer to people in the 'real world', Cassie also faces pressure to return home and enter an arranged marriage that will protect the North Pole from the machinations of Jack Frost. Can she possibly save her heart and save Christmas, all while staying off the Naughty List?
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
This hit Netflix original is the perfect watch for when you're feeling down in the dumps and just want to watch two good-looking, good-hearted people fall in love. Based on the book of the same name by Jenny Han, it stars Lana Condor as Lara Jean, a romance-reading high schooler who copes with crushes by writing them letters she never intends to send.
But when these love letters mysteriously arrive in the hands of her crushes—including her older sister's ex-boyfriend—Lara Jean is determined to pretend her feelings for him are over. She and another letter recipient, Peter Kravinsky (Noah Centineo), agree to enter into a mutually beneficial fake relationship with each other.
Before long, Lara Jean develops very real feelings for her fake boyfriend...but she and Peter may have created a lie that will be too difficult to unravel.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You
Caution: Spoiler alert for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! Available for streaming February 12.
In the sequel to the hit Netflix original (based on the sequel novel by Jenny Han), Lara and Peter are officially a couple, and figuring out how to deal with a lot of relationship “firsts,” including their first real kisses, dates, and Valentine’s Day—not to mention balancing their relationship with other aspects of their lives, like spending time with friends.
As if all that weren’t enough, Lara is thrown another curveball when John Ambrose, one of the boys who received a love letter from her, re-enters her life. Lara’s not so sure her feelings for him are over ... and now she’s wondering if she can be in love with two boys at the same time.
God's Own Country
This British drama follows the romance between Johnny, a young Yorkshire sheep farmer, and Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant who comes to work temporarily on Johnny's family farm.
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for the farm, helping his ailing father, and hiding his homosexuality, Johnny turns to binge drinking.
But when he and Gheorghe must spend a few days in the Yorkshire countryside caring for a flock that has moved away from the farm, the two of them develop an intimate and ultimately tender companionship that provides a salve for both lonely men.
This 2017 film is at once bleak and lushly romantic—the beauty of the countryside and the film's two costars is juxtaposed against the harsh realities of poverty and farm life. Ultimately, it's a sensuous love story of two lost souls coming together amidst the beauty and brutality of the natural world.
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?
The Kissing Booth
If you love high school romance movies, check out the Netflix Original The Kissing Booth.
Elle (Joey Flynn) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends since they were babies. Now that they're entering their junior year of high school, the pair have maintained their friendship by adhering to a strict code. However, hormones and the pressures of high school make it increasingly difficult to maintain the easy friendship they had as kids.
When Lee's older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi)starts to develop feelings for Elle, Elle must decide whether following her heart is worth breaking best friend code.
Although The Kissing Booth is aimed at young viewers, it's worth noting that it does depict some of Elle and Noah's relationship in a problematic light. For that reason, its arguably best viewed by adults, who can look critically at some of its more questionable moments while still enjoying the romantic cheese.
Falling Inn Love
Fans of Hallmark movies will enjoy Falling Inn Love, Netflix's pun-based romance about Gabriella (Christina Milan), who leaves her life—and jerk boyfriend—behind in San Fransisco when she wins an old inn in a contest.
After she uproots her life and moves to New Zealand, Gabriella realizes that the inn is much more dilapidated than pictures led her to believe, and that she might not be as well-suited to the local rural lifestyle as she'd hoped. Plus, she finds herself butting heads with many of the locals, including Jake (Adam Demos), a super-handsome, super-infuriating carpenter.
Unfortunately, Gabriella desperately needs the aid of a carpenter if she's going to restore the inn to something resembling its former glory. As the American city girl and the New Zealand country boy put aside their differences to restore the inn, they realize they have more in common than they ever expected.
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.
Blue Is the Warmest Color
A tale of first love and all the heartbreak and discovery that comes with it, this French film follows a relationship between two young women over the course of several years. Teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is dating a boy in her class when she first sees, and is immediately drawn towards, blue-haired art student Léa Seydoux.
The two develop a friendship that evolves into a passionate romance, and Adèle navigates the challenges of coming out to her family and friends. The couple's bond transforms their lives—but first love rarely lasts forever.
An adaptation of Julie Maroh's graphic novel of the same name, Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or in 2013. But the movie's depiction of sex between two women caused considerable controversy.
Maroh herself condemned the film's depiction of lesbian sex as "brutal and surgical," and the two lead actresses spoke out about the extreme pressures put on them while filming the scene.
This opposites-attract romance stars Jenny Slate as New York comedian Donna. After her boyfriend leaves her for one of her friends, Donna enjoys a drunken one-night stand with Max (Jake Lacy) a straight-laced guy who saw her post-breakup set.
Although Max and Donna have a great night together, she intentionally slips out the following morning without saying goodbye. When Donna realizes she's pregnant several weeks later, she schedules an abortion for Valentine's Day. At the same time, Max begins to court her.
Although Donna is ready to tell him about her upcoming abortion, she decides not to after he makes an off-handed comment about wanting children someday. But when Max does learn about Donna's plans, the two have a Valentine's Day more intimate than they could have expected.
Sweet, funny, and consistently surprising, Obvious Child is a great romance for a low-key night in.
When New York PR agent Harper (Gillian Jacobs) learns she's going abroad for her first big work trip, her best friends Leah (Phoebe Robinson) and Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) insist on tagging along and crashing in her Barcelona hotel.
Their first night out in Spain, the trio head to a local club, where some penis graffiti leads to a hilarious meet-cute between Harper and internationally renowned DJ Leo (Game of Thrones' Richard Madden).
Struck by their instant chemistry, Harper and Leo try to reunite after his set, but a series of drug-fueled late-night mishaps prevent the course of true love from running smooth. When Harper learns that Leo will be playing the next night in Ibiza, her friends encourage her to throw caution and professional obligation to the wind and embark with them on a last-minute trip to the island.
A raunchy rom-com that will please fans of Bridesmaids or Bad Moms, this Netflix original features some super romantic moments between Harper and her ludicrously hot Irish DJ, but never at the expense of highlighting the camaraderie between Harper and her loyal, debauched friends.
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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.
The Edge of Seventeen
Seventeen-year-old Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) was particularly close to her father. In the years since his sudden death, she has drifted away from her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and her mom, and has become reliant on her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson).
When Darian and Krista start dating, Nadine feels completely abandoned, and throws herself into her friendship with her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) and her crush on Nick (Alexander Calvert). She also befriends Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a sweet aspiring animator and fellow student at her school.
Similar to a John Hughes movie in its funny and heartbreaking depiction of the very real emotional stakes of high school, Edge of Seventeen follows Nadine as she learns she can't control her brother or her best friend, and as she recognizes that the boy she's really into might have been there for her all along.
Set It Up
This Netflix original follows two overworked personal assistants who attempt to orchestrate a romance between their respective bosses—and wind up falling for each other in the process.
Harper (Zoey Deutsch) is an aspiring sports journalist stuck in an assistant role for tyrannical media mogul Kirsten (Lucy Liu). Charlie (Glen Powell) is the lackey for volatile venture capitalist Rick (Taye Diggs). After a chance meeting, Harper and Charlie put aside their initial dislike and devise a scheme to trick Kirsten and Rick into falling for each other.
Full of familiar rom com tropes, Set It Up will delight fans of When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and other classics of the genre. Harper and Charlie are charming—but Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs truly steal the show as two tightly wound, successful but deeply unhappy professionals.
This raunchy romantic comedy from Kevin Smith explores how our understanding of identity informs who we allow ourselves to love.
When comic writer Holden (Ben Affleck) meets artist Alyssa (Joey Adams), he's instantly drawn to her, and assumes the attraction is mutual. Holden is shocked when he learns Alyssa is a lesbian, but the pair soon develop a close friendship.
When Holden and Alyssa finally admit that they have romantic feelings for one another, their new relationship challenges everything they understand about themselves. Can Holden stop judging Alyssa, and accept that she had a sexual life before him? And can Alyssa retain her identity and personal life while falling in love with a man?
Although this movie doesn't have a conventional HEA, it's still a fun watch, buoyed by the great chemistry between Affleck and Adams.
Alex “Hitch” Hitchens (Will Smith) makes a living as a professional dating consultant, teaching men the art of charming women. Hitch takes on a new client, Albert Brennamen (Kevin James), who has his heart set on a celebrity client at his investment firm. In the midst of coaching Albert, Hitch meets gossip columnist Sara Melas (Eva Mendes), who seems to be immune to all of his usual romantic tactics. Hitch tries to keep his reputation as a love guru secret, but withholding the truth only leads to more trouble.
Love & Basketball
Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are childhood best friends and next-door neighbors. From the moment they meet, the two have a special connection fostered by their mutual love of basketball.
Although Quincy at first doesn't take Monica's passion for the sport seriously, as they mature and both pursue playing professionally, he sees that she's as much of an athlete as he is.
The movie follows the highs and lows of Monica and Quincy's relationship as they struggle to remain friends — and then something more — while pursuing the highly competitive field they love.
Featured still from "To All the Boys I've Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You" via Netflix