There are few things as therapeutic as a good cry. You know the kind of cry we're talking about–it’s the Jim-and-Pam-finally-got-together cry or the that’s-so-sad-it’s-beautiful cry, or even the why-can't-they-just-be-happy-together cry.
It’s the kind of cry that you can virtually guarantee when you press play on a tearjerker like Silver Linings Playbook or any of the other movies on this list.
So prepare your tear ducts, cancel your plans, and get both the movies and the tears streaming tonight with this list of super sad movies to watch on Netflix for romance fans. From breakup movies to stories of romance that endures despite all odds, all of these films will inspire the kind of catharsis that only a good cry (and sometimes, laughter through tears!) can.
This article will be updated periodically to reflect changes to streaming.
Robert Pattinson’s romantic coming-of-age drama arrived on the streaming service in August 2020, and Netflix users, prepare for some heartbreak.
After a family tragedy, Tyler thinks no one can understand or heal him. But when he meets Aly, her warmth and love begin to put him onto the right path. However, past secrets are about to emerge, and they could threaten everything Tyler has just finally learned to put his faith in.
This bittersweet black-and-white film from 2016 has flown under the radar for far too long. When Jim (Mark Duplass) returns to his California hometown to sell his late mother's house, he runs into Amanda (Sarah Paulson), his former high school girlfriend.
Amanda is married and the stepmother to two kids, but as she and Jim spend more time together, they realize neither are happy with their current lives.
Silver Linings Playbook
This 2012 romantic dramedy follows Pat (Bradley Cooper), a man with bipolar disorder who has moved in with his parents after being released from a psychiatric hospital. Though he initially wants to win back his estranged wife, things become complicated after he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow with mental issues of her own.
Tiffany agrees to help Pat reunite with his wife, on the condition that he enter a dance competition with her. But as the two spend more time together, their goals begin to shift.
Searching for a devastating breakup movie? We submit Marriage Story for your consideration. The Netflix Original hit streaming December 6th, 2019 and stars Adam Driver as Charlie, a New York theater director married to actress Nicole (Sacrlett Johansson).
Charlie and Nicole are raising their young son in New York while collaborating on theater. Already struggling to feel close to each other in the way they used to, the pair face uncertainty in their marriage when Nicole moves to Los Angeles for a work opportunity, taking their son with her.
When Charlie visits his family in L.A., his sister-in-law serves him with divorce papers from Nicole. From there, Nicole and Charlie find themselves caught in the traumatic bureaucracy of divorce, even as they struggle to remain friends and preserve goodwill for the sake of their son.
Although Marriage Story will definitely be emotional for anyone who's ever gone through a breakup, or witnessed a breakup between their parents, it's also surprisingly wry and funny. Director Noah Baumbach highlights the dehumanizing legal minutia of divorce in a way that's darkly comedic and always relatable.
I Am Jonas
This queer French foreign film centers around Jonas (Félix Maritaud/Nicolas Bauwens) during two key times in his life. The first timeline follows him when he’s a young teenager in the mid-90s, centering around his discovery of his sexuality as he falls for the new bad-boy, Nathan (Tommy-Lee Baïk).
The second timeline occurs 18 years later, when Jonas is an attractive but chaotic adult, living his life impulsively as he remains tangled in the past. Intriguing elements of mystery are woven into this romantic drama, as the nonlinear look at Jonas’ past and present build to reveal he’s weighed down by inescapable trauma.
This film acts as both a poignant coming-of-age story and an intimate look at the psychological baggage of the past. It’s a perfect movie for those who know exactly how hard it is to let some things—especially first loves—go. This absolutely haunting, touching, and realistic film will have your heart aching by the end.
This bittersweet breakup movie follows a relationship from meet-cute to heartbreaking but necessary goodbye. Nate (Lakeith Stanfield) and Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) have been together for nine years, since their passionate first meeting at a New York University party.
But when Jenny gets a once-in-a-lifetime job offer with Rolling Stone in San Francisco, Nate breaks up with her rather than do long distance. Eager to distract herself from the reality of her breakup, Gina gets her three best friends together for a day of raucous partying.
Although the movie is bawdy and very, very funny, it's ultimately a tear-inducing exploration of the pain of choosing one's own future over a relationship. Ultimately, Nate and Jenny's decision to separate is a healthy one. But watching them accept that their relationship is truly over despite the fact that they still love each other is gut-wrenching and, for most viewers, all too familiar.
The Theory of Everything
This biopic chronicles the love between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones). The pair quickly fall in love after meeting at Oxford, despite their obvious differences: Jane is religious and a student of literature, while Stephen is an atheist studying astrophysics.
The pair both challenge and support each other, and marry soon after Stephen is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. Over the years, even as Stephen and Jane's lives begin to pull them apart from the other, the movie shows the couple maintaining a respect for each other and a gratitude for the time they spent together even after they've separated.
A bittersweet breakup movie that also offers fascinating insight into one of the most influential scientists of the modern era, The Theory of Everything makes perfect streaming for a night when you feel like learning something while you have a good cry.
An intimate portrait of an unraveling young relationship, 6 Years is Blue Valentine for the late-teens and early-twenties set.
Dan (Ben Rosenfield) and Melanie (Taissa Farmiga) have been together for six years. Now that they're approaching the end of college in Austin, Texas, their relationship is beginning to crack under the pressure of impending changes. Most tellingly, Melanie pushes Ben in a moment of drunken anger after he chastises her for driving drunk.
The couple wind up spending the night in an emergency room, concerned about Ben's head injury and questioning what this moment of anger reveals about their future. When a surprising opportunity arises for Ben in New York, the two must reckon with their doubts head-on.
Spanning a period of two weeks, 6 Years will undoubtedly be a cathartic watch for anyone who's still a little in mourning for lost relationships from their college days.
Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman) are childhood sweethearts engaged to be married. But their idyllic romance faces unexpected tragedy when Abbie is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Concerned that Sam—a notoriously awkward dater—won't be able to pick up the pieces after she passes away, Abbie throws herself into trying to find a new partner for him to fall in love with. But Abbie becomes so focused on trying to save Sam from future grief, that she's unable to be present in the time they have left.
Irreplaceable You is a predictable movie that never quite takes off—but if you're looking for a romance that will leave you helplessly sobbing, look no further.
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Our Souls at Night
This Netflix original is an adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name by Kent Haruf. Addie (Jane Fonda), a widow, has lived next to widower Louis (Robert Redford) for years.
Tired of the isolation and lack of intimacy that have come with age, Addie visits her neighbor with an unconventional proposition: They're both lonely, why shouldn't they sleep in the same bed at night to keep each other company?
As Addie says, her idea isn't about sex, it's about getting through the night and feeling close to another person.
Although taken aback, Louis agrees to give Addie's experiment a try. Soon, the pair find that their newfound relationship is awakening forgotten feelings in them — including old griefs. Although the blossoming romance between Addie and Louis is swoon-worthy, the movie's exploration of how past traumas live on in new relationships is bittersweet.
Featured still from "Blue Jay" via Netflix