The Best Rom-Coms on Netflix
For all your meet-cute and flirty banter needs.
Romantic comedies have a long history, summed up in a simple taxonomic phrase Drama 101 teachers like to use when discussing theatrical works from the Greeks through modernity: In tragedies, everyone (spoiler) dies in the end, and in comedies, everyone (spoiler) gets married in the end.
So laughter and romance have gone hand-in-hand for millennia, and while the explosion of arts and entertainment has created countless new subgenres and riffs on old themes, the classic romantic comedy is still going strong—it's even in the midst of a revival. The next time you want to watch a movie that feels like a warm blanket, check out one of these titles on Netflix. Don't forget, there's plenty of other great movies on Netflix for whenever a different mood strikes.
About Time (2013)
If you had the chance to orchestrate the perfect meet-cute between you and the one missed connection you've never forgotten about, would you? This fantastical rom-com from Love Actually director Richard Curtis explores that concept and the ramifications that could come as a result, focusing on a time-traveling young man (Domhnall Gleeson) who uses his ability to find the love of his life. Together with Rachel McAdams, the pair is incredibly charming navigating the space-time continuum to be together, and like Curtis’ other works, About Time is about a lot more than just love—it's a meditation on family and what permanence means in a world where time rolls on unabated.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
This Netflix original movie stars Randall Park and Ali Wong as two close friends everyone else expected to end up together romantically, but who've only ever been friends. When the two reconnect later in life, of course they have the opportunity to rekindle their relationship as something more, but not without a few missteps—one of which comes in the form of a scene-stealing appearance by Keanu Reeves. The two comedic stars bring the kind of chemistry that makes famous rom-coms of yesteryear work, and the result is an exciting new entry to the canon of a tried-and-true genre.
The Artist (2011)
Ever since Hollywood got its hands on technicolor, black and white has merely been a rare stylistic choice for filmmakers, and directors have moved even further away from silent films ever since "the talkies" made their debut in the late 1920s. That doesn't mean film aficionados have fallen out of love with silent films or lost respect for them—and no better movie in recent history has immortalized their staying power as The Artist. The French film is both an Old Hollywood style movie and an homage to the craft, telling the love story between a rising young starlet (Bérénice Bejo) looking forward to the modernization of movies and a silent film veteran (Jean Dujardin). The Best Picture winner is playful in its choices, meaning any lover of cinema should fall head over heels for it.
Legally Blonde (2001)
This sweet, effervescent rom-com about a Malibu sorority girl transplanted to Harvard Law School was the role that made Reese Witherspoon a star. Her Elle Woods could have been a ditzy caricature, but instead, Witherspoon exudes intellect and charm, whether she's bending-and-snapping at the salon or solving a murder trial with her knowledge of perm maintenance. It's also the rare rom-com that's actually funny; laugh-out-loud performances and ridiculously quotable lines ("You got into Harvard Law?" "What? Like it's hard?") turn Legally Blonde into an endlessly rewatchable cult classic.
Life As We Know It (2010)
Katherine Heigl has starred in a lot of romantic comedies, some of them good, a lot of them forgettable. While Life As We Know It may not be as memorable as the beloved 27 Dresses from her oeuvre, it's just as sincere and worth the watch. The premise is a step back from reality as two strangers (Hiegl and Josh Duhamel) move in together when they become the primary caregivers of a baby after her parents and their best friend tragically die in an accident. Even as the two seem like polar opposites destined to forever hate each other, it's pretty predictable what's bound to happen, but it's cute watching a new sort of family comes together in this surprisingly heartwarming comedy.
The Lovebirds (2020)
Sometimes the comedy part of the rom-com equation doesn't always pull through. That's far from the case in the "date night gone wrong" flick The Lovebirds, though. It's actually about a pair (played by the hilarious duo of Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae) who aren't really lovebirds anymore and, just as they're breaking up, find themselves caught up in a wild murder mystery. Trying to uncover what happened (and save their own asses) over the course of one night, the movie takes the bickering pair to some bizarre places that all lead to one mega-weird, Eyes Wide Shut-like sex cult. It's a silly romp but the chemistry of the leads keep you at the edge of your seat, both cracking up and hoping they'll get past the real crime that is their break up and just get back together already.
Mystic Pizza (1988)
There are a lot of Julia Roberts movies on this list, but only one was her breakthrough role. The young star is one of the many bright, starry-eyed faces in this comedy—Matt Damon made his actual debut here—about two teenaged sisters (Roberts and Annabeth Gish) and their friend (Lili Taylor) who work at a pizza parlor in a small Connecticut town. It's a quintessential coming-of-age story, following the young women as they experience first loves and first heartbreaks, which in turn teaches them a thing or two about themselves and who they want to be. With their friendship at the helm and the quaint town as the backdrop, it's as comforting and warm as the pies the girls serve.
No Strings Attached (2011)
You may remember 2011 as the year that now-married couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis made essentially the same movie with different co-stars. No Strings Attached—not to be confused with the Kunis-starring Friends With Benefits—is the Kutcher and Natalie Portman version of the very similar movies, but Kutcher and Portman do in fact bring the chemistry in this raunchy rom-com. It's a flirtatious film where the two play long-time friends Emma and Adam who decide to enter a strictly casual sex relationship when Adam's life is turned upside and he needs some form of connection. It's a carefree, satisfying model, until they starting feeling the feels, and that's what's even more pleasurable to watch play out on screen.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World isn’t your average romantic comedy. There’s a lot of comic-inspired ass kicking and super villianous ex-boyfriends, as well as not so great original garage band music. While ridiculous, these oddities in a movie about a bass player (Michael Cera) on a quest to win the heart of a special Ramona Flowers by defeating her evil exes give the genre some much needed action. From director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead), the film is uniquely stylized and has the right amount of teenage flare to make it a cult classic. What’s dreamier than a boy fighting evil exes from hell for the sake of love?
Set It Up (2018)
In Set It Up, Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell’s Harper and Charlie are dying to catch a break from their needy workaholic bosses, which prompts the two assistants to pawn their overbearing managers off onto one another—like, romantically. With their on-point comedic timing and matchmaker antics, the two find themselves setting up their own relationship without even realizing it. The Netflix movie recalls what made quintessential rom-com classics so easily watchable and hilarious: a strong connection between two spearheading leads. It'll feel like you’re watching one of your favorites from the '90s, updated with anxious, though equally as warm, millennials.
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
Before checking out Spike Lee's Netflix original series of the same name, be sure to catch up with where it all began. Nola (Tracy Camilla Johns) juggles three men during her sexual pinnacle, and it's all working out until they discover one another. She's Gotta Have It takes some dark turns, but each revelation speaks volumes about what real romantic independence is all about.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and David O. Russell’s first collaboration—and the film that turned J-Law into a bona fide golden girl—is a romantic comedy/dramedy/dance-flick that bounces across its tonal shifts. A love story between Pat (Cooper), a man struggling with bipolar disease and a history of violent outbursts, and Tiffany (Lawrence), a widow grappling with depression, who come together while rehearsing for an amateur dance competition, Silver Linings balances an emotionally realistic depiction of mental illness with some of the best twirls and dips this side of Step Up. Even if you're allergic to rom-coms, Lawrence and Cooper’s winning chemistry will win you over, as will this sweet little gem of a film: a feel-good, affecting love story that doesn’t feel contrived or treacly.
Someone Great (2019)
Writer/director Jennifer Kaytin Robin's Someone Great isn't your typical romantic comedy. Instead of watching a meet cute grow into something special, this one's about the demise of a relationship. It's by no means bleak, though—it's much more original, and even sweeter for it. Following a music journalist (Gina Rodriguez) who experiences a devastating breakup with her longtime boyfriend (LaKeith Stanfield) as she lands her dream job across the country, she and her friends (Britney Snow, DeWanda Wise) decide to have one last wild night before she moves out of the city. Reflecting on her relationship throughout, it's a feel good flick about piecing your heart back together by both remembering the good, and having the right support system to let you cope.
Stranger Than Fiction. (2006)
Will Ferrell is a lot less Ron Burgundy and much more endearing in this comedy, playing your typical, monotonous I.R.S. auditor who… must defend his life to Emma Thompson, who is planning on killing him. Sort of. Centered around a Charlie Kaufman-like suspension of reality concept, Ferrell's character comes to the realization that he's the character in an author's (Thompson) latest work and she controls everything in his life, from his lunch and love life to his death. As he sets out to meet and stop her, this grim story turns out to be a surprisingly charming work about finding your way again once it seems you've lost yourself.
The Sweetest Thing (2002)
Of course many raunch comedies existed by the early aughts, but few were entirely fronted by women. So, enter the wrongly maligned The Sweetest Thing starring Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair as party girls who treat men like toys to play with—until the man-eater of them all played by Diaz finds herself taken by a single meet-cute, which sends them on a wild trip to track him down. It's your typical rom-com—except spiked—full of ridiculous gags that groups of girlfriends find themselves cracking up over on a night out.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
What if your private letters to your crushes weren't private, but wound up in the hands of aforementioned crushes? It's a teen nightmare! That’s what happens to leading lady Lara Jean (Lana Condor) in this Netflix original based on Jenny Han’s best-selling YA novel. To brush over the embarrassment of one letter ending up in the mailbox of her neighbor, best friend, and sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh, Lara Jean pretends to date another former crush, Peter Kavinsky—and it turns out fake-dating can inadvertently lead to a lot of real feelings. To All the Boys has been hailed as a near perfect rom-com for its diversity, sincerity, and undeniable chemistry between Lara Jean and Peter. If you’ve felt the genre has been lacking recently—and need a perfect gentlemanly heartthrob to crush on—To All the Boys I've Loved Before is for you.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
It's possible you've never seen this Seth Rogen movie, his sole collaboration with director Kevin Smith. In Zack and Miri, a pair of down-on-their-luck roommates (Rogen and Elizabeth Banks) aim to squash their pile of utility bills by making a Star Wars porn parody. While the movie didn't find much of an audience in 2008, Smith told us that he and Rogen were suuuuuper high while editing the finished product, which should indicate if this silly comedy is for you. But even in all of the silliness (and there’s a lot of it), as the heat turns up on the coffee-shop-turned-porn-set, feelings do too and you’re dying for the best friend leads to finally get it on.