Whether you're looking for a chill night spent Netflixing or a serious "Netflix and chill" session, there will come a time when you need the perfect romantic movie to set the mood. We're here for you, having scoured the streaming service for the best in meet-cute rom-coms, feel-good dramas, and no-holds-barred weepies. A little something for everyone.
Everything We Know: 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'
A Vietnam-era love story set to the soundtrack of The Beatles, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe is a trippy, joyful movie-musical that may provoke spontaneous karaoke. And fret not, Beatles purists: The talented young cast and roster of all-star cameos (Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker) do the Fab Four's songs justice while the young-lovers-during-wartime plot works surprisingly well, even if it's mostly just a backdrop for the music. Plus, I dare you to find anything more sweetly romantic than Jim Sturgess singing "I've Just Seen a Face" about Evan Rachel Wood while bopping through a bowling alley. Seriously, I dare you.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
If you missed this live-action remake of the 1991 animated musical classic, standing tall as the highest-grossing movie of 2017, Netflix has you covered. The enchanted objects are a little creepier this time, but other than that, it's basically the same movie you know and love, plus ingenue Emma Watson and a billion more hyper-realistic pixels.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Released into a media storm overly concerned with its lengthy, graphic sex scene, Abdellatif Kechiche's three-hour opus drowns tabloid-buzz with sensual and sensitive drama. Look, if you can binge eight episodes of House of Cards, you can make time for the tender, inquisitive exploits of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who falls hard for the cerulean lure of Emma (Spectre's Léa Seydoux). The runtime breathing room gives Kechiche the chance to explore every glance, every touch, every kiss, and every misstep in their relationship. It's a love epic, where minor notes play like power chords.
This heartbreakingly stunning film is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, chronicling the innocent interactions that escalate into a whirlwind romance between two women in 1950s New York. What starts as a fantasy between Therese, a department store shop girl played by Rooney Mara, and Carol, Cate Blanchett’s impeccably performed wealthy housewife entrenched in monotony and a messy divorce, grows into something more, turning their lives upside down for the sake of love. The film garnered both actresses Oscar nominations, among a handful of other awards, and their chemistry will have you feeling as if you’re just as wrapped up in their tumultuous relationship, too.
Before Nicholas Sparks dominated the scene like a sappy Boss Tweed, there was this gooey rom-dram, a '90s movie for the new millennium. Running with the chocolate-as-the-ultimate-aphrodisiac pseudoscience, Chocolat pairs the illustrious Juliette Binoche with then-heartthrob Johnny Depp, rubbing them together in a small French village for maximum friction. As Binoche's imported morsels help local villagers get their freak on, she combats claims of religious heresy and steams up the room with Depp. Piping hot, like the best cup of cocoa.
Definitely, Maybe (2008)
Eleven-year-old Maya (Abigail Breslin) understands that though her mom and dad, Will (Ryan Reynolds), are divorced, they’re on good terms… but what she doesn’t know is the story of how they met, or anything about her dad’s life before she was born, for that matter. Over the course of one evening in this romantic comedy, Maya begs her dad to explain to how her mom came into his life, which she finds is a more complicated story than anticipated, as he ends up recounting the three relationships that touched him the most. In learning about three women (Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, and Isla Fisher), each with an equally sweet story and special effect on Will’s life, Maya tries to piece together who might be her mother, and who might be the one that got away. Unlike typical rom-coms that focus on the saga of one relationship, Definitely, Maybe effectively uses intertwined storytelling to focus on love, love lost, and the hope of finding it again.
An Education (2009)
Sixteen-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) wants a different life. She feels more mature than the boys from school and is over the blasé pace of ’60s UK suburbia. Then she meets David, a much older man who miraculously shares all the same interests in high-brow culture that she does. In An Education, a film based on a memoir by Lynn Barber, a defiant Jenny ends up getting swept away by David, who proves to be more of a projected fantasy than a genuine man. It’s difficult as a viewer not be swept up in their whirlwind relationship of weekend trips to Paris, too, while simultaneously feeling sick watching David’s creepy seduction of a much younger girl. But beneath the mask of this romance is Mulligan’s dynamite, Oscar-nominated performance of a teenager unraveling, trying to find her own footing in womanhood -- which, while messy, is even more powerful than the love story.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Romance and love are nothing without the potential for loss and pain, but most of us would probably still consider cutting away all the worst memories of the latter. Given the option to eradicate memories of their busted relationship, Jim Carrey's Joel and Kate Winslet's Clementine go through with the procedure, only to find themselves unable to totally let go. Science fiction naturally lends itself to clockwork mechanisms, but director Michel Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman never lose the human touch as they toy with the kaleidoscope of their characters' hearts and minds.
It's not the most romantic setup in the world -- an older man and woman have each lost their respective spouses, and agree to start sleeping together platonically to get over their loneliness -- but the result is a sweet, if traditional, love story. Robert Redford and Jane Fonda buttress a script based on a Kent Haruf novel that's much less YA than you'd expect given the somewhat cloying adaptation. Still, if it's a love story you want, check it out!
Set It Up (2018)
Set It Up is by no means the most important movie Netflix has produced, nor is it the most ambitious. But it's probably the one you're going to want to watch again and again. The streaming behemoth has been on a rom-com kick in 2018, and this film from director Claire Scanlon is one of its most delightful entries into the genre. It starts with a meet-cute that would play as well in 1948 or 1998 as it does in 2018: Two eager assistants (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) plot to set up their horror-show bosses to free up their own social lives. Naturally, our two underlings find their friendship of convenience blossom into something more. As with any good romantic comedy, the trick is all in the casting; Deutch and Powell are captivating. Meanwhile, Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs -- playing the big, bad boss people -- are old pros. It's the perfect film to watch late night, drunk, with some pizza.
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.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
John Hughes' seminal Molly Ringwald romance set the template for every high school rom-com that followed. The eve of Samantha's sixteenth birthday -- and her big sister's wedding day -- is jam-packed with every teen trauma imaginable, but the cringes are grounded in sincere comedy. And even as Ringwald’s Samantha is dealing with the trials of her forgotten birthday, the absolute dreamiest senior Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling) is always trailing behind her in hopes to make her one birthday wish come true. It’s a teen dream.
Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis’ characters in this comedy have commitment issues, and serious ones at that -- they’re both sex addicts with troubled relationship histories. The couple happened to lose their virginities to each other in college, and they reconnect years later in a sex addiction support group. The two make a pact to be friends and help the other with their personal issues, and while they try their best to stay apart, it’s difficult for them to avoid the fact that they might just be an ideal match. The pairing is rom-com perfection based on the actors' comedic backgrounds and tender performances playing complex characters.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
This coming of age story focuses on Miles Teller’s lovable but ill-fated Sutter, a teenage boy who lives in the now and sees little importance in looking beyond it, especially at the prospects of his future after graduation. Then, following one night of binge drinking, he wakes up on the lawn of Aimee (Shailene Woodley), an unsuspecting, studious classmate, and everything changes... for the both of them. Despite their differences, and Aimee’s unrelenting desire to dream about the possibilities outside of their deadbeat hometown, there’s something special that burgeons between them. Equal parts about the value and flaws in only focusing on the present, and an ode to dreams of tomorrow, The Spectacular Now is a near perfect young romance and story of personal growth.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
In case you haven't heard, rom-coms are back, baby, and Netflix is helping lead the revival. This adaptation of Jenny Han's best-selling YA novel quickly earned plaudits from critics and fans (including our own) thanks to an endearing story and standout performances from young leads Lana Condor and Noah Centineo. The angst of repressed and misunderstood teen passions will come flooding back to you as Lara Jean (Condor) finds out that her secret love letters to five crushes have been discovered and mailed out to those crushes. A high schooler's world-ending nightmare.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
In his Oscar-winning performance, Eddie Redmayne portrays famed physicist Stephen Hawking -- though The Theory of Everything is less of a biopic than it is a beautiful, sweet film about his relationship with his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones). Covering his days as a young cosmology student ahead of his diagnosis of ALS at 21, through his struggle with the illness and rise as a theoretical scientist, this film illustrates the trying romance through it all. While it may be written in the cosmos, this James Marsh-directed film that weaves in and out of love will have you experience everything there is to feel.
Before taking us to space with Gravity, director Alfonso Cuarón steamed up screens with this provocative, comedic drama about two teenage boys (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) road trippin' it with an older woman (Maribel Verdú). Like a sunbaked Jules and Jim, the movie makes nimble use of its central love triangle, setting up conflicts between the characters as they move through the complicated political and social realities of Mexican life. It's a confident, relaxed film that's got an equal amount of brains and sex appeal. Watch this one with a friend -- or two.