The best romance movies on Netflix right now

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Solid romance movies are hard to come by. Some are too cheesy and others lack substance. Plus, with Netflix offering thousands of titles to choose from, the search for a tug-at-your-heartstrings kind of movie can be daunting. Lucky for you, we have shed the tears and let out exasperated groans to compile the perfect list of romance movies. Here are our choices for the best romance flicks on Netflix.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

The Philly-est romantic comedy of all-time, Silver Linings Playbook is also one of the more candid looks at mental health that you’ll see in a rom-com. After losing his job, losing his wife, and spending time in a mental institution, Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) is at home living with his parents. Pat wants to get his wife back and rebuild his life, but his parents would really just prefer he move on and be a good Philadelphia Eagles fan. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), she offers to help him to reconnect with his wife if he’ll help her with something very important to her: Compete in a dance contest.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro
Director: David O. Russell
Rating:
R
Runtime: 
122 minutes

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Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story was one of four Netflix original films to be nominated for the 2020 Golden Globes and is yet another thought-provoking, deeply moving offering about real life from celebrated director Noah Baumbach. Baumbach, who has built his reputation on down-to-earth films about relatable characters like The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha, and another Netflix original, The Meyerowitz Stories, delivers perhaps his most profound work yet in Marriage Story. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple who genuinely love one another yet can’t make their marriage work, Marriage Story is one of the most honest, complex analyses of love and marriage you’ll ever see. “Marriage is hard” is the platitude we always hear but this film takes that saying to its absolute logical and philosophical extent.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern
Director: Noah Baumbach
Rating:
R
Runtime: 
122 minutes

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Sleeping with Other People (2015)

Sleeping with Other People is what you’d get if you took the regular rom-com format and made the leads emotionally damaged sex addicts. Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis play two serial cheaters who lost their virginity to one another years ago, only to reunite in a sex addicts anonymous meeting in adulthood. As both are trying to be good and committed to overcoming their sex addiction, they decide to just be friends, despite the intense sexual tension between them. As they drive each other nuts, they stay true to their earlier commitment, developing a powerful friendship that just happens to sizzle with sex appeal. Brie and Sudeikis’s chemistry is off the charts, giving Sleeping with Other People a lot of heart while the two characters work on being friends before lovers.

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott
Director: Leslye Headland
Rating:
R
Runtime: 
95 minutes

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Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

One of the decade’s earliest entries to the “best romance of the 2010s” conversation, Blue Is the Warmest Color was refreshingly different when it was released in 2013. Writer-director Abdellatif Kechiche’s masterpiece follows 15-year-old romantic Adele’s (Adele Exarchopolous) quest to fall in love. However, despite her stated interest in boys, it’s a blue-haired girl (Léa Seydoux in the performance that propelled her to international stardom) who eventually captures her interest. The two teenagers pick up an intense love affair that, to be frank, probably would not have been approved by Hollywood studio execs. (Thank goodness for French film!) It’s a powerful film on young love and sexuality that isn’t shy about any of the details — facets that helped it earn the prestigious Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos
Director: Abdel Kechiche
Rating:
NC-17
Runtime: 
187 minutes

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Always Be My Maybe (2019)

After a teenage fling, childhood friends Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) go their separate ways. She grows up to be a celebrity chef, engaged to a successful businessman, while Marcus stays in San Francisco to help out with his father’s air conditioner installation business. When Sasha’s boyfriend keeps putting off their wedding, she breaks up with him and moves back to San Francisco, where fate reunites her with Marcus. The two start hanging out again, and Marcus’s old feelings for Sasha reignite, but he has to deal with his feelings of inadequacy as well as her new boyfriend, Keanu Reeves (playing himself). Always Be My Maybe doesn’t reinvent the rom-com formula, but it executes it well, and all the actors involved give it their all (especially Reeves, delightfully over-the-top).

Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Keanu Reeves
Director: Nahnatchka Khan
Rating:
PG-13
Runtime: 
102 minutes

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Howards End (1992)

Directed by James Ivory, this 1992 romantic classic features outstanding performances from iconic actors Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Exploring the various social classes of Victorian England, this story follows three families as they fight to make their mark on the world while the burgeoning love between Thompson’s Margaret and Hopkins’ Henry threatens to engulf everyone’s world in scandal. If you’re a Bronte fan, this Victorian love story is for you.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: James Ivory
Rating:
PG
Runtime: 
143 minutes

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Someone Great (2019)

Gina Rodriguez stars in this Netflix original that marks the directorial debut of Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, who is also the screenwriter for Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder. Rom-com to Marvel movie? Yes, and it will make sense once you see this imaginative, unusual, and hilarious flick about love, loss, growth, and the bond of female friendship. Rodriguez plays Jenny Young, a music journalist who is dumped by her long-term boyfriend on the eve of a huge move to San Francisco for her dream job. Despite her sorrow, her two best friends pry Jenny out of her misery for one last outrageous adventure in New York City, determined to help her look forward and not back.

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, DeWanda Wise
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Rating:
R
Runtime:
92 minutes

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About Time (2013)

A charmingly romantic twist on time travel tropes, this Richard Curtis film centers on Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) discovery that the men in his family have the ability to go back in time. Naturally, he uses this power to win the woman of his dreams and give her the perfect life. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses as there are always limits to what we can and can’t change. With beautiful performances from Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy, this heartfelt, poignant drama delightfully masquerades as a romantic comedy.

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Director: Richard Curtis
Rating:
R
Runtime: 
123 minutes

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Set It Up (2018)

Sick of their domineering bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs), two corporate assistants (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) hatch a plan to make them fall in love with one another so they’ll stop being so darn demanding. Naturally, the assistants fall in love, too. This 2018 Netflix original was written by Booksmart writer Katie Silberman and delivers far more charm than your typical scheme-y rom-com. With engaging performances from the lovable Liu and Diggs as well as the relative newcomers, Deutch and Powell, Set It Up is a feel-good love-fest with plenty of laughs.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu
Director: Claire Scanlon
Rating:
NR
Runtime: 
105 minutes

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Ibiza: Love Drunk (2018)

In the Netflix original Ibiza, Harper (Gillian Jacobs) is sent to Spain for a business meeting, so she naturally brings her two best friends, Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and Leah (Phoebe Robinson), to join along in the merriment. Harper meets a famous DJ, Leo (Richard Madden), and her friends convince her to throw caution — and her meeting — to the wind to go to Ibiza and find this man. It’s different from regular romance plots, but conventional nonetheless. With a trio of hysterical ladies, Ibiza will hit your funny bone, but not tear too hard at your heartstrings.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Gillian Jacobs, Richard Madden
Director: Alex Richanbach
Rating:
NR
Runtime: 
120 minutes

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The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

Jessica Williams hasn’t quite had a breakout since The Daily Show, but The Incredible Jessica James is the first real chance she gets to show off her rom-com chops … and she succeeds marvelously. Jessica James, the character, may not be quite as incredible as you’d expect but she’s passionate and fun, and Williams plays her with a comedic resolve that makes you fall in love with her. Her chemistry with co-star Chris O’Dowd makes for a goofy, sexy, and refreshingly honest exploration of love after heartbreak. It’s a rom-com simply for lack of a better classification — this cynical but hopeful romp is very much its own thing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Dowd
Director: James C. Strouse
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
85 minutes

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Based on the novel of the same name, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a teenager named Lara (Lana Condor), whose life is turned upside down when love letters she has written to her crushes — meant for her eyes only — are mailed out. Each of her five previous loves confronts her one by one in an awkward, cringe-worthy fashion. Lara, normally a shy girl, must face the reality that her secrets are now out. She breaks through her shy exterior and lets herself have extraordinary experiences, and maybe she even finds love? This Netflix original will solidify your notions that high school was a rough time for all, but not without pulling at your heartstrings first.

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Lana Condor, John Corbett
Director: Susan Johnson
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
100 minutes

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To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)

Loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Good news, there’s a sequel! Lana Condor returns as awkwardly in love Lara and, turns out, she’s still reaping the fall out from the love letters she never meant to send. You may recall, the last movie left off with Lara and Peter (Noah Centineo) happily in a relationship but when another recipient of her old love letters — a crush from way back — enters the picture, there’s trouble brewing in paradise.

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo
Director: Michael Fimognari
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
101 minutes

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Nappily Ever After (2018)

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Nappily Ever After tells the story of Violet Jones, played by Sanaa Lathan, who seemingly has it all — the job, the boyfriend, the hair — until it all falls apart. She comes to realize that the life she thought she wanted isn’t the life for her. In a late-night breaking point, Violet cuts all her hair off, shedding more than just her locks in the process. When she goes on a date with a soulful barber, she begins to understand what true happiness means to her. The Netflix original is a feel-good romance where one woman finds out what is most important to her.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Ricky Whittle, Ernie Hudson
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
90 minutes

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Jerry Maguire (1996)

Tom Cruise and Rene Zellweger in Jerry Maguire

Jerry Maguire is to thank for two of the most iconic love phrases in culture: “You complete me” and “You had me at hello.” If that doesn’t put it on this list, then what would? Writer/director Cameron Crowe’s 1996 romance follows Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), a sports agent who throws away his career and finds himself with only one client. Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) is the only person at his agency who agrees to leave with him. As each character navigates tumultuous periods in the other’s life, an unlikely romance heats up. They may be opposites, but they deliver some extremely romantic, heartwrenching scenes together.

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Rating:
R
Runtime:
138 minutes

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40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)

Josh Hartnett in 40 Days and 40 Nights

You may not see the elevator pitch “Man gives up sex for Lent” and think “romance,” but 40 Days and 40 Nights is a rom-com that is a bit defter than you’d expect in its blend of lust and love. After Matt Sullivan’s (Josh Hartnett) last relationship ended in disaster, his heart has been aching and his commitment has been lacking. At Lent, he finally decides that if he’s ever going to really move on he has to do something drastic: Give up sex. So, for 40 straight days, he vows to go completely without sex. Unfortunately, the love of his life (Shannyn Sossamon) walks in right after he starts.

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Shannyn Sossamon
Director: Michael Lehmann
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
95 minutes

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Been So Long (2018)

Not all love stories are confined to America. In Been So Long, Michaela Coel (Black MirrorChewing Gum) plays Simone, a committed single mother living in London who falls — rather unexpectedly — for a man (Arinzé Kene) who may or may not be living in the shadow of his troubled past. Part musical part romance, the Netflix Original is a pure portrayal of finding love during a time when life is already complicated enough. It’s based on the stage musical by Ché Walker and Arthur Darvill, and as such, you can expect the modern-day tale to incorporate elements of funk and soul, not to mention plenty of mood lighting.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Michaela Coel, Arinzé Kene
Director: Tinge Krishnan
Rating:
NR
Runtime:
99 minutes

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This is the first film to showcase Jim Carrey’s acting talents beyond the traditional slapstick comedy. He stars as Joel alongside Kate Winslet as Clementine. The couple decide to erase each other from their memories. Combining a non-linear narrative with psychological and sci-fi elements, the film explores what romantic love really means and the nature of one’s memories of it. Considered by many to be one of the best films ever made, and certainly among the best of this century, the film took home an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay while Winslet was nominated for Best Actress. The movie has since developed a cult following and remains one of Carrey’s crowning achievements.

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Michel Gondry
Rating: 14A
Runtime: 108 minutes

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Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Based on the Jane Austen 1813 novel of the same name, the period film, set in the 18th century, tells the story of five sisters, with the central character being Elizabeth. She eventually falls for the handsome yet aloof Mr. Darcy, who initially annoys her. While the film’s story follows that of the novel fairly closely, it does deviate slightly in some ways, such as in terms of family dynamics and the specific time period. Some tweaks are also made to create a film that’s more appealing to a younger, mainstream audience. Bottom line: This isn’t your parents’ or grandparents’ movie; it will appeal to romance film lovers of all ages.

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Judi Dench
Director: Joe Wright
Rating: G
Runtime: 127 minutes

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The Theory of Everything (2014)

Eddie Redmayne received universal praise for his portrayal of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in this biographical film about the man with the brilliant mind who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at a young age. While the film chronicles Hawkings’ work in the field of physics, at its heart is the beautiful love story between he and his girlfriend and eventual wife Jane Hawking. Hawking received his diagnosis just a year after meeting Jane, and he has credited his engagement to her as giving him a purpose to live. It’s a love story unlike any other, made all the more touching given that it’s based on real life. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and Redmayne won for his lead role.

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, David Thewlis, Maxine Peake
Director: James Marsh
Rating: G
Runtime: 123 minutes

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The Notebook (2004)

Despite the mixed reviews, The Notebook remains a must-watch film for romance movie fans. Based on the 1996 Nicholas Sparks novel, an elderly man reads his love story from the 1940s to another resident in his nursing home, recalling the moments in vivid detail thanks to his notebook journal. It’s a typical romance trope involving the wealthy, beautiful girl falling for the poor worker boy against all social class conventions and her parents’ wishes. While the film is, for the most part, pretty predictable, the ending introduces a twist that will bring on some serious waterworks.

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, Gena Rowlands, James Marsden, Kevin Connolly, Sam Shepard, Joan Allen
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Rating: PG
Runtime: 124 minutes

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The Artist (2011)

The Artist

Despite being made in the 2010s, this film was designed in the style of a black-and-white silent film and is set in Hollywood in the late ’20s and early ’30s. At the heart of the love story is an actress whose star is on the rise and an older man, a famous silent film star, who is finding that his roles are being gobbled up by a new generation of actors known as “talkies.” The film was nominated for an impressive 10 Academy Awards and taking home half that, while Jean Dujardin became the first French actor to win an Oscar in the Best Actor category.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Penelope Ann Miller, Malcolm McDowell, Missi Pyle, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter, Joel Murray, Ken Davitian, John Goodman
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Rating: PG
Runtime: 100 minutes

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