For many people, Valentine’s Day is going to be spent at home this year. Luckily, there’s never been a better time to kick back and watch a romantic movie with (or without!) a loved one, with great options available for every streaming service. To help you find a great film to snuggle up with this Valentine’s Day, we created a list of the best romantic movies available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.
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To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)
For years, Netflix subscribers have been invested in the love story of Lara Jean and Peter, which has spanned two movies and countless obstacles, from inappropriate Instagram videos to the arrival of Lara Jean’s former crush, John Ambrose. Everything finally appears to be looking up for the young lovers, but the end of high school and the glance towards adulthood brings the expected roadblocks of a third film in a trilogy. Will Lara Jean and Peter be able to survive graduation and enter adulthood together, or will the possibility of distance tear them apart? Answers are coming to the streaming service right in time for the holiday.
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Stars: Lara Condor, Noah Centineo
Director: Michael Fimognari
Runtime: 109 minutes
The Lovebirds (2020)
A common complaint about romantic movies is the lack of edge-of-your-seat action sequences to fill in the mushy gaps. That isn’t the case with The Lovebirds, which focuses on those sequences, sometimes to the detriment of the chemistry between Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, who play a couple that is seconds away from a breakup when they accidentally hit a cyclist with their car, which is then commandeered by a mysterious man who proceeds to kill the cyclist. Jibran and Leilani suddenly find themselves on the run and attempting to clear their names. Some of the movie falls into the ridiculous, but Nanjiani and Rae make sure the ride is always fun.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae
Director: Michael Showalter
Runtime: 87 minutes
The Theory of Everything (2014)
The life of Stephen Hawking is often viewed through the prism of his vast contributions to science. While that’s a critical part of the biographical The Theory of Everything, the movie also goes into great detail about the love Hawking shared with Jane Hawking, to whom he was married for 30 years. The casting of Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones sparks instant chemistry into a story rooted in theoretical physics. Most biopics aren’t centered around a love story, but this grounds the film and makes it one of the most romantic biopics of the last decade.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Director: James Marsh
Runtime: 123 minutes
Happiest Season (2020)
Yes, this might be better served in a selection of Christmas movies, but who says no to a little bit of versatility? Happiest Season follows the love of Abby and Harper, who head to Harper’s home for some holiday cheer. Harper has a secret, though: she hasn’t come out to her family, disguising Abby as her “roommate” for the trip. Unsurprisingly, this gets challenging fast, with Harper quickly driving Abby away from her and ruining the Christmas spirit for both of them. To save the holidays, Harper will have to be honest with her family about who she is and who she wants to love. Also, Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) is in the supporting cast, so that should be enough reason to watch.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy, Alison Brie
Director: Clea DuVall
Runtime: 102 minutes
Date Night (2010)
Since Valentine’s Day is already a date night, why not watch the aptly-named film? Comedy titans Tina Fey and Steve Carell star as Claire and Phil, a couple stuck in a marital rut. Phil decides to take Claire to a chic restaurant to spark some romance, but decides to steal another couple’s table when he is unable to get a reservation. The act of stealing an identity leads to immediate danger, as the couple they’ve impersonated is in trouble with the mob. The thrills of the evening and trying to take down the mob (and survive) make for one unexpected, high-octane date night. It feels much easier to watch the movie instead of trying to reenact it on your own.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Stars: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg
Director: Shawn Levy
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Big Sick (2017)
The Big Sick might be too on the nose this year, but skipping it would be missing out on one of the best romance films of the last few years. Written by Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (and starring the latter), The Big Sick loosely tells the story of Gordon and Nanjiani’s real-life romance. As Nanjiani’s character, a fictional version of himself, is faced with the prospect of a culturally based arranged marriage, he falls for Emily (Zoe Kazan). They wind up splitting, but a grave medical condition lands Emily in the hospital and Kumail with a sense of responsibility to her and her parents (played by the great Ray Romano and Holly Hunter). A happy ending never feels guaranteed, but the movie is full of genuine laughs and love, making it an instant indie classic.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Director: Michael Showalter
Runtime: 119 minutes
Sylvie’s Love (2020)
An Amazon Original, Sylvie’s Love aims to transport viewers to a different time, when love flowed as smoothly as jazz music. The movie’s pacing and style, along with its setting of Harlem in the 1950s, all has a very melodic feel. Tessa Thompson stars as the titular Sylvie, while football-star-turned-actor Nnamdi Asomugha plays Bobby, a tenor saxophone player. Music and love are interwoven seamlessly throughout the film, which becomes a celebration of both Black love and the ageless qualities of romance and jazz.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria
Director: Eugene Ashe
Runtime: 116 minutes
The Notebook (2004)
Just because The Notebook is an obvious choice doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice. The adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name wasn’t a box office smash, but it is now revered for the way it touches on heartstrings, drawing viewers to their tissue boxes time after time. The chemistry between stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is electric as their characters’ love story unfolds. Cliche moments are more effective than trite and the need to cry only grows heavier as the movie crescendos. Just be wary — your partner is going to expect 365 letters over the coming year after watching this.
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Runtime: 123 minutes
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
The love story of Crazy Rich Asians sometimes feels secondary to the opulent world that the movie’s characters live and play in. Singapore shines as a bright hope in a city where money can poison the kindest of hearts. When the movie came out, it was lauded for being one of the first mainstream movies to feature a predominantly Asian cast. That representation is important, but don’t let it obscure the budding romance between Rachel and Nick in a classic “different side of the tracks” love story, bumped up a thousand notches. This movie made Henry Golding a star and Constance Wu a bigger star, while introducing a larger audience to the hilariousness who is Awkwafina.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina
Directors: Jon M. Chu
Runtime: 120 minutes
Malcolm & Marie (2021)
For those feeling a little saltier on Valentine’s Day, Malcolm & Marie may scratch a certain itch. As the trailer for Netflix’s newest film suggests, it’s not so much a love story as it is a story about love — and where it can falter. Rendered in beautiful black-and-white, Malcolm & Marie focuses an intense gaze on the romance between Malcolm (John David Washington) and Marie (Zendaya), which always seems just a beat away from shattering into the abyss. The movie does play out as a conversation and quarrel between two lovers, which may not be enough to pique the interest of everyone. The setting of the film also feels claustrophobic, a boon for the atmosphere but a drawback for those who don’t want to feel the obvious pressures of the pandemic when watching the movie. If you’re sick of love this Valentine’s Day, Malcolm & Marie has a chance at validating you.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Stars: John David Washington, Zendaya
Director: Sam Levinson
Runtime: 106 minutes
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