20 Best Romance Movies on Netflix For Valentine’s Day
The best way to spend Valentine’s Day, in my humble opinion, is to watch romance movies. Because these movies are a reminder of how real life doesn’t always work that way, and also of the times that it does. Romance movies are infinitely hopeful, and even if we end up with broken or unrealised relationships at the end of these films, it seems to still cheer us on. And even the ones that make us weep a bunch, it feels immensely cathartic to have an outlet for all these stressful day to day events we have to deal with.
Whenever I want to feel optimistic about the world again, I turn to a romance movie, and suddenly, my week feels a little lighter. So here are some of the best romance movies to stream now on Netflix, so you don’t even need to leave your home for your romantic fix.
1. A Single Man (2009)
We might say Tom Ford’s A Single Man is more drama than romance, but its themes largely revolve around love and its agonies, so I feel it suits this list perfectly.
Colin Firth plays English professor George, who is unable to cope with being alive after the sudden death of his boyfriend a year ago, and is driven to a state where he wishes to end things. Because it is 1962, he is closeted, and therefore has to keep his grief close to his chest.
Tom Ford’s aesthetic from his work in fashion seeps into the gorgeous visuals of the film, driving home the idea that youth and beauty are fleeting concepts. For George, despite being surrounded by such stylish fittings, all that prettiness stays external as he moves through the bleak grayness of life without his love.
2. Blue Valentine (2010)
Blue Valentine will devastate you, and I don’t say this lightly.
It stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, who play a now married couple Dean and Cindy, with the movie weaving between the beginning moments of their relationship and the present brokenness that the both of them can no longer ignore. It is especially difficult for the viewer to see what they used to be, the playfulness they shared on their dates, the passion they had for each other — all of this vanishes into a state where you don’t even want to be near the other person.
I apologize for having to begin on a darker note, but if romance movies are to chart the authentic experience of love, then they cannot always sparkle.
3. About Time (2013)
About Time might be one of my favourite romantic movies. The premise is simple: Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that he has the ability to time travel as an ability they both share. So when Tim meets the woman of his dreams at a dining in the dark experience, he uses this ability to build on the spark they both felt.
There is just something so charming and earnest about it, due to the wonderful efforts of Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson. McAdams is truly the queen of romance; she has movies like The Notebook, The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Vow all in her repertoire. She is such a vivacious presence here.
The relationship that Tim has with his father is also a focus of the film, which just elevates it in my opinion. Nighy and Gleeson work together to show us such a great depiction of a father-son relationship. After watching the movie, I had to go ugly cry on my father, who thought I was going mental. Father-son relationships are not often highlighted enough in film, so it’s nice to get such a lovely portrayal in a rom-com.
4. Her (2013)
Joaquin Phoenix might be snapping up award after award this year for Joker, but there are other movies where he has delivered more amazing performances, and Her is such a movie. I think I enjoyed his performance so much more here because he plays against type, more plush-like and sincere rather than dark and brooding. Phoenix’s character Theodore falls in love with an artificially intelligent operating system on his computer called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
We might think to ourselves: how does one fall in love with an A.I system? As Samantha learns and absorbs our human ways, she starts to really demonstrate the emotional sentiments that drive us as well. So yes, it is a love story, about a lonely man trying to feel something again, but it also makes us contemplate what it means to be human.
5. 6 Years (2015)
Taissa Farmiga is probably one of my favourite young actresses. I feel that both her and her older sister Vera Farmiga have such talent in making you feel the subject matter and relating to their characters, even if said characters aren’t the most likeable people. Farmiga’s character Melanie isn’t the most likeable young person you would ever come across. In the opening moments of the film, we see that she has driven home despite being drunk, and can comes across as fairly immature in her interactions with boyfriend Dan (Ben Rosenfield).
They were together when they were really young (high school) and have been together 6 years, hence the title. Now that Dan is about to graduate, he is rethinking his paths and decisions, and also wondering if his relationship with Melanie is something he needs to hold on to, or give up and move in a different direction. It is definitely not easy to maneuver such a dilemma, especially when there are feelings still involved and both aren’t actually done growing up.
Both Farmiga and Rosenfield are wonderful to watch together on screen, with such natural chemistry and ease with each other, which makes it all the more painful when you realise the heartbreak that awaits.
6. Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Sleeping with Other People is a modern version of When Harry Met Sally, in a sense that the relationship develops over a period of time, and also begins in friendship before becoming something more. Lainey (Alison Brie) is hung up over her ex-boyfriend Matthew (played with a strange kind of appeal by Adam Scott) and keeps going back to him, despite his married status. Jake (Jason Sudeikis) is a serial womanizer, having been unable to commit to any woman because he leaves before anything can happen.
The two meet and decide that they are too messed up to get involved with each other, so develop a friendship instead. As the movie progresses, we can see how important they become to each other, and recognise the love they start to feel for one another. Brie and Sudeikis are wonderfully funny together, and all their shared banter and conversation form the backbone of the movie and truly makes it worth a watch.
7. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
This movie is really good mainly because of the performance from Jessica Williams (her character’s name is also Jessica), who drives the movie along with her humour and little quips. Jessica is reeling from a break-up, from a relationship that lasted 2 years. So she is struggling in her personal life, as well as professionally, since her dream of becoming a playwright doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
As a budding playwright and lover of the stage myself, the film really fleshed out the challenges one faces when trying to live your life chasing your passion of an artistic life. She meets Boone, played by Chris O’Dowd with wit and charm, and they both help each other in seeing the road that exists beyond their former broken romantic entanglements.
8. Irreplaceable You (2018)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is underrated. Have you seen her performances in Black Mirror’s San Junipero and Concussion? She is magnificent, communicating such poignancy in her performances that say so much with so little, letting the silent moments speak more than any bit of dialogue. Irreplaceable You shines because of her. This is not to say her co-star Michiel Huisman does nothing. He plays the nerdy Sam in a clueless and charming way. But you care about the movie and these characters because of Mbatha-Raw’s performance.
She plays Abbie, who has spent her entire life being in love with Sam, and now that they are engaged and on the path to marriage, she suddenly finds an obstacle to her happiness with him. Abbie is given a terminal cancer diagnosis, and as she feels her clock winding down, she worries most about Sam, and how he will be able to go on without her. This is one of those movies you need a box of tissues for, unless you don’t mind using the t-shirt you are wearing.
9. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
This is the second movie on the list with Michiel Huisman in it, and I can understand that, he definitely has a swoon-worthy leading man quality to him. Huisman plays Dawsey Adams, a man who decides to write to the owner of a used book that made its way into his hands, in order to get the address for bookstores in London so that they can get more books over to the island (this is post WW2, before the internet) for his book club. His letter reaches writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James), who has achieved literary success but not with her own literary voice.
His letter and writing voice intrigues her, and she writes back enquiring about the origins of the name of the book club (which is the title of the film). These letters they send to each other stir something within both of them, recognising that the recipient of their letters understands them in a way no one else can. His story prompts the writer within her to go to his home and participate in the book club herself, unearthing the truth of what really happened during those moments of war on the island.
This film is equal parts poignant and beautiful, and will absolutely speak to you if you are a lover of books.
10. Us And Them (2018)
The title of this Taiwanese drama might make it seem like there are two different groups of people involved in this, when really it is the same couple – what they were, and what they eventually become. How does one make sure that something beautiful can always stay that way? Are the paths of all relationships an unfurling into despair and eventual separation? We follow Xiaoxiao (Dongyu Zhou) and Jianqing (Boran Jing) as they meet, fall in love, and then make the decision to leave each other.
It is especially painful when you recognise that what you shared was wonderful and amazing, and lament what has been lost and can never be recovered since.
11. Happy Anniversary (2018)
You might not be aware of this film since it requires a more thorough deep-dive into the pits of Netflix to know about, but it is a fun and thoughtful movie. Ben Schwartz (Parks and Rec fans can I get a ‘whoop whoop’!) and Noël Wells have been together for 3 years, and on their third year anniversary, they find themselves wondering if they even want to be together anymore.
For Wells’ Mollie, there is the reservation of committing to a guy and then realising that he isn’t the one, thus wasting all her fertile years investing in the wrong man. This is a legitimate fear women face, since we always feel like we are on the clock, the societal expectation of having to settle down and make babies knocking on our door with a furious clank.
Schwartz’ character Sam is more certain that he isn’t going to get anything better than his relationship with Mollie, but her back and forth uncertainly and some mad ways makes him wonder if he should just find someone else to have a stable and more boring life with. Schwartz and Wells have such great comedic chemistry together, bringing great substance to a film that lives and dies on the charm of its leads.
12. Set It Up (2018)
Set It Up has a more traditional romantic comedy flavour, but it throws plenty of twists our way to make it stand out. It also has Zoey Deutch (Harper), who is just amazing in her emotional range as well as comedic timing. Her co-star Glen Powell (Charlie) doesn’t quite have the acting ability she has, but he does have a decent amount of charisma.
Harper and Charlie have bosses who are workaholics, and with them being their assistants, these means that the two of them don’t get any downtime as well. So, what should they do? The obvious answer is to of course set them up. But in all their plotting and scheming, they end up feeling things for each other as well.
The highlight of the movie is truly the ensemble. You have actors like Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs and even Pete Davidson offered a likeable turn as the gay best friend of Charlie. So time to set it up and stream this movie on Netflix.
13. Someone Great (2019)
It took me forever to watch Someone Great, and when I did, I lamented the fact that it took me so long. It has a great cast and a fantastic lead in Gina Rodriguez (Jenny Young), who brings such spark and energy to her role. The best thing about Someone Great is the female friendships, which is the main focus of the film. These are friends who take time off work to help Jenny grieve the loss of her 9 year relationship.
It is such a mature examination of love; the fear of long-term commitment and the vulnerability that comes with it, the stagnancy of a several-year relationship that nobody wants to acknowledge, the recognition that you can love someone but not be able to be with them. Someone Great is simply a gem of a romantic movie, and I don’t think you need to be a romance movie fan to relate to the subject matter this movie explores.
14. Tune In For Love (2019)
This is a Korean film, so please expect much flooding on your sofa from all the tears you weep. I know I certainly cried a ton watching it. Mi-soo (Go-eun Kim) and Hyun-woo (Hae-In Jung) become acquainted when Hyun-woo begins work in a bakery Mi-soo’s parents owned. However, Hyun-woo is dealing with the wounds of his past, and allows it to take hold of him again before they can develop anything romantic. When they meet by chance years later, the spark is still there.
Because the setting is in the 90s, it’s difficult for them to reconnect sometimes, since technology like the internet and mobile phones only became a widely used commodity later. It has such a nostalgic vibe to it because of that, and really sells the idea that these two end up together because of some kind of kismet. A radio show also has foundations in their relationship, hence the title of the film.
15. Always Be My Maybe (2019)
I watched and reviewed this movie mainly for Ali Wong (Sasha) and Randall Park (Marcus), but it was Keanu Reeves who ended up being one of the best things about the movie. Sasha and Marcus have been best friends for a long time, until a rift in their friendship and moving onto different paths sets them apart. This all changes when Sasha finds herself moving back to her hometown. The two run into each other, and discover that things are far from over between them.
Always Be My Maybe is funny, sexy and has lots of heart. What else can you ask for in a rom-com?
16. Isn’t It Romantic (2019)
Rebel Wilson, when in the right role, is able to crush it (as Fat Amy would say) quite spectacularly. Isn’t It Romantic offers her that space, where she is engaging and humorous as the female lead. All the others actors pull their weight as well, Adam Devine is naturally funny and has such good chemistry with Wilson, the “beguiling” Liam Hemsworth gives us more than just abs, and Priyanka Chopra shows that she has quite the talent for comedy.
Isn’t It Romantic is essentially a commentary on the classic rom-com, critiquing its stereotyping of certain characters (like the gay best friend every romantic lead has) and making fun of certain elements, like chase sequences to stop the wedding or women feuding just for the sake of fulfilling a trope. Its satirical features are certainly better than They Came Together with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, a movie that made fun of rom-com clichés but created a very bland film.
17. I Lost My Body (2019)
The great thing about Netflix is that it introduces the general public to movies that might have otherwise not registered on your radar. I Lost My Body is one such movie. A severed hand goes in such of its owner, and somehow, has the memories of Naoufel and his love for librarian Gabrielle, which helps guide it in its search. It is an animated film that is part romance, part adventure, a beautiful rendering of loss and yearning.
You might think this recommendation slightly macabre, since a severed hand is not a thing that comes to mind when we think of romance. But like I said, the beauty of the romance genre is the ability for it to use different means of storytelling to tell us something about love, and I Lost My Body does this wonderfully.
18. Marriage Story (2019)
I know Marriage Story is a bit of a strange addition, since it deals with the end of a marriage more than the loved-up ways that existed before, but it is still a movie related to romantic relationships and the ups and downs of love. I think the most important aspect we need to reckon with when we think about romance and love is the possible ending of it, and that is what Marriage Story is.
We get a brief glimpse into Charlie and Nicole’s feelings for each other in the respective letters they have to write to each other in the beginning. It makes whatever unfolds harder to bear as we see the couple head down a destructive path of hate and barbed words.
19 & 20. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) & To All the Boys: P.S I Still Love You (2020)
These two movies should of course be watched together, so I am combining them as my last entries on this list. In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) fall in love for real after months of pretending to be in a relationship with each other.
In the sequel, they continue with their relationship, but hit a few bumps along the way. One of those bumps is John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher), a boy Lara Jean has had a crush on for the longest time, and who comes back into the life because her letter reaches him (her sister posted all her letters to these boys she liked in the first movie).
Now Lara Jean finds herself with a big decision to make. Does her heart belong with Peter, or should she explore the potential of what she and John Ambrose could share? I already know the answer since I read all the books in the series by Jenny Han like the book nerd I am, but I am still going to watch the movie when it hits Netflix on February 12, because that is my Valentine’s gift to myself.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.