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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Best Romantic Movies on Netflix Right Now


Looking for a good love story? We’ve put together the best romance movies streaming on Netflix right now, from rom-coms to tear-jerking dramas to something a little sexier. Netflix has been leaning into their own original romantic content in recent years, so there are plenty of new releases to check out but there are also some bonafide classics, award-winners, and box office hits in the mix. So without any further ado, settle in for meet-cutes, public professions of love, mind games, romantic gestures, slow dances, seductions, and all the classic romance movie beats.

If you didn’t find quite what you’re looking for here, check out the Best Rom-Coms on Netflix, the Sexiest Movies on Netflix, the Best Netflix and Chill Movies Right Now, or if you’re not finding it on Netflix at all, head over to our list of the Best Romantic Comedies of the 21st Century So Far.

Editor’s Note: This post was last updated on September 4. Recently Added: Letters to Juliet, Twilight; Expiring Soon: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World


Letter to Juliet

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Image via Summit Entertainment

Director: Gary Winick

Writers: José Rivera and Tim Sullivan

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael García Bernal, Franco Nero

There are two central love stories in Letters to Juliet, and while one largely biffs it across the board, the long-range romance between Vanessa Redgrave‘s Claire and her long-lost Lorenzo is the heart-warming stuff the best feel-good romances are made of. Amanda Seyfried stars as Sophie, a young woman visiting Verona, Italy, where she discovers a long-lost love letter in a wall where the heartbroken leave letters to William Shakespeare’s Juliet. Determined to discover who wrote the letter and reunite her with her lost lover, and in doing so, strikes up a charming friendship with Claire, while possibly finding her own true love. It’s cute, light, and absolutely gorgeous thanks to the scenic Italian setting, but Redgrave’s tender performance as Claire, a woman whose life long moved past the love she lost without ever giving up that love altogether, is a pure force of feel-good charisma, and her warm-hearted dynamic with Sophie is just as endearing – even when Sophie’s love life isn’t. – Haleigh Foutch

Twilight

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Image via Summit Entertainment

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Writer: Melissa Rosenberg

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Anna Kendrick, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone

If you’re ready to divorce yourself from the discourse and just enjoy a campy YA romance movie that’s all vibes, the entire Twilight Saga recently had a little revival moment when it arrived on Netflix and the first installment holds up as a fun and fiercely horny paranormal romance. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are full on board for every bit, from the steamy to the silly and Catherine Hardwicke develop a full-blown aesthetic that endures as its own dreamy moment in pop culture. For better and (mostly) worse, the franchise goes fully off the rails from here with some of the most truly batshit bonkers narrative choices in storytelling history, but Twilight deserves more credit than it gets for being a swooning love story that swept an entire generation off their feet. – Haleigh Foutch

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

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Image via Netflix

Director: David Dobkin

Writers: Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele

Cast: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, and Demi Lovato

I did not go into Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga expecting one of the most touching and romantic movies of the year, but one should never underestimate the power of Rachel McAdams. The Mean Girls and Game Night star proves once again that she’s one of the most underrated comedic actors of her generation with the goofy-yet-poignant Netflix Original comedy, starring alongside Will Ferrell as a pair of Icelandic singers with dreams of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but the big surprises here are the fabulously catchy original songs and the surprising tenderness between the laughs that might just leave you with a tear in your eye and warmth in your heart. That’s not just because of the love story, but that’s sure a big part of it. Bonus: Dan Stevens giving the comedic performance of his career, which is also (you’re probably noticing a theme here) surprisingly touching. — Haleigh Foutch

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Image via Netflix

Director: Susan Johnson

Writer: Sofia Alvarez

Cast: Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, and John Corbett

If you’re looking for a fun, sweet, YA romance to brighten your day, you won’t do much better on Netflix than To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Based off the novel by Jenny Han, the story follows Lara Jean (Lana Condor), a teenager whose worst nightmares are realized when five letters she wrote to her secret crushes are sent out without her knowledge. When she’s confronted by her old crush Peter (Noah Centineo), she’s afraid it could get in the way of her current crush Josh (Israel Broussard), so Lara Jean and Peter resolve to fake a relationship so they can get with who they really want to be with. Naturally, pretending to be together starts to create real feelings between the two. The film is a joy from start to finish, letting you relive a time when who “liked” you was the most important thing in the world, but without any of the trauma high school entails. Though the sequels aren’t as excellent as the first film, the entire To All the Boys trilogy is now available on Netflix. – Matt Goldberg

About Time

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Image via Universal Pictures

Director/Writer: Richard Curtis

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie

The 2013 film About Time is not just an absolute gem of a romantic comedy, it’s also one of the best time travel movies ever made. Oh yeah, and it’s a total tearjerker. Written and directed by Love, Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in their family have the ability to time travel. This comes in handy when he misses his chance with a charismatic American girl (Rachel McAdams) and goes back to the night they first met to start their relationship off right. But what begins as a delightful, grounded, and romantic romp soon turns emotional, as About Time slowly reveals itself to be a gut-wrenching father-son story at heart. – Adam Chitwood

Set It Up

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Image via Netflix

Director: Claire Scanlon

Writer: Katie Silberman

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu, and Taye Diggs

If you’re looking for a charming romantic comedy, but don’t want to rewatch something from a previous decade for the umpteenth time, you should definitely give Claire Scanlon’s charming Set It Up a look. The plot follows two beleaguered assistants (Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell) who decided to set up their bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs, respectively) in order to just get some precious free time away from their demanding jobs. However, with all their scheming, they start to fall for each other. You can see the rom-com beats coming from a mile away, but they’re done so well and so effectively that you won’t mind. Plus, the film sizzles thanks to the outstanding performances from the dazzling Deutch and Powell, who should be the streaming generation’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. – Matt Goldberg

Let It Snow

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Image via Netflix

Director: Luke Snellin

Writers: Laura Solon, Victoria Strouse, and Kay Cannon

Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Liv Hewson, Odeya Rush, Jacob Batalon, Kiernan Shipka, Joan Cusack

If you’re in the mood for some seasonal romance, Netflix delivered a bit of a Love Actually for the teen set with Let It Snow, a breezy holiday rom-com that finds a series of overlapping love stories on one fateful Christmas-season snow day. It’s a sweet film from top-to-tail, as interested in the dramas of teen friendship and domestic struggles as it the blossoming romances, and it’s filled with delightful performances from a knockout cast of young up-and-comers. A lot of the Netflix Christmas romances follow in the Hallmark channel vein, and absolutely no judgment if that’s your preferred thing, but for those who want an old-fashioned feel-good holiday romance, Let It Snow is just the ticket.– Haleigh Foutch

Someone Great

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Image via Netflix

Writer/Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Cast: Gina Rodriguez, LaKeith Stanfield, Brittany Snow, DeWanda Wise

Pitched somewhere between a love story and a wild night out comedy, Someone Great is one of Netflix’s better recently comedy efforts, centered on a young woman (Gina Rodriguez), who heads out for one last crazy night with her best friends before leaving town. Oh, and she just got dumped by her boyfriend of seven years. The boyfriend in question is played LaKeith Stanfield in peak charming mode, and the chemistry between the two is a knockout, keeping you wrapped up in their love even though you know it’s over. There’s plenty of raunchy comedy to go around in this one, but the dynamic between Rodriguez and Stanfield gives the film its heart and its spark. — Haleigh Foutch

The Incredible Jessica James

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Image via Netflix

Writer/Director: Jim Strouse

Cast: Jessica Williams, Chris O’Down, Lakeith Stanfield, Noel Wells

Jessica Williams still hasn’t got the breakout she deserves since her tenure on The Daily Show, but the indie rom-com The Incredible Jessica James is the first time since then we’ve got to see her step into a leading role and she just lights up the screen. Now, the character of Jessica James may not be quite as incredible as the title leads you to believe — she’s actually pretty selfish and naive — but she’s passionate, raw and ambitious, and Williams makes you love her in spite of her faults. A supporting performance from the constantly charming Chris O’Dowd certainly doesn’t hurt, and the two have electric chemistry as they try to navigate the waters of heartbreak together toward something healthy and new. Sexy, funny and decidedly modern, The Incredible Jessica James is a refreshing spin on the rom-com that doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator. — Haleigh Foutch

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright

Cast: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Jason Schwartzman.

Edgar Wright’s adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s outstanding comic didn’t find much of an audience upon its release, but over the years it has grown into a cult classic. The movie follows Scott Pilgrim (Cera), a sweet if slightly selfish and misguided young man who falls for delivery girl Ramona Flowers (Winstead). He can only continue to date her if he defeats her seven evil exes. Scott’s comfortable with the video game framework, but the film is really about two people discovering they have to get over their own baggage if they’re going to find new love. Wright decorates the whole picture with video game tropes and fun little nods, but never loses sight of the core romantic story. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is funny, effervescent, and only gets better on repeat viewings. – Matt Goldberg

Always Be My Maybe

always-be-my-maybe

Image via Netflix

Director: Nahnacthka Kahn

Writers: Michael Golamco, Ali Wong, Randall Park

Cast: Ali Wong, Randall Park, Michelle Buteau, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim, James Saito, Vivian Bang

Netflix brought the rom-com back in a big way with 2018’s Set It Up, and the streaming service’s 2019 effort Always Be My Maybe is similarly charming and delightful. Co-written by and starring Randall Park and Ali Wong, the film follows a pair of teenaged best friends who have since drifted apart and are pushed together once more in adulthood, even though their lives have followed very different paths. Park and Wong are dynamite together, and the film takes time to breathe with some well-paced dramatic sequences. It’s also not lacking in scene-stealers, as Michelle Buteau is a hoot and Keanu Reeves once again proves his talent knows no bounds. – Adam Chitwood

The Half of It

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Image via Netflix

Writer/Director: Alice Wu

Cast: Leah Lewis, Enrique Murciano, Alexxis Lemire, Becky Ann Baker, Daniel Diemer, Collin Chou

Netflix has become the home of some real home-run romantic comedies in recent years, and the latest gem The Half of It might have just threatened to knock the crown off of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Written and directed by Alice Wu, the film offers an update on the classic Cyrano de Bergerac — and not in the deeply unsettling catfishing way Sierra Burgess Is a Loser did. Wu’s touching, gorgeously shot tale finds three teenagers searching for their identity and hungry for their first love, all wrapped up in a messy, hungry love triangle that never feels cheap or exploitative. Gorgeously shot, expertly paced, and filled with characters you can’t help but learn to love, The Half of It is a knockout self-aware teen romance that’s as bittersweet as the real thing. — Haleigh Foutch

365 Days

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Image via Netflix

Director: Barbara Bialowas, Tomasz Mandes

Writers: Tomasz Klimala, Barbara Bialowas (screenplay associate), Tomasz Mandes (screenplay associate), Blanka Lipinska (screenplay associate/based on the novel by)

Cast: Michele Morrone, Anna Maria Sieklucka, Bronislaw Wroclawski, Otar Saralidze, Magdalena Lamparska, Natasza Urbanska

Move over, every other sexy movie on this list, because there’s a new kid on the block named 365 Days and it’s perhaps the sexiest thing to ever land on Netflix. Ever.

Arriving on Netflix in June, the Polish feature (originally titled 365 dni) is adapted from the first book in a steamy adult romance novel series from author Blanka Lipinska. 365 Days tells the story of Laura (Anna Maria Sieklucka), a young Polish woman who Massimo (Michele Morrone), the head of a Sicilian crime family, believes is the same woman who saved his life during a deal gone wrong months ago. When Massimo spies Laura at a bar while she is vacationing in Sicily for her birthday, he makes the decision to separate Laura and keep her for 365 days to see if she will fall in love with him.

Now, look, I know that this plot sounds deeply problematic; it definitely starts that way. Luckily, through Laura’s perspective, 365 Days addresses just how messed up it is for Massimo to kidnap her and keep her at his palazzo for a whole-ass year. And while you will experience a few more “Hey, that’s kinda fucked up!” moments as you watch, it’s really hard (heh) not to be hella turned on by Massimo and Laura’s chemistry. It’s very easy to be charmed by the glamor and Eurotrash wealth porn of Massimo’s life as a young, hot, super jacked Italian mafia don (Christian Grey who?). As the movie busies itself charming you with the fantasy of this life, it also cleverly crafts the cat-and-mouse game of seduction he and Laura play with one another. This, in turn, just makes them a great couple to watch develop. When it comes to the sex scenes, 365 Days gives Pornhub a run for its money with the very visceral, steamy situations Massimo and Laura find themselves in as their relationship progresses. Their BDSM-filled sexcapades the stuff of pure spank bank fantasy, ranging from fooling around in the shower to full-on yacht sex with enough thrusting and hair-pulling to keep your eyes glued to the screen.

Seriously, cancel any plans you have, watch 365 Days right now, and thank me later. – Allie Gemmill

Stardust

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Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman

Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfieffer, Sienna Miller, Robert De Niro, Ian McKellan, Ben Barnes, Henry Cavill, Peter O’Toole, Rupert Everett, Mark Strong, Ricky Gervais

Based on Neil Gaiman’s novella of the same name, Stardust is a whimsical, magical adventure through a fantasy land where stars crash to earth in human form, space pirates navigate the air, and the ghosts of the monarchy are entertained by fratricide. Long before he was Daredevil Charlie Cox charmed as Tristan Thorn, a young man who journeys to a magical land to capture a fallen star (Claire Danes) and finds adventure and romance lying beyond the wall he was told to never cross. Stardust is playful and fun to boot, with a vibrant performance from Michelle Pfieffer as a badass witch on the quest for immortality. All in all, Stardust has everything you want from a fantasy adventure, from wild imagination to sweeping romance to Robert De Niro as a space pirate. — Haleigh Foutch

Marriage Story

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Image via Netflix

Director/Writer: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta

Fair warning: Marriage Story will wreck you. But it’s also not just one of the best films of 2019, it’s the best film Noah Baumbach has ever made. The story chronicles the process of divorce from separation to finalization, with Adam Driver playing the successful theater director husband and Scarlett Johansson playing the successful actress wife. Complicating matters is the fact that the couple shares a child, but the brilliance of Baumbach’s film is that it tells the story from both points of view, so no matter which side you fall on in the end, you have deep empathy for both individuals. Driver and Johansson give career-best performances as Baumbach writes full-bodied, complex individuals—you know, like actual human beings. And with regards to the subject matter, Baumbach vividly showcases how the voices of the two individuals—and the love they previously shared—get lost in the actual process of divorcing. Heartbreaking and deeply human, Marriage Story is not to be missed. – Adam Chitwood

The Old Guard

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Image via Netflix

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer: Greg Rucka

Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor

You might be surprised to see Netflix’s latest big-budget actioner The Old Guard on this list, but consider the fact that it’s directed by Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood and it all starts to make sense. Those films are two of the best love stories of the 21st century and tucked into her ass-kicking superhero thriller, Prince-Bythwood makes space for another stunning romance. Of course, much of that credit goes to original writer Greg Rucka, who made it very clear the queer love story stayed in his film deal, and equally so to actors Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli, who make you fall as in love with Nicky and Joe as they are with each other. But in Prince-Bythewood’s hands, their immortal love story is a swooning, lovely subplot that almost steals the whole dang show. — Haleigh Foutch


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