Table of Contents
- The Lucky One
- Love and Honor
- Remember Sunday
- No Strings Attached
- Like Water For Chocolate
- Meet My Valentine
- Friends with Benefits
- Autumn Dreams
- Pretty Woman
- Under the Tuscan Sun
- 15 sappy romantic movies on Netflix to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day
- With Valentine’s Day just on the horizon we’ve picked a punch of mushy, sappy, uber-romantic movies for all those who love love.
- The Best Romantic Movies and Shows to Watch on Netflix This Valentine’s Day
- The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
- 25. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
- 24. Roxanne (1987)
- 23. Enough Said (2013)
- 22. Man Up (2015)
- 21. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
- 20. Trainwreck (2015)
- 19. The Princess Bride (1987)
- 18. Chasing Amy (1997)
- 17. Moonstruck (1987)
- 16. The Wedding Singer (1998)
I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy… asking for dinner, a movie and a little romancing.
Surely that’s not too much to ask? It sounds like a simple request, but not so much when you’re a parent. Kids, cash flow, babysitters and crazy schedules have a knack for cramping your style.
My husband and I have been quick to learn you don’t need a night out to keep the fires burning in your relationship. Netflix has a host of romantic movies on offer begging you to spice up your Saturday night and reignite the romance from the comfort of your own home.
Whether you’re chasing a rom-com, sweeping love story, or something a little saucier, Netflix has just what you need to get you in the mood for love. Pop the kids in bed, dim the lights, grab a bottle of vino and flirt the night away with these romantic movies on Netflix my husband and I have given the seal of approval. Ooh la la!
The Lucky One
Netflix rating: 4 stars
Did it just get hot in here? Zac Efron is smoking in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ bestseller, The Lucky One. Alongside Taylor Schilling (OITNB) and Blythe Danner, Efron plays a US Marine Sergeant in search of his lucky charm – a beautiful woman from a photo he found during a tour of duty. If you believe in destiny and love a romantic drama, start streaming this gem now.
Netflix rating: 4.5 stars
Joss Whedon’s In Your Eyes is a beautifully moving romance of the supernatural kind. Dylan and Rebecca live vastly different lives in separate corners of America. They’ve never met, yet their souls, minds and hearts are connected. They can see each other in their eyes and experience what the other is experiencing. They become increasingly dependent on and obsessed with each other. The supernatural sex scene is sure to get you in the mood.
Love and Honor
Netflix rating: 4 stars
War theme to keep the guys happy – check. A shirtless Liam Hemsworth to keep the girls happy – check. When his girlfriend dumps him during the war, young Vietnam soldier Dalton Joiner’s (Austin Stowell – Bridge of Spies) world is torn apart. Joiner and his best friend Mickey Wright (Hemsworth) escape the war during an R&R and return to the US to win his girlfriend’s love back, only to find she’s joined an anti-war activist group. Set during the Vietnam War and at the time of the Apollo 11 mission, this romantic drama is based on a true story. Love and Honor is a little weak in places, but has all the right ingredients for a moving love story.
Netflix rating: 4.5 stars
Think 50 First Dates with a twist. Gus (Zachary Levi) meets quirky waitress Molly (Alexis Bledel) and is quick to fall for her. There’s one problem though – Gus suffers short term memory loss and must remind himself every day who he is. Will these two overcome their hurdles and find love? A little Hallmark-y in places, but an easy to watch love story with enough quirk to keep the guys happy.
No Strings Attached
Netflix rating: 3.5 stars
Old friends Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman) are reunited after a drunken text. The text leads to sex, more sex, and then a little more sex. The friends make a pact to keep it casual, but it’s not long before feelings get in the way.
Like Water For Chocolate
Netflix rating: 3.5 stars
Sensual, romantic and full of sexual desire, Like Water For Chocolate centres around young woman, Tita, denied of love and destined to care for her mother. A slave to the kitchen, Tita infuses every meal she cooks with intense emotion that affects everyone who eats it.
Meet My Valentine
Netflix rating: 4.5 stars
Married couple Tom (Scott Wolf) and Valentine have fallen ‘out of like’ with each other. They still love each other, but the spark has all but gone. When Tom discovers he has months to live, he sets about finding a replacement for himself – a new husband for his wife and father for his daughter. In his search, Tom and Valentine rediscover their love and passion for each other.
Friends with Benefits
Netflix rating: 4 stars
You know the formula well. Friends + sex = drama. Despite the predictable plot, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis have great chemistry in this easy to watch rom-com sure to get you in the mood for love.
Netflix rating: 4 stars
High school sweethearts Ben and Annie elope at the tender age of 18 and prepare to ditch their small town for the bright lights of New York. Annie’s dad finds out and demands the marriage be annulled. Ben and Annie go their separate ways and are reunited 15 years later to discover the annulment papers were never filed and they are in fact still married. A little corny in parts, but you can’t help but stick with it to see if true love prevails.
Netflix rating: 4 stars
It would be a mistake to not add this classic to the list. Big. Huge! One of the most popular romantic movies of all time, Pretty Woman is a classic that reminds us to treasure what’s right in front of us.
Under the Tuscan Sun
Netflix rating: 3.5 stars
Writer Frances (Diane Lane) has a second chance at love when she flees to Tuscany following her devastating divorce. On a whim, Frances buys a run-down villa and begins the mammoth task of rebuilding the villa and her life. Under the Tuscan Sun will make you laugh, cry, fill you with wanderlust and warm your heart.
Which Netflix romantic flicks would you add to the list? Which movies get you in the mood?
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15 sappy romantic movies on Netflix to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day just on the horizon we’ve picked a punch of mushy, sappy, uber-romantic movies for all those who love love.
Netflix has a wide variety of films across romantic comedies and dramas so here’s a selection from both their original features and licensed content so your Valentine’s Day is sorted.
‘Crazy Stupid Love’
Boasting a terrific cast that includes Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon, ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ looks at love across different generations. Primarily, the story follows Cal (Carell), who after his wife Emily (Moore) comes asking for a divorce, befriends Jacob (Gosling), who is a pro at picking up women. However Jacob’s playa ways come into question when he meets Hannah (Stone). Meanwhile Cal’s son is experiencing love and heartbreak for the first time. This movie touches your heart as much as it does your funny bone.
‘Set It Up’
Every so often, Netflix produces a great original film. ‘Set It Up’ is one of them. Reuniting ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ stars Glen Powell and Zoey Deutsch, the two young actors play the respective PAs of Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu’s characters. They hatch up a plan to set their bosses up with one another so they can finally get their own free time. Eating pizza drunk in the middle of the night has never seemed more romantic.
‘The Kissing Booth’
When Elle Evans (Joey King), a pretty, late-bloomer who’s never-been-kissed, decides to run a kissing booth at her high school’s Spring Carnival, she unexpectedly finds herself locking lips with her secret crush– the ultimate bad boy, Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). Sparks fly, but there’s one little problem: Noah just happens to be the brother of her best friend, Lee, (Joel Courtney) and is absolutely off limits according to the rules of their friendship pact.
Before Ryan Reynolds’ career skyrocketed up with Deadpool, Reynolds starred in such rom coms as ‘The Proposal’, ‘Just Friends’ and this feature. Co-starring Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Reynolds plays a political consultant going through a divorce who tells his daughter (Abigail Breslin) the story of how he met the great loves of his life. You can’t get more of a Valentine’s Day movie than this.
‘Maid in Manhattan’
It’s the rom com that everyone has seen more times than they care to admit. Jennifer Lopez (currently making a comeback in ‘Second Act’) plays the eponymous maid who a Senatorial candidate (Joseph Fiennes) falls for after mistaking her for a guest at the hotel where she actually works. Fun fact: ‘Maid in Manhattan’ is based on a story by John Hughes, who is credited using a pseudonym.
‘The Notebook’ did wonders for the careers of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. However it also led to an unnecessary numbers of Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations. The film follows an elderly man reading a love story to a woman in a retirement home about a poor yet passionate young man who falls for a wealthy young woman.
‘P.S. I Love You’
‘P.S. I Love You’ is always guaranteed to get you teary – if not at the dead husband storyline, then at Gerard Butler’s atrocious Irish accent. Hilary Swank plays the lead, a widow whose late husband (Butler) leaves her ten letters to help her through the process of mourning and encourage her to start a new life.
‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’
The third Bridget Jones movie was actually the highest grossing film at the Irish box office in the year of its release, 2016. Renée Zellweger pulls up her granny knickers to play the titular role yet again as this time Bridget has not only love and career challenges to deal with – she also has a baba on the way. Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey compete for Bridget’s love; both their characters could potentially be the father of her baby.
After ‘P.S. I Love You’, this is our second movie adaptation from a Cecelia Ahern novel (both movies also shot scenes in Ireland). Taking place over a number of years, the movie follows two friends, Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) whose poor choices in life and love make their chances of ever realising their true feelings for one another less and less likely.
‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once? Lara Jean Song Covey’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control when the love letters for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all– are mysteriously mailed out. Lana Condor (‘Alita: Battle Angel’, ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’) and Noah Centineo (‘Sierra Burgess Is A Loser’, ‘The Fosters’) star.
‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’
We’ve picked a number of cute teen rom coms within our selection of Netflix movies. They don’t get much cuter than ‘Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging’. Georgia Groome plays a 14 year old who is experiencing lots of things like kissing, love and thongs, all for the first time. Aaron Taylor-Johnson co-stars in one of his first film roles.
‘La La Land’
Almost everyone has seen ‘La La Land’, the 6-time Oscar winning musical, at this stage. In case you haven’t, settle in this Valentine’s Day to follow a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and aspiring actress (Emma Stone) in LA as they try to navigate a career and a relationship with one another.
This classic from the unofficial king of teen pics – John Hughes – follows the ‘sweet’ sixteenth birthday of a girl named Samantha (Molly Ringwald). Everything that could go wrong does, but a last minute change of luck ends up working in her favour.
‘Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings have never been more adorable than they are here as two love-struck high school students. Cera’s Nick is the base player for Queercore band The Jerk Offs. Dennings’ Norah is the daughter of a wealthy record producer who shares Nick’s passion for music. The two end up on an unforgettable night out in New York as they, alongside Nick’s bandmates and Norah’s friend Caroline, go in search of the secret location where their favourite band, Where’s Fluffy?, are playing.
Last but not least we’ve included a sci fi entry on our list of romantic movies on Netflix. The 2016 film stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as two passengers travelling on a spacecraft headed to a distant colony planet. They are ‘accidentally’ awoken from hypersleep almost a hundred years before they’re due to land. The film got a lot of shtick for its misleading trailer but if it’s schmaltzy romance you’re after, you’ll find it in bucketfuls in ‘Passengers’.
The Best Romantic Movies and Shows to Watch on Netflix This Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day (and the month leading up to it) is a time to celebrate that thing we call love, and what better way to show that special someone in your life that you love them than sitting on the couch and watching TV? If you’ve got a hot date with takeout and your partner for Valentine’s Day and need something to set the pace, check out our list of the best romantic movies and TV shows to stream on Netflix.
Below you’ll find all sorts of picks no matter your mood. There’s something funny, something for the younger crowd, something for the sexy crowd, and even some picks for those of you who have come to the conclusion that love is overrated. Go on, fall in love… with a movie or show!
Looking for more romantic movies and shows to stream on Valentine’s Day? Check out our picks for Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
To All the Boys I’ve Loved BeforePhoto: Netflix
The current torchbearer for Netflix’s push into original romantic comedies, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before checks all the boxes. Charming female lead (Lana Condor), hunky boy with a soft side (Noah Centineo), awkward situation that blows up on heroine’s face (her secret love letters mailed to her crushes), and a happy ending (duh). Plus, there’s a sequel coming: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You arrives Feb. 12.
What is love but the slow dissolution of the feelings you once had for someone? Give your Valentine’s Day a dose of reality with Blue Valentine, an acclaimed film about a married couple (played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) who slowly come to the realization that they might not be right for each other. Then follow that up with Marriage Story! Ahhhh, love!
Sleeping with Other People
Photo: Linda Kallerus/Netflix
If you’re secretly in love with your best friend and looking for some zany antics to make them fall for you, study up with the 2015 rom-com Sleeping with Other People. Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis play a pair who give the ol’ “let’s be friends” thing a shot after a one-night stand.
Like Water for Chocolate
Horniness for romance got you hungry? Chow down on this Mexican film that’s a culinary classic where the main ingredient is loooooooooove. Like Water for Chocolate’s tale of forbidden love, culture, and kitchens adds magical realism to the mix, which is really the only way true love can be depicted on screen.
Photo: Duplass Brothers/Netflix
Ever wonder what would happen if you ran into your old high school flame now? (Note: If you are currently in high school, adjust to elementary school flame.) Mark Duplass wrote and stars in this mumblecore movie about a guy who goes back to his hometown and runs into an old love (Sarah Paulson), setting off a chain of events that makes them realize they still have feelings for each other — except they both have their own lives now. An ambiguous ending keeps things open-ended to mold the story to your liking… or the mood of your date.
The Theory of Everything
Photo: Focus Features/Netflix
When you think of steamy romance so hot you need to open the windows, you think of Stephen Hawking. This biopic of the famed physicist (played by Eddie Redmayne) focuses mainly on his romantic endeavors with his wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) all the way to their divorce! How romantic.
If your idea of romance is doing the nasty, this 2015 French film is the perfect Valentine’s Day accompaniment to go with your leather whip and ball gag. Best known as “that film on Netflix with unsimulated sex,” Love is basically porn with some plot.
Always Be My Maybe
Always Be My MaybePhoto: Netflix
There aren’t too many movies on this list featuring Randall Park rapping about punching Keanu Reeves in the face, but this Netflix original rom-com has it. Ali Wong and Park play former best friends who meet up later in life and go through the hoops of making things work despite the disparate directions their lives have gone in since they hooked up in high school. Plus, Reeves shows up in a stellar cameo.
Photo: Warner Bros/Netflix
Look, love doesn’t have to be between a man and a woman. It doesn’t even have to be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. It doesn’t even have to be between two humans. Go ahead, marry a goat if you love it! Or, as this movie from Spike Jonze and starring Joaquin Phoenix shows, fall in love with an artificial intelligence if that’s what floats your boat!
Dating AroundPhoto: Courtesy of Netflix
Everyone knows the best part of falling in love is the initial spark from the first date. Witness that spark shine or fizzle out with Dating Around, a reality series in which one love-seeking individual is set up on multiple dates, all cut-up and presented together to show just what kind of love traps are out there.
Virgin RiverPhoto: Netflix
Prefer your romantic movie to feel like a Hallmark Channel film stretched out to about eight hours? Grab a paddle and row your way through 10 episodes of Virgin River, a mild romantic drama about a young-ish nurse (Alexandra Breckenridge) who moves away from the big city to become a midwife in a small California town, where she can run away from her problems. But did she account for a handsome bartender (Martin Henderson) to come into her life? No she did not.
10. Me Before You (2016): Will (Sam Claflin) is paralyzed in a motorcycle accident and decides to commit assisted suicide. But his mom persuades him to wait six months in hopes that he might change his mind, maybe after he meets his attractive new caretaker, Lou (Emilia Clarke). The pair fall in love, but he offs himself anyway, which inspired a boycott and the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia on Twitter. The film’s detractors are not wrong about how clumsily Will’s decision to end his own life, rather than live in a wheelchair, is handled, and it mars what is otherwise a sweet film that has all of the genre clichés you could imagine.
9. Dying Young (1991): Really only suitable for those who feel the need to see every film in the Julia Roberts oeuvre, this sad tale was an early career misfire in which she plays an aimless young woman named Hilary who ends up nursing rich-kid Victor (Campbell Scott), who is dying of leukemia. He can’t decide whether he wants to forgo treatment and enjoy the few months he has left or undergo taxing chemo that may save his life. Eventually, Hilary confesses her love and convinces him to fight for his life. We don’t find out if he lives or dies at the end, but I’ve always imagined that he croaks and bequeaths Julia Roberts a huge amount of money to go on a spending spree.
8. Keith (2008): A small, lesser-known indie in which the death of a teen fails to inspire his surviving lover to greatness and instead turns her into as much of a slacker as he was. The guy is Keith (Jesse McCartney), a cancer-ridden no-goodnik who tells goody-goody Natalie (Elisabeth Harnois) — who is trying to get a tennis scholarship to Duke — that she needs to relax. They fall in love, he dies, and her tennis game suffers (and, along with it, her chances for that scholarship), so she takes to driving Keith’s beat-up yellow truck around and entering it in a car show.
7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015): This Sundance hit that failed to impress at the box office was brazen enough to spoil its ending right in its title. The “Me” is high-school senior Greg (Thomas Mann, not the novelist), who puts his studies on hold to care for his childhood friend Rachel (Olivia Cooke). He and his co-worker Earl (RJ Cyler) make funny film parodies that amuse Rachel, so they get the idea to make a film for her before she dies. Of course she does (leukemia again), and at her shiva, Greg learns that she wrote a letter to the college that rejected him explaining that his application stunk because he spent so much time taking care of her. (He’s eventually accepted.) Aww. Isn’t that the sweetest thing that ever happened?
6. Bright Star (2009): The most artful and delicate film on this list, Jane Campion’s gorgeous meditation on doomed love follows Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) as she and poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) tumble into romance just in time for him to contract tuberculosis. He goes to Italy to recover but never makes it home. The film is shot beautifully and the performances are fantastic. The script is so smart and understated that you’ll barely realize you’re watching a terminal romance movie.
5. Harold and Maude (1971): In this one, the terminal disease is old age. Rich 20-something Harold (Bud Cort) doesn’t know his beloved Maude (Ruth Gordon) is going to kill herself before the moment she does it — or does he? She did tell him, after all, that 80 was the perfect age to die, and then she swallows a handful of sleeping pills at her surprise 80th birthday party. It’s a fitting end for the bizarre romance between this death-obsessed pair.
4. Leaving Las Vegas (1995): Nicolas Cage may have made a few stinkers after starring in this film, but he certainly deserved his Oscar for playing Ben, an alcoholic who goes to Las Vegas to literally drink himself to death. Elizabeth Shue plays Sera, the prostitute whose love isn’t quite enough to save him.
3. Moulin Rouge! (2001): Baz Luhrmann’s masterpiece is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie, but between the killer mashup soundtrack, the glorious art direction, and one of the best performances of Nicole Kidman’s post-Cruise resurgence, it’s probably more loved than it is hated. Kidman plays Satine, a courtesan and singer who entrances Christian (Ewan McGregor), a poor young writer who has moved to Paris to become an artist. They try to create a Spectacular Spectacular at the titular cabaret even as Satine rebuffs his advances for more wealthy suitors. Eventually she gives in to their love just before she dies of consumption.
2. Love Story (1970): It is probably because of this old gem — one of the saddest and most romantic movies of all time, which was nominated for a slew of Oscars, won five Golden Globes, and conquered the box office — that we have this entire genre in the first place. At Harvard, rich boy Oliver (Ryan O’Neal, before he was totally crazy) falls in love with working-class Jenny (Ali McGraw) and marries her even though it means that his father cuts him off financially. After Oliver becomes a successful lawyer, they find out that Jenny is dying of leukemia, so they ask his father for money for her costly treatment. Because this is the way terminal romance movies work, she dies anyway.
1. The Fault in Our Stars (2014): The elusive good “teens dying of cancer” movie! Shailene Woodley gives an excellent performance as Hazel, a teen with thyroid cancer who meets the love of her life, Augustus (Ansel Elgort), at a support group for teens with terminal illnesses. The twist is that Augustus is in remission, but he gets sick again and Hazel ends up surviving him. (Finally, a cancer-ridden teen girl who makes it to the final credits!) This film is responsible for more teenage female tears than One Direction breaking up, Colton Haynes coming out, and Justin Bieber abandoning his pet monkey, combined.
The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Eat your heart out, moviegoers. Everyone loves a good love story whether they admit it or not, and the 21st century has brought us more than a few couples worth rooting for: Clementine and Joel, Ennis and Jack, Joaquin and his computer. Often these unions are unconventional or hidden in the guise of something more high-concept — straightforward romances are so 20th century — but at the end of the day, we all want to see a happy ending for our smitten lovers.
Our list goes all over the map, from the mainstream maestro Nancy Meyers to international masters like Wong Kar-Wai. Some were blockbuster hits (“Twilight,” “The Proposal”); others have hardly been seen stateside at all (Lee Chang-dong’s 2002 “Oasis”). However, all of them illustrate some essential element of love, from falling to longing and all the sticky bits in between.
While the zeitgeist has skewed toward the melancholy, that’s not the only reason many of the films represented here resist the urge for easy resolution. There’s a reason “Romeo and Juliet” remains the world’s most famous love story: Without the sour, we wouldn’t know sweet.
25. “The Proposal” (2009)
From director Anne Fletcher (“27 Dresses”) and screenwriter Peter Chiarelli (“And Now You See Me 2”), this gender contest pits a controlling and workaholic Canadian executive (Sandra Bullock) against her handsome, ambitious, super-competent assistant (Ryan Reynolds). She’s marrying him in order to stay in the U.S., which throws the fish-out-of-water boss into rural Alaska with her employee’s endearing family. Think “Sweet Home Alabama” meets the Bullock/Bill Paxton-Pullman chestnut “While You Were Sleeping.” We soon find out how vulnerable the tough boss really is (she lost her family years ago) while she falls in love with her assistant — and vice versa — and his family. Betty White as Grammy is worth her weight in gold as she fishes for Bullock’s breasts inside a blowsy hand-me-down wedding dress. — AT
24. “The Legend of Tarzan” (2016)
You never know where you stand with Alexander Skarsgård, who has the complexity of a character actor beneath the leading-man looks that launched a thousand memes. His muscular swagger and danger are on display in David Yates’ underrated old-fashioned romantic adventure “The Legend of Tarzan,” but his tender attentions to wife Jane (Margot Robbie) are the film’s throbbing heart. In this 21st-century update, there’s less of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ wild-child-raised-by-apes origin myth and more heartthrob love story between Lord Greystoke and Lady Jane. But they compete for screen time in this overstuffed, would-be blockbuster with villains, CG action choreography and a complex, politically correct Europe vs. Africa plot featuring Samuel L. Jackson. (While Warner Bros. was afraid to alienate the global male audience, women showed up in droves.) — AT
23. “Twilight” (2008)
Going in, Catherine Hardwicke’s film version of Stephanie Meyers’ vampire fantasy bestseller seemed an unlikely blockbuster candidate. Produced by Summit Entertainment for $37 million with no-name stars, the film was a B-movie, part horror, part fantasy and part chick flick. In “Twilight,” high school everygirl Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to the Pacific Northwest to live with her small-town sheriff father (Billy Burke) when her mother remarries. She falls in love with charismatic vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), who belongs to a coven that eschews human blood and has skin that sparkles in the sunlight. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t tempted by warm humans. Will they kiss, have sex, or will he suck her blood? Because it didn’t draw on any existing movie genre, “Twilight” felt fresh, even if its hybrid nature made marketers nervous. They needn’t have worried. When Stewart and Pattinson, whose chemistry was apparent both on-screen and off, hit Hall H at Comic-Con that summer, romance-starved fans went wild. The film opened to $70 million and became the biggest movie ever directed by a woman ($402.2 million worldwide). A franchise was born.—AT
22. “What Women Want” (2000)
Nancy Meyers is an unabashedly commercial filmmaker of mainstream glossy comedies for women. Her clout comes from being both writer and director. She makes her movies her way (with a nod to Hollywood’s classic screwball comedies), and has final cut. Over her six romantic comedies, you can track the professional progress of working women: Diane Keaton is a wide-shouldered over-achiever in “Baby Boom” (1987) who inherits a toddler who humanizes her; three decades later in “The Intern,” Anne Hathaway is a workaholic who bonds with senior Robert De Niro and rediscovers her heart. The high concept behind “What Women Want,” Meyers’ most successful blockbuster to date ($374 million worldwide), is that — magically — ad agency creative executive Mel Gibson can hear what women think, from his flirtatious barista (Marisa Tomei) who thinks he must be gay to understand women’s needs so well, to his no-nonsense boss Helen Hunt, who sends him home to try on pantyhose as research in selling products to women consumers. Meyers calls her films relationship comedies with a twist. “Most movies are fantasies in some way, that’s why they exist,” she once told me. “That’s why we go see them. They are altered: more good-looking, more thrilling, more romantic, more scary than real life.” —AT
21. “Top Five” (2014)
Writer-director Chris Rock’s raucously funny talkfest about a day in the life in the celebrity bubble is a crowdpleasing story of jaded New York comedian-turned-movie star Andre Allen (Chris Rock). He wants desperately to be taken seriously — not unlike Michael Keaton’s character in “Birdman.” When a flipcam-carrying New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson) interviews him, he’s forced to confront the comedy career that he left behind. Rock and Dawson make a smart and likable central pair, surrounded by a strong comic ensemble including Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, and Leslie Jones. Clearly, Rock picked up a few things about the Richard Linklater walking-and-speed-talking relationship comedy model from writer-director-actress Julie Delpy (“Before” series) when Rock co-starred with her in “2 Days in New York.” — AT
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For all the flack the genre receives, the best romantic comedies are up there with the pinnacle of cinema’s finest stories. Endearing, enchanting, and full of great dating advice (most of the time), these romantic movies are responsible for giving us some of Hollywood’s favourite heartthrobs, greatest film quotes, and most iconic characters of all time. Sure, they may be pretty corny at times, but isn’t that part of what makes romance so, well, romantic?
What better way is there to spend Valentine’s Day this year than by booting up the Blu-ray player (or streaming service, for those of us with a subscription) and marathoning some of the best rom-coms of all time? If you’re stuck for choice, our list of best romantic movies has you covered from top to bottom, from cult classics to indie breakouts. Make sure you stock up on the tissues and chocolate beforehand though, as there will be tears.
Best romantic movie quotes | Best movie kisses | Why happy endings to movies are secretly unhealthy
25. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
The romance: Three weeks before her 28th birthday, food critic Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) receives a phone call from her oldest friend Michael (Dermot Mulroney), telling her of his upcoming nuptials to the 20-year-old Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Regardless, Jules is hell bent on keeping a pact the two made in college; if they aren’t married by 28, they marry each other. Yeah, 28 is OLD in this movie.
Why it wooed us: This is as mainstream as romcoms get. A starry cast, big budget and an amorous dilemma – yet it approaches the setup from a fresher, less obvious angle. We don’t always side with our heroine, and Kimmy, the woman we ought to despise? She’s an absolute hoot!
24. Roxanne (1987)
The romance: The owner of a sizeable facial appendage, Charlie Bales (Steve Martin) tends to strike out with women: in particular, town newcomer Roxanne (Daryl Hannah). When she shows interest in one of Charlie’s co-workers, the dim-witted Chris (Rick Rossovich), Charlie lends a hand, writing love letters on his behalf, confessing his love for her vicariously.
Why it wooed us: Released at a time when Martin’s output was at its peak, Roxanne treads the path between odd, tender and sweet. The overall message? Love comes in all shapes (ahem) and sizes (ahem… again).
23. Enough Said (2013)
The romance: After being introduced at a party, masseuse divorcee Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) begins dating Albert (James Gandolfini). Even in the early stages, their relationship holds promise. That is until Eva realises her latest client Marianne (Catherine Keener), an enigmatic poet journeying through her own divorce, is Albert’s ex-wife. Bit awkward, that.
Why it wooed us: Thank goodness, another smart, witty romantic comedy revolving around people over the age of forty. It works so well thanks to the chemistry between Dreyfus and Gandolfini.
22. Man Up (2015)
The romance: One of the oldest tricks in the rom com book finds Lake Bell’s singleton Nancy bumping into Simon Pegg’s divorcee Jack. While he waits for his 24-year old blind date – who will be holding a self-help book they both love – Nancy appears, holding the very same book. Instead of simply ‘fessing up that he’s got the wrong girl, she decides to go along with it and pretend she’s Jessica. He eventually finds out, gets pretty pissed off, and plans to meet up with his original date… but by then, might he just have a soft spot for Nancy?
Why it wooed us: It’s tough finding that delicate balance between romance and actual, genuine comedy. This is the closest movie in years to resemble what it’s like – in “real life” – to strike up a relationship if you’re a bit funny and geeky.
21. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
The romance: Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is head-over-heels for Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik). Due to a stipulation by her father, Bianca can only date if her angsty sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does. So Cameron tries to convince the mysterious Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger) to date Kat. This is Shakespeare, so there’s more entanglements but you get the gist.
Why it wooed us: A modern take on The Bard’s The Taming of the Shrew updated to a Seattle high school, the movie has a superb leading cast, all at the start of their careers. But its Allison Janney as the smut-scribing guidance counsellor who absolutely steals the movie.
20. Trainwreck (2015)
The romance: Having been taught from a young age that monogamy isn’t realistic, magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) lives a life free from romantic commitment. That is until she finds herself falling for the subject of a new article she’s writing, sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader).
Why it wooed us: Though it ends up being a lot more conventional than its set-up suggests, the winning central pairing of Schumer and Hader ensures that even classic tropes feel fresh. A consistently funny and genuinely affecting modern romcom that also delivers the most awkward cheerleader routine ever and a practically unrecognisable Tilda Swinton as Amy’s barmy editor.
19. The Princess Bride (1987)
The romance: The beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright) falls for farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes), who vows to seek his fortune before returning to marry her. When his ship is attacked by Dread Pirate Roberts (also Elwes) she believes he has perished and marries the insufferable Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). When a mysterious Man In Black comes to rescue her after Humperdinck has her kidnapped, he bears a striking resemblance to a young farm boy…
Why it wooed us: Rob Reiner’s fantasy romcom mocks the typical swashbuckling fare which preceded it. It pushes William Goldman’s screenplay to the hilt with super-quotable dialogue that still holds fast for fans.
18. Chasing Amy (1997)
The romance: Comic book creator Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) meets fellow author Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams) and is immediately smitten. The pair hit it off – banter, laughs, the whole shebang. The twist in the tale? She’s a lesbian.
Why it wooed us: Tackling a frankly tricky topic – the fluidity of sexual identity, contemporary masculinity – it still holds up as a funny as hell dive into modern romance. Points awarded for Holden’s confession to Alyssa on their way home from dinner: moving, funny, and probably Kevin Smith’s best monologue ever scripted. Well, Alyssa’s response to Holden’s prying later on comes pretty damn close to topping it actually.
17. Moonstruck (1987)
The romance: Sicilian New York widow Loretta (Cher) is set to to marry Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) – a man she likes but doesn’t love – much to the enthusiasm of her parents. With Johnny back in Italy, he urges her to contact his younger, feisty brother Ronny (Nicolas Cage) to invite him to the wedding. They drive each other up the wall, which can only mean one thing, right? *cue fireworks*
Why it wooed us: The relationship between Loretta and her father Cosmo (Vincent Gardenia) is a treat. Their digs at each other are the foundation of the movie’s chuckles.
16. The Wedding Singer (1998)
The romance: Jilted wedding singer Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) befriends waitress Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore) during the run-up to her wedding to prized douche Glenn Gulia (Matthew Glave). With Robbie’s help finalising the details for the big day, the two grow closer. Julia thinks she might be marrying the wrong man, a feeling Robbie soon shares as he uncovers Glenn’s infidelity…
Why it wooed us: This is Sandler at his absolute best: funny, compassionate and inherently likeable. Twinned with Barrymore’s charming and goofy Julia, the pair’s crazy chemistry harks back to Hollywood’s golden era.