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When Harry Met Sally
Columbia"When Harry Met Sally"

The most romantic movies on Netflix right now

The best way to feel the love tonight is from the comfort of your couch

Written by
Time Out Film
,
Andy Kryza
&
Matthew Singer
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It doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day to throw a romantic movie on Netflix. Romance, after all, knows no calendar. Maybe you need some pointers on how to reel in your new crush. Maybe you’ve successfully snared them and now you’re looking to move to the next level. Or maybe your heart just got ripped out of your chest and flushed down the toilet, and you need a reminder that everything will eventually be all right. Or perhaps you just want to wallow in your heartbreak. Whichever is the case, if you’re in the mood for love, these romantic films are currently streaming on Netflix, and are sure to get you feeling twitterpated. 

Recommended: 

😍 The 100 best romantic films of all time
🥰 The greatest romantic comedies of all time
😳 The 101 best sex scenes of all time

Best romantic movies on Netflix

Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Photograph: Ed Araquel / Netflix

1. Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Ali Wong and Randall Park absolutely are brilliant in this Netflix Original romantic comedy about two childhood friends who lose touch after a teenage fling turns sour, only to be reunited in adulthood. It might sound like familiar romcom territory, and it is, but it’s done so well and in such a relaxed manner that you don’t mind any retreading. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a show-stealing cameo from Keanu Reeves.

  • Film

It contains one of the most famous movie scenes of all-time, but there’s a lot more to When Harry Met Sally than a fake orgasm in Katz’s Deli. Widely regarded as the best romcom ever, this is where screenwriter Nora Ephron cemented herself as the genre’s gold standard. The story is simple – Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan meet in college and instantly hate each other, then become friends, then possibly, maybe more – but not a single moment rings false.  

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The Half of It (2020)
Netflix/KC Bailey

3. The Half of It (2020)

Modern retellings of Cyrano de Bergerac are so common it’s hardly a selling point anymore but writer-director Alice Wu deserves credit for giving an old tale a queer spin, not to mention putting a first-generation Chinese-American teen at its center. Beyond those plot twists, Wu’s adaptation - about a lonely high schooler helping a jock woo his crush, only to start crushing on the same girl - is unusually smart and funny. And while it turns out, in the end, to be a story of self-acceptance rather than finding validation in another person, there’s romance in that idea as well.

Atlantics (2019)
  • Film

A triangulation of romantic drama, supernatural horror and sociopolitical critique, Senegalese director Mati Diop’s astounding debut has an entrancing quality unlike any film you’ve likely experienced before. It makes sense, given that the movie concerns itself with a village in Senegal possessed by the souls of exploited workers, and the women left behind to deal with their earthly business. 

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

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

Netflix’s efforts to revive the romantic comedy has yielded mixed results, but this teen romcom is definitely one of its stronger attempts. While it plays up to some tropes – awkward but attractive girl and school’s hottest jock pretend to date only for the pair to fall desperately in love – the central premise feels unique and relatable. The casting is also ace: Lana Condor is excellent as protagonist Lara Jean, while Noah Centineo ticks all the teen heartthrob boxes. The film was a big enough hit to spawn a trilogy, with PS: I Still Love You and this year's Always and Forever ready to queue up for a binge.

She's Gotta Have It (1986)
  • Film
  • Comedy

Spike Lee’s first feature focuses around the attempts of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) to sort out the three steady men in her life with a view (maybe) to marriage: the sincere and caring Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks), the self-obsessed model Greer (John Canada Terrell), and the outrageous bicycle messenger Mars (Lee himself). Loose and light on its feet, its series of painfully funny romantic vignettes offer a handy snapshot of what dating in the pre-iPhone app age felt like. 

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  • Film
  • Drama

In most other directors’ hands, a movie about a man dating an artificially hyper-intelligent computer operating system would play as either cringe comedy, psychological horror or a creepy paean to objectophilia. Coming from Spike Jonze, it’s a deeply human examination of modern love, set in a near future where people are even more disconnected and tech-dependent than they are today, and everyone dresses like Palm Beach retirees for some reason.

  • Film
  • Comedy

Jack Nicholson is a rich sexagenarian playboy who refuses to settle down. Diane Keaton is the mother of his new, significantly younger girlfriend. Oh, and a successful feminist playwright not inclined to liking incorrigible sugar daddys. Then a health emergency forces them into close contact. Will they claw each other’s eyes out or find love in the most unlikely scenario? Well, this is a Nancy Meyers joint, so you probably already know the answer. But it’s not the ending that counts, it’s the biting interplay between two acting icons that makes this well-manicured romcom a modern favourite.

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  • Film
  • Drama

“This is not a love story. It’s the story of love” reads the tagline for Euphoria creator Sam Levinson’s pandemic project. Indeed, it’s no fairytale; rather, it’s a feature-length domestic dispute. Arriving home from a film premiere, the titular couple (John David Washington and Zendaya) start an argument that ends up going all night, taking several detours and ultimately pulling at the threads of their relationship. Sure, it doesn’t sound romantic, but in its honest, messy portrayal of modern love, it achieves a certain kind of romance all the same - the luminous black-and-white cinematography helps, too.

Let Me In (2010)
  • Film
  • Drama

Does the American remake of the Swedish romantic horror insta-classic Let the Right One In justify its existence? Not really. But it doesn’t make a mess of things, either. Transposing the original’s wintry Scandinavian landscape to nowheresville New Mexico circa the mid-’80s, a preteen outcast (Kodi Smit McPhee) forges a bond with another young outcast (Chloe Moretz) - the latter just happens to be a vampire. Director Matt Reeves gets the mood right, and if it doesn’t quite hit the emotional resonance of the OG, well, it sure beats the hell out of Twilight.   

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  • Film

You’d think an internet-centric romantic comedy from the Web 1.0 era would have aged into irrelevance by now, but that would underestimate the rom-com Voltron that is Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan and Nora Ephron. Reuniting onscreen five years after Ephron’s immortal Sleepless In Seattle, Hanks and Ryan play competing booksellers who unknowingly become infatuated with each other after meeting in an anonymous chat room. (‘Memba those?) If it doesn’t quite hit the heights of their previous collaboration, it can still charm the heck out of everyone from TikTok influencers to boomers clinging to their AOL accounts. 

  • Film
  • Comedy

No one does romantically awkward like Steve Carell. Six years after The 40-Year-Old Virgin, he returned to the role of a guy struggling to navigate the dating pool in middle age, only this time as a recently separated father whom we know has had sex at least once. He falls under the tutelage of a thirtysomething player (Ryan Gosling), who mentors him in the art of seduction… until, of course, the player becomes the played. Despite that Hitch-esque premise – and a fairly obvious twist towards the end – it’s just sophisticated enough to land. The two leads and Emma Stone, as the woman who makes Gosling’s lotherio rethink his permanent bachelorhood, elevate it all above the clichés.

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Someone Great (2019)
Photograph: Sarah Shatz/Netflix

13. Someone Great (2019)

A formulaic but well-executed romcom, this Netflix Original stars Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez as a music journalist moving cross-country to take a ‘dream job’ at Rolling Stone, prompting her longtime boyfriend (LaKeith Stanfield) to break up with her. Devastated, she and her friends plan one last big night out before sending her off.  

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  • Comedy

Yes, it’s silly. It’s schmaltzy. It’s got way too much going on, and not even first-time director Richard Curtis can keep track of it all. But everyone has given in to Love Actually at least once, usually around the holidays. And if you’ve watched it once, you probably watched it again. It’s the comforting old sweater you can’t bear to throw out, even if you’ll never be caught dead wearing it in public. And c’mon: you’re really going to tell us that when Andrew Lincoln shows up on Keira Knightley’s doorstep with those cue cards, you don’t get just the slightest bit misty? Liar!  

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  • Film
  • Drama

Part-love story, part-mental health drama, this David O Russell film gets right into the tall grass of relationships – romantic, platonic and somewhere in between. How do we connect with another person when we’ve lost our sense of ourselves? How much weirdness is too much weirdness? And what do you do if the dad-in-law is Robert De Niro? Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrencem are on top form in a bittersweet kinda-love story for lost souls.

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