Get us in your inbox

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Photograph: Focus Features

The 25 best romantic films on Netflix UK

Whether you're in the mood for a lite rom-com or a smouldering period of passion, Netflix is here to give you the feels.

Matthew Singer
Written by
Andy Kryza
Written by
Matthew Singer
Advertising

Look, Netflix-and-chill is cool and all, but sometimes, you’re looking for something a little more substantial. That’s not to say a great cinematic romance can’t inflame the libido, but the best romantic films aim for the heart rather than the groyne. They all don’t follow the same pathway there, of course. Some try to win us over with gut-busting laughter, others with intense acts of passion. Some are sexy, some are silly, some are sad, and some are all things at once. In the UK, Netflix includes a little bit of everything under the umbrella category of ‘romance,’ whether it’s emotionally manipulative weepers, dramatic period pieces, lightweight romcoms or sci-fi love stories set in space, future Earth or post-zombie apocalypse. Here are our picks for the 25 best romantic films streaming right now on Netflix in the UK.

Recommended:

😍 The 100 best romantic films of all-time 
🥰 The 70 best romcoms of all-time
😳 The 35 steamiest erotic thrillers
🤗 The best feelgood movies on Netflix UK  

The most romantic movies on Netflix UK

Once (2007)
  • Film
  • Comedy

Even if just reading the phrase “indie folk” makes your teeth ache, it’s hard to resist this humble, diegetic indie-folk musical about two unnamed musicians who fall (slowly) into a fleeting emotional love affair that goes largely unspoken, but not unsung. Unassuming as it is, the movie charmed audiences far beyond its meager budget, spawning a stage play, earning an Oscar for Best Original Song and turning leads Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova into stars - and, briefly, a real-life couple.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
Photograph: Masha Weisberg/Netflix

2. To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

To deal with her intense crushes, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) writes secret love letters to the boys she lusts after, which no one is ever meant to see. Of course these letters end up being sent out and Lara Jean must deal with her feelings, and the implications of the letters, head on.

Advertising
  • Film
  • Romance

Luca Guadagnino’s queer coming of age story is equal parts smart, tender and smouldering. Timothee Chalamet excels as Elio, a 17-year-old American boy discovering his sexuality while spending summer in 1980s Italy. Armie Hammer plays the 24-year-old object of his affection, but the rather unpleasant revelations about him that came to light afterward can’t retroactively spoil what’s ultimately a deeply affecting movie about teenage self-acceptance.

  • Film

What if Total Recall was a romcom that looked like a Bjork video? That’s the easiest way to describe this Michel Gondry-Charlie Kaufman collab, but as with anything those two do, ‘easy’ is relative. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are exes who undergo a procedure to erase the memory of their relationship, but the former’s mind won’t allow him to fully let go of the latter. Like most Kaufman projects, it’s a mind puzzle that feels like it’s twisting your brain as you watch, but unlike a lot of them, the emotion transcends the twists.

Advertising
Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)
  • Film
  • Drama

Its frank depictions of lesbian sex grabbed the most attention, but it’s the intimate moments outside the sheets that make Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner - chronicling a relationship between two French women, from their teenage years into early adulthood - worth its three-hour runtime.

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

Indundated with prospective partners? Hinge melting down? Take a leaf out of Nola Darling’s (Tracy Camilla Johns) book as she figures out which – if any – of the three men in her life to settle down with. Spike Lee’s lo-fi, black and white charmer is an indie classic and a still-modern-feeling romance about monogamy, polyamorousness and everything in between.

Advertising
  • Film
  • Comedy

Everyone remembers the catchphrases, and because of that it’s easy to forget that Jerry Maguire is an utterly charming romcom – something like a sports-dude take on Nora Ephron. Tom Cruise turns the charm to 11 as the titular sports agent whose conscience costs him his career but wins the heart of his accountant, an also-never-better Renee Zellweger.

  • Film
  • Drama

Jane Austen’s enduring novel of manners has been adapted to screen numerous times, both directly and indirectly. But for a certain generation, this is the definitive version, and Matthew Macfadyen is the one true Mr. Darcy - which is hard to square with his current role as Tom Wambsgans on Succession, but that’s why they call it “acting.”  

Advertising
  • Film
  • Drama

Do I really need to explain why The Notebook is on this list? Whether it makes you cry or cringe, if you’re reading this, you know the deal. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams meet. They fall in love. He goes off to war. They reunite. And then there’s the big twist. Regardless if you’re on the ‘cry’ side or the ‘cringe’ side, nothing I write here will change your mind. So go ahead and watch. Or don’t – or, more likely, get forced to watch, and hope you can pass off your tears as an allergic reaction.

The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
Image: Netflix

10. The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

Jessica Williams and Chris O’Dowd are recent dumpees set up on a blind date who find themselves forging a deep connection despite not having gotten over their respective past relationships. It’s really that simple, but the story pops due to the chemistry and charisma of the two leads, in particular Williams, who really should be a bigger star by now. 

Advertising
  • Film
  • Drama

Spike Jonze directed this surreal-ish romantic sorta-comedy about a lonely dweeb (Joaquin Phoenix) living in near-future LA who falls in love with an advanced computer operating system voiced by the husky rasp of Scarlett Johannson. (Who wouldn’t?) That synopsis reads like either cringe comedy or psychological horror, but it turns out to be an oddly sweet examination of love in a time of increasing technological distance.

Warm Bodies (2013)
  • Film
  • Horror

Call it ‘Romero and Juliet.’ In this post-apocalyptic romcom, a zombie (Nicholas Hoult, still handsome if a bit pale) falls in love with the daughter of the military leader leading the charge against the undead. Sounds like silly fun, and it is, but it’s also a truly unique take on the various genres it mashes together, replacing blood and guts with genuine heart.

Advertising
The Piano (1993)
  • Film

One of the more emotionally complex (yet pretty dang steamy) romantic dramas of the ‘90s, Jane Campion’s period piece centres on the arranged marriage between a voluntarily mute woman (Holly Hunter) and a frontiersman (Harvey Keitel) in rural New Zealand. Anna Paquin, then 11, became the second-youngest actor to win an Oscar for her role as Hunter’s daughter, but Hunter herself is a marvel, giving one of the best silent performances since the era when silent performances were the norm. 

  • Film
  • Fantasy

The whole world fell in love with Audrey Tatou the moment she appeared on screen in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s magical-realist modern fairy tale. As the titular Parisian waitress, compulsive do-gooder and hopeless romantic, her smile alone can melt even the most cynical defences – and if that doesn’t work, Jeunet’s whimsical world-building will certainly do the trick.

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

15. Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Ali Wong and Randall Park star in this brilliant Netflix Original romantic comedy about two childhood friends who lose touch after a teenage fling turns sour, only to be reunited in adulthood. It traverses familiar romcom territory, sure, but it does 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.

Recommended

    More on Netflix

      You may also like
      You may also like
      Advertising

      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!