Whether or not you’re a big fan of romantic movies, there’s probably no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than curled up on the couch with your significant other while you watch a cinematic love story together. Of course, like any other genre, there are both good and bad romantic movies. The best ones strike a perfect balance between tenderness and humor, without slipping into sentimentality and cliché, while the worst ones can make you feel like retching in the nearest trashcan. And that’s not very romantic.
So let’s take a look at 10 of the best romantic movies that are available for streaming on Netflix this Valentine’s Day.
1. Chasing Amy
When it comes to romantic movies, director Kevin Smith is probably not the first name that springs to mind for most people. After all, this is the same man whose filmography includes titles like Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and most recently, Yoga Hosers. That being said, Smith’s comedies often veer into romantic territory and Chasing Amy is probably the director’s best stab at the romantic comedy genre to date.
In the film, Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck) and Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) are comic book artists and best friends who collaborate on a comic called Bluntman and Chronic. While at a comic book convention, Holden meets an alluring artist named Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), and the two strike up a friendship. Although he knows Alyssa is gay, Holden can’t help his romantic feelings for her, and it isn’t long before he tells her how he really feels. With its unconventional, yet completely believable love story, Chasing Amy is everything a romantic movie should be: strange, humorous, and genuinely touching.
2. Moonrise Kingdom
What could be more romantic than your first love? Set at a New England summer camp in the 1960s, Moonrise Kingdom follows the tribulations of Sam Shatusky (Jared Gilman), a 12-year-old orphan boy who woos and runs away with a local girl named Suzy (Kara Hayward). Meanwhile, as various parents, fellow scouts, and social services look for the runaway couple, a violent storm hits the area. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom offers the perfect combination of natural beauty and quirky humor that have come to characterize director Wes Anderson’s films.
3. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
What would romance look like on the cusp of extinction? Set in the days before a large asteroid is scheduled to hit Earth, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World tells the story of two misfits who form an unlikely romantic bond during their last days alive. After his wife leaves him, disillusioned insurance salesman Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) strikes up a friendship with his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), and the two team up to find their loved ones before the end of the world. Along the way they encounter doomsday preppers and hedonistic partiers, all dealing with the prospect of their imminent death in a variety of different ways. Hilarious, yet touching, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie for couples who like their romantic comedies with a touch of morbidness.
“Quirky” is a word that is far overused when it comes to describing odd films that don’t fit neatly into one genre, but it is still perhaps the best descriptor for a film like Amélie. In the film, a young, isolated Parisian woman named Amélie (Audrey Tautou) spends her days trying to cheer up other people around her while indulging in a rich and surreal fantasy life. However, after encountering a mysterious man who collects discarded photographs from photo booths, Amélie begins to discover the path to her own happiness.
Filled with bizarre imagery and moments of real comedy, Amélie is the perfect Valentine’s Day film for couples who aren’t fans of more typical rom-coms. Amélie was embraced by both critics and audiences when it debuted in 2001, and the film maintains an 89% approval rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
In this film, recent college graduate James (Jesse Eisenberg) is forced to take a low-paying job at a rundown amusement park after his European vacation plans fall through. While James unenthusiastically learns his new job duties, he develops a rapport with another co-worker, the intriguing Em (Kristen Stewart). But can their relationship survive angry customers, bad corndogs, and jealous co-workers? Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), Adventureland is a touching coming-of-age story and a perfect Valentine’s Day movie for couples who like their romance with a generous helping of humor.
6. Love Actually
With its multiple intertwining love stories set around Christmas, Love Actually may be the ultimate feel-good romantic comedy movie. In the film, the wedding of Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) brings together a diverse group of characters who are all struggling with various aspects of their love lives. Besides Knightley and Ejiofor, the star-studded ensemble cast also includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, and Rowan Atkinson. A classic rom-com that all fans of the genre should see.
7. Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love may not have deserved the Oscar for Best Picture in 1999, but there’s no denying the appeal of this sweet romantic dramedy from director John Madden. In the film, a young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) struggles to finish his latest play, titled Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Meanwhile, the beautiful Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow) disguises herself as a man in order to audition for a role in the as-yet-unfinished play. Shakespeare soon becomes enamored with her and starts an affair, despite the fact that she is betrothed to Lord Wessex and he is still technically married.
With Viola as his muse, Shakespeare is able to quickly write his play (now titled Romeo and Juliet). But with his rivals in love and literature closing in, writing a good play may be the least of Shakespeare’s problems. Shakespeare in Love took home seven Oscars (including Best Picture) and currently has a 92% “Fresh” rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
8. The Princess Bride
Perfectly cast and brimming with highly quotable dialogue, The Princess Bride is more than just a romantic movie — it’s a cultural touchstone. Using a grandfather’s bedtime story to his grandson as a framing device, The Princess Bride tells the story of a poor farmhand on a quest to save his true love from the clutches of an evil prince. The film is directed by Rob Reiner, and the stellar cast includes Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, Peter Falk, Billy Crystal, and a young Fred Savage. Sweet, enchanting, and funny, The Princess Bride is the perfect movie to revisit this Valentine’s Day.
9. Bridget Jones’s Diary
Based on a novel of the same name, Bridget Jones’s Diary stars Renée Zellweger as the titular character, a 30-something British woman searching for love. In the film, Bridget vacillates between her womanizing boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) and old family friend Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), all while keeping a record of her feelings in her diary. Although Zellweger’s casting as a British woman was a controversial choice at the time, the film became a critical and commercial success and even earned its star an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. It also spawned two sequels: 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and 2016’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, in case you’re in the mood to tackle a trilogy of romantic movies on Valentine’s Day.
10. Blue Is the Warmest Color
As much a coming-of-age tale as it is a romantic drama, Blue Is the Warmest Color tells the story of a French teenager’s sexual awakening and first love. In the film, teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) becomes aware of her sexual attraction to other women when she develops a crush on a blue-haired stranger. After venturing into a lesbian bar one night, Adèle meets the blue-haired woman Emma (Léa Seydoux). After hitting it off, they begin a passionate love affair and move in together. However, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last and it isn’t long before typical relationship problems like jealousy begin to crop up. Intense, explicit, and heartbreaking, Blue Is the Warmest Color is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie for couples looking for something a little different from your typical rom-com fare.
All movie cast, crew, and awards information courtesy of IMDb.
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