Skip to main content

Best romantic movies on Netflix: The 20 top comedies and dramas

Best Romantic Comedies on Netflix: The Notebook
(Image credit: Alamy)

The course of true love never does run smooth, especially in the best romantic movies on Netflix. Boy meets girl (or girl meets girl, or boy meets boy), sparks fly and sometimes the fire rages out of control, burning everything to the ground. Or it simply and sadly dies out. Sometimes, they live happily ever after. 

The best romantic comedies and dramas on Netflix draw from familiar tropes, from the girl next door to the bad boy with the heart of gold to opposites attracting. Here are 20 romantic Netflix movies you can stream on Valentine’s Day and every other day of the year.

About Time (2013)

When it comes to love, time is a flat circle. In this trippy dramedy, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he has the ability to travel back in time. He falls for Mary (Rachel McAdams), but when things go awry in their relationship, he uses his power to set things right. But as he quickly learns, changing the past can have unforeseen consequences. Any action he takes (or undoes) could mean his future with Mary never happens. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Best romantic comedies on Netflix: Always Be My Maybe

(Image credit: Doane Gregory/Netflix)

This winning comedy pairs comedian Ali Wong and veteran actor Randall Park as childhood best friends — she’s literally the girl next door — who grew apart after an awkward teenage encounter. When they meet again as adults, she’s a celebrity chef and he’s still living at home, and they both have significant others. They still connect on a deep emotional level, though, and it’s not hard to see where this story is going (despite a surprising cameo by Keanu Reeves). Not only is the movie genuine and funny, but it stars Asian Americans as leads, which is much too rare in Hollywood. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

All of the raw passion, jagged edges, beautiful curves and sublime depths of first love are explored in this coming-of-age drama that provoked controversy for its unflinching depiction of sexuality. The story centers on Adele, a French teenager exploring her identity after falling for a female painter. The two leads deliver stunning performances that will leave you aching. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Blue Valentine (2010) 

Blue Valentine is one of those romantic dramas that stays with you over the years, with a haunting presence. It’s time-jumping format presents the relationship of Dean and Cindy (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) from a multitude of angles, as the couple’s relationship fractures over and over again. They try their best to hold onto the spark, or re-ignite the flame, but deeply-rooted differences make their best attempts often seem futile. — Henry T. Casey

Watch now

Grease (1978)

Best romantic movies on Netflix: Grease

(Image credit: Alamy)

Who isn’t into summer loving and having a blast? The romantic musical is a classic for a reason. You’ve got the innocent good girl in Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), the bad boy with a heart of gold in Danny (John Travolta), nosy friends, a false pregnancy alarm, a dance contest, a car race, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. We’re hopelessly devoted to this quintessential teen flick.  — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Her (2013)

Romance is a fleeting thing, especially when you're flirting with an artificial intelligence that has no corporeal form. A romantic drama for those who can deal with the depressing aftermath of relationships, Spike Jonze's Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as a guy who deals with a breakup by dating the AI inside of an earbud. Thankfully, his character Theodore Twombly is a more palatable troubled recluse than the Joker he's made recent headlines for. — Henry T. Casey

Watch now

Hitch (2005)

Will Smith turns up the charm dial up to 11 as a professional dating coach who helps men woo women. He’s good at it, as we see when he successfully helps schlubby investment advisor Albert (Kevin James) romance his celebrity client Allegra (Amber Valletta). But when Smith falls for Eva Mendes, none of his smooth techniques work on her. Not only that, his job threatens to drive her away and ruin Albert and Allegra’s relationship. Date doctor, heal thyself. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

The Incredible Jessica James (2017)

Best romantic movies on Netflix: The Incredible Jessica James

(Image credit: Netflix)

The talented and funny Jessica Williams gets a well-deserved showcase in this opposites-attract comedy. She’s a fiercely independent playwright who is set up on a bilnd date with sad sack Boone (Chris O’Dowd). They’re both still obsessed with their exes, but find themselves falling for each other despite all their baggage. Williams’ charm and wit elevates a fairly stereotypical story. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

The Lobster (2016)

Prepare yourself for a love story that is incredibly weird and f****ed up and sweet at the same time. From the brilliant and possibly deranged mind of Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster is set in a world where everyone must pair up or they get turned into animals. Newly single David (Colin Farrell) goes to a hotel to meet someone new, but if he doesn’t, he’ll transform into his chosen animal, a lobster. He eventually meets a shortsighted woman (Rachel Weisz), but when their romance is disrupted, David is forced to make a difficult decision. How far is willing to go to meet his match? — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Marriage Story (2019)

Marriage Story (2019)

(Image credit: Wilson Webb/Netflix)

Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical drama is kind of a ghost story: Here, a great love used to live. The film begins at the end of the marriage between playwright Charlie (Adam Driver) and actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson). Even in breaking up, you can see how much they still feel for each other. The memories of all that they once shared continue to haunt them even through bitter divorce proceedings. It’s excruciating to watch but so raw and real that you can’t look away. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

The Notebook (2004)

This movie is so over-the-top, feel-all-the-feelings romantic that its stars, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, actually fell in love on set and dated for several years. In 1940s South Carolina, a rich heiress named Allie is wooed by poor lumber mill jack Noah, but their relationship is stopped in its tracks by her disapproving mother. But even distance and time can’t dim their passion (the boat/lake scene will leave you swooning). Theirs is the kind of love that truly makes sense of the vow “‘til death do you part.” — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Sometimes, dating someone is a lot like dating their past, as you help each other deal with the emotional baggage they've collected over the years. Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs The World (an adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels) takes this to the illogical extreme of forcing the titular Mr. Pilgrim (Michael Cera) to defeat 7 of his prospective girlfriend Ramona Flowers' exes … in video-game style combat. The best part of the film (aside from a murderer's row of amazing cameos) is that Scott matures in the film and realizes what a bad boyfriend he's been in the past. — Henry T. Casey

Watch now

Set It Up (2018)

Best romantic movies on Netflix: Set It Up

(Image credit: Netflix)

Work hard, work harder: That’s the unfortunate life of Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), the assistants to high-powered execs Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs). Then, they come up with an ingenious solution for their lack of free time: Play matchmaker to their bosses! They’ll be so busy, uh, getting busy with each other that Harper and Charlie can focus on their respective social lives. Of course, it’s not too long before the allies turn into friends and then start turning into more. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

The seminal Spike Lee joint that launched his career is an unflinching and unapologetic paen to female sexuality. Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) is a carefree Brooklyn woman who enjoys juggling multiple men. She cherishes her freedom, but when her suitors start wanting more from her, Nola has to navigate the more treacherous waters of romantic relationships. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Someone Great (2019)

For every heartwarming tale of falling in love, there’s an equally heartbreaking tale of falling out of it. This rom-com starts at the end of Jenny’s (Gina Rodriguez) relationship with boyfriend Nate (Lakeith Stanfield), after he decides not to move with her to San Francisco for her dream job. As Lizzo would say, “Why men great ‘til they gotta be great?” Jenny spirals into a dark funk, but her two best friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) aren’t going to let her leave New York City on a low. Through one wild and crazy night in New York City, Jenny balances her memories of Nate with her hopes for the future. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

Opposites attract, as they said. Erica (Diane Keaton) is a buttoned-up playwright with no love life. Harry (Jack Nicholson) is a free-wheeling music mogul of a playboy who only dates women under 30. But when Harry’s heart attack forces him to convalesce at Erica’s gorgeous Hamptons home, they forge an unlikely connection. Still, can these two crazy kids really set aside their different lifestyles, viewpoints and habits to make a go of it? — Kelly Woo

Watch now

The Spectacular Now (2013)

Here’s the classic “bad boy hooks up with a good girl” story but told in a sensitive and nuanced way. Miles Teller stars as Sutter, a hard-partying high school senior who’s on the fast track to nowhere. He winds up dating shy Aimee (Shailene Woodley), who’s got big plans for college and the rest of her life. Their romance is messy and imperfect but honest and sweet. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Best romantic movies on Netflix: Strictly Ballroom

(Image credit: Alamy)

Baz Luhrmann’s feature film directorial debut is the first in his Red Curtain trilogy (the others are Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge). Set in the world of Australian ballroom dancing, the quirky and stylized movie both embraces and mocks typical romantic cliches, including the “ugly duckling” Fran (Tara Morice), and the handsome prince, the ballroom champion Scott (Paul Mercurio). When Scott takes on the inexperienced Fran as his new dance partner, the whole ballroom community is shocked and displeased. But Fran soon demonstrates what she can bring to the floor and it’s Scott who is able to spread his wings. — Kelly Woo

Watch now

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

No teen rom-com comes without a dreamy crush but Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) may be the dreamiest of them all. When Lara Jean (Lana Condor) finds out her old love letters have been mailed out, she’s mortified when Peter, a popular jock at her high school, receives one. But Peter comes up with a plan: They should pretend to be a couple to solve their respective romantic problems. At first, this seems like a good idea since Peter doesn’t seem like good boyfriend material and there’s no chance of Lara Jean actually falling for him. But then Peter turns out to be the best boyfriend ever! What’s Lara Jean to do now? — Kelly Woo

Watch now

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Let’s talk about sex, baby. This smoldering, coming-of-age drama from Alfonso Cuaron made stars of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, who play two teens embarking on a road trip with the older, more experienced Luisa (Maribel Verdu). As they drive toward a secluded coastal retreat, the trio flirt and tease and recount sexual exploits until their love triangle tensions boil over one hot and unforgettable night. — Kelly Woo

Watch now