Romantic comedies had their big moment in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but they have struggled at the box office in the years since. Now Netflix is one of the few places around still producing rom-coms — hell, romantic films in general — and with the streaming service’s global subscriber base, these films are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. And why shouldn’t they? Romance is timeless. The act of falling in love is something everyone can understand and relate to. And these films inspire warmth and happiness in all of us, making them rewatchable in a way many other films are not.
We’ve rounded up the best rom-coms and sweeping romances Netflix currently has to offer — from Netflix originals to decades-old acquired titles — so if you’re looking to get lost in a good rom-com or trying to find something that will make you believe in love again, these are the films you should watch.
Set It Up
Set It Up is where it all began for Netflix, at least in terms of it being a destination for romantic comedies, so you should start here. Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch have chemistry to spare in this 2018 film as Harper and Charlie, two overworked assistants who decide to play Cupid for their respective bosses (Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) in the hopes that a romance between the two will allow them to finally have their own lives. Of course, what Harper and Charlie don’t plan for is the romantic connection that springs up between them over lots of witty banter and late night pizza.
Rachael Leigh Cook starred in one of the greatest teen romantic comedies in history, and now she’s back and killing it as the lead in Love, Guaranteed, Netflix’s newest rom-com. She plays Susan, a lawyer who has taken on one too many pro bono cases and now needs to make some money to keep her practice afloat. She takes on a new (and paying) client, played by Damon Wayans Jr., who wants to sue a popular dating website after going on 986 dates and not finding true love, despite the company’s guarantee. Love, Guaranteed is cute, Cook shines, and Wayans makes a solid case for being a romantic leading man for a long time, so don’t wait to hit play on this one.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You
Based on Jenny Han’s young adult trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before took the Netflix world by storm when it debuted in 2018. The teen rom-com stars Asian American actress Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey, a hopelessly romantic high schooler who pens letters to all her crushes in order to get her abundance of emotions out. But when those love letters are mailed by her younger sister, she’s mortified — especially because one is delivered to her older sister’s boyfriend, Josh (Israel Broussard). To cover up her feelings for Josh, Lara Jean begins fake dating the popular and charming Peter (Noah Centineo) — another love letter recipient who wants to make his ex jealous — but old feelings die hard. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has an inherent sweetness to it that calls back to classic ’80s films like Say Anything… or Sixteen Candles. Once you’ve finished with it, check out its 2020 sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, which introduces yet another recipient of Lara Jean’s letters.
The Half of It
The Half of It is a delightful and modern coming-of-age film with a queer twist. Written and directed by Alice Wu and with a premise similar to Cyrano de Bergerac, the film stars Leah Lewis as Ellie, a closeted Chinese American teen who is approached by a classmate, Paul (Daniel Diemer), to pose as him and send love letters to his crush, Aster (Alexxis Lemire). Unbeknownst to Paul, Ellie also has a crush on Aster… and you can probably figure out that things quickly end up a bit messy. Luckily, the film is anything but.
Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong co-wrote this 2019 romantic comedy in which she stars as Sasha, a celebrity chef who returns home to the Bay Area to open a new restaurant and runs into her former best friend, Marcus (co-writer Randall Park). The romantic chemistry from their teenage years still remains, and after she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé after he delays their wedding yet again, Sasha attempts to embark on a new relationship with Marcus. However, his fears and her fame — and a great guest spot from Keanu Reeves — create obstacles that first have to be overcome before true happiness can be found.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
A film starring Glen Powell in which Powell is not the romantic lead? Insanity, I know, but The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society — which is not a romantic comedy but a straight up romance — makes it work. Based on the epistolary novel of the same name and set in 1946, the film stars Lily James as Juliet, an author engaged to a rich American (Powell) who begins exchanging letters with a man (Game of Thrones‘ Michiel Huisman) on the island of Guernsey after he comes across a book that once belonged to her. I don’t want to give anything away here, but this is a romance and I already said Powell wasn’t the lead, so I’m sure you can figure out the rest.
A Walk to Remember
This is also not a romantic comedy, but A Walk to Remember — one of a handful of films based on Nicholas Sparks‘ novels currently streaming on Netflix — is still something you should see if you’re looking for a movie that will pull on your heartstrings and make you believe in the power of love. The 2002 film stars Mandy Moore as a teenager with leukemia who agrees to help the town bad boy (Shane West) with the school play as long as he promises not to fall in love with her. I bet you can tell what happens next. Bring your tissues.
Falling Inn Love
Christina Milian stars in this 2019 film as Gabriela, an eco-friendly designer recently out-of-work and newly single who, fueled by alcohol, spontaneously decides to enter a contest to win a charming and beautiful inn in New Zealand. What she discovers when she finally arrives is a crumbling inn in desperate need of repair, an obvious metaphor for her life. Luckily for Gabriela and for the inn, Jake (Adam Demos), a volunteer firefighter (yes, really) and the town’s only restoration expert, is on hand to fix both.
Written and directed by Sweet/Vicious creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Someone Great isn’t your typical rom-com. Gina Rodriguez stars in this 2019 movie as Jenny, a music journalist set to leave New York to begin her dream job when she is dumped by Nate (Lakeith Stanfield), her boyfriend of nine years. The film reveals the details of Jenny and Nate’s relationship through a series of flashbacks, but as Jenny mourns her longtime relationship, the film digs into love of another kind: the one that exists between girlfriends. Someone Great is ultimately a love letter to female friendship (with an excellent soundtrack), so while it might not be your conventional rom-com, it’s still worth checking out.