During the summer of 2018, Netflix distributed 11 romantic comedies—yes, 11—branding the moment the “Summer of Love.” The release flurry was a calculated gamble for the streaming giant. Film industry shifts, such as a decline in mid-budget movies (where Hollywood rom-coms generally sit) and the migration of the genre to TV, meant rom-com audiences were generally up for grabs.
With the help of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth, Netflix’s summer of love soon ushered in a rom-com revival. Over 80 million subscribers watched one of the 11 films and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before became Netflix’s most viewed original film ever at the time.
Netflix has since repeated the formula—lower budget films with little-known actors, appealing to younger streamers—again and again and again. The summer of love is now love forever.
While this success is good news for casual rom-com fans, it’s made it more difficult to sift through the streaming site for rom-coms not produced by the Netflix factory. So we’ve sorted through the new, the classic, the Netflix-produced, and the old guard. Here are the 25 best rom-coms to stream now.
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
It’s the reason for the Netflix rom-com revolution, and for good reason. The film abides by rom-com conventions but manages to feel younger and fresher. TATBILB also introduced Netflix’s genre stars: Noah Centineo and Lana Condor.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
One salutary result of the revolution is Netflix’s willingness to break up the traditional white-girl-meets-white-boy variety of the genre. Comedians Ali Wong and Randall Park don’t reinvent the rom-com form, but they make it more widely watchable again.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Three friends set off on a road trip with romantic detours, awkwardness, and more than a few hilarious moments. It’s also got a banging soundtrack.
The Half of It (2020)
Though set up as a classic falling-in-love-with-the-friend flick, the film twists in more realistic and heart-wrenching ways.
The Incredible Jessica James (2017)
Maybe not the most unexpected rom-com entry (let’s be honest, the genre doesn’t often move beyond expectancy), but, nonetheless, a fun, quick film featuring some amazing actors.
Straight Up (2019)
The low budget indie film follows two painfully realistic characters and a self-awareness that’s maybe sometimes too smart, but often funny.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Silver Linings won’t rewrite the rom-com plot playbook, but it will execute the hell out of its gameplan—and its genre-straddling tone.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
It’s one of those films best watched without knowing too much. Just know that it’s good.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
Edgar Wright’s comic adaptation actually feels like a comic film (something certain large budget comic films often fail to accomplish). The result is something equal parts zany and affecting.
Love in a Puff (2010)
A Hong Kong film about two lovers who meet over during a smoke break, Love in a Puff is down to earth in the most shoe-stomping-out-a-ciggie way possible.
Easy A (2010)
Though it’s only (only?) eleven years old, Easy A is easily a classic rom-com—and one dealing in high school labeling a la Nathaniel Hawthorn. You don’t have to get the joke to find it funny.
Set It Up (2018)
Hoping to get their bosses of their backs, two assistants conspire to play matchmaker. It’s a formula film done right.
Someone Great (2019)
More of an anti-rom com, the film follows a woman fresh off a breakout and on her last night in NYC before a big move. Relationships are great, but never forget your friends.
Ali’s Wedding (2017)
An arranged marriage. A secret love. Family expectations. Hilarity. Chaos. It’s simply universal.
Sex and the City (2008)
The sequel to this flick may have been a complete and utter disaster, but the first cinematic adaptation of the hit HBO series was a gem. Picking up where the series ended, the movie asks (once again) whether Big is the hero or the widely-despised villain. (We argue the latter.)
Catching Feelings (2017)
Maybe slow-moving for some, but this South African romance/drama/unexpected comedy is worth the watch for something new in the genre.
Sobat Ambyar (2021)
Translated as The Heartbreak Club, this Indonesian musical rom-com is fun and colorful and will help shakeup your monotonous watchlist.
50 First Dates (2004)
Okay, let’s reach for some classics. Adam Sandler’s amnesiac early 2000s irreverent comedy deserves as many rewatches as dates.
PK is simply delightful. A story about an alien making his way on earth acts also as a social satire.
Three Words to Forever (2018)
Is it wholesome and sappy and something like Philippines hallmark channel? Maybe. Who cares?
Less romantic than comedy, Eurovision still manages plenty of confusing why-am-I-so-emotional-right-now moments. It’s a blast.
The Lovebirds (2020)
Finally, some action romantic comedy. Though Kumail Nanjiani’s finest rom-com will forever be The Big Sick, Lovebirds makes for some easy date-night viewing.
I Am Not an Easy Man (2018)
A french cosmic revenge film featuring a chauvinist and a world suddenly run only by women. A little too on the nose occasionally, but still a sharp social comedy.
About Time (2013)
Maybe the most tear-inducing film on this list, and, therefore, the perfect one for Valentines Day. Watch it alone for ultimate feelings.
Let It Snow (2019)
The holiday rom-com is a pretty stuffed sub-genre. Still, Let It Snow embraces the conventions and delivers a fun ride.
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