Everyone loves a good rom-com, but love is serious too. Sometimes, you need more than humor to make a relationship, and many relationships themselves are forged in trials like the ones seen in the below romantic dramas that are currently streaming on Netflix.
Regardless of what your Valentine’s Day plans entail, this list is bound to have an intriguing story that you can watch with your significant other (or that will distract you from the fact that you’re single, if a distraction is what you prefer).
Below peruse our list of the best romance movies on Netflix right now.
Willowdean (Danielle MacDonald) couldn’t care less about her mom Rosie’s (Jennifer Aniston) beauty pageant antics. Her mother was a former pageant queen herself, and she constantly tries to persuade her plus-size daughter, who she nicknames Dumplin’, to compete in the Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant in their Texas hometown. Willowdean would much rather be singing her heart out to any Dolly Parton song with her best friend Ellen (Odeya Rush), but she decides to join the pageant — as a protest.
Love at First Sight (2023)
Jennifer E. Smith’s novel was adapted for the big screen by Vanessa Caswill at Netflix with Haley Lu Richardson playing Hadley Sullivan, Ben Hardy playing Oliver Jones. Jameela Jamil narrates the pair’s random encounter at an airport and their ensuing romance. Teenagers and adults alike will enjoy the different perspectives in this romantic drama movie, which watches young adults navigate themes of divorce, loss and growing up.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
Set in 1946, Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is a London-based journalist and writer strikes up a correspondence with people who live on the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by Germany during World War II. Something keeps pulling at her to visit the island, and she follows her instinct. There, she meets widower Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman) among many other charming people, who gather once in a while to discuss books. Ms. Ashton makes things difficult for herself when she develops feelings for Dawsey, because she is already engaged to a man back home, Mark Reynolds (Glen Powell).
Love Again (2023)
Priyanka Chopra plays Mira, children’s book illustrator and Sam Heughan plays Rob in “Love Again.” Mira has recently lost the love of her life in a car accident, but her friends and family encourage her to put herself back out there, but that’s not really how she meets Rob. By texting her dead boyrfriend’s old phone number, she intrigues Rob, who now possesses the phone, and he puts in the legwork to meet her in real life. Come for the meet cute and stay for Celine Dion, the real star of the film as the love guru and major contributor to the soundtrack.
The Vow (2012)
Inspired by true events (not a Nicholas Sparks novel), “The Vow” stars Rachel McAdams as Paige, Channign Tatum as Leo, Sam Neill as Bill Thornton and Jessica Lange as Rita Thronton. The love story lies in Leo’s unrelenting efforts to win back Paige’s heart after she suffered severe amnesia in a car accident that put her in a coma. When she wakes up, she can’t remember much, but Leo remains by her side. The film came to theaters 12 years ago on Valentine’s Day.
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser (2018)
In a sort of modern day Cyrano de Bergerac, adapted for young adults of course, Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is just trying to graduate high school so that she can do big things in college, her dream school being Harvard University. But then she gets a mysterious text from an unknown number — which turns out to be Jamey (Noah Centineo) — thinking she is Veronica (Kristine Froseth), a popular cheerleader at their high school. Sierra and Veronica team up, Sierra promising to tutor Veronica and Veronica in turn posing for Sierra in front of a FaceTime camera.
Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)
A mix of romance and murder mystery, “Where the Crawdads Sing” packs suspense into a love story. The Hello Sunshine film, adapted from the novel by Delia Owens, stars Daisy Edgar Jones as Kya, the main character. Kya experiences a love triangle between childhood friend Tate (Taylor John Smith) and Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson), but all along viewers are fed clues as to how Chase Andrews died, which is shown from the beginning. Come for the twists and turns and Kya’s trial and stay for Taylor Swift’s “Carolina” credits song.
Someone Great (2019)
Written and directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, “Someone Great” expands beyond a romantic drama (and sometimes rom com) to include the importance of female friendship and difficult choices, but ultimately choosing career over a guy. Main character Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) seeks out her girlfriends Blair Helms (Brittany Snow) and Erin Kennedy (DeWanda Wise) to help her through a breakup with boyfriend of nine years Nate (LaKeith Stanfield). The heartache and heartbreak is cathartic when set to songs like Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” Lorde’s “Supercut.” The film was inspired by Taylor Swift’s song “Clean” from “1989,” and then Swift turned around and wrote “Death by a Thousand Cuts” on her “Lover” album based on the film.
The Half of It (2020)
One of the very few (but steadily increasing) onscreen love triangles that features heterosexual and homosexual romance, “The Half of It” is an endearing film directed by Alice Wu that hit Netflix right as the pandemic began. Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is a quiet and observant student who mainly keeps to herself and charges fellow students money to write their papers for them. She quietly admires Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) from afar, until Paul Munskey (Daniel Diemer) shows up out of nowhere (literally one day he runs after Ellie as she bikes home from school). Paul asks Ellie if she can write letters for him to Aster, in another example of a film evoking “Cyrano De Bergerac.” You can probably guess where things go when Ellie agrees to help Paul, but one surprise is that the two develop a really wholesome friendship.
All the Bright Places (2020)
Based on the YA work of fiction by Jennifer Niven, “All the Bright Places” lives up to its name, collecting colorful experiences for two teenagers who struggle with their mental health. Violet Markey (Elle Fanning) lost her older sister in a car accident, and contemplates who she is without that part of her identity intact anymore. Theodore Finch (Justice Smith) goes through manic and depressive episodes, and when he meets Violet, he feels he’s found someone to share everything with. The two eventually partner up for a project that requires them to go sightseeing in their home state of Indiana, leading them to a shoe tree, a pretty average point of elevation in the state, and more. Even if you haven’t read the book, this hauntingly beautiful film will impact you.
Enola Holmes (2020) and Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) is just as good of a detective as her older brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill). Mycroft (Sam Claflin) seems to fit the mold for the forgotten middle child, but all three of them have their banter and relationships as siblings and children of Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter). After finding several clues hidden around the house, Enola sets out to find her mother, who disappeared a while back, and meets Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge), a boy her age, in the process, who invites himself to accompany her on her quest. Love and action combine in this feminist period piece. The sequel is just as fun and fast-paced as the first film.
The latest film-to-screen adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, “Rebecca” stars Lily James and Armie Hammer as the couple in question, who have secrets between them. The new Mrs. de Winter (James) met Maxim de Winter (Hammer) in Monte-Carlo while she was working for an elderly socialite. De Winter proposes marriage following a whirlwind courtship, but he leaves quite a bit unsaid about his gothic estate Manderley. Maxim’s first wife Rebecca is said to have died in a sailing accident, but as the film unfolds, many creepy incidents bring Maxim’s second wife to wonder, along with the help of scary Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas), who remains loyal to Rebecca.
Work It (2020)
When Quinn (Sabrina Carpenter) visits her dream school, Duke University, and the admissions officer knows her high school by their talented Dance Team, Quinn decides to add dance to her long list of overachievements. The only problem is that Quinn cannot dance, so she asks her friend Jasmine (Liza Koshy) to get her onto the team, but not if Julliard Pembroke (Keiynan Lonsdale) can help it. Action and romance ensue once Quinn gets to know Jake (Jordan Fisher).
The Last Letter From Your Lover (2021)
Last but not least, we have a rare period-ish piece starring none other than Taylor Swift’s longtime boyfriend Joe Alwyn, although you may not like the role he plays. Like “2 Hearts,” “The Last Letter from Your Lover” interweaves the stories of two couples, though they live in different times periods. Driven journalist Ellie Haworth connects the dots when she discovers an old letter that hints at a longer correspondence between Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) and Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner). Jennifer met Callum when she was already married to Mr. Lawrence Stirling (Alwyn), but she soon finds that she enjoys spending time with O’Hare way more than her husband. In an attempt to run away with Turner, Jennifer suffers from a fatal car crash, which challenges her memories — but that isn’t the only obstacle that prevents her from finding her way back to O’Hare. Soon, Haworth wants to reconnect the divided lovers more than ever, and not just for her impending story, so she enlists the help of Rory McCallan (Nabhaan Rizwan), the shy archivist who has helped her recover more letters, to do that.
Along for the Ride (2022)Adapted from the best-selling book by Sarah Dessen, “Along for the Ride” set the cinematic summer scene for the Amazon Prime Video series adaptation of Jenny Han’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty” trilogy. The May Netflix release stars Emma Pasarow as Auden, a young girl who feels she has never quite fit in anywhere between her divorced parents and her more mature outlook on life, and Belmont Cameli is enigma Eli, a nocturnal boy who, much like Auden, keeps to himself lone-wolf style. Auden meets Eli when she decides to spend the summer with her father (Dermot Mulroney) and his new wife Heidi (Kate Bosworth) in Colby, a small seaside town where they have settled down. She and Eli form a broody, edgy bond that blossoms into more as they embark on a quest, daring each other to confront parts of themselves they’d rather leave in the past. Complete with a secret diner nook that serves great pie and a prom scene that ties the film together, “Along for the Ride” successfully brought Dessen’s vision to life.
Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between (2022)
A grounded Talia Ryder and a happy-go-lucky Jordan Fisher unite to create an authentic young adult love story set in between senior year of high school and freshman year of college. Ethan (Fisher) meets Claire (Ryder) at a party right before their last year of high school is set to begin, and though Claire hesitates to act on their spark because she has moved around a lot, and her high school sweetheart parents didn’t make it in marriage, Ethan keeps pursuing her until she relents. Fisher contributed an original song to this adaptation of Jennifer E. Smith’s popular novel. The ambiguous ending reflects the reality of life and romantic relationships.
Love & Gelato (2022)Loosely based on the book “Love & Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch, the film adaptation of this romance story hit Netflix on June 22. Lina (Susannah Skaggs) makes a promise to her mom that she will visit Rome. Lina is an ambitious girl who is about to embark on her college experience. In Italy, she meets Lorenzo, “Ren” (Tobia De Angelis) and senses a spark with him. She also falls in love with the country, the food and more, discovering things about her past and future.
Purple Hearts (2022)Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s Netflix filmstarring Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine explores the coming together of a couple who each have very different backgrounds. The enemies-to-lovers trope takes on a whole new meaning when polarized political views become involved. Luke (Galitzine) is training as a marine, about to deploy, when Cassie (Carson) proposes marriage to his friend Frankie (Chosen Jacobs) because she’s in a tight situation with medical insurance — she has diabetes and her dire need for insulin can’t be met by her current policy. Luke, whose father is a retired military policeman, offers to marry Cassie, who clashes with him immediately because she skews more liberal while he leans conservative, so that he can reap the benefits of a stipend to pay off a drug dealer who he owes a lot of money. Cassie gets better health benefits out of the deal, and while Luke gets deployed, her music starts to take off because she has found a theme she really connects to — the love and the sacrifice of military families.
Look Both Ways (2022)If not for the split dual timelines involving a baby or no baby, this film should be watched for its amazing animation. Natalie Bennett (Lili Reinhart) sleeps with her good college friend Gabe (Danny Ramirez) in a spur-of-the-moment decision on one of their last nights of college before graduation. Later on at their last party during the actual eve of graduation, Natalie’s narrative branches into two possibilities: one in which she gets pregnant with Gabe’s child and one in which she doesn’t. From there, the film splits into two universes that sometimes parallel each other in certain areas. Exploring the themes of career and motherhood as well as soulmates and true love, Natalie ultimately still gets to pursue her passion for art, animation and drawing in both realities. She learns different life lessons with and without daughter Rosie in this sliding doors take on romance.