As Valentine’s Day is February 14th, here are 14 movies listed in the Romance category of Netflix that you might enjoy streaming this weekend with your significant other or on your own.
14. Charade (1963) – Sure, Cary Grant is pushing 60 and 26 years older than Audrey Hepburn when this came out, but this romantic mystery comedy is a true delight and a lot of fun. Hepburn and Grant have great chemistry and great timing.
13. Playing By Heart (1998) – A lot of people are fond of Love Actually. This movie is a sort of prototype of that movie, following the relationships of several people who are interconnected. I haven’t seen this in a long time, but I don’t think all of the threads work, but it’s an ensemble drama and several stories, so there should be at least one you can invest in.
12. His Girl Friday (1940) – A classic screwball comedy from Howard Hawkes, His Girl Friday features fast dialogue, witty jokes, and great rapport between Cary Grant, a newspaper editor, and Rosalind Russell, his ex-wife reporter. She is about to re-marry and he attempts to sabotage this (because he still loves her) by convincing her to cover one last story.
11. Hitch (2005) – Right in the period of peak Will Smith. This romantic comedy is smart and entertaining as well as being funny and charming. Will Smith has good comedic timing with Kevin James, who was a few years away from becoming a self-parody. And Eva Mendez is great.
10. Stardust (2007) – This romantic fantasy adventure was perhaps over-billed as The Princess Bride of the 21st century. It’s not, but it’s still a sweetly romantic movie about a young man who goes looking for a fallen star in a magical realm for a woman he fancies, and ends up falling for the star, Yvaine (Claire Danes, who has never looked more beautiful and beguiling). Add in Michelle Pfeiffer vamping it up as a witch seeking Yvaine for her own nefarious means and a Neil Gaiman novel as the source material, and this movie is really enchanting.
9. Silver Linings Playbook (2012) – An offbeat romantic comedy/drama about a man piecing his life together after a stay in a mental institution. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are terrific together and the direction from David O. Russell is outstanding.
8. Jane Eyre (2013) – This classic romance is a jam-packed novel that has a lot to try to fit into a 2 hour movie. But Cary Fukanaga and his crew did a tremendous job condensing the source material down into a concise, faithful, and vivid adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte classic novel. Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, unsurprisingly, are great with the restrained material yearing for one another.
7. Beginners (2010) – A touching, sweet movie about finding love in unexpected places in unexpected ways. Christopher Plummer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the father who comes out to his son after his wife’s death and discovers a life he never had before. This deepens his relationship with his son, played by Ewan McGregor, who, inspired by the way his father lived his later years, pursues a relationship with Melanie Laurent. The film is inspired by director Mike Mills’ father.
6. Roman Holiday (1953) – the film that made Audrey Hepburn a star, this is a Hollywood classic about a princess who runs away to sight-see in Rome in obscurity and is escorted around the city by a reporter (Gregory Peck) who withholds the fact that he knows who she really is. One of the great romantic movies of any generation of movies.
5. Notting Hill (1999) – I’ll admit, I’m a complete sucker for this movie. I’m not particularly a huge fan of Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant, but something about the two of them in this movie and the way the movie subverts typical gender roles in movies like this for most of the movie.
4. Amelie (2001) – This French film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet is vibrant, both visually and in the story it tells. Audrey Tautou is the titular Amelie, a young, lonely woman with a vivid imagination who decides to help those around her in Paris and finds love in the process of doing good. Tautou is delightful and enchanting.
3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – Arguably my favorite Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom is a sweet, Anderson-eccentric, coming of age tale of pre-teen love. There are terrific supporting performances all around, but the two young people at the center of this story of two kids who run away together on the island town on New Penzance is what gives the movie its charm and whimsy. I love it more every time I see it.
2. Pride & Prejudice (2005) – The classic tale of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Not much should need to be said about the story of this classic Jane Austen novel. Director Joe Wright and his cast, led by Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden in the lead roles, do right by the source material.
1. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) – Easily the best performance of Adam Sandler’s career. This hidden gem of the P.T. Anderson filmography about an emotional stunted man and a demur woman who fall in love is weirdly sweet and tender. Sandler’s Barry Egan is brow-beaten by his sisters, calls a phone-sex line to cope with his loneliness, and is prone to violent outbursts. When he meets Emily Watson’s Lena he wants to change. It’s unconventional, for sure, but I love the way that they fight for each other.