Everyone loves a romantic comedy!
There’s zillions of rom-coms, but our film expert Jason Best has narrowed it down to simply the best romantic comedies on Netflix to stream right now!
Here Jason gives us the 11 best romantic comedies on Netflix – enjoy!
Four decades on, Steve Martin’s romantic comedy Roxanne has lost none of its charm. His witty, sweet, utterly delightful update of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 stage play Cyrano de Bergerac cleverly transposes Rostand’s verse drama from 17th-century France to a sleepy ski resort in modern-day British Columbia and turns the play’s fearless swordsman into Martin’s local fire chief, CD Bales.
Like his predecessor, Martin’s CD is quick-witted, dashing and romantic, but extremely self-conscious about the size of his unfeasibly large nose. Which causes him no end of woe when he falls for Daryl Hannah’s beautiful astronomer Roxanne.
Too abashed to woo her himself, he ends up penning love letters to her on behalf of his handsome but knuckle-headed colleague Chris (Rick Rossovich), which leads to a series of hilarious comic misunderstandings and misadventures.
Year of release 1987
- Running time 107 minutes
- Director: Fred Schepisi
When Harry Met Sally
The mismatched couple is a rom-com staple. They meet and can’t stand each other. But we know they’ll end up falling in love. Writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner took this well-worn set-up and gave it vibrant new life – with help, of course, from perfectly cast stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
He’s the wisecracking cynic who declares men and women can’t be friends because sex gets in the way. And she’s the pernickety optimist who insists that isn’t so. However, as the years pass, they gradually become best friends. How will they end up? Crystal and Ryan’s chalk-and-cheese chemistry is a joy, Ephron’s script is packed with comic zingers and the soundtrack of romantic standards by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr is ravishing.
The standout scene? It has to be Ryan’s famous fake orgasm in the restaurant. “I’ll have what she’s having!” says the nearby lady customer – played by Reiner’s mother, Estelle.
Year of release 1989
- Running time 95 minutes
- Director: Rob Reiner
Bill Murray’s image as a prize sourpuss finds a perfect vehicle in this brilliantly original comedy – and his performance is arguably the best of his career. He is, of course, the cynical TV weatherman who reluctantly goes to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover the annual Groundhog Day celebrations (a real event) and gets stranded there overnight.
He awakes the next morning and discovers that it’s Groundhog Day once more. And so is the next day, and the next and… As he lives through the same 24 hours over and over again, he repeatedly – and ineffectually – tries to woo his beautiful producer, Andie MacDowell’s Rita.
Ultimately, however, his maddening ordeal turns him into a better person. It’s an inspired concept but the movie wouldn’t work nearly as well without the hilariously deadpan Murray (just try imagining anyone else in the role).
Incidentally, it may seem as if Murray spends only a week or so in Groundhog Day while you’re watching, but there are actually 42 accountable days if you take the time to work it out!
Year of release 1993
- Running time 103 minutes
- Director: Harold Ramis
Four Weddings and a Funeral
The film that made Hugh Grant a star and set Blackadder co-creator Richard Curtis on the path to rom-com domination for the next decade, Four Weddings remains an enduring gem. The title is the plot. Grant’s 32-year-old bachelor Charles is an inveterate wedding-goer but fights shy of tying the knot himself.
Then he becomes smitten with beautiful and elusive American Carrie (Andie MacDowall). But she’s engaged to marry someone else… Curtis’s script is full of great lines, director Mike Newell proves equally deft at both the film’s funny moments and its moving ones, and the star-studded supporting cast (including Simon Callow, Rowan Atkinson, James Fleet and John Hannah) is perfect.
It’s a movie that can be watched over and over again, although there are some of us still wishing that Grant’s Charles had ended up with Kristen Scott Thomas’s Fiona instead.
Year of release 1994
- Running time 113 minutes
- Director: Mike Newell
Jane Austen invented the romantic comedy genre, so it actually makes perfect sense for this satirical teen comedy to give her classic novel Emma a Beverly Hills makeover. Like Austen’s heroine, Alicia Silverstone’s pampered teenager Cher Horowitz is smart, pretty and rich. And, again like her predecessor, she takes a gauche newcomer (Brittany Murphy’s Tai) under her wing and tries to set her up with an eligible male.
But the emotional confusion she sets in motion shows that she is the one who is truly “clueless”. Remaining surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the book, writer-director Amy Heckerling has gleeful fun sending up her heroine, but even though the self-obsessed Cher is the butt of the joke, Silverstone gives her enough sweetness to make her endearing rather than annoying.
Year of release 1995
- Running time 97 minutes
- Director: Amy Heckerling
Friends with Benefits
After nasty break-ups with their exes, Justin Timberlake’s art director Dylan and Mila Kunis’s New York corporate headhunter Jamie decide to hook up for uncomplicated no-strings sex. After all, true love is just a Hollywood cliché.
Or so they convince each other until the inevitable happens and messy feelings start getting in the way. Timberlake and Kunis have great chemistry, in and out of bed, and it’s fun watching their characters mock the conventions of Hollywood rom-coms as they watch a made-up film within the film, a hilariously cheesy example of the genre starring Jason Segel and Rashida Jones.
Of course, Dylan and Jamie finally succumb to those same clichés, but the sappy ending doesn’t spoil what’s gone before. Director Will Gluck gets the balance right between raunchiness and sweetness, as do the cast, who also include Woody Harrelson, going over the top as a foul-mouthed gay sport editor, Richard Jenkins as Dylan’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted father, and the ever-dependable Patricia Clarkson as Jamie’s flaky mother.
Year of release 2011
- Running time 109 minutes
- Director: Will Gluck
Richard Curtis’s third film as writer-director has a reassuringly familiar flavour, but this time he gave his usual romcom formula a surprising sci-fi twist – the bumbling hero can travel through time! Domhnall Gleeson’s shy, slightly shambolic Tim learns from diffident dad Bill Nighy that he has inherited the ability to time-travel into his past and uses his birthright to woo – in typically fumbling fashion – Rachel McAdams’ equally shy Mary. Naturally, his hesitant courtship necessitates repeated corrections of past gaffes and blunders.
The film’s cosy middle-class setting will enchant some viewers and be a turn off for others. But it’s hard not to warm towards Gleeson’s appealingly unconventional lead, even if Tim and Mary’s romance lacks the fizz of Curtis’s best work.
Unexpectedly, it’s Nighy and Gleeson’s tender father-son relationship that proves to be film’s true love story and the one most likely to touch the viewer’s heart.
Year of release 2013
- Running time 123 minutes
- Director: Richard Curtis
Washed-up record company executive Mark Ruffalo hooks up with wary singer-songwriter Keira Knightley to make sweet music in this utterly charming comedy-drama from John Carney, the writer-director of the low-budget word-of-mouth hit Once. That film was about an Irish busker and a Czech immigrant overcoming heartbreak by making music together on the streets of Dublin.
Here Ruffalo’s boozy Dan discovers Knightley’s diffident Brit during an open-mic night and talks her into recording her music, guerrilla-style on the streets of New York. These are among the film’s most beguiling sequences. Another has the pair roaming the Manhattan streets listening together through a headphone splitter to an eclectic mix of music, including Frank Sinatra’s ‘Luck Be A Lady’, Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once in My Life’ and Dooley Wilson’s ‘As Time Goes By’.
Although Gretta’s own songs aren’t the type to grab you by the throat, performed with soulful sweetness by Knightley, they slowly sink their hooks into you, just like the film itself.
Year of release 2013
- Running time 104 minutes
- Director: John Carney
A twentysomething version of When Harry Met Sally, this appealing romantic comedy finds Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan testing whether men and women can just be friends. He’s a broken-hearted med-school dropout who hasn’t got over his last break-up; she’s a kooky animator who happens to have a long-term boyfriend (Rafe Spall).
The ups and downs of their ensuing friendship follows familiar lines, from the meet-cute at a party right down to the last-minute airport dash, but it’s put together with such quirky charm that the formula works. Radcliffe and Kazan spark well in their bantering exchanges while Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis provide zany support as the pair’s irrepressibly randy friends. And Spall makes an enjoyably obnoxious fall guy – literally so, in one farcical, very funny scene.
Year of release 2013
- Running time 102 minutes
- Director: Michael Dowse
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Shy suburban teenager Lara Jean (Lana Condor) finds herself in a pickle when the unsent love letters she’s written over the years to her five crushes get put in the mail.
With the boys in question each seeking her out, she enters into a contract with high school jock Peter (Noah Centineo) to pose as girlfriend and boyfriend in order to deflect this mortifying attention and to make his ex jealous.
Will their fake romance turn into something real? Based on the young adult novel by Jenny Han, this Netflix original movie evokes the enduring charm of 1980s John Hughes’ teen rom coms but is bang up to date with its characters’ social media anxieties.
The set-up couldn’t be more convoluted or contrived, but there’s charm to spare here thanks to Condor and Centineo’s sparkling chemistry. The sequel, To All the Boys PS I Still Love You, came out earlier this year and a third film is in the pipeline.
Year of release 2019
- Running time 99 minutes
- Director: Susan Johnson
For those who find the rom-com genre too sugary to their taste, we’ve added one film with a lot more spice.
Millennial icons Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are on brilliantly waspish form as two misanthropic strangers who meet on their way to a wedding (the swanky nuptials of the title) and waste no time before they are trading insults at each other and put-downs of everyone else. Will their mutual dislike morph into something else? This hilarious anti-romantic comedy is very much a two-hander – no one else on screen gets a word in. But the stars are so charismatic, their chemistry so frisky, you really won’t mind.
Year of release 2018
- Running time 87 minutes
- Director: Victor Levin