Romantic comedies may be an endangered species in theaters, but on Netflix, meet-cutes and dramatic races through airports are still going strong.
The streaming behemoth offers a home to everything from black-and-white foreign-language Oscar winners to middling ’80s-era throwbacks about preteens battling monsters, but the rom-com is one area in which the platform has consistently excelled. After a few years out of fashion, the once-lucrative genre has enjoyed new life at Netflix and is slowly regaining appreciation both critically and financially. You could even make the case that the streamer played a critical role in saving romantic comedies over the past few years, or at least reminding viewers just how much fun it can be to watch two nice people fall in love against a backdrop of misadventures and hijinks.
More from IndieWire
Many rom-coms still tend to struggle at the box office — here’s looking at “Bros” — but an equal amount find a vibrant audience among streaming subscribers. The 2018 megahit “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” comes to mind as an instant triumph for Netflix, supported by two sequels (released in 2020 and 2021) and countless other original rom-coms seemingly crafted in the trilogy’s image. From the workplace shenanigans of “Set It Up” to the tortured friend zone of “Always Be My Maybe,” Netflix continues to invest in flirty tales about finding the one.
November is a particularly fertile month for rom-coms on the streamer, with three greats — “13 Going on 30,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” and “Sixteen Candles” — all getting added to the library. That’s on top of the originals Netflix already had, like “The Half of It” or “The Incredible Jessica James,” which ensure that a decent library of fizzy love stories will always exist on the platform. Other great options include Harold Ramis’ time travel tale “Groundhog Day,” all-time classic “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” or Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg.” Plus, there’s Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa in the melancholy “Duck Butter”; Baumbach’s directorial debut “Kicking and Screaming” (no, not the Will Ferrell one); and much more.
From modern classics like “La La Land” to new originals like “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” Netflix is filled with prime examples of all the loving, funny stories the genre still has to offer. Here are 20 romantic comedies you can watch right now on Netflix. Selections are listed in ascending order of quality and genre relevance.
With editorial contributions by Kate Erbland, Proma Khosla, and Sarah Shachat. [Editor’s note: This story was originally published in February 2023 and has since been updated.]
Best of IndieWire