I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my 15 favourites
18th Mar 2021
Here are some of the best rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime, in a list that came together so fast I’m a little ashamed of how I’ve spent my time recently.
My partner is away working so I’m alone, trying to limit my social contacts – what is a girl to do? I started by avoiding the toxic, clichéd but fashionable void of Emily in Paris that Netflix keeps ramming in my face, and instead opted for a regular, comforting rom-com fix.
Because that is what I, and I think everyone else, needs right now. I have a total mental block when it comes to reading or listening to podcasts lately, the news is overwhelming and there are currently eight open tabs on my computer of articles I have started reading but have yet to finish.
I need the comfort of a soothing string quartet opener, the knowledge of a guaranteed happy ending. So while I’m cooking, cleaning or generally just lounging around I stick on a rom-com to pacify my soul into a false sense of normalcy and nostalgia.
Now, I’m not going to include the obvious best rom-coms because you’ve seen them all at least six times (at least I have) – The Proposal, You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, 10 Things I Hate About You, Someone Great etc – although I have included some great but oft-forgotten numbers here.
So, following my extensive research into the subject, here are 15 of the best rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime right now.
Abba makes up the bulk of the soundtrack to this wonderfully kooky Australian film. In Toni Collette’s breakout role, she plays Muriel who, so desperate to fit in, steals money from her parents in order to follow her so-called ‘friends’ on holiday.
Stretched over a long period of time, it’s poignant and touching, focusing on friendship and family love as well as romantic interests.
This is a slow burn and it isn’t the typically vivacious rom-com we’ve come to know of the genre. However, the acting is superb and the issues (in particular infertility) are covered sympathetically but thoroughly.
It begins a number of years into a relationship as Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti) try desperately to get pregnant. As they deal with its pressures and the stress laid on by family and friends, Rachel’s wayward niece comes to stay with them.
The Wedding Date
An underrated movie from the early 2000s when so many of the best rom-coms came out, Debra Messing stars as a woman so desperate for a date to her sister’s wedding in England that she hires an escort (Dermot Mulroney) to come with her so she won’t have to face her family and former flame alone.
The Incredible Jessica James
A Netflix Original starring the excellent Jessica Williams, it’s a fun and current take on the genre. Jessica (played by Williams) has just had her heart broken when she meets equally devastated Boone (Chris O’Dowd), who is going through a divorce. They decide to help each other through their respective troubles and while the plot is simple, the two have great, sparky chemistry and the dialogue is whipsmart.
A friend of mine can pretty much recite this entire movie line for line, such was her and her college roommates’ dedication to it as a hangover cure on a Sunday afternoon. Which makes sense, because although Ryan Reynolds’ fat suit is in pretty poor taste, it is an incredibly easy watch. Shy on romance but high on comedy, this is a Ryan Reynolds classic.
This cult classic combines the tropes of the rom-com with well-rounded characters, excellent acting (particularly from leads Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawk) and the grunge scene of the 1990s.
Lelaina (Ryder) is a talented videographer recording the experiences she and her three friends go through as they try to find their way in adult life, from money and careers to love. Uncomplicated but enjoyable.
Crazy Rich Asians
If you want to watch a good 1990s rom-com but not one you’ve seen before, then Crazy Rich Asians is it. Yes, it came out in 2018 and yes, it features an all-Asian cast when the 1990s iterations featured so few (so few) people of colour, but other than that, it follows along all the same lines.
Frankly way better than the book, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) travels to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family, who turn out to be, well, crazy rich. It’s an excellent hit of nostalgia with some truly epic jewellery, fashion and interiors.
Edge of Seventeen
Throwing in a teen movie here, a must for any best rom-coms list. Starring Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, a lonely teenager who finds herself struggling when her only friend starts dating her jock older brother.
With just her teacher to turn to, played by the always-hilarious Woody Harrelson, it’s a perfect little look at the transition for childhood to adulthood and all the embarrassments that the journey typically entails.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
A really wholesome weekend afternoon watch, this film has so much character (and Windolene) in it. Written and starring Nia Vardalos in the lead, her character Toula is caught between her obligations to her Greek-American family and her non-Greek boyfriend Ian Miller, played by Aidan… I mean John Corbett.
It was a toss-up between this and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (available on Amazon Prime) but the great music in this John Carney classic puts it ahead. Folksy singer/songwriter Gretta (Kiera Knightley) gets unceremoniously dumped by her up-and-coming musician boyfriend before bumping into an equally down-and-out music exec (Mark Ruffalo) in Manhattan.
So this one isn’t about romance and it’s only kind of a comedy but it is about love and it’s really worth a watch. Micheal (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano) are neighbours and the only people in each others’ lives. They become close friends, bonding over movies and Paddleton, a game of their own creation.
When Michael is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he asks his friend for his help in ending his life. Sounds grim but it shows such a touching and loving side to male friendship that is so often smothered in bravado in other films.
Okay, so this is trash. But sometimes that’s what you want! Not awful holiday movie trash, but semi-good trash. And Chalet Girl has got a decent cast – Felicity Jones plays Kim, a former skateboarder who takes up a job as a chalet girl in the Alps to make more money for her family.
She takes a liking to the wealthy family’s son Johnny (Ed Westwick in his real-life British accent). Bill Nighy and Brooke Shields also star.
Two Weeks Notice
It would not be a best rom-coms list without Hugh Grant. Yes, he plays the same bumbling charmer in every film and women inexplicably fall over all over him but Sandra Bullock brings him up a notch, playing a passionate liberal lawyer who finds herself working for Grant’s arrogant yet naive playboy developer.
A dystopian zombie rom-com where the zombies can only groan and grunt? It shouldn’t work and yet it does, thanks to Nicholas Holt as the love-struck zombie and the chemistry between him and his maybe captivee/friend Julie, played by Teresa Palmer. Funny and sweet.
Crazy Stupid Love
This one is well-known but I think nonetheless undervalued as one of the best rom-coms. Plus, all movie lists need a Ryan Gosling movie on it. In this, he has smoking chemistry with Emma Stone and Steve Carell is at the top of his The Office fame and game while Julianne Moore brings all of her heavy-weight gravitas to it.
There have been A LOT of films that fit into the wedding sub-genre of the rom-com lately (Table 19, The Wedding Year, Love Wedding Repeat, Destination Wedding). This one, along with Destination Wedding, is probably the best of the bunch (and yes I have watched them all). Two lost-in-life college friends agree to be each other’s wedding dates to make their busy summer calendars more bearable. You know how it will end but the journey is very enjoyable.
And, if you find yourself staring at the lead, Jack Quaid, and thinking he looks vaguely familiar, he is the son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan and yes, he is a trippy meld of the two of them.
And now, I’m going to ask you all for your best rom-coms recommendations please, because I’m fresh out, my “To Watch” list is empty and it’s making me anxious.
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