It's risen to the level of a joke in my family: I am known for crying at everything. But sometimes you just need to let it all out, and these 15 romantic comedies on Netflix are so heartbreaking that you'll cry a river at the same time that you're laughing your heinie off. As moms, we're always looking for ways to kill two birds with one stone, and for bringing both the funny and the emotional, these flicks seriously don't disappoint.
Once, when I was pregnant, I even cried at a preview for the animated parrot vehicle Paulie (which, to be fair, is listed as a drama). Naturally, propensity to waterworks is something I used to tease my own mother about... and now I have become my mother. Look, it happens to the best of us.
This list has a little something for everyone: Award winners like Junebug and She's Gotta Have It. Anchor And Hope and Love, Rosie, foreign films with heart and grace that you'll love. An older classic — The Birdcage — and a newer classic — The 40 Year-Old Virgin. And lots, lots more. I've also included my thoughts on the ideal time to press play on these charmers for optimum enjoyment, because this list includes rom coms that your SO will love (yes!), special ones you'll want to save for girls' night in, and one fun raunchy one that's perfect for date night because it has all the feels.
This indie darling earned Amy Adams (Ashley) her first Oscar nomination as a small-town North Carolina mom who's pregnant and living with her in-laws when her brother-in-law and his wife come to visit from Chicago. A real tearjerker dealing with themes of family dysfunction and loss, it premiered at Sundance. Get a good bottle of wine and settle down with this one when you're feeling introspective and classy.
Pretty In Pink
Pretty In Pink, PG-13
What romcom roundup would be complete without a John Hughes film? Starring '80s princess Molly Ringwald (Andie), Pretty In Pink has plenty of opportunities for heartbreak, whether it's when Andrew McCarthy's Blane leaves Andie standing in the music store waiting, the kajillion times Andie gives Jon Cryer's Duckie the brush-off, or when Andie's dad (the late Harry Dean Stanton) shows up with the pink dress that you know had to have cost him his last dime. Sigh. John Hughes... those were the days. Watch this for all those throwback feels.
Set It Up
Set It Up, TV-14
This Netflix original is a truly modern romance: Interns Harper and Charlie, played by Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell, in a bid to get out and have lives of their own, set up their respective workaholic bosses on a date. Both hijinks and touching moments ensue when high-strung venture capitalist Rick (Taye Diggs) and uber-creative Kirsten (Lucy Liu), founder of a journalism empire, finally go on a date — but is theirs the relationship that will be intact at the end of this movie? Watch and see!
Nappily Ever After
Nappily Ever After, TV-MA
The gorgeous — whether she has hair or not — Sanaa Lathan stars in this rom com adapted from the very funny and touching book of the same name that follows ad exec Violet, who decides to make some changes to her life after romance disappoints her. Those changes begin with her 'do: Ladies, who can't relate? Considerable introspection and self-actualization is on tap for Violet, making this a good one to watch with your girlfriends when you're looking for a little good old-fashioned empowerment. Lathan co-produced as well.
Love, Rosie, R
Teen love thwarted is a sure formula to produce tears, and this heartwarming UK release about best friends since childhood that just miss their chance to be more absolutely delivers. Starring Lily Collins as the titular heroine and Sam Claflin as her love interest, the sweeping plot that keep the two teeth-gnashingly apart is interspersed with laughs in the small moments. Reminisce about your first love and be glad you don't have to live through that any more while watching this film.
Music And Lyrics
Music And Lyrics, PG-13
Okay, just one more Hugh Grant movie. This one co-stars the relatable and ever-lovable Drew Barrymore as Sophie Fisher, foil to Grant's Alex Fletcher. Fisher unwittingly revitalizes failed pop star Fletchers career while watering his plants one day and the two develop a connection. Boy gets girl, boy loses girl by selling out to Big Music, boy does what it takes to get girl back. Great on a hot summer's night and a good, light first date watch.
The Birdcage, R
This movie is wonderful for so many reasons. Sure, come for the love story between Val (Dan Futterman) and Barbara (Calista Flockhart), but the real love story here is between Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane), Val's parents and co-owners of a South Beach drag club. Their son has chosen to marry the daughter of an incredibly straight-laced Senator (Gene Hackman), and it's time for the parents to meet each other (Hackman's wife is portrayed by an overwrought Dianne Wiest). Albert and Armand try to play it straight to disastrous, hysterical, and tear-inducing results. Will true love win the day? Don't miss this one.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
Obviously, Steve Carrell is incredibly funny, but he also has a unique way of conveying incredibly tender human moments on the big (or small) screen. Judd Apatow co-wrote the script with Carrell, and Catherine Keener as Carrell's love interest heads up a brilliantly funny cast that includes all your favorites from the Apatow canon (including the director's wife, Leslie Mann). This is a good one to watch with the guy who protests that he doesn't like rom-coms — trust Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Paul Rudd to prove him wrong.
Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez produced and starred in this Netflix original that at its heart deals with how the bonds of friendship between three women sustain them through the difficulties of romantic relationships. Rodriguez plays Jenny, the lead character, and in flashback, we see the evolution and eventual decline of Jenny's relationship with boyfriend Nate. Her girls are there to support her in this as in all things. Watch this with your own tribe.
About A Boy
About A Boy, PG-13
You knew there had to be at least one Hugh Grant film on this list, and especially given that this one is an adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, it's a good one. Fuelled alternately by almost painful wistfulness and the foppish antics of the maladept, oversized man-child in which Grant specializes, this a well-written one that's great for date night.
Sleeping With Other People
If you're looking for something that shows a little more skin but that's still both sweet and funny, Sleeping With Other People rounds all the bases. Let's just say that you won't forget the scene depicted above that's both raunchy and hysterical... nor will you forget that Jason Sudekis (Jake) has fine dramatic chops. Allison Brie co-stars as Lainey, his romantic interest. This one is definitely NSFW, so spring it as an unexpected surprise on a SO who's just expecting a chick flick.
To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Young adult literature has made an unquestionable impact on our reading and viewing habits, and here's a movie that's a result of that trend. Starring Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey in the adaptation of the bestselling book of the same name, this story is a play on the popular "let's pose as a couple" trope that's as old as the hills. I'll admit I've developed a real affinity for this genre, in part because the stripped-down writing has a real authenticity that some adult literature seems to bypass; and what relationships have more drama than those between teens? While it's very, very different from the Hughesian sensibilities of the '80s, today's YA movement has a lot to commend it, even for adults. Great for a long weekend when you want to unwind.
She's Gotta Have It
Currently set to become a 10-episode series on Netflix, Spike Lee's directorial debut is an award-winning art house standard and a classic. It's the story of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), whose voracious sexual appetites have landed her in three relationships at the same time. While its tone in the climactic rape scene is troubling (a fact that Lee says is the one regret of his directorial career and that he intends to correct in the series), it's nonetheless a standard, and Lee's Mars character is just one unforgettable part of this movie.
Anchor And Hope
Anchor And Hope, TV-MA
Two female partners living cozily on a canal boat in London invite all kinds of havoc into their lives when a male friend's visit prompts them to forge ahead with plans to have a baby. Said friend is talked into a DIY insemination which briefly takes hold, causing a reconfiguration of the romantic dynamic that's further jolted when the pregnancy doesn't survive. This Spanish-British hybrid is a thoughtful look at the women's relationship as well as at three warm, funny young people, and is a great movie when you're looking for something quirky and non-formulaic.
Chasing Amy, R
One of my favorite of the whole offbeat, quirky Kevin Smith family of movies, Chasing Amy stars Joey Lauren Adams as artist Alyssa. Alyssa and Holden (Ben Affleck) are both in the comic book game, and meet at a convention Holden attends with his partner Banky (Jason Lee). Holden falls hard for Alyssa, only to discover that she's a lesbian; that doesn't stop him, but things don't end well. Smith portrays his cryptically wise character Silent Bob in this outing, accompanied, as ever, by Jay (Jason Mewes). A great one to watch with the guy or guys in your life.