(Credit: Netflix)

Films

The 10 best films to watch on Netflix on Valentine’s Day

The mention of Valentine’s Day often makes us scourge through Netflix to find classic rom-coms that have reigned supreme for decades, namely Titanic, The Notebook, My Fair Lady and more — the kind of films that make you feel all gooey. Although people might argue that romance is dead, the brilliant rom-coms produced over the decades say otherwise. 

A quintessential season for cinema, Valentine’s Day often sees a piqued interest in the popular genre of romance and romantic comedies to serve as a perfect way to end a romantic night for couples.  

If you are looking for sources of inspiration to recreate some of the most iconic scenes from rom-com classics with your partner and having a night-in, care of Netflix, take a look at our list below that we have curated, with love, for you and your lover. 

With some fresh new releases and some good old classics, here are the 10 best films to watch on Netflix on Valentine’s Day that will help you have a brilliant and romantic bingeing session with your partner: 

The best films to watch on Netflix on Valentine’s Day 

10. Notting Hill (Roger Michell, 1999)

An unusual romance blossoms when a British bookstore owner meets a well-known American actress by chance, and they are haplessly in love. However, the various differences in their financial standing, lifestyle and other elements lead to several misunderstandings as their relationship consistently changes over the seasons. 

A classic fan-favourite rom-com, this 90s film stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts as the lead protagonists. A beautiful rendition of an unlikely love story, the film has an abundance of heartwarming dinners and nightly strolls accompanied by quiet bickering sessions that add to the sheer sappiness of the film.  

9. Love Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003)

Although essentially considered a Holiday rom-com that ushers in the Yuletide spirit, Curtis’ 2004 rom-com classic transcends seasons and is a brilliant Valentine’s Day watch as it celebrates love in various forms. With a brilliant star-studded ensemble that includes the likes of Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman and others, the film revolves around the tale of nine couples who try to grapple with their emotions and feelings at the onset of the Holiday season. 

Overwhelmingly romantic and sweet, the general sappiness and feel-good factor in the film is balanced by some heartbreaking narratives, especially the one with Rickamn’s infidelity to his loving wife, played by Thompson. With iconic scenes, including Grantz’s waltz and Lincoln’s confession to Knightley using flashcards, the film infuses the brutal realities and melancholy moments of life within a generic affectionate tale of love and warmth. 

8. Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998) 

A young and struggling artist, William Shakespeare is devoid of ideas and inspiration. During his creative slump, he chances upon the vivacious and spirited Viola with whom he commences a torrid and passionate love affair. Her zeal for life and their epic love story serves as a muse for one of his greatest creations, Romeo and Juliet

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench, among others, the rom-com has an essential bit of tragic sensibility, which adds to the phenomenal chemistry between the leads. As the magnanimous Viola who was determined to subvert gender norms and challenge societal stereotypes, Paltrow won her first-ever Academy Award and Golden Globe Award.  

7. Chocolat (Lasse Hallstrom, 2000)

Starring Juliette Binoche, Victoire Thivisol and Johnny Depp among others, the film is set in a fictional and orthodox French village where a woman named Vianne arrives with her young daughter and sets up a chocolate factory. Despite initial resistance, the duo win over the repressed community and Vianne finds herself caught in a whirlwind affair with the charming Roux amidst other obstacles. 

With several Academy Award nominations, the film is enchanting and light-hearted that saw a brilliant performance from Binoche. With an innate eye for tantalising artistry and visual romance, the filmmaker managed to portray a brilliant commentary on the repressive nature of morality while infusing in elements of erotic sensuality between the duo, namely Binoche and Depp, and emphasising the cathartic nature of chocolate that has the power to turn the world upside down.  

6. Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995)

The first film of the much-coveted Before trilogy, which is succeeded by the likes of Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2013), the film chronicles the changing landscape of Celine and Jesse’s relationship after they meet at idyllic Venice in their twenties. A tale of chance encounters, whirlwind romance and poetic conversations, it is one of Linklater’s most celebrated films. 

Dreamy and surreal, the film is a brilliant escape from the clutches of reality as it lulls the viewers into a land of seductive romance and philosophical exchanges. Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the leads, it is a raw and authentic portrayal of their evolving relationship with the director placing them in an alien environment “when you’re travelling, you’re much more open to experiences outside your usual realm”.      

5. Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, 2012)

Discharged from the clinic after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Pat goes back to his home in Pennsylvania while being fixated on wooing back his estranged wife. He gets into an unlikely deal with a widow named Tiffany who agrees to help him if he agrees to take part in a dance competition with her. Despite their undeniable attraction towards one another, their budding romance is hindered by the wedding bands on their fingers. 

 Starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro, the film oscillates between the cynical and the melodramatic, striking the perfect balance. Weaving in the essence of a classic old rom-com, it sees a brilliant camaraderie between Cooper and Lawrence that is far surpassed by the remarkable and overwhelming father-son bond between Cooper and DeNiro. 

4. Ghost (Jerry Zucker, 1990)

Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg and others, the film is a brilliant blend of the romance, fantasy and thriller genres that won various Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning the Best Original Screenplay and an award for Goldberg as the Supporting Actress. A story of literal star-crossed lovers, the fated destinies of the leads are intertwined in a web of tragedy and emotions that make it one of the greatest love stories of the 90s. 

A banker and an artist are madly in love. However, the banker is murdered by a traitor friend, and he is destined to roam the earthly abode as a hapless, lonely spirit, desperate to look over his grieving lover, whom he must protect from the clutches of his friend. He seeks the help of a psychic to connect with her and warn her of the impending dangers. 

3. Carol (Todd Hayes, 2015)

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, the film is a 50s period drama that revolves around a lesbian relationship between a married woman named Carol and a photographer named Theresa. Carol is caught in a messy divorce where her imbecile husband threatens to take complete custody of their daughter by revealing her latent lesbianism out in the open that could hint at her apparent incompetency to parent a child. 

Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as Carol and Theresa, the film indicates the devastating love story between the leads whose romance is the epitome of forbidden love and undeniable desire and the resilience to be together. With a searing love sequence, Hayes’ film takes the audience back to times when love and sexuality were repressed by societal norms yet reigned supreme.  

2. The Notebook (Nick Cassavetes, 2004)

Adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ eponymous novel, the film is a timeless testament to Allie and Noah’s love story. They triumph amidst various upheavals that include economic disparities, disapproving parents, the Second World War and more. At the brink of Allie’s marriage to another man, Noah returns and rekindles their love affair that is far from being over. 

Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, the film was difficult to shoot as the actors were constantly at loggerheads. However, the two ended up making up and dating, continuing the fiery love story like their on-screen roles. The iconic kissing amidst the torrential downpour has immortalised the film decades after its release and continues to be a fan-favourite tear-jerker. 

1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Joel Zwick, 2002)

A compelling romantic romp with hints of comedy and an abundance of cultural shocks and epic misunderstandings, the film is an absurdist take on the genre that can be attributed to the screenwriter, Nia Vardalos’ genius. Vardalos also stars as the lead in the film, which is an ode to the opulence of Greek culture. With an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay, the film is the highest-grossing rom-com of all time. 

The franchise is still expanding, according to Vardalos, in 2021, besides a film sequel and television series. The film revolves around the hilarious and heartwarming struggle of a Greek woman when she introduces her non-Greek lover to her orthodox family, who struggles to accept her choices.