The romantic comedy is in the midst of a comeback. For the past decade or so, Hollywood film studios have placed the genre on the backburner, choosing instead to churn out sequels, prequels, threequels, remakes, and franchises based on existing IP. Movie theater audiences have shrunk since the rom-com golden age of the 1990s and early 2000s, and — save for a few noteworthy exceptions — box office numbers largely support the fact that the general public is loath to leave their homes and buy tickets for anything that isn’t an “event-level” franchise entry.
So where does that leave the treasured, oft-denigrated, female-skewed romantic comedy genre? In the hands of streaming services. Netflix specifically is often credited with revitalizing the rom-com landscape, stepping up in the absence of a theatrical presence to produce original, delightfully trope-laden content that subscribers can watch at home. And, as a result, it looks like public (and film industry) love for movies about love is increasing. So, in celebration of the modern rom-com’s rebirth, here are some of the very best romantic comedies on Netflix right now — to help close out your summer with an adorable meet-cute (or six).
Set It Up
Set It Up follows two beleaguered assistants — played by delightful up-and-comers Glen Powell and Zoey Deutsch — who are on a mission to set up their bosses. The movie gets a lot of mileage out of its fanfiction-esque premise, helped along by the chemistry between its two stars, a sharp supporting role for Lucy Liu, and a string of well-written, surprisingly memorable romantic moments.
Obvious Child stars Jenny Slate as Donna, a stand-up comedian who decides to get an abortion after a one-night stand with Max (Jake Lacy). It’s a refreshingly honest portrait of a developing relationship and a liberating portrayal of abortion, all orbiting around a funny, fully-rounded female lead. Obvious Child’s sharp writing casts off tropes in favor of depicting a raw, human, and hilarious love story, solidifying itself as one of the best rom-coms in recent memory.
Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong, already a known presence on Netflix thanks to the two stellar stand-up specials she’s done with the streamer, wrote the screenplay for Always Be My Maybe with longtime friend Randall Park. The two also star in the film, playing childhood sweethearts who rediscover their mutual affection for each other years later. Wong is the highlight, showcasing her comedic chops — watered down somewhat from her raunchy stand-up persona — throughout. Watching her and Park build a relationship strong enough to become their various obstacles, which include a douchey interloper in the form of Keanu Reeves, is just as charming as you’d expect.
A surprisingly underrated film that stars Domhnall Gleeson as Tim Lake, a man with the ability to travel through time. Tim of course uses this ability to court Mary (Rachel McAdams, a seasoned pro at playing romantic leads), to both hilarious and tender effect. As Tim and Mary’s relationship develops, Tim learns more and more about the consequences of his ability, changing his outlook on life and love in the process. About Time is an unquestionably sincere film with a great cast and a well-worn but weighty theme; any romance fan worth their salt should give it a watch.
Mamma Mia! is possibly the greatest movie ever made. It’s got elaborate dance numbers set to ABBA songs, Christine Baranski playing everyone’s favorite wine aunt, not one but three different love interests for its leading woman, and Meryl Streep in gogo boots. Every member of the cast, especially Colin Firth, seems to be having the time of their lives here, because who wouldn’t be? There are droves of unapologetically schmaltzy moments as well as an authentic emotional center in Sophie’s (Amanda Seyfried) relationship with her mother Donna (Meryl Streep). If you’ve seen it already, it deserves a rewatch. If you haven’t seen it, sprint to the nearest television screen and see the error of your ways.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
No rom-com list would be complete without Netflix’s crown jewel, last summer’s breakout hit, and the justification for Noah Centineo’s entire film career, writer Jenny Han’s adorable teen romance To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lana Condor is superb as the shy Lara Jean Covey, whose fake dating arrangement with jock Peter Kavinsky is the stuff of fanfiction dreams. The film is perfectly paced, genuinely investing, and, despite its sweet teen romance premise, isn’t afraid to get steamy. There’s a reason that To All the Boys has two sequels in the works — it’s everything a rom-com connoisseur could ask for in a film.
Agree? Disagree? What are your favorite rom coms on Netflix right now? Share with us in the comments below!