By Anna Menta
For some couples, staying indoors and watching TV is the most romantic Valentine’s date imaginable. In 2018, “Netflix and chill” has expanded to “Hulu and chill,” “Amazon Prime and chill” and “CBS All Access and chill.” (Fine, maybe not that last one. Yet.)
But for any iteration of that date, you need the right film. As good as Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was, that’s not going to set the mood for your romantic night in. (Unless you’re dating someone whose idea of romance is deconstructing the glorification of war, in which case, Dunkirk it up.) The rest of us will stick to lighthearted romances—such as the ones listed below, all available to stream on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
If you and/or your partner never have never seen Audrey Hepburn in her Academy Award-nominated, Halloween costume-inspiring role, remedy that this Valentine’s Day. Just make sure to get at least to Hepburn singing “Moon River” before you move on to the “and chill” portion of the evening.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Yes, 13 Going on 30 essentially ripped off the plot of Big, but it handled the romance so much better. Both you and your S.O. will fall in love with Mark Ruffalo and ’80s music. This film is also arguably Jennifer Garner’s best role. Why won’t she return to comedy?!
Before Saoirse Ronan was an Academy Award-nominated actress for Brooklyn or Lady Bird, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Atonement. Marvel at her tiny, 12-year-old talent, and the electric chemistry between Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in this adaption of Ian McEwan’s 2001 romance novel.
If you happen to be dating a man who dubs the previous four films “chick flicks,” consider dumping him. But if you want to give it one last try, consider this Will Smith/Kevin James buddy comedy. Smith is suave matchmaker trying to hook James up with his crush, even as he’s unable to seal the deal in his own love life. (Remember when Will Smith used to choose good movies?)
The Way He Looks (2014)
Netflix’s selection of LGBT romances is lacking, but this coming-of-age Brazilian romance is a rare gem. Ghilherme Lobo’s stars as a blind teen whose life turns upside down when a new student arrives at his school. The romance may be predictable, but it hits all those predictable beats perfectly. The result is genuine and sweet.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Only Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman could possibly convince me that the public transportation is romantic. Snuggle down with your partner for this ’90s box office hit, and enjoy this quirky, unique romantic comedy.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Even if you’re not a Shakespeare enthusiast, you’ll be sucked into Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing. Complete with Whedon-esque humor (as well as a few of his favorite actors), this modern adaptation provides an accessible, enjoyable version of Shakespeare’s popular play—one of the first romantic comedies. And you can use that line to impress your date.
Not into all this optimism and happy endings? Try this black comedy, starring Winona Ryder as a popular high schooler in a clique of girls, three of whom are named Heather. No spoilers, but several people die in the name of this film’s anti-establishment values. Perfect for you and your goth boo.
Up in the Air (2009)
If you’re looking for George Clooney at his most charming (but not in the mood for a heist movie), look no further than Up in the Air. It’s also an early role for Anna Kendrick (three years before Pitch Perfect), and she makes it clear why she became a star. And no, it’s not as good as Jason Reitman’s previous rom-com, Juno, but Juno‘s not on Hulu, OK?
Two years ago, director Todd Haynes finally delivered the lesbian period drama the world deserves. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star as two closeted women who fall in love in the 1950s—and it doesn’t even end tragically. Truly, a victory for queer movie lovers everywhere, and available on Hulu for your viewing pleasure!
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Unfortunately, Legally Blonde is not available on the big streaming services, but you and your partner can substitute in Sweet Home Alabama to get your Reese Witherspoon fix. It’s doesn’t quite offer Elle Woods-levels of satisfaction, but this slightly cliched fish-out-of-water romance is still enjoyable.
The Big Sick (2017)
If you have Amazon Prime and you’re looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day movie, then close this article immediately and fire up The Big Sick. Kumail Nunjiani and Emily V. Gordon wrote this romantic comedy based on their real-life lovestory—you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find yourself believing in love again. Plus, you’ll get a jump on your Oscar movie watch list—The Big Sick nabbed a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
This ’80s classic, which made stars of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, is always worth rewatch. And if you don’t have time for the full feature, at least fast-forward to that unforgettable final dance number to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” There’s no better way to set the mood.
Before he was known for being a weirdo, Nicholas Cage was the charming, rugged romantic lead opposite Cher in Moonstruck. You’ll might be surprised at how much you find yourself laughing at these two stars, especially since they aren’t really known for their comedy these days.
A Walk To Remember (2002)
If your partner wants Nicholas Sparks for Valentine’s Day, your best bet is easily A Walk to Remember. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, The Notebook. Relax. It’s not available on streaming.) This high school drama starring Mandy Moore as a cancer-ridden teen who falls in love may be cheesy, but it’s the best kind of cheesy you could ask for.
Miss You Already (2015)
For a more Galentine’s Day vibe, pop on this British romantic comedy starring Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore, as two best friends who grow old together. Make sure you have a full box of tissues ready.