Netflix is my new thing. Thanks in part to my teen, I’ve become quite savvy on the Netflix offerings. I like how it really gets a sense of your preferences and makes suggestions. Most of my movie selections are romance/drama or romantic comedies. For Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share with you my top 10 picks of best streaming romantic movies available on Netflix. I’ll start with one of my all time favorite movies…
I love this movie. Hugh Grant (William Thacker) and Julia Roberts (Anna Scott) sold this rom-com that gave us all the feels. My favorite scenes were the adorable dinner party with his friends and when they try to get into the private neighborhood garden and Hugh says, “Whoopsie daisies.”
The other epic line was when Anna goes to his bookstore and declares her love: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Extra treats: a young Hugh Bonneville before Downton Abbey and Hugh’s goofball roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans). Plus, it had a really good soundtrack.
Shakespeare in Love
I’d forgotten just how good this movie was. Even though I generally don’t like Gwyneth Paltrow (she’s a snoot IMHO), she and the cast do an excellent job. Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) hits writer’s block on his Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter (LOL) but finds a muse in Viola de Lesseps (Paltrow).
I think Gene Ebert said it best that this movie fluctuated “between Masterpiece Theater and Mel Brooks.” Any movie that can make us laugh heartily at Shakespeare and also present an endearing love story is tops in my book.
Will Smith’s dating advisor crosses paths with Eva Mendes’s journalist and sparks fly. Smith is his usual affable, charming self, but what I really loved was the storyline where he coaches the bumbling accountant (Kevin James) into successfully wooing the supermodel (Amber Valleta).
Kevin James is an absolute riot. Classic scenes include when Smith has an allergic reaction to shellfish and when Smith coaches James on the first kiss. Whenever this movie was on TV, I would watch it; now I can watch on Netflix anytime!
A movie as deliciously decadent as its title, Chocolat is a well-concocted gem with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. Opening a chocolate shop during Lent in a fictional French town in 1959, Binoche isn’t ready for the backlash from this repressed town, led by their village mayor (Alfred Molina).
With Judi Dench as her eccentric landlady, this movie is a tasty morsel of cinematic perfection. And probably one that many have not seen (unless you are a truly diehard Johnny Depp fan). He’s really a secondary character in this story that highlights women empowerment before it was even a movement.
A modern day take on Jane Austen’s Emma set in a Beverly Hills high school, Amy Heckerling’s Clueless is anything but. Alicia Silverstone embodied the seemingly superficial yet really sensitive and smart Cher Horowitz.
With a rock solid cast including Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, Donald Faison, and the always endearing Paul Rudd (Josh) as Cher’s love interest ex-stepbrother, Clueless totally has a clue in the casting department. Hey, have you noticed how Paul Rudd is everywhere these days? Do we mind? “As if!”
In true Emma fashion, Cher doesn’t see Josh as her love interest until the end. Watching this can be a painful reminder of some of the 80s trends, but overall it’s a fun romp down memory lane.
Could this movie have more celebrities? I think not. Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, and Keira Knightley just to name a few. Christmas was the holiday front and center, and the themes of finding and losing love run throughout.
I won’t attempt to mention all the storylines because there are so many, but I will simply share the one scene that made me smile the most: Hugh Grant as a dancing Prime Minister. Ironically, Grant didn’t want to film the scene at all, but by the end when it was filmed on the last day, he was actually singing along.
I vaguely remember seeing this movie and wanting to find the infamous ice cream parlor where these characters were supposed to meet. John Cusack as Jonathan and Kate Beckinsale as Sara grab the same pair of gloves in Bloomingdale’s, and spend that evening wandering Manhattan together. But after she loses his phone number, she decides to let fate decide if they will meet again by writing her name and number on a $ 5 bill and puts it in a book.
10 years later, will they reconnect before it’s too late? This sweet romance works because of the leads and their charisma. Film tidbit: Scenes of the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from all the NYC skyline shots because of 9/11. 🙁
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Man, I’m picking a lot of Hugh Grant movies! Actually, this movie shines because of Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth. Bridget Jones is the everywoman the audience cheers for, and Firth is the guy we all know she is destined for even if Bridget is totally clueless on that one.
I adore this movie from Darcy’s ugly Christmas sweater, Bridget’s bunny costume (that she wore to what was a non-costume party), and Hugh Grant’s smirk. You feel her agony as the only singleton invited to a couples party and want to smack all the smug married couples who say mean things to her. Team Bridge for the win. Stay tuned: there will be another Mr. Darcy on this list!
Pretty in Pink
I chose this 80’s John Hughes flick over Say Anything because jambox over the head aside, I remember details of Pretty in Pink more vividly. Molly Ringwald (Andie), Andrew McCarthy (Blane), and Jon Cryer (Duckie). Plus, James Spader is a beast in the TV show The Blacklist, and it blows my mind a little that he’s also the mean preppy friend Steff in Pretty in Pink.
I loved Andie’s quirky style and how she stayed true to herself. So inspired, I “may” have had to buy a pink dress that year. Hey, I was 14 when this movie released-the same age my daughter is now! Wow-writing that makes me feel old.
The movie is being re-released in theaters for Valentine’s Day to celebrate the 30 year anniversary! Get your tickets now!
Pride and Prejudice
This has to be one of my favorite movies ever, thanks to my love affair with Jane Austen. I love this version directed by Joe Wright because I think it captures the essence of what it was like to grow up female in a world where your only assurance of future financial stability was who you married. Often debated is who made the best Mr. Darcy: Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen. Why choose? They are both outstanding!
The scene where Mr. Darcy walks across the field to greet Elizabeth? Weak at the knees. Extra bonus: I ADORE the classical music soundtrack!
So there’s my list. What did you think? Any favorites I missed?