On a cold, lonely day when you’re stuck inside, a nice romantic story can be just what you need. When a viewer wants a story filled with twists and turns, as well as a bunch of changing characters, sometimes it’s best to watch a romantic series. Other times, all that’s needed is a simple, one-shot story, calling instead for a romantic movie. Romances with happy endings give viewers the chance to escape into a fantasy, but even stories with sad endings can be meaningful in their own right. After all, even when love is unrequited, it can still be powerful.
Netflix is a platform for a variety of romantic films and television shows, from musicals to anthology films. Some were made for Netflix, while others were later acquired by the streaming service. Even when a film or series leaves Netflix, they can still leave an impression, serving as an honorable mention to the platform’s variety of love stories.
Coming to America is a romantic comedy, that starts off in the fictional African country of Zamunda. The nation’s crown prince, Akeem Joffer, dreads the prospect of an arranged marriage. Wanting a wife who will love him for him, Akeem and his aide, Semmi, decide to travel to New York disguised as students, thinking there’d be no better place to find a queen than Queens. While there, the prince falls in love with a woman named Lisa, even getting a job at McDowell’s, a fast-food restaurant run by her father.
When Lisa’s rich boyfriend Darryl announces their engagement, without even asking her, however, she decides to date Akeem instead. Unfortunately, when the royal family visits after Semmi asks for more money, Lisa refuses to marry Akeem after learning he lied to her, even after he offers to renounce the throne. Akeem returns home and agrees to the arranged marriage. Thanks to the intervention of the queen, the film gets its fairytale ending when it turns out that it is Lisa behind the veil.
Love Actually is a romantic comedy that shares a variety of love stories set around Christmas in London. A woman finds her marriage in trouble after her husband takes an interest in his secretary, learning this after finding an early Christmas present. A recent widower gets involved when his stepson falls in love with an American classmate, who may soon leave the country, all the while finding love himself. Another man is in love with the bride of an upcoming wedding, where he is expected to serve as the best man.
A mystery writer suffers a heartbreak, only to find love in spite of language barriers. Two surprisingly shy movie stand-ins fall in love while performing love scenes. An aging rock star tries to release the number-one Christmas song with the help of his manager. Even the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States get involved in the love stories.
Notably, the stories intersect, with the characters often being connected or related in some way. In fact, in an earlier draft, Rowan Atkinson’s character was going to appear in every story, implying he was some sort of guardian angel.
The House Bunny revolves around Playboy Bunny Shelley Darlington, who gets kicked out by a scheming rival, after being tricked into believing that she’s too old. Soon, Shelley finds herself becoming the housemother to a sorority of unpopular outcasts, the Zetas. Unfortunately, she is tasked with helping them find 30 new pledges, or the house will be shut down. As Shelley takes her new charges under her wing and helps them become more social, she meets, and develops an attraction to, Oliver, a man who works at a retirement home.
Their first date doesn’t go too well, with Shelley’s attempts at flirting, including a Marilyn Monroe impersonation, backfiring, not realizing Oliver just wants to get to know her. Their second date, in which Shelley tries to be more intellectual, goes just as well, especially when she gets recognized as a Playboy Bunny. Making things worse, the Zetas wonder if Shelley is a good influence on them. In the end, however, Shelley proves to be more intelligent than people give her credit, helps save the house, and reconciles with Oliver.
Falling for Christmas sees wealthy heiress Sierra Belmont get appointed as a “vice president of atmosphere” by her father at his high-profile ski resort. During a mountaintop photo shoot with her influencer boyfriend, Sierra gets into an accident, causing her to get lost and lose her memory. Jake Russell, who recently failed to pitch his ideas to Sierra’s father, offers Sierra a place to stay at his own bed and breakfast. Sierra, going by the name, “Sarah,” helps with the hotel and proves to be a good influence, all the while trying to remember who she is.
Eventually, the town joins together to help the bed and breakfast, which soon is declared a historical site. However, Sierra’s father and boyfriend soon find her, restoring her memory. In the end, Sierra ends her relationship, reunites with Jake, and helps him run the now-sold-out bed and breakfast. Sierra’s father even thanks Jake for helping his daughter by investing in his hotel.
My Best Friend’s Wedding sees Julia Roberts play Julianne “Jules” Potter, a New York critic who makes a pact with her best friend, Michael O’Neal, that they would get married by the time they’re still single at 28. By the time of her 28th birthday, Michael calls her up to reveal that he’s just found the girl he wants to marry, the wealthy, young Kimberly Wallace. In turn, upon meeting her, Kimberly wants Jules to be her maid of honor. Jules accepts the offer, all the while scheming to break up the couple and win back Michael.
For a romantic comedy, My Best Friend’s Wedding is subversive in that the heroine’s rival isn’t the villain, but is portrayed completely sympathetically and is ultimately triumphant. It’s Jules’ scheming that is portrayed as being in the wrong. In fact, My Best Friend’s Wedding has often been described as a romantic comedy from the villain’s perspective. Jules’ other friend George, who pretends to be her fiancée and wedding date, while posing as her voice of reason, also proved to be a fan favorite among audiences over the years.
My Happy Marriage is an anime series, based on the eponymous light novels, set during the Meiji Restoration era in a world where magic is real. Starting off as a retelling of the Cinderella story, Miyo Saimori, the daughter of a loveless arranged marriage, is treated like a servant by her wicked stepmother and younger half-sister, Kaya. To make things worse, Miyo doesn’t appear to have inherited her family’s supernatural abilities, making her more of an outcast.
As her final humiliation, Miyo is arranged to marry a man with a cruel reputation, while Kaya gets to marry Miyo’s childhood friend, who originally wanted to marry Miyo. Miyo’s intended, Kiyoka Kudo, the head of the Kudo family, is a commander known for being so cold he’s allegedly scared off other brides. However, upon realizing her past and true nature, Kiyoka warms up to Miyo, just as she starts to fall in love with him. Unfortunately, after Kaya actually gets to see Kiyoka for herself, she takes an interest in him and becomes determined to steal Miyo’s happiness.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the follow-up to the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, starts off after Toula married Ian, now having a teenage daughter, Paris. However, the couple’s relationship has become strained over the years. Ian now works as the principal at Paris’ school, while Toula’s family has been hit hard by the recession, seeing the end of Toula’s travel agency and the family’s dry cleaners.
Meanwhile, Toula’s father, Gus, learns that his marriage certificate was never certified, nullifying his marriage to Toula’s mother, Maria. They decide to get married all over again, but Maria stresses that she wants a proper proposal and, later, the wedding she never had. Eventually, the whole family, including Gus’ estranged brother and Ian’s parents, get involved with the wedding. Even with complications like Gus showing up to the ceremony drunk or the wedding falling on the same night as Paris’ prom, Gus and Maria renew their marriage. This, in turn, inspires Toula and Ian to privately renew theirs.
La La Land is a romantic musical drama comedy revolving around two young people trying to make their dreams come true in Los Angeles. Mia wants to be an actress, while Sebastian, or “Seb,” wants to be a jazz musician. They meet during a moment of road rage and soon find themselves constantly running into each other. However, even musicals, as in real life, don’t always promise a happy ending, whether it comes to their ambitions or their relationship, at least not without sacrificing one for the other.
Seb signs on to join a jazz fusion band, giving him a shot at success, but Mia feels he is settling and giving up his dreams along with the music he wants to play. The two break up after Seb misses Mia’s one-woman play. However, through a casting director who saw the play and Seb’s help, Mia obtains a chance to audition for a film.
In the end, Mia is the actress she always wanted to be, and Seb opens his dream jazz club, but they do not end up together. The story ends with them thinking of what could have been, before silently parting ways.
Virgin River starts with Melinda “Mel” Monroe, who wants a fresh start in life. In order to get this, she leaves Los Angeles and takes a job as a midwife in the town of Virgin River in Northern California. With her contract lasting for a year, Mel is tasked with helping Vernon “Doc” Mullins, the town’s doctor. Mel will soon find herself clashing with the stubborn and set-in-his-ways doctor.
Even the accommodations Mel was given as part of the job turn out to be less than advertised. Mel is on the cusp of leaving the new job, until she encounters a baby left on a doorstep. Meanwhile, she also begins to encounter Jack Sheridan, a former U.S. Marine and owner of a local bar. All the while, Mel is haunted by the loss of her late husband, Mark.
Bridgerton is a historical fiction series based on Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, revolving around the romances of the titular Bridgerton family, as well as the impoverished Featherington family. The backdrop of the story is Regency-era London, filled with nobles and the gentry debuting into society, making matches, and falling in love. All the while, the mysterious figure of Lady Whistledown, a gossip columnist, narrates the events, though she is closer than audiences may first realize. The series also famously portrays the era as racially integrated, allowing for various characters of different backgrounds to have prominent roles.
The first two seasons, as with the books, each follow the love stories of Daphne and Anthony, the two eldest Bridgerton children. The third season, however, announced it would break tradition by focusing on fan-favorite Penelope Featherington and her love interest, Colin Bridgerton, who were originally the focus of the fourth book. The series also spawned a spin-off, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, detailing the younger years and early romance of the historical figures of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and King George III.