Whether you’re head over heels in love, still dreaming of meeting the one, or perfectly content with the adventures that Tinder, Bumble, or Grindr have to offer, you can’t deny the role that love—in all its curious shapes and forms—plays in our lives. It’s the reason why a lot of people go through the hassle of signing wedding papers and procreating and starting a family. And all those lengthy phone calls from your best friend complaining, gushing, or crying about their S/O? Can’t argue with that.
While it is agreed that some rom-coms set unrealistic standards about relationships, it can serve as the occasional happiness quick fix—and don’t fret if you’re looking for a cinematic experience with more depth than your average high school teen drama! We’ve handpicked the following list that will hopefully cater to both desires—and trust us, moderate doses of these movies might just be the chicken soup your soul needs during trying times. Grab some popcorn, a cup of hot chocolate, maybe even a cookie or two—snuggle up with your S/O, best friend, fluffy pillow, or stuffed animal, and enjoy these following hours of heartache and reconciliation. You deserve it.
Looking for a guaranteed good time? Check out these simple but sweet rom-coms with a “happily ever after” ending and no consequences.
“Set It Up” (2018): 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: love a good modern office romance, and if you take pleasure in watching people matchmake and fill the shoes of Cupid (all the while falling in love). Watch this Netflix rom-com to see amazing on-screen chemistry, lovers in denial, a motivated and career-oriented female lead, and lots of happy coincidences. Netflix arguably nailed it with this one. I needn’t say more—get that Netflix free trial, and go watch it!
“Friends With Benefits” (2011): 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: are trying to find reasons to believe that your friends with benefits situation is going to work out. (Just kidding!) Give this rom-com a watch if you want to see a young Justin Timberlake in action, the hustle and bustle of New York City, and the delightful unfolding of a co-worker turned best friend (with strings attached) relationship. Oh, and flash mobs! Who doesn’t love a good Times Square flash mob?
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (2005): 59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: have been keeping up with the Brangelina over the years; this movie is arguably the culprit for many a scandalous Hollywood drama since its production—this is actually how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie met. In all seriousness, this is a rom-com classic packed with secret toolshed hideouts, handgun stashes in ovens, high tech espionage, and an explosive action scene. Don’t take it so seriously, and you’ll have a fun time.
“Love Actually” (2003): 63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: want to see all the biggest UK movie stars of the 2000s all in one production (like Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, and Keira Knightley. Not sure if you recognise these names? Think “Black Swan,” “Nanny McPhee,” “Mr. Bean,” Professor Snape, Ferb, and Newt. It’s like “Avengers: Endgame” but for actors in the UK.) And if you find joy in experiencing secondhand embarrassment in the form of messy and complicated relationships. (There are a lot of them in this movie.) Also, it’s a must-watch if you’re in the mood to see a Christmas themed movie about love! It’s a lot.
“Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001): 81 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: love modern remakes of classic novels. This movie puts a modern spin on “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen, featuring a love triangle, a hearty dose of angst and pining, an almost painful amount of on-and-off, back-and-forth, British humor, more pining, alluring British accents, and a good fistfight.
“10 Things I Hate About You” (1999): 68 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: love modern spin-offs of classic literature set in an American high school (in this case, “The Taming of the Shrew”). Watch this absolute classic for a powerful female lead, a tear-jerking high school romance, and a serenade from Heath Ledger.
Unsatisfied with the casual rom-com? We admire you and your search for a deeper meaning. You ask, and we deliver. We hope these following movies will provide some part of the enlightenment you seek!
“Crazy Rich Asians” (2018): 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: want to experience the power dynamics of a traditional and wealthy Singaporean family pit against the force of a lone but strong-willed Chinese-American gal, all in the name of love (and in the body of Henry Golding). A force to be reckoned with, this all-Asian cast brings to Hollywood a much needed splash of Asian culture, and with it, the story of familial reconciliation, overcoming prejudice, an over-the-top (but gorgeous) wedding, and a very well-played game of Mahjong.
“Love, Simon” (2018): 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: have been upset at the lack of queer romance representation in Hollywood and thrive on a well-written coming of age story. Painfully real and equally as adorable at times, you will love this especially if you have once navigated a relationship built online through a screen on the interwebs. #ModernRomance. We’re here for it.
“The Big Sick” (2017): 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: want to fully understand the trials and tribulations of intercultural relationships, need genuine and unpretentious comedic relief that will have you in stitches laughing, and a lot of secondhand embarrassment. But also, you will experience the satisfaction that comes with pushing through the awkwardness. Such is life.
“About Time” (2013): 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: need a sci-fi twist to your not so average romantic drama. “About Time” is a movie that dabbles in time travel and teaches you a lesson or two about fate and letting life run its course. Be prepared to burn through your box of Kleenex.
“Silver Linings Playbook” (2012): 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: need a reminder that we all have a bit of crazy in us, and that’s okay. Regardless of who you are, this is a movie that will make your heart ache and make you realize that the flaws we have are what makes us human, and that people who struggle with mental illnesses are just as valid as everyone else. Still doesn’t sound like something you’d like? Watch it for the fantastic cast that is Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence.
“Crazy, Stupid, Love” (2011): 79 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: are seeking a shortcut to gain a set of finely toned abs—because “Crazy, Stupid, Love” will have you gasping for breath and slapping your thighs out of sheer shock. (Wait for the backyard scene. You’ll know it when you see it.) You’ll also get a real kick out of this if you love a heartfelt bromance (between Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, no less!), a midlife crisis that hits close to home, and a powerful declaration that love knows no boundaries.
“500 Days Of Summer” (2009): 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: need a gentle reminder that falling in love with the idea of a person is not the same as falling in love with them. Arguably one of modern cinema’s finest films on love and loss, ups and downs, and expectations versus realities, watch this movie for some heartache in the office, some tears in a deli, some real solid relationship advice from a preteen, and walk away with lessons on love.
“Pretty Woman” (1990): 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes
You’ll enjoy this if you: are a fan of TV shows such as “Extreme Makeover” and have indulged in wishful thinking about falling in love with a rich tycoon so that you won’t have to write resumes and sit through disastrous interviews anymore. (And have a private jet, weekly shopping trips, servants at your beck and call, and a disregard to sustainability.) Watch your dreams come true on screen with this rags-to-riches story, and be comforted with the fact that chances of this ever happening in real life is close to zero. (But that’s okay, because there is more to life than money, and love, regardless of monetary benefits, conquers all.)
We know this isn’t all that’s out there. But if you manage to squeeze in a movie or two every month or so, this list should keep you busy this cuffing season! And if you’ve exhausted this list, let us know—we’ll be back with more.