It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to watch a good, sappy romantic movie. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve watched all that Netflix has to offer.
So given my experience, I’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest romantic films that online streaming has to offer:
“While You Were Sleeping” – Netflix
I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to say “no” to a Sandra Bullock movie.
“While You Were Sleeping” is one of her earlier films, and it’s one of my favorites.
Bullock plays Lucy, a lonely train fare token collector in Chicago. Lucy is in love with a frequent commuter (Peter Gallagher), with whom she has never spoken with, but admires from a far. Now, bear with me, it isn’t as creepy as it sounds.
One day, Peter is mugged on a platform, and Lucy saves him, but only after he hits his head, sending him into a coma. Once at the hospital, the nurses mistakes Lucy for Peter’s fiancé. Peter’s family, though confused by Lucy, embraces her for the kind person that she is. Lucy is then torn between telling Peter’s family the truth or embracing time with a new-found family, something she has never had before. What makes this movie so heart-warming is the fact that love doesn’t just have to be romantic – it can be with the people who treat you like family.
Is it cheesy? Yes. But is it just what you need on Valentine’s Day? Absolutely.
“Cinema Paradiso” – Rent it on Amazon
I know foreign films with subtitles are not for everyone, but this one is definitely worth giving a shot. I’ll give you one warning before hitting the play button: bring tissues – lots of them.
The film chronicles Salvatore, a young Italian boy who spends a good amount of time at his small town’s local movie house, Cinema Paradiso. There he meets Alfredo, the projectionist of the theater, who teaches Salvatore much more about film. The two form a bond with one another; Alfredo serves as a father figure to Salvatore, whose real dad died during World War II. Alfredo gives Salvatore the confidence to pursue his dreams in filmmaking.
Though romantic relationships are not the central focus of this film, the way this 1988 classic portrays human heartbreak, hope and a desire for fulfillment is genuine.
“10 Things I Hate About You” – Netflix
If you’ve ever read Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” in high school, then you may have skipped the SparkNotes and opted for this modern-day adaptation.
“10 Things I Hate About You” is the epitome of teen movies, as it revolves around the life of Kat (Julia Stiles), a stubborn and sassy teenager who refuses to waste her time dating any of the boys at her high school. Her younger sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) is one of the most sought after girls in school, but due to her strict father’s rule, she can’t date until Kat does.
One of Bianca’s love interests, Cameron (young Joseph Gordon Levitt), comes up with a plan to find a date for Kat. While there aren’t many suitors who are brave enough to take on Kat, Cameron settles on paying off the school’s most hardened outcast, Patrick (Heath Ledger).
As an early 2000s movie, the amount of actual artistic substance it has to offer is sparse, but it’s a fun way to spend two hours admiring Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon Levitt in their earlier days.
“Brokeback Mountain” – Hulu
You may have noticed that this is the second Heath Ledger film to appear on my list. And yes, you’re right, I love Heath Ledger, but I also love Jake Gyllenhaal. So, what could be better than a romantic film about the two of them?
This 2005 Oscar-winner depicts the formation of love between two sheepherders in 1963 and their conflicting feelings about the romantic relationship they share. While Ennis (Ledger) and Jack (Gyllenhaal) part ways and start families of their own, the two men are constantly drawn back to one another. Ledger and Gyllenhaal both prove their incredible talents in each scene and were both nominated for an Oscar for their roles in the movie.
The film is heartbreaking and raw as it depicts “forbidden love.” It leaves viewers both romanced and devastated.