Joyful Valentine’s Day weekend, Polygon readers! We acquired you one thing particular this 12 months. Don’t fear about getting us one thing, too — we’re simply pleased you’re right here.
The Polygon workers acquired collectively and picked our favourite romance films accessible on streaming, only for you. Whether or not you’re in search of a light-hearted romantic comedy, a shifting romance crammed with that means, a style film fused with romance, or one thing in between, we now have one thing for you. There’s only one rule for our picks: the romance in it must be actual and tangible, irrespective of the style it technically falls underneath. That features choices on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and even some accessible on free platforms that don’t require a subscription in any respect.
So sit again, seize a bathtub of popcorn, and luxuriate in a few of these alternative picks from the Polygon crew. Bought another favorites of your individual? Tell us within the feedback.
10 Issues I Hate About You
Of all of the “teen film variations of traditional literature” on the market, 10 Issues I Hate About You might be probably the most romantic. It’s a very unfastened adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew: well-liked woman Bianca (Larisa Oleynik) will not be allowed to this point till her headstrong older sister Kat (Julia Stiles) does, so Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the brand new child with a giant crush on Bianca, pays unhealthy boy Patrick (Heath Ledger) to woo Kat. It’s the form of romantic comedy the place a lot of the strain comes from the leads butting heads and realizing they’re not so totally different in any case — with an additional dose of two vastly totally different sisters studying to grasp one another. Kat and Patrick positively take heart stage right here, however Cameron and Bianca’s romance isn’t half-bad both. —Petrana Radulovic
10 Issues I Hate About You is out there to stream on Disney Plus.
A Woman Walks Dwelling Alone at Evening
This can be a vampire film and a romance, however most likely not in any of the methods one would possibly anticipate. Removed from the lurid vampires of Dracula or the timid abstinence of Twilight, director Ana Lily Amirpour describes her film because the “first Iranian vampire spaghetti western.” The film follows a younger man named Arash who lives in a semi-abandoned ghost city known as Unhealthy Metropolis, the place he meets a anonymous skateboarding vampire woman. The 2 rapidly bond as misfits in Unhealthy Metropolis, beginning a young and (principally) quiet love story. —Austen Goslin
The Earlier than trilogy
To inform the reality, the Earlier than Trilogy looks like nothing in need of a miracle. Had the story of Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse’s (Ethan Hawke) whirlwind Vienna romance merely concluded with Earlier than Dawn’s bittersweet ending, it alone would have simply endured as one of many best romantic dramas of its period. However when joined with 2004’s Earlier than Sundown and 2013’s Earlier than Midnight nevertheless, Richard Linklater’s decade-spanning romance culminates into one thing much more transcendent: a meditation on the peculiar tenacity and tenuousness of affection underneath the pressure of time and circumstance. To look at the Earlier than Trilogy is to expertise one thing life-changing; I sincerely advocate sharing it with a liked one. —Toussaint Egan
The second Carol was launched it enshrined itself into the annals of WLW cinema. A lushly drawn, superbly shot interval romance a couple of wealthy near-divorcee and a shy salesgirl falling deeply in love — and one the place they aren’t in the long run compelled aside by historic circumstances. The outfits! The throughout the room gay-zes! Loosely impressed by precise occasions! Cate Blanchett has a gun! —Susana Polo
Don’t Go Breaking My Coronary heart
Johnnie To is one in every of our nice trendy administrators, equally adept in hard-boiled triad crime dramas and light-hearted romantic comedies alike. 2011’s Don’t Go Breaking My Coronary heart falls within the latter class, and is likely one of the many excessive marks of the Hong Kong director’s legendary profession. Recent off the tip of a long-term relationship, Chi-yan (Gao Yuanyuan) is an analyst for an funding financial institution who finds herself in the course of a love triangle. On one facet, there’s Sean (Louis Koo), a CEO who works throughout the road from Chi-yan and yearns for her via the tall company glass home windows that separate them. On the opposite, there’s Kevin (the always-dreamy Daniel Wu), an alcoholic former architect who helps Chi-Yan transfer on and is impressed by her to start out creating once more. What follows is a honest, humorous, and actually charming romantic time. —Pete Volk
Don’t Go Breaking My Coronary heart is out there to stream on Netflix.
Hiroshima Mon Amour
I hesitate to advocate Hiroshima mon amour for roughly a trillion causes. Primary, it’s a tough cling, starting with an prolonged montage that features real-world atrocities. After we lastly meet the central couple, Elle and Lui, they maintain evaluating their seemingly tedious lives with the bombing of Hiroshima. The pair’s love story, which takes even longer to jumpstart, is non-linear and laced with flashbacks that vary from minutes to milliseconds, like sparks of traumatic recollections that the characters hurriedly extinguish earlier than they burn uncontrolled. It’s the least pleasurable movie on this listing.
That’s purposeful. Director Alain Resnais antagonizes the viewers, regularly undercutting his breathtaking pictures and poetic enhancing with documentary-like reminders of the cruelty of people as an entire and the pettiness of people as people, unable to understand the ache of others with out centering themselves. But it surely’s this ugliness, and the way it’s shared with the viewers, that I discover unforgettable. Elle and Lui, little greater than strangers, will sit in a bar or stroll via empty streets and casually expose their very own harm to 1 one other. Elle particularly behaves like a star in her personal film, wanting love so spectacular that it’ll erase every part that preceded it. We find out how battle (and a few traditionally unhealthy romantic choices) obliterated her life and despatched her internationally in search of somebody or one thing resembling a recent begin. After all, we will’t erase the previous, one thing Elle can’t see regardless of actually being in Hiroshima.
So why watch this? As a result of we don’t get many romantic movies that depict folks because the egocentric, difficult, passionate, despicable, lovable folks they really are. The perfect comparability I can muster is Linklater’s Earlier than trilogy, the place we each love and despise the couple for his or her egocentrism. However Resnais’ work goes a lot additional in its 90-minutes, reminding us that it’s a miracle we will talk, not to mention discover love, when every individual is already a strolling ball of contradictions and inner-conflict. —Chris Plante
Hiroshima Mon Amour is out there to stream on the Criterion Channel.
If Beale Avenue May Discuss
Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Moonlight is that this tender adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. Set in Harlem within the early Nineteen Seventies, the movie follows younger Black couple Tish (KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephen James) who’re merely making an attempt to reside their lives: residence looking, coping with squabbling households with a baby on the best way, and looking out in direction of the long run. When Fonny is arrested for against the law he couldn’t have probably dedicated, their lives are thrown into turmoil. That includes terrific supporting performances from an all-star forged together with Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Aunjanue Ellis and Brian Tyree Henry, Beale Avenue is an instantaneous masterpiece with a transcendent rating to match. —PV
If Beale Avenue May Discuss is out there to stream on Hulu.
Within the Temper for Love
When somebody sees one Wong Kar-wai movie, they typically instantly need to see all of them, however not directly: they’re films greatest loved as probability encounters, beguiling strangers one spends two hours with at a bar or on a practice earlier than persevering with on their manner. The film is about neighbors Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-shen (Maggie Cheung) who start to suspect their spouses are having an affair with one another, and slowly begin to develop a relationship of their very own. It’s an achingly stunning film, filled with deep reds and tight, lonely areas, a type of tales the place nothing and every part occurs unexpectedly. Which is type of the way it goes, when two folks start to grasp what they need solely after they notice what they lack. —Joshua Rivera
For the sheer variety of pulp journey films by which the hero wins the woman on the finish, there are only a few the place the romance looks like a tangible a part of the story, as current within the reminiscence because the monster or the MacGuffin. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen may need electrical chemistry, however the entire “Indiana Jones and Marian Ravenwood first dated when she was underage” makes having fun with it just a little robust to take a seat again and luxuriate in.
Not so for The Mummy, which commits itself as a lot to the juicy tropes of an Opposites Appeal to-style romcom as to the juicy tropes of booby-trapped Egyptian tombs. The sluggish burn between hardened adventurer-with-a-heart-of-gold Rick O’Connell and buttoned-up-librarian-who-blossoms-under-the-call-of-destiny Evelyn Carnahan is the core stuff of romance novels.
It doesn’t harm that Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are two of the most well liked folks Hollywood has ever produced. There’s a cause that loving The Mummy, which comprises no brazenly queer characters, is a memetic trope within the bisexual neighborhood. There’s one thing right here for each romantic. —SP
The Mummy is out there to stream on HBO Max.
As soon as
John Carney’s romantic musical acknowledges the facility of intimacy and a pair of dulcet vocals. Shot on a shoestring funds round Eire, the movie tracks the whirlwind weekend of an Irish busker (Precise People Guitarist Glen Hansard) and a Czech flower vendor (Precise Singer-Songwriter Markéta Irglová). When “Man” discovers that “Woman” is as musically proficient and emotionally torn as himself, his impulsive, whimsical self takes over, imagining what they may do collectively in a recording studio. The pair lay down a lot of tracks, and with every delicate melody, every lyrical occupation, the 2 develop nearer collectively and nearer to understanding their higher romantic foibles. Carney, Hansard, and Irglová labored collectively to create As soon as’s playlist of unique songs, and each feels as essential as any little bit of dialogue or scene setting within the script. Actual sparks fly because the musical swells. —Matt Patches
Portrait of a Girl on Hearth
I want I may watch this film once more for the primary time, however I’ll accept watching it time and again. Portrait of a Girl on Hearth is totally beautiful, attractive, and cheeky — telling the story of a lady employed to color the portrait of one other, for the sake of sending to a possible suitor. After all, the 2 fall for one another — over the course of thorny portrait classes, coastal walks, discussions of Eurydice and the character of artwork and reminiscence. The quiet longing! The marvel of seeing need fulfilled! Lastly, a interval piece about queer girls that’s firmly rooted within the feminine gaze, and one that doesn’t fixate on the tragedy of separation however within the pleasure of ardour, intimacy, and companionship. The placement of that mirror! (If , .) The filmmaking is crisp, thought of, and vigorous — the sluggish burn made me think about each the character of seeing and being seen; and what it means to make intentional decisions about how that impression of affection is preserved, at the same time as reminiscence erodes all. —Nicole Clark
The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride has all of it: swashbucklers, epic adventures, extremely quotable humor, Cary Elwes, and a stunning romance that ties all of it collectively. It’s a fairytale fantasy that performs with acquainted tropes and breathes new life into them, a parody born out of affection. The quantity of popular culture references and quotes birthed from this film is frankly inconceivable. (Haha.)
Sure, it’s humorous, however the coronary heart of The Princess Bride is the swoon-worthy romance between Buttercup and Wesley. The loyalty, the dedication, the reconnection, the devotion — as you would like, certainly. Witty, humorous, and deeply romantic, The Princess Bride is a enjoyable fantasy romp with a really candy framing system of a grandfather studying his grandson a bedtime story, which preserves the narrative of the William Goldman e-book just a little higher than an easy adaptation. —PR
The Princess Bride is out there to stream on Disney Plus.
What’s nice about Somebody Nice is that it’s not a love story per se, however quite a narrative about how folks develop via the act of affection. Gina Rodriguez stars as Jenny, a music journalist working in New York Metropolis whose longtime boyfriend Nate (Lakeith Stanfield) breaks up along with her after she lands her dream job in San Francisco. Torn up by the tip of her nine-year-long relationship, Jenny ventures out along with her greatest associates Erin (DeWanda Clever) and Blair (Brittany Snow) for one final night time in town earlier than she strikes, all of the whereas reflecting on her time with Nate and the occasions that led to their break up. It’s a surprisingly deep and genuinely humorous romantic comedy about letting go of concern and remorse, making peace with the previous, and embracing all that love has to supply within the current. —TE
Somebody Nice is out there to stream on Netflix.
The Thomas Crown Affair
They don’t make heist films hotter than this. John McTiernan’s remake of the 1968 Steve McQueen/Faye Dunaway traditional is a steamy romp, with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo at their sexiest. Brosnan performs Thomas Crown, an smug playboy billionaire who can also be the world’s best artwork thief in his spare time (in some ways, that is Brosnan’s Batman film). Russo is Catherine Banning, an insurance coverage investigator tasked with fixing and recovering Crown’s most up-to-date daring theft. The 2 fall for one another over the course of a scrumptious cat-and-mouse recreation, culminating in an unforgettable, intricately choreographed sequence set to Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman.” —PV
Weathering With You
Whereas not fairly as well-liked as director Makoto Shinkai’s earlier film, Your Identify, Weathering With You is an anime follow-up with simply as a lot romance, magnificence, and tragic longing as its predecessor. Weathering With You follows Hodaka Morishima, a boy who lives an remoted life in a wet Tokyo. At some point Hodaka meets Hina Amano, a woman who can management the climate, and the 2 slowly fall in love, all because the rain in Tokyo continues to pour. The film’s attractive animation and achingly candy plot assist inform an exquisite story about selecting love, even when realizing the way it ends. — AG