Cinema is a romantic’s medium. To watch a movie is to feel through others, to experience lives and cultures beyond your own or, sometimes, to relate in ways you never could before. The best films invite you to love and care, to believe you’re close to strangers and nestle inside their thoughts, their laughs, their sorrows and their pains. To watch a movie is to become someone else, if for a fleeting moment.
It’s sappy and corny to say as much, but that’s the same with Valentine’s Day. The most mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey holiday of the year, February 14th is for the lovers and the believers, the dreamers and the feelers. Valentine’s Day, like the cinema itself, isn’t for those without a heart.
Even in 2017, we’re prone to our inhibitions. We hate to admit that “La La Land” swept us away, or that “The Notebook” might actually leave a little lump in your throat. The Age of Snark would be nothing without willful defiance against sentimentality. We rebel against mawkishness. But we let our guard down, if momentarily, on V-Day. Because love is a universal desire. Even when we admit otherwise, everyone wants to be loved, and everyone loves to watch love spring eternally.
The cinema is our glorious, fluorescent, picturesque and tragically restricted window into such romantic lullabies. Romanticism is a first language. Love lives forever there. Movies might propagate unrealistic romantic standards, but who gives a damn? We love to see love, especially in the dark comforts of the movie theater or in our own comfy homes. We live to fall in love with those misty-eyed hopefuls, and there’s no better day than Valentine’s Day to settle into the couch, grab some buttery popcorn, throw on a blanket, set up Netflix and, you know, chill.
There’s nothing we love quite like the magic of cinema, and we know you probably feel the same. That’s why we’ve decided to list a handful of our favorite rom-coms, romantic dramas and other romance-friendly movies currently available on Netflix.
“The Princess Bride” (1987)
There’s a very good chance you’re at least familiar with this one. It’s one of the most notorious cult classics in cinematic history, and for good reason. It’s inspired, it’s lively, it’s filled with great characters, and it’s immensely quotable too. Honestly, you could be deserted on an island miles away from shore, for months upon years, and you’ll still end up hearing someone yell “Inconceivable!” or “You killed my father, prepare to die.” This movie is as infectious as it’s cuddly, cute and endlessly charming, and it’s hard to resist. One of the most beloved romantic comedies of all-time, it’s also one of the most endearing.
“Drinking Buddies” (2013)
Naturalism is a beautiful gift in cinema. While it took writer/director Joe Swanberg multiple years to fine-tune his improv-friendly craft, the filmmaker positively mastered it with “Drinking Buddies,” which still quite easily remains his best and most wonderfully realized film. Featuring the type of characters you wouldn’t ever mind grabbing a drink with, this breezy, delectably unpretentious indie dramedy is smart, sexy and sensationally simple. Never less than agreeable in its humane intimacy, it’s the kind of believable, delectably accessible ensemble piece that sincerely thrives on keeping it loose and understated. Hollywood all-too-rarely makes these effortlessly-lovable charmers.
“Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)
Few filmmakers love the art and craft of cinema quite like Wes Anderson. The arthouse auteur extraordinaire has gifted movie lovers with a treasure trove of greatness in his career, but few fit into the spirit of Valentine’s Day quite as well as 2012’s “Moonrise Kingdom.” Quite possibly the most whimsical movie on Anderson’s resume — and that’s saying something — this coming-of-age blooming romance fable is richly stylized, compassionately told and easy to love. The entire picture plays like a nostalgic love letter to early romance and adolescence. It’s wistful and benevolent as only Anderson can convey with so much fruitful strangeness and underlying relatability. It’s a blast.
“Sing Street” (2016)
If you’ve followed film blogs like The Playlist this past year, there’s a very likely chance you know about “Sing Street.” Irish filmmaker John Carey’s insanely delightful coming-of-age dramedy is not merely one of the most well-received movies of 2016, but also one of the most organic celebrations and tributes to music, youth, optimism and cinema in ages. Familiar as it can often be, that’s what makes this crowdpleaser such a delight. Well aware of its well-worn narrative tropes, the film instead focuses on the details — from the characters to the music to the surroundings — to make a richly felt, semi-autobiographical wonder that will leave you with a skip in your step.