20 Romantic Movies on Netflix Canada for When You Need a Good Cry
From ravishing period dramas to coming-of-age comedies, these romantic movies on Netflix Canada should be viewed with a box of tissues nearby.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Notebook (2004)
One of the most popular movies of the 2000s, The Notebook was for many the first foray into the predictable (yet utterly satisfying) romantic works of novelist Nicholas Sparks. In 1940, wealthy South Carolinian teenager Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) falls for poor lumber mill worker Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling, in an immensely charming early role), much to the chagrin of her parents. Allie and Noah are forced to break up, America joins the war, and the two would-be lovers reunite years later, resulting in one of cinema’s most indelible tearjerkers.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
This beguiling rumination on love and immortality is essential viewing for Blake Lively fans—and also boasts one of Harrison Ford’s most affecting performances. After a freak accident gives her the power of agelessness, Adaline Bowman (Lively) spends the next eight decades swapping identities and never allowing herself to get close to potential partners. A charming philanthropist (Michiel Huisman), however, slowly convinces Adaline to rethink her ways—as do the memories of a lover from her past.
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Photo: Universal Pictures
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Keira Knightley gives the greatest performance of her career in director Joe Wright’s magnificent 2005 rendition of the famous Jane Austen novel, which follows Elizabeth Bennett and her four sisters as they navigate preconceived notions of love, marriage and class. Screenwriter Deborah Moggach wisely moves the story’s setting from the pomp Regency-era to the earthier late-1700s, while Matthew Macfadyen shines as romantic hero Mr. Darcy. Pride & Prejudice is masterful filmmaking—and raises the bar for book adaptations.
Can’t get enough Jane Austen? You’ll love the current lineup on BritBox Canada.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Great Gatsby (2013)
Leonardo DiCaprio re-teams with Romeo + Juliet director Baz Luhrmann for this visually sumptuous adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic Roaring Twenties tale of money, betrayal and tragedy. With a supporting cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki, this iteration of Gatsby took heat from critics but was a hit with audiences and the Academy, who awarded the film’s creative team with much-deserved Oscars for Costume and Production Design. Pour yourself an old fashioned and settle in for some Prohibition-Era doomed love.
The Starling (2021)
When deep loss divides a married couple, they are left to grieve and heal separately if they ever hope to come back together—with the help, of course, of the titular starling. Following its premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, this Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd romantic drama next landed on Netflix—which is a good thing, because it’s a serious tear-jerker and sobbing on your couch with a box of tissues in your lap is far less embarrassing than sobbing in a theatre.
Photo: Sony Pictures
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Written and directed by the incomparable Nora Ephron, this perfectly cast ‘90s classic puts Meg Ryan opposite Tom Hanks in a story about destiny triumphing over distance. On the west coast, Hanks’ architect character is grieving his deceased wife, while on the east coast Ryan’s reporter character is questioning the future she’s chosen with her fiancé. Thanks to some meddling kids—insert Scooby Doo reference here—the pair manage to meet up after a few frustrating missed connections. Will sparks fly? Of course, this is an Ephron joint—there’s always a happy ending.
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Meaning “my love” in Hindi, Saawariya is an apt title for this Bollywood flick, which devoted most of its huge budget to constructing an entire romantically lit town as its set. Based on a story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Saawariya centres on the unrequited love burning between a quartet of characters, each of whom longs for someone who is just out of reach…until they aren’t. The film features the debuts of two scions of Bollywood royalty, Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, as well as the final performances of early Bollywood era stars Zohra Sehgal and Begum Para.
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019)
At long last, irrefutable proof that documentaries can be romantic too. Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired Leonard Cohen hits like “So Long, Marianne” and “Bird on a Wire,” is introduced to audiences in this portrait of her relationship with the legendary Canadian singer. Words of Love follows their time together on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra during the 1960s; while the term “muse” may have reached its expiry date, the pair’s relationship still comes across as the kind of romance where each partner inspires the other in a multitude of ways. Swoon.
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Dance with Me (1998)
When you’ve watched Dirty Dancing one too many times, try Dance with Me. The late-nineties flick swaps power ballads for salsas and mambos from artists like Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, and the film’s two stars: Vanessa L. Williams and Puerto Rican pop singer Chayanne. On a mission to find his father following the death of his mother, Chayanne’s character leaves Cuba for Texas, and ends up discovering his hidden talent for dance…and the beguiling power of love at first sight.
Photo: Columbia Pictures
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Based on a beautiful, meditative novel by Nobel Prize-winning British author Kazuo Ishiguro, this period piece alternates between timelines in pre- and post-WWII England and tells the tale of a loyal butler (Anthony Hopkins) and the housekeeper (Emma Thompson) who falls in love with him. A sort of upstairs-downstairs saga (attention: Downton Abbey fans), The Remains of the Day was nominated for an astounding eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress.
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This wouldn’t be a romantic drama roundup without Twilight, the film that launched a franchise and a host of imitators (see: E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Gray fan-fiction phenomenon). Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s undying bond is cemented in the first chapter of this five-film saga, overcoming obstacles like…the fact that one of them is living and the other is undead. The romance at the centre of the movie was so convincing that fans went wild over the fact that stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were dating in real life. (That relationship, however, turned out to fall short of eternal.)
Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Barry Jenkins’s follow-up to his breakout, Moonlight, is the lyrical If Beale Street Could Talk. Based on James Baldwin’s acclaimed 1974 novel of the same name, this tragic tale, presented in non-chronological order, follows the travails of a young Black couple, Tish Rivers (KiKi Layne) and Fonny Hunt (Toronto native Stephan James), after the latter is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Tish’s mother, Regina King won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in this transcendental modern classic.
Irreplaceable You (2018)
The lives of childhood friends and soon-to-be-married couple Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Game of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman) change overnight when Abbie finds out she has cancer. Realizing she doesn’t have much time left, Abbie begins to look for a new love for Sam. Sweet, touching and funny, Irreplaceable You is a guaranteed tearjerker.
Photo: Netflix Canada
Marriage Story (2019)
Boasting three career-defining performances and a brilliant script, writer-director Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story is a searing portrayal of divorce and fleeting love. Charlie (Adam Driver), a successful theatre director, and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a veteran actress, have been seeing a mediator to work through their marital issues. One day, Nicole serves him divorce papers, setting the table for a painful custody battle for their son, Henry. Marriage Story may not be the easiest watch, but it’s impossible to look away.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019)
Equal parts coming-of-age comedy and coming-out drama, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (“How I Felt When I Saw That Girl”) is Bollywood’s first mainstream LGBTQ+ romance. Badgered by her family about when she’s going to get married, Sweety (Bollywood superstar Sonam Kapoor) falls for a woman she meets at a wedding. When Sahil (Rajkummar Rao), a playwright and admirer of Sweety, learns that she’s a closeted lesbian, he helps her come out to her conservative family in the most Bollywood way possible: in the form of a musical!
We’ve rounded up the best Bollywood movies for beginners.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Released from an institution after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, former teacher (Bradley Cooper) moves back in with his parents. Soon, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a manic young widow who offers to help him win back his ex-wife if he agrees to enter a dance competition with her. Its depiction of familial dysfunction may not be for everyone, but Silver Linings Playbook is nevertheless a funny, big-hearted affair.
Photo: Netflix Canada
Someone Great (2019)
Music writer Jenny Young (Gina Rodriguez) scores her dream job at Rolling Stone and plans to move to San Francisco. Yes, everything’s coming up Jenny—until she’s unexpectedly dumped by her long-time boyfriend. To nurse her broken heart before she leaves New York City, Jenny rounds up best friends Blair (Brittany Snow) and Erin (DeWanda Wise) for one last girls’ night.
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Blue Jay (2016)
Two decades after their break-up, former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) reconnect in their hometown and decide to spend the day strolling down memory lane. The initial sweetness of their reunion nonetheless give in to sadness, as Jim and Amanda bond over the unhappiness of their current lives and romantic paths not taken.
Our Souls at Night (2017)
In the fictional Colorado town of Holt, widow Addie (Jane Fonda) and widower Louis (Robert Redford) have been neighbours for decades but barely know each other. One day, Addie pays Louis a visit—the two quickly establish a connection, much to the reluctance of Addie’s adult son, Gene (Matthias Schoenaerts). Based on the bestselling novel by Kent Haruf, Our Souls at Night is an understated romance that lingers long after the final scene.
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6 Years (2015)
Aspiring schoolteacher Mel (Taissa Farmiga) has been with her boyfriend, Dan (Ben Rosenfield), for six years. This milestone, however, isn’t about to be celebrated by their loved ones: Dan’s parents believe he’s holding back his true potential by staying with Mel, while her friends worry that the lovers’ once-perfect relationship has stalled. As Mel and Dan struggle to repair their relationship after a series of arguments and betrayals, the question arises: is it beyond saving in its current state?
Now that you know the best romantic movies on Netflix Canada, check out the best movies on Netflix Canada—according to Rotten Tomatoes!