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: Entertainment One
Blue Valentine (2010)
While many of the tearjerkers in our roundup of the best romantic movies on Netflix Canada focus on love at first sight, the critically acclaimed Blue Valentine starts off long after that love has gone. House painter Dean (Ryan Gosling) and nurse Cindy (Michelle Williams) were once inseparable; now, their daughter is the only reason they won’t get divorced. She’s exasperated by his lack of ambition. He’s disappointed by her apathetic view of “’til death do us part.” As Blue Valentine so astutely observes, the ending of a relationship is never quite as simple as its beginning.
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The Vow (2012)
After a car crash puts her in a coma, Paige Collins (Rachel McAdams) awakens with no memories of her past—which makes it all the more shocking when she learns she’s married to Leo (Channing Tatum), had previously cut ties with her parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill) and dropped out of law school. It’s a terrifying and frustrating predicament, but thanks to Leo’s tenacity, Paige slowly but surely pieces together the mysteries of her life. (If The Vow seems too melodramatic for your tastes, know this: it’s based on a true story!)
The Spectacular Now (2013)
High school senior Sutter (Miles Teller) spends his days drinking himself to an early grave—that is, until he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley), an intelligent but timid classmate. While seemingly having nothing in common, the two eventually bond over their shared hurts: Aimee feels compelled to stay in town after graduation to take care of her mother, while Sutter cannot get over his father’s (Kyle Chandler) abandonment. A triumph of coming-of-age filmmaking, The Spectacular Now will stay with viewers long after that doozy of a final scene.
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Photo: Columbia Pictures
The Age of Innocence (1993)
In 1870s New York City, aristocratic lawyer Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is engaged to marry May (Winona Ryder), a benevolent but naïve socialite. His loyalty to the strict social codes of the time is tested, however, when he falls for Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer), a soon-to-be-divorced countess—and May’s cousin. At once intimate and visually sumptuous, Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Edith Wharton is a heartbreaking depiction of romantic longing and personal freedom.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2022)
This Netflix adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s classic 1928 novel may not be as erotic as its scandalous source material, but it will nevertheless deliver the goods for viewers in the mood for steamy romance. The Crown’s Emma Corrin gives another masterclass in cracked repression, this time as Connie, a Bohemian woman whose marriage to the demanding Sir Clifford Chatterley has hit a breaking point. Enter Oliver (Jack O’Connell), the Chatterley estate’s gamekeeper and Connie’s new paramour. Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Magee wisely waters down Lawrence’s reflections on class, race and labour, instead focusing on the passionate affair between Connie and Oliver—and the newfound agency that Connie gains from it.
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Take This Waltz (2011)
Writer-director Sarah Polley charts the budding romance between 28-year-old writer Margot (Michelle Williams) and rickshaw driver Daniel (Luke Kirby), who meet in Nova Scotia and learn that they’re actually neighbours in downtown Toronto. There’s just one problem: Margot is married, and her happy-go-lucky husband Lou (Seth Rogen) is unaware of her growing discontent. If only more romantic movies had as much to say about aging, friendship and melancholy as this all-Canadian gem…
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Photo: Entertainment One
Suite Française (2014)
Based on Irène Némirovsky’s posthumously published novel of the same name, Suite Française drops viewers in the middle of German-occupied France, where Lucile (Michelle Williams) anticipates news of her husband, who is serving in the French Army. But when a German lieutenant, Bruno (the always-phenomenal Matthias Schoenaerts), is stationed at her residence, the pair’s budding romance threatens to put their lives at risk. Margot Robbie, Kristin Scott Thomas and The Affair’s Ruth Wilson co-star.
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Photo: Warner Bros.
Angel Eyes (2001)
Death and family estrangement are far from swoon-worthy subjects, but in the case of the underseen Angel Eyes, they’re the catalysts for our two beautiful leads to fall in love. Shortly after falling out with her father, Chicago police officer Sharon (Jennifer Lopez) has a close call during a shootout. Catch (Jim Caviezel), a good Samaritan, rescues her, and the two form a close bond, though Sharon learns that her protector has a mysterious past…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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.)
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.
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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!
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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.
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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, find out the best movies on Netflix Canada according to Rotten Tomatoes.