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Best of Netflix Streaming: Romance Movies

Photo: Clockwise from top left: Criterion Collection; BBC America; Criterion Collection; Polaris Film Production

Netflix Streaming can be overwhelming — so many options, yet so hard to actually weed through — and we here at Vulture have tried to make it easier for you with our weekly and monthly streaming video roundups. Now that Valentine’s Day is upon us, it seemed appropriate to weed through the love-tinged movies currently available to stream on Netflix and point out some can’t miss titles. Read on:

A Room With a View: Let’s start with the proper nouns: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham-Carter (though you’ll barely recognize her, she’s so young), Merchant-Ivory, Italy. Is that not enough? Okay: There’s a non-sex scene in a field that is hotter than basically anything you can find on HBO. It is the definition of swoon.

Punch-Drunk Love: “Many people hate it,” writes Vulture critic David Edelstein about this Paul Thomas Anderson movie in our recent list of 25 great romantic comedies. “[But] it’s emotionally penetrating — and exquisite.” Starring Adam Sandler as a jittery salesman shut off from the world and Emily Watson as the woman who pushes through into his heart, Punch-Drunk Love is colorful and musical and violent and odd and wonderful. Bonus points for the intense yet funny cameo by Anderson regular Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Lady Eve: There’s a reason that our critics kept their rom-com list to the post–When Harry Met Sally era, and that is because there are too many classic rom-coms to even count. A stand-out among them is The Lady Eve, starring Barbara Stanwyck as a con-woman on an ocean liner. She has great T-strap shoes, and she says zippy things. This is a good pick for “Not Totally Cheesy, But Still Sweet” Valentine’s Day watching.

Weekend: Two gay Brits meet and spend 48 hours falling for each other. Sexy and sad, directed by Andrew Haigh, one of the minds behind HBO’s new series Looking.

2 Days in Paris: Take all the deranged Julie Delpy bits of the Sunset movies, add in her ex-boyfriend Adam Goldberg, her real-life parents, and Paris. There is a lot of screaming, but it is funny screaming.

Last Night: This is a strange recommendation, in that we are recommending you only watch one half of this movie, but: The Guillaume Canet and Keira Knightley parts of Last Night are pure fire. They don’t even have sex! And it is still ten times more appealing than the Eva Mendes–Sam Worthington scenes. (Pro tip: They have a ton of sex, if you’re into that sort of thing.) Please cast Guillaume Canet in more American movies and then put them all on Netflix.

Like Crazy: Oof, okay, don’t watch this with your actual Valentine. Like Crazy is many things — a portrait of first love, an insight into early Jennifer Lawrence, and a lesson in immigration status management — but it is wistful at best. Be warned.

Take This Waltz: Don’t be fooled by the fact that Seth Rogen is in this movie. This romantic drama, about a young woman (Michelle Williams) who grows bored with her wonderful, loyal, but boring husband (Rogen), is beautiful to look at and understands the dissatisfaction that can often creep into perfectly fine relationships.

Brokeback Mountain: Michelle Williams also stars here as the wife of Heath Ledger, a man who will never be able to give her what she needs. The film’s both happy and sad because this is where Williams and Ledger met (happy) and this is one of Ledger’s best performances (happy), but Ledger is no longer with us (sad) and, oh yeah, he and Jake Gyllenhaal can never be together (so sad!). “Jack, I swear … “

Broadcast News: Tough, super-successful television producer Holly Hunter has to choose between two men, and … no spoilers, but suffice it to say that Kelly Taylor fans will approve. (Okay, that was kind of a spoiler.) This is for the Anti–Valentine’s Day Viewing Parties. You’re having those, right?

The Apartment: A great Christmas movie and a great New Year’s movie, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment is also one of the most bittersweet romances around, movie-wise. A handsome Jack Lemmon, an adorable Shirley MacLaine, and a racy (for the time) story line: a middling office worker lends out his apartment for the sexual assignations of his higher-ups. Along the way, he falls in love with his office elevator woman. Sweet and sour all at once.

Some Like It Hot: More Wilder, more Lemmon. Do we have to tell you why you should watch this? It’s genuinely hilarious and Marilyn Monroe is fantastic here.

His Girl Friday: Cary Grant in full screwball mode as a newspaper editor trying to win back his star reporter/ex-wife, played by Rosalind Russell. The dialogue gets spit out so fast that it’s quite possible to miss a full quarter of it. But this is the definition of witty repartee.

Say Anything: John Cusack, Ione Skye, Peter Gabriel, hearts, and pens.

Charade: When people call this the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never made, all they mean is that there’s intrigue, the clothing is great, and Cary Grant is in it. But you don’t have to appreciate the master of suspense to enjoy this Stanley Donen–directed caper, in which Grant and Audrey Hepburn snap great dialogue between each other while looking luminous against Parisian streets.

Best of Netflix Streaming: Romance Movies