Last Updated: August 16th
Finding the perfect date night movie is trickier than you might think. Not only are you forced to compromise your personal tastes when it comes to film in order to find a flick that both you and your partner can enjoy, but you must also contend with the knowledge that whatever feature you choose is going to set the mood for your entire night. A bit of a thrill is good for cuddling up on the couch together, but too much fright and gore might put you off any romantic plans later. Fun and flirty is always a good choice, but stray too far into the sappy romantic drama space and one or both of you might start questioning your own relationship and how it measures up to your favorites on screen.
Luckily, we’ve done the hard work of sifting through the best romcoms, romance dramas, erotic thrillers and more that Netflix has to offer to find the perfect movie to set the mood for a damn good date night.
Set It Up (2018)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell star in this office rom-com with a bit of a twist. Instead of the two young co-stars falling in love, it’s Deutch and Powell who try to set up their overbearing, workaholic bosses with each other so that they can get a break from their demanding jobs. Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs play the employers from hell, and Deutch and Powell put themselves through the ringer to make the pair fall in love, and to make us laugh. It’s superficial and cute, so really, it’s the perfect movie binge for a Friday night.
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
John Hughes may have dominated the teen rom-com space in the last 80s but it’s Heathers, a dark comedy that revolves around the consequences of high school cliques and bad first love affairs, that left an indelible mark on the genre. Winona Ryder plays Veronica, a student of Westerburg High who begrudges her own position in the popular crowd until an outsider named JD (Christian Slater) arrives to shake up her monotonous existence. JD promises an end to the reign of the Heathers, but he fails to mention the means might include a dead teenager or two. If formulaic teen romcoms aren’t your thing, then the black and witty musings of an angsty Winona Ryder might be your thing.
Run Time: 126 mins | IMDb: 8/10
Spike Jonze imagines a world in which Artificial Intelligence can become something more than just a personal assistant program in Her, which ends up being one of the strangest, yet memorable love stories of the past decade. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a depressed introvert going through a divorce who starts up a relationship with an OS named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Things get serious before Theodore begins to realize that romance with an A.I. is more complicated than he thought. What follows is a thoughtful exploration of love, relationships, and the ways human beings find connection in a plugged-in world.
Ex Machina (2014)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller is another installment in the A.I. space, one that mixes deep, existential crises with a bit of robot romance and a pretty fantastic dance sequence from Oscar Isaac. Domhnall Gleeson plays a naïve young computer programmer offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to study an eerily realistic new A.I. lifeform named Ava (Alicia Vikander). While getting to know Ava, and fancying himself in love with her, he also must contend with her brilliant yet cruel creator, Nathan (Isaac). If you think you have this one figured out before the end, you’re probably wrong.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
A Hugh Grant-starring rom-com, this one sees the witty British playboy wrestle with the unwelcome realization that he may have finally found love over the course of five social occasions. The epiphany upends his comfortable bachelorhood and amuses his family and friends, but Grant’s character fights the inevitable at every turn, giving us plenty of humor and sexual tension to keep things interesting.
Obvious Child (2014)
Run Time: 84 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Jenny Slate is one of the more underrated comedians in the game right now but she proved herself a capable leading lady in Gillian Robespierre’s indie rom-com, Obvious Child. Slate plays Donna, a young hopeful trying to make it in the world of stand-up. She frequents a few undergrounds around New York City, honing her set while disappointing her successful academic mother by phoning it in at a used bookstore in Brooklyn for her regular 9-5. She has a brief and promising love affair with Max (Jake Lacy) before facing a dilemma: an unplanned pregnancy. There aren’t many films that can tackle the sensitive topic of abortion with dignity, grace, and a ton of poop jokes, so you’ll want to check this one out.
Under The Skin (2007)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
Scarlett Johansson stars in this sci-fi thriller about an other-worldly woman with a dark agenda. The film sees Johansson using her sex appeal to lure unsuspecting men to their watery doom while beginning to contemplate her own existence with every new partner she seduces. It’s a subtle reverse of rape culture but if all of that goes over your head, you’ll at least enjoy seeing Johansson off a bunch of frat bros and rapists.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Edgar Wright’s 2010 action comedy about a hapless boy who must defeat evil ex-boyfriends in order to win the hand of the girl he loves is a fast-paced ride that bombards the senses. Michael Cera plays a loveable goof in the titular hero, a young man enamored with a woman named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). In order to be with his lady love, Scott must fight her evil exes, six guys, one girl, who challenge him to truly strange contests. The film is a cinematic mash-up of Japanese anime and gamer culture, intended for the crowd who grew up on Nintendo and comic books, but it brings plenty of laughs all the same.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Run Time: 99 mins | IMDb: 7.7/10
Netflix’s latest original flick is being hailed as the best teen rom-com of the decade and for good reason. The story stars Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey, a junior in high school who tends to write her crushes love letters but never actually sends them. After those same letters are anonymously sent, she’s forced to do damage control by carrying on a fake relationship with one of her former love interests. It’s a sweet, oddly empowering twist on the classic rom-com trope, and you won’t be able to scroll through Twitter without coming across a Peter Kavinsky stan account thanks to this one.
Y Tu Mama También (2002)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
After a stint in Hollywood, Alfonso Cuarón returned to Mexico for this story of two privileged high school boys (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal) who road trip with an older woman (Maribel Verdú) in search of an unspoiled stretch of beach. In the process, they discover freedom like they’d never imagined — and maybe more freedom than they can handle. Cuarón’s stylish film plays out against the backdrop of Mexican political upheaval and plays with notions of upturning the established order on scales both large and small, all the while suggesting that no paradise lasts forever.