The Best Romantic Movie to Watch on Every Streaming Site for Valentine’s Day
Let’s assume for a moment that you’re a nerd. (Look, you’re reading a website called “ScreenCrush”; it feels like a safe assumption.) And let’s say you’re a nerd planning a relaxing Valentine’s Day date with your significant other that involves a night in with the streaming site of your choice. No matter what site you prefer (of the seven that follow) we have a pick that will provide you and your loved one all the romantic entertainment you could possibly desire. Here’s our streaming suggestions, and have a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Netflix: The African Queen (1951)
Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn: Two great romantic heroes that romance great together. Bogie and Hep starred in many amazing romances throughout their careers, but they appeared in the same film just once: John Huston’s The African Queen. The pair play a boat captain and a missionary who fall in love along a rough stretch of African river. Upon The African Queen’s 1968 re-release, Roger Ebert described it as “an almost perfect illustration of how much a really good movie can please. Things happen on the screen that makes you happy.” What more could you possibly want?
Hulu: I Am Love (2009)
Before he made Call Me By Your Name and rose to the forefront of indie directors, Luca Guadagnino endeared himself to arthouse audiences with I Am Love. Tilda Swinton stars as a married woman, the lone Russian member of a wealthy Italian family, who falls for a chef. There are other subplots and characters, but most of the film’s pleasures hinges on swooning over Swinton, giving one of the most complex performances of her career, along with the sort of luminous imagery of Italy that Call Me By Your Name fans will instantly recognize as a Guadagnino calling card.
Amazon Prime: Sabrina (1995)
My wife is one of the world’s foremost experts on romantic movies, so I would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of that and pass along one of her all-time favorites. Don’t believe the negative hype, and check out Sabrina; not the 1954 Billy Wilder original, she insists, but the superior, underrated remake by Sydney Pollack. It stars Harrison Ford at the height of his rugged handsomeness, playing a man trying to keep the title character (Julia Ormond) from ruining his brother’s impending nuptials. Naturally, he falls in love with her himself in the process. The story is hokum if you ask me, but my wife is quite insistent that this is one of the great movie romances, and I defer to her judgment on all matters. Thanks to the outstanding leads (Greg Kinnear is the third part of the love triangle as Ford’s brother) and Pollack’s sturdy direction, she might actually be right.
Filmstruck: A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
If you want my personal pick for the greatest romantic movie of all time, I’d probably go with this Powell and Pressburger production about a World War II airman named Peter (David Niven) who should have died in a plane crash, but manages to survive when the “conductor” in charge of escorting him to the afterlife can’t find his bomber in a thick fog. Still alive, but living on borrowed time, he asks to appeal his death sentence to the otherworldly court that determines who lives and who dies while he also falls in love with June (Kim Hunter), the radio operator he speaks with in the seconds before his should-have-been-fatal crash. Peter’s trial reminds us of our own mortality, and Powell and Pressburger’s production design and use of color (and black and white in the afterlife scenes) is truly brilliant. Before you watch it and then come back and ask: Yes, it was a major influence on Captain America: The First Avenger. A lot of the best of stuff in that movie, including the ending, was borrowed from this one.
Shudder: Let the Right One In (2008)
Not a typical or straightforward romance (the protagonists are in their early teens, and also one of them is an immortal vampire), but the great Let the Right One In is nonetheless about the budding relationship between a young outcast named Oskar (Kare Hedebrant ) and Eli (Lina Leandersson), who becomes his companion and protector from bullies, but may also be a bloodsucker who feasts on human flesh. Eh, nobody’s perfect, but in the way it evokes a chilly mood of dread and longing, Let the Right One In nearly is. (The American remake, Let Me In, ain’t too shabby either.)
Tubi: The Lovers on the Bridge (1991)
A sign of the times: This movie took roughly seven years to make its way from film festival premiere to movie theaters in the 1990s. Now you can watch it, totally for free, on the internet (specifically Tubi). Lucky you; you can enjoy this melodrama about an artist with deteriorating eyesight (Juliette Binoche) who falls for a fire-breathing homeless man (Denis Lavant) who lives on the Pont-Neuf Bridge in Paris. The scenes on the real bridge (or the recreation director Leos Carax after he got thrown off the real one) with massive fireworks displays going off in the background as Binoche and Lavant dance their guts out in the foreground are jaw-dropping.
Kanopy: Charade (1963)
Kanopy actually has a ton of great romantic movies (including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, His Girl Friday, and Summertime) but for a blast of pure globetrotting romance and adventure you won’t find much better than Charade, Stanley Donen’s Hitchcockian thriller about an American woman on holiday (Audrey Hepburn) who falls for a mysterious man (Cary Grant) who is not what he appears to be. There are reversals and plot twists galore, and incredible climactic chase involving everyone’s favorite man of action, Walter Matthau (seriously though, he’s great). Plus, you also get Hepburn giving Grant looks so smouldery they could punch a hole through a concrete block. (You didn’t hear it from me, but Henry Mancini’s score also makes solid makeout music to boot.)
Gallery - More Great Romances You Can Watch on Streaming: