A Valentine’s Day Watchlist for Every Mood

The inescapable Valentine’s Day hype creates tumult for many while opening up a whole new  dimension of decision paralysis: What, exactly, to watch? To help you navigate the overwhelm of new releases and resurfaced romcoms, our writers sifted out the best movies and TV series to watch based on your mood and status.

Transport Me

The Last Letter From Your Lover

Romantic movies for singles

This one works for date night or a solo night movie, and it will transport you to a lush 1960s French Riviera as it unspools two intriguing, intertwined romances that straddle two different eras. The Story:  A London-based journalist uncovers a trail of letters from the past and begins to unravel the story of a passionate, illicit affair that took place in the South of France, which leads her back to her own newspaper—and forces her to question her own relationships. Adapted from the JoJo Moyes bestseller and packed with the talents of Felicity Jones, Shailene Woodley, Callum Turner, and Joe Alwyn, it’s a soft R-rated romantic drama that ends on a hopeful note, one that can leave even the cynics feeling wistful. Where to stream it:  Netflix

Move Me

Past Lives 

Romantic movies for singlesIf you’re single and you have yet to see this Oscar contender, this could be the night. If you’re married? You might want to skip it for now.  The Story:  Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) are childhood buddies in South Korea, until Nora’s family immigrates to Canada and their friendship comes to an end. That is until they are reunited decades later, first in their 20s, and later, at a critical juncture, in their later 30s in New York City.

Past Lives is a quiet meditation on the choices we make and the pull of our past — the one we remember and the one we descend from. It’s a story that captures the feeling of being lost between two worlds, or more specifically, being certain that everything in your life is in its perfect place…only to realize that maybe it isn’t. A rare romantic drama that’s worthy of the biggest Oscar nod, it will send you googling the Korean Buddhist idea of In-yun.  – Sarah Mina Osman.  Where to stream Past LivesFor rent on AppleTV+ or Amazon

Transfix Me

The New Look

Romantic movies for singles
Apple TV+

The rare WWII set drama that will appeal to fans of history, epic business stories, and costume dramas, The New Look also works as a date night movie that will immerse you…and then spark conversation.  The Story: Set in Nazi-occupied Paris during WWII, The New Look contrasts the stark realities of war and the moral dilemmas it creates with the rise of high society Paris – told through the lives of the two designers who would shape a cultural revival: Christian Dior (Ben Mendelsohn) and Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche).  What sets The New Look apart is not just the sharp relief of its contrasting worlds, but the evocative rendering of these worlds. From the cast and their performances (Mendelsohn and Binoche are joined by John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Maisie Williams, and Emily Mortimer), to the exquisitely crafted gowns and sets to the redolent soundtrack full of several of the most talented musicians of today, this is a series that will captivate.  Where to stream it:  Apple TV+

Give Me Hope

One Day

Romantic movies for singles

Very few romantic dramas take us through the long arc of a relationship, which explains why so many people blame American movies for creating distorted expectations of “true love.” One Day is the exception. Consider this one a date night and solo night watch, but as it’s a series — be prepared to invest. The Story:  Based on the bestselling novel by David Nicholls, the story begins with Emma and Dexter going their separate ways after college graduation in the late 80s, and follows them through each year of their lives as they meet on the same day, tracing the highs and lows of a will-they-or-wont-they relationship, one that straddles the divide of class differences. Starring Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall, critics have largely embraced the series, which was not the case with the 2011 film. From USA Today’s Kelly Lawler: “There’s a cozy comfort to this series, but it isn’t a Hallmark movie; it’s far more like real life.” Read the full review.  Stream One Day on Netflix.

Grip Me

Tokyo Vice

Romantic movies for singles

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy crime drama with some romance intertwined, one that will open your eyes to a whole new world, Tokyo Vice just delivered its long-awaited second season. This is the series based on a memoir by real life journalist Jake Adelstein, who also serves as an executive producer, and the show feels both grounded and eerily noir.  The Story:  A young expat (Ansel Elgort) at a Tokyo newspaper is tasked with investigating corrupt politicians and the criminal underworld as an outsider, teaming up with a policeman (Ken Watanabe) who walks the line with the Yakuza. There’s romantic intrigue, underworld mysteries, murder, and an evocative look at a part of Japanese culture that will intrigue as it sends you searching for the book it’s based on. Variety has called this one “the best show you’re not watching.”  Stream Tokyo Vice at HBO via Max. 

Make Me Wonder

What Happens Later

Romantic movies for singles
c. Bleeker Street

This recent release went under the radar, yet it could be a sequel to Past Lives. What happens if they run into each other again years later?

To manage expectations, the critics did not universally love this one (AARP and Wall Street Journal notwithstanding). But critics are generally not allowed to love American romcoms (they lose their cred), especially if they feature the icon of romcoms of yore: Meg Ryan, who also directed this film.  The Story:  Two exes randomly cross paths in an airport in midlife, decades after they parted ways. A snowstorm grounds them for the night, of course, and forces them to question what happened to their lost dreams, and if their chance encounter is more than just a coincidence. Another movie for those “free solos” who might be thinking about an ex this time of year.  Where to stream What Happens Later:Rent it on  Vudu, Prime, or Apple TV.

Touch my Jaded Soul

You’re the Worst

Romantic movies for singles

Told through the eyes of two funny cynics who seem doomed to be alone, You’re the Worst embraces the complexity of modern relationships and the flaws and emotional layers they surface. The Story: After meeting at a wedding, Jimmy, a brash self-centered writer, and Gretchen, a self-destructive PR exec, end up in a bumpy relationship in LA. One of the more accurate and empathetic portraits of a modern day romance, You’re the Worst also explores mental health and its impact on romantic relationships. Ultimately, the series reminds us that we have to make a promise to love not only our partners and friends, but also ourselves. – Sarah Mina Osman   Where to stream it:  Hulu

Light My Fire


Romantic movies for singles

Old-fashioned erotic thrillers can be hard to come by these days. Voyeurs aims to change that, delivering a sexy revival of the genre with a modern twist. If you like movies that make you feel a little bit dirty for enjoying them, this one might just float your boat.  The Story:  After moving into a beautiful loft in Montreal, young couple Pippa and Thomas (Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith) discover they have a perfect view into the apartment across the street, which is occupied by an exhibitionist couple (Ben Hardy and Natasha Liu Bordizzo). Pippa, especially, becomes fascinated, then obsessed with the couple, especially the guy, Sebastian. After she witnesses Sebastian cheating, her obsession leads to life-altering consequences. Tension, stakes, and steamy drama aside, the real pleasures of The Voyeurs are the ways the technical elements of the film create the sensual elements, from match cuts to sound design to the production design (seriously, the apartments!). – Liam Mathews   Where to stream it:  Prime Video

Help Us Cope


Romantic movies for singles

A recent Sundance debut that’s now streaming on Hulu, Suncoast has the feel of a classic indie coming of age story that captures the relatable, funny-in-hindsight challenges of high school…but with a story that shows how to live in the wake of grief.

The Story: As her mother disappears into caring for her sick brother, a high school girl befriends an eccentric activist and tries to embrace her teenage life around the edges of sadness in this ultimately uplifting comedy-drama. The cast is the real hook here: Nico Parker (The Last of Us), Laura Linney and Woody Harrelson. The semi autobiographical story is written and directed by Laura Chinn (Florida Girls) in her directorial debut.  Where to stream Suncoast: Hulu

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