Hooking up? No problem. “Meet cute” at the coffee shop? Happens all the time. Finding the right partner, falling in love, and getting married? What else are you gonna do? But compiling the ultimate list of the Freshest romantic comedies of all time? It’s complicated.
Looking for a movie with a love story, plenty of laughs, and maybe even a makeover scene or two? Good news: You’ve landed to the right place. Though there’s definitely a time and a place for a good thriller or horror movie, romantic comedies are clearly the superior genre. Whether you’re having a fun night in or eating your feelings after a breakup or a bad day at work, nothing heals all wounds quite like a romantic comedy—and these are some of the very best ever.
Love, Simon has been praised for its long-overdue Hollywood storyline about a gay teenage romance starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, and your faves Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner. While dealing with a blackmailer who has threatened to “out” Simon to the entire school, the teen is also attempting to balance home life and the classmate he fell in love with online. You know, the usual!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
From straight-to-Netflix release to one of the most swoonworthy movies of 2018 — give it up for this rom-com based on Jenny Han’s young adult novel, in which shy teen Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) fake-dates 11th grade heartthrob Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) for the kind of complicated reasons endemic to any great high school farce. Not only does To All the Boys set a precedent for teen romantic comedies with non-white leads (Lara Jean and her family are half-Korean), but it also finds the template for a new era of male romantic lead: a guy who, rather than being a charming alpha asshole who must be reformed, is just a super nice, chill dude right from the get-go
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
Another heart-wrenching yet hilarious teen rom-com, The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a time-loop story in the vein of Palm Springs and Groundhog Day. This time around, Mark and Margaret take advantage of their situation to map out the most perfect moments of the day they keep reliving over and over—until one of them decides to try to break the loop, of course.
Crazy Rich Asians
Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel scored a major representation coup and resurrected the summer rom-com in a funny, fluffy fantasy filled with palpable chemistry between leads Constance Wu and Henry Golding. As Nick, newcomer Golding is the dashing eye candy, while Wu gives a spectacular performance as the fiery striver Rachel, who struggles to balance her love for her privileged Singaporean boyfriend with her identity as a first-generation daughter of a Chinese single mother. The story culminates in a lavishly dreamy wedding, with the spine-tingling glances Wu and Golding share in that scene a potent reminder of just how powerful the rom-com can be.
There’s really no improving on Jane Austen…but may we be so bold as to say that Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of the 1815 novel gets pretty darn close? Anya Taylor-Joy shines as the titular character, and her battle of wits with Knightley (Johnny Flynn) imbues the familiar story with endless fun and froth. Side note: Do film costumes get any better?
The Big Sick
This one isn’t quite a romantic comedy in the traditional sense—the female romantic lead spends most of the film in a coma—but it will give you a new appreciation for what it means to truly love someone. Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani shines as the film’s star, and his fingerprints are all over the film; it’s more or less the true story of how he met his wife, writer Emily V. Gordon, and the two co-authored the script
“I will meet you in the meadow,” writes bespectacled Sam (Jared Gilman) to serious Suzy (Kara Heyward) as they prepare to run away together. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, a whimsical tale of a romance between a pair of wise-beyond-their-years 12-year-olds, is a tonic to the jaded palate. The children, with their barely sexual, pure-hearted affection for each other, could teach the misbehaving adults around them a thing or two about love.
This film nails a lot of things simultaneously: It’s a funny rom-com, an adorable, sweet, sensitive love story between two women, and a painfully relatable story about complicated family dynamics and how we present ourselves to the world. And it’s a perfect holiday movie?? It’s got everything!
Who knew Seth Rogen would be the ideal rom-com lead? This seemingly odd couple pairing between him and Charlize Theron makes perfect sense once you get the two of them in a room for five minutes. Pair it with sharp, literally laugh out dialogue and this becomes an underrated gem.
The Kissing Booth
Elle Evans (Joey King) might not be the most popular girl in school, but her social status definitely rises when she volunteers to run the kissing booth at the school carnival—a scheme to lock lips with her crush, who just happens to be her best friend’s brother.