As Marlene Dietrich might sing: Falling in love again ... Because let’s face it, love springs eternal, and date nights never fall out of fashion. Ready for a romantic sofa session with your longtime love, or looking for a flirty flick to take in with a new special someone? Our critics are here to the (emotional) rescue, with 20 fabulous affairs to remember — tearjerkers, romantic comedies, star-driven blockbusters and seductive indies — all available to stream whenever you’re in the mood.
For Exes Who Can’t Let Go: Ticket to Paradise (2022)
In a destination wedding rom-com, Julia Roberts and George Clooney play long-battling exes who can hardly be in the same room without screaming at each other. But, when their only daughter Kaitlyn Dever impulsively decides to wed a young Balinese man, they travel across the world to his home island to disrupt, not celebrate, the nuptials. Emotional tension turns to romantic heat as the two A-list charmers come to accept their daughter’s happiness and, maybe, rediscover that the sun hasn’t entirely set on their love connection.
For when you know they’re the one: An Affair to Remember (1957)
The American Film Institute anointed this tearjerker by Leo McCarey as one of Hollywood’s most romantic films. While on a luxury cruise, swoony Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall madly, deeply in love, despite being engaged to others. When the ship docks, they part, setting a future day and time to meet at the Empire State Building. What happens next is so memorable it inspired the ending of Sleepless in Seattle.
For love and laughter: Moonstruck (1987)
The fact that Cher, 75, and Nicolas Cage, 58, make no sense as a couple and yet we root for their lips to meet in a kiss is one of the many pleasures of the spaghetti romance between a Brooklyn bookkeeper and an opera-loving baker from director Norman Jewison, 95. The marriage may not last — but what a honeymoon!
For BBC junkies: The Duke (2020)
Notting Hill director Roger Michell, who died last September at 65, leaves behind this last delightful fiction feature. Pairing the incomparable Helen Mirren, 76, and spry Jim Broadbent, 72, this bio-charmer is a based-on-a-true-story romantic caper. Set in 1961, Broadbent is lovable working-class Londoner Kempton Bunton. The unlikely art thief steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery, holding it for ransom for charity. It’s never about the money, because he has true gold in the love of his wife, played by Mirren. Is he a Robin Hood or an idiot husband? A delightful bit of both.
Where to watch: Roku
For Lucy Lovers: Being the Ricardos (2021)
Writer-director Aaron Sorkin, 60, goes behind the scenes of I Love Lucy to reveal how the sitcom sausage was made. At its center is perfectionist Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman, who has grown on the audience) and her Cuban-American bandleader husband Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem). We see them in a moment of crisis — the tabloids say he’s cheating, the government accuses her of Communist leanings — and they’re pregnant, too. Thanks to Sorkin, the dialogue pops and the pair sizzles while making comedy history at CBS.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
For turning up the heat: Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
Nothing says I’m leaving my wife for my costar more than Brad Pitt, 58, and Angelina Jolie playing married assassins trying to kill each other. Doug Liman’s 2005 espionage actioner generates so much sexual heat, it’s no wonder that Pitt’s then-wife and Friends star Jennifer Aniston, 52, couldn’t keep up — and ultimately Brad couldn’t either.
For turning up the heat some more: Love and Basketball (2000)
Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan take a shot at love as two basketball players who share a love of the game — and each other. Can their affection and ambitions survive and thrive from the playground to the big leagues? This delightful, award-winning and sexy indie came from director Gina Prince-Bythewood, whose Charlize Theron supernatural actioner The Old Guard is currently a major hit on Netflix.