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Whatever you're feeling, Bridget Jones has probably been there, too.
Whatever you're feeling, Bridget Jones has probably been there, too.
Universal

23 Valentine's Day streaming options for singles, couples, and everything in between

From His Girl Friday to Beyond the Lights and more.

No matter what your relationship status, Valentine's Day can be an emotional minefield. But whether you find yourself alone or coupled up — or somewhere in between — there will always be movies and television shows to get you through. Here, we've compiled 23 of our favorite romantic (or anti-romantic) options, all of which are available to stream online right now, for your viewing pleasure.


Single and loving it

1

The Wood (Netflix)

Who needs to be part of a couple when you've got great friends? This charming 1999 comedy contains its fair share of romance, but it also boasts a great coming-of-age story about some young guys who struggle with school and girls and the usual things. And, as you might expect, they've always got their friends to lean on. As the film leaps forward in time to when they're all adults (as part of a framing device involving one of the guys getting married), Taye Diggs and Omar Epps are among the stars who play them, which lends some charisma and charm to the proceedings. The movie is a nifty little period piece, buried inside a more conventional rom-com. —TV

2

Mad Max: Fury Road (HBO Go)

Is there any better way to celebrate the act of being completely kickass in your own right than watching a bunch of women be completely kickass in their own right, the better to stick it to a patriarchal monster? (And, okay, a couple of men do all right here, too.) If you're feeling any sort of ambivalence about being single this Valentine's Day, let Charlize Theron's magnificent Imperator Furiosa bring you roaring back to the side of embracing independence. —CF

3

Clueless (Netflix)

On the surface, Clueless is all about how to get and keep men. Indeed, it's based on Jane Austen's Emma, the story of an optimistic matchmaker who can find a soul mate for everyone but herself. But the beauty of Clueless — besides its countless quotable lines — is that it actually runs on friendship. Sure, Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and her friends (Stacey Dash and Brittany Murphy) want boyfriends, but they're just as happy giving each other makeovers and trading gossip. Also, this movie is just fun. We dare you to watch Cher argue her way out of a bad grade or Paul Rudd dance like an idiot without cracking a smile. —CF

4

Magic Mike (HBO Go)

If you need to, remind yourself that this movie not only has an impressive pedigree (star Matthew McConaughey and director Steven Soderbergh are both Oscar winners), but also says some important things about men’s and women’s sexuality, as well as how to survive in a down economy. Alternatively — and this is our recommendation — just give yourself over to the god of glistening eight-packs (and Channing Tatum’s bananas dance moves) and enjoy the rare Hollywood flick that lets men be objectified for a change. —TP

Single and hating it

5

Bridget Jones's Diary (Netflix)

There is arguably no better ode to hating singledom than Bridget Jones's Diary. Our titular heroine is fed up with being single and spends basically the entire movie trying to change what seems like her spinster fate, no matter how many pairs of Spanx it takes. But Bridget Jones's Diary is a smart film that doesn't hinge entirely on Bridget's quest to pair up. Played to witty, sour perfection by Renée Zellweger, the character is flawed and relentlessly funny; it only takes one drunken sing-along to "All By Myself" for you to start rooting for her to find her path, whether that means falling for a strapping barrister (Colin Firth), telling her wily boss (Hugh Grant) to suck it, or just realizing that she herself pretty great. —CF

6

Under the Skin (Amazon)

You want to know the worst thing about being single? The part where you hook up with someone gorgeous and go back to their house, and then they turn out to be an alien from some other world who wants nothing more than to devour you for reasons that are never quite made clear. This eerie film, part sci-fi and part horror, features a terrifically isolating performance by Scarlett Johansson as the alien in question, and some of the strangest, spookiest images you'll ever see onscreen. If you want confirmation that the dating scene is full of horrifying weirdos, you could do a lot worse. —TV

7

Man Seeking Woman, season one (Hulu)

After getting dumped by his longterm girlfriend, Josh (Jay Baruchel) dives headlong into the world of dating. The thing is, Josh not only hates being single, he's actively bad at it. Throughout the course of the first season, Josh and his friends grapple with how to date and what dating even means these days while navigating common scenarios that play out like a series of surrealist sketches. For example: Josh finds out that his ex is dating someone else, and he tries to be cool with it — which is hard, because "someone else" turns out to be Adolf Hitler. Another time, he brainstorms a flirty text with a panel of experts holed up in a Situation Room, like he's trying to manage a potentially disastrous diplomatic situation. Man Seeking Woman won't exactly give you faith in dating, but at the very least it'll commiserate. —CF

Netflix/Whatever streaming service you prefer and chill

8

Beyond the Lights (Netflix)

This romantic drama set in the world of pop music tells a story you've heard many times before. (She's famous. He's not. Stop us if you don't know where this is headed.) But with the tremendously engaging and chemistry-laden pairing of Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the movie has sexy smolder to burn, to say nothing of some great music and beautiful images. Every so often, a movie like this leaves theaters without anybody seeming to have noticed it existed, only to find an audience on video or streaming. Let's hope that's the case here. —TV

9

Like Water for Chocolate (Netflix)

Magical realism isn't always the easiest tone to hit on celluloid, because it requires the audience to buy into the idea of fantastical things happening in otherwise "normal" settings. This Mexican film, about a woman who's not allowed to marry the man of her dreams — and starts infusing everything she cooks with her emotions — is one of the exceptions that shows how much fun it can be when magical realism is pulled off with perfect pitch. Featuring cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki, who would win two Oscars much later in his career (and is favored to win again this year), Like Water for Chocolate is beautiful, sexy, and deeply moving. —TV

10

The Longest Ride (HBO Go)

Look, this movie is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel; you know what to expect. Two ridiculously good-looking people from "opposite backgrounds" fall in love and have hot sex, only for one of them to be horrifically injured and/or die before the credits roll. Just make sure you get things going before the whole death part happens. —TP

It's complicated

11

You're the Worst, season one (Hulu)

How do two people become a couple when the very idea of a romantic relationship is enough to set their teeth on edge? That question is at the core of You're the Worst, a purposeful perversion of typical romantic comedies that's sharp enough to draw blood. Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) are staunchly against relationships because they believer relationships make people boring — and yet they can't deny they're drawn to each other. The FX comedy ended up being one of TV's best surprises when it premiered in 2014 and has only gotten better, not least because it always finds a way to make Gretchen and Jimmy's hesitant relationship genuinely touching — even if it has to make a devastating joke first. —CF

12

Obvious Child (Amazon)

Pigeonholing Obvious Child as "that abortion rom-com" undersells how nuanced it is. Yes, Donna (Jenny Slate) gets an abortion, and, yes, it's explicit. But Obvious Child doesn't rely on the fact of that moment to drive the entire movie. Instead, writer and director Gillian Robespierre weaves Donna's abortion into her larger story of dealing with a breakup, starting to fall for someone new, and finding her own voice. Slate's performance is terrific: frank, funny, and even a little heartbreaking. If you're not sure whether you want to embrace romance or isolation this Valentine's, Obvious Child will let you do a little of both. —CF

13

Blue Is the Warmest Color (Netflix)

First love is intoxicating. First love is exciting. First love might be all you think about. But first love rarely ever lasts. Blue Is the Warmest Color captures every single one of these emotions in an epic story that turns a relationship between two young women into something with the size and scope of something far, far larger. Based on a graphic novel, the film traces every step of that relationship from first meeting to the point when it's finally, definitively, over. The film won the top prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, as did its two young stars. —TV

14

Laurence Anyways (Netflix, Amazon)

Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan is known for sprawling, gorgeous films that take big chances, in both their filmmaking techniques and the stories being told. In Laurence Anyways, he chronicles a relationship's evolution after one partner reveals to the other that she is trans. Set in the '80s and '90s, it's also a story about the earliest steps in society's journey toward trans acceptance, as well as a moving story about two people who are drawn to each other, even as their relationship transitions from romance to friendship to something else entirely. —TV

Happily together

15

Moonrise Kingdom (Netflix)

Wes Anderson's films can sometimes feel a bit chilly and emotionally distant at first blush. They are, after all, designed within an inch of their lives, with every single portion of every single frame fussed over obsessively. But Anderson's movies have an incredible depth of feeling all the same. Perhaps the chief example of this is his 2012 work Moonrise Kingdom, a sweet romance between two teenagers that becomes about all the buried, repressed emotions driving a little Massachusetts island community in the 1960s. It's at once a terrific movie about the compromises of aging and the way that when you're young, it feels like love will last forever. —TV

16

Shall We Dance? (Netflix, Amazon)

This Japanese film is a winning reaffirmation of how strong marriage can be, even in the face of a midlife crisis. When a businessman facing an uncertain malaise decides he needs to start taking ballroom dance lessons, he breaks from the role that would typically be expected of him in the name of chasing happiness. Lighthearted and whimsical, Shall We Dance? seems like it might be about how he falls in love with a beautiful dancer, but what's clever is the way it sneakily becomes a defense of his years-long marriage, and the way his wife becomes just as important of a character. —TV

17

Pride and Prejudice (2005 film: Netflix / 1995 BBC series: Amazon)

Jane Austen’s classic love story between Elizabeth and Darcy is undeniably satisfying no matter how many twists get put on it (ahem, Bridget Jones's Diary). But if you're a classicist, you have two options available: the 2005 feature film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, or the (for my money, vastly superior) 1995 BBC miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. If your S.O. isn’t normally a fan of period films, point out that the swooning romance is coupled with plenty of sharp, witty dialogue and biting commentary about society and women’s role in it that still resonates today. And if that doesn’t work, pull the, "But it’s Valentine’s Day!" card. —TP

18

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season three (Hulu)

The "will they/won’t they" coupling has fueled many a TV show for season after season (see: Gilmore Girls, Cheers, Friends, etc.), but once two TV characters cross the line into "they will," they're rarely allowed to just be happy. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has thankfully sidestepped this strategy; Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago are not only a functional (and adorable) couple, they're functional co-workers as well. It refreshingly underlines the fact that being with the one you love is way better than pining for them (at least if you're doing it right). Meanwhile, the show continues to be one of the best and most consistently hilarious comedies on TV. —TP

Bitterly apart

19

The Last Five Years

Sometimes wallowing is the best way to deal with a broken heart, and this tearjerking movie musical is a great place to start. Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick star as a couple whose relationship has collapsed; the film follows each partner’s story individually, with Kendrick’s Cathy starting at the end, Jordan’s Jamie at the beginning, and the two meeting only once in the middle. Obviously there’s no happily ever after, but Kendrick is fantastic as always, and the story is a powerful reminder that, as much as we wish it were true, sometimes love isn’t all you need. —TP

20

His Girl Friday

Back in the day, movies about divorcees almost always charted how those divorcees got back together. The setup was called the comedy of remarriage, and there are few better examples than this classic, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as newspaper reporters who chase a big story and find themselves falling back in love in the process. This is one of the wildest, wittiest comedies ever made, and it doesn't ladle on the romance so thickly that it will alienate the heartbroken. Above all, it just might make you want to find somebody to spout clever dialogue with. —TV

21

Ex Machina (Amazon)

If you're in a place where you need to believe that love is a dumb construct and happiness is a lie, may we suggest Ex Machina? Not only is Alex Garland's film unsettling, bone-deep creepy, and completely engrossing, it's also about as far from a love story as you can get. Come for Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson's uneasy rapport, stay for Alicia Vikander's incredible performance as an AI bot trying to understand what it means to be human. —CF

22

Anna Karenina (Netflix)

Director Joe Wright reunites with his Pride and Prejudice co-stars Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen for this adaptation of Tolstoy’s tragic epic. The cast is packed with stars, including Jude Law, Domhnall Gleeson, and current Oscar nominee Alicia Vikander, and the screenwriter, playwright Tom Stoppard, streamlines the story admirably. But despite its Hollywood gloss, the film's despairing heart remains: Knightley is wonderful as the complex Anna, who comes alive via her passions — and loses her life for it. —TP

23

The One I Love (Netflix)

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a rather unhappily married couple who, at their counselor’s behest, head to a weekend cabin to try to repair their relationship. Saying much more about the plot would ruin the movie, but suffice it to say that what follows is an impressively weird exploration of whether love can truly have transformative powers, as well as a cautionary tale in getting exactly what you wish for. —TP


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