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Sweet rom-coms to stream if you’re obsessed with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Here are some titles to help you nurse your To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before hangover.
Netflix’s original movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was the talk of the Internet when it came out. After its August 2018 release, the teen rom-com spawned its very own meme and boosted yogurt sales. The movie is based on the first book in the Lara Jean YA trilogy by author Jenny Han, so Netflix decided it has enough source material to kick-off a franchise. Stars Lana Condor and Noah turned into overnight sensations, so they were down to reprising their roles in two other sequels with the first, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, arriving on Netflix just in time for Valentine’s Day 2020.
If you’ve been living under a rock recently, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before centres on Lara Jean, a quiet girl who finds her high school existence turned upside down when a bunch of secret love letters she’s written to her crushes are mysteriously sent out. One of them was meant for her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. When Josh confronts her, Lara Jean starts fake-dating one of the school’s popular kids, Peter, to avoid a lengthy conversation about her feelings. The rest is now history.
With the second sequel still (probably) light years away, we thought it would be nice to suggest some similar titles to tide you over in the meantime. All these movies feature delightful teens falling in love and such, so they’re perfect if you fancy To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Even better, they’re all available to stream in Australia.
1. Everything, Everything (2017)
Based on Nicola Yoon’s YA novel of the same name, Everything, Everything follows a young girl, Maddy, who can’t leave her house due to a severe illness that makes her allergic to almost everything. However, when a handsome boy moves next door, her life changes for the better. The two start to communicate and, before you know it, Maddy will be taking risks she wouldn’t have previously dreamed of.
The movie is a classic girl coming-of-age with the help of a charismatic boy tale. As a result, it’s a gentle and engrossing flick perfect for a quiet evening at home. The two leads are great and the film’s whimsy is enough to win over even the most cynical of viewers. Plus, it’s not too overly sweet, it has a banging soundtrack, and Maddy has amazing chemistry with the boy next door. What more could you wish for?
2. Five Feet Apart (2019)
Starring Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, Five Feet Apart was inspired by a real-life couple. The story follows Stella, a teenager who spends most of her time in the hospital as she suffers from cystic fibrosis. Consequently, her life is governed by routines and boundaries. All of that changes, however, when she meets Will, a charming young boy who suffers from the same illness. Restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them, but the two become more and more tempted to break the rules.
The movie has plenty of emotional moments, so we advise you keep a box of tissues handy. Additionally, both leads are charming and deliver great performances, making Five Feet Apart the perfect tear-jerker to keep you company when you want to feel all the feels.
3. The Kissing Booth (2018)
Netflix has been releasing several feel-good rom-coms lately, and this one is no exception. The Kissing Booth centres on Elle, a high school student who ends up unexpectedly locking lips with her secret crush, Noah, at the Spring Carnival. The problem? Noah, the ultimate bad boy, also happens to be her best friend’s brother and is totally off limits. As the two realise they’re falling in love, Elle needs to figure out how to handle the tricky situation.
The Kissing Booth is no masterpiece – it’s clumsy and predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less watchable. Quite the contrary. It’s the perfect title to relax with when you’re looking for something light and fun. The appealing cast is just a welcome bonus.
4. Easy A (2010)
Emma Stone is a delight in romance flicks – Crazy, Stupid, Love and La La Land stand testament to that. Before starring in these big Hollywood productions, though, Stone had her breakthrough role in Easy A, a captivating comedy about a girl who becomes embroiled in a comical sex scandal. The movie follows Olive, who attempts to help a friend and ends up having to deal with false rumours that she is sexually promiscuous.
The movie is witty and has a lot of heart, benefiting from a sharp script and a great performance by Stone. Moreover, it’s genuinely funny, with Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson stealing the show as Olive’s open-minded parents. In short, Easy A is not just another teen rom-com. It’s a modern classic.
5. A Cinderella Story (2004)
A modernisation of the classic Cinderella tale, this sweet flick stars Hillary Duff as Samantha, a young girl living under the watchful eye of her wicked stepmother and two stepsisters. At the family diner, she’s forced to take on menial tasks like dishwashing and mopping floors. However, Samantha’s life changes for the better when she receives a makeover of epic proportions and starts an online relationship with a boy she meets in a chatroom, played by Chad Michael Murray.
A Cinderella Story is a fresh and funny update of the fairy tale, mainly thanks to Duff’s endearing performance. She makes a sweet, smart and devoted Cinderella, which should be enough to keep you glued to the screen. Plus, the happily-ever-after ending will put a grin on your face that you won’t be able to shake off for at least a couple of days.
6. Clueless (1995)
If you’re a teen rom-com fan, you’re probably already familiar with this classic title. If not, now’s the perfect time to fall in love with Cher, the popular high school girl with a heart of gold. A modern update of Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless takes place in Beverly Hills and pokes fun at both the teen rom-com genre and the lives of ultra-rich teenagers.
The movie follows Cher as she discovers that she likes to do good deeds and decides to take a geek girl under her wing to help her become more popular. At the same time, she’s looking for the perfect boyfriend, whom she ends up finding in the most unexpected place. Sweet and funny, Clueless is very quotable and endlessly charming. Don’t think you’ll be able to resist.
7. The Princess Diaries (2001)
The Princess Diaries follows shy teenager Mia, who suddenly learns that she’s a real-life princess. As she is heir apparent to the crown of Genovia, she’s now supposed to learn what her new role entails. Consequently, her grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi, starts to give her "princess lessons". The movie is just as silly and engrossing as the premise suggests, benefiting from a lovable Anne Hathaway in the lead role and boasting a great supporting performance from Julie Andrews.
At its core a makeover movie, The Princess Diaries is terrific fun for viewers of all ages, from idealistic tweens obsessed with Meghan Markle to adults looking to unwind for a little bit. It also provides some evergreen life lessons like the importance of taking chances and such; plus, it has all the ingredients of a fairy tale, so it successfully stands the test of time. The sequel is also a charmer in case you’re looking for a double-feature kind of night.
8. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
A rom-com with an entire Asian cast? Yes, please. Crazy Rich Asians revolves around Rachel, who is happily dating Nick. Things get more complicated, however, when the two travel to Singapore for a wedding and Rachel realises that Nick belongs to one of the richest families in the country.
Based on the novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asian became an instant hit with both fans and critics. It’s easy to see why – the movie has a tremendous ensemble cast, the story is sweet and the balance between emotional and funny moments is perfect. The film stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh.
9. A Walk to Remember (2002)
This teen melodrama is just a tad too saccharine, but it remains a classic of the genre, so we would have been remiss not to add it to the list. A Walk to Remember follows popular high school student Landon, who is forced to seek academic help from Jamie, a religious and conservative classmate. As the two grow closer, Landon has to deal with a drop in popularity, while Jamie is struggling under the pressure of a huge secret she hasn’t told anybody at her school about.
The movie is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, so there might be tears involved. Consider yourself warned. It also has a lot of sweet moments, which make it a great flick for when you’re craving a touch of heartfelt melodrama – or simply want to reinforce your belief that Mandy Moore has always been a goddess.
10. High School Musical (2006)
The movie that sparked a trilogy and gave us the wonder that is Zac Efron, High School Musical is basically a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. If follows two rival high school students, Troy and Gabriella, who shock the school when they team up to try out for the lead parts in the high school musical.
High School Musical might be cheesy, but it’s also a lot of fun, mainly thanks to lively performances by Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. The musical numbers are delightful and the light tone of the flick ensures a highly enjoyable watching experience, especially if you set your expectations accordingly. You won’t be swept off your feet, but your mood will improve dramatically.
11. Alex Strangelove (2018)
Another lovable Netflix Original, Alex Strangelove centres on a high school student who plans to lose his virginity to his long-time girlfriend. However, things get more complicated when Alex meets a charming gay kid from the other side of town and starts to question his sexuality. Thus begins a rollercoaster adventure of love and sex, as Alex tries to navigate his newfound feelings.
The movie hits a lot of familiar beats but never fails to charm, delivering an absorbing story with a powerful message. It also features some funny scenes and has a lot of heart, so it’s perfect if you’re suffering from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before withdrawal.
12. Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (2015)
Starring Victoria Justice and Pierson Fode, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List follows two besties, Naomi and Ely. Ely isn't exactly into girls, so they have a "no kiss list" where they add boys forbidden to them both. However, things get tricky when they fall for the same guy and have to decide how to navigate their friendship under this new set of circumstances.
The movie wins bonus points for focusing on friendship, along with romance, which makes it an unexpected treat. It also benefits from some strong performances from the two leads. Although mildly predictable, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List brings the goods as far as rom-coms are concerned, even if the two main characters are no longer in high school. You can’t go wrong with adding it to your Netflix queue.
13. The Sun Is Also a Star (2019)
The Sun Is Also a Star features Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton as two teens who fall in love, while one of their families faces deportation. Their instant love story sparks over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City.
Does this movie require viewers to suspend disbelief? Sure. Does that make it any less charming? We vote no. While the plot may strain credulity, The Sun Is Also a Star is a delightful watch for anyone craving a sweet and timely rom-com.
14. The Perfect Date (2019)
Looking for an extra dose of Noah Centineo in your life? You can’t go wrong with The Perfect Date, a Netflix original revolving around a high school student who creates an app to offer his services as a fake date to make money for college. When he develops feelings for someone, however, his plans take a turn. The movie also stars Laura Marano and Camila Mendes.
Incurable romantics will immediately fall for the cute story, while everyone else will likely enjoy the chemistry between Centineo and pretty much any girl he shares the screen with. All in all, the movie is a good time, sure to help with your To All the Boys withdrawal.
15. The Big Sick (2017)
One of the most critically acclaimed romances to come out in recent years, The Big Sick stars Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan and is based on the real-life courtship between Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. What starts as a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, but gets complicated when Emily is beset with a mystery illness. As a result, Kumail has to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, whom he never met before.
Charming, honest, and often hilarious, the movie manages to touch on serious themes while keeping viewers entertained every step of the way. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to call your loved ones immediately. If you’re a rom-com enthusiast, this one is not to be missed.
Need more rom-coms to snuggle up with? You'll find plenty more with these free streaming trials
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