Header images courtesy of Treehouse Pictures and Netflix
Originally published by Sarah Moran. Last updated by Catharina Cheung and Jen Paolini.
If you’ve ever laid in bed sobbing from movie-induced heartbreak or walked around with a goofy smile plastered over your face because of a film you watched, then you’ll know that romantic films have a special way of reducing people into a puddle of feelings. Love them or hate them, you have to admit that rom-coms make you root for the characters involved and leave you feeling like you’re going on a first date with yourself. If you’re ready to embrace the love this holiday, here are our top picks to catch on Netflix Hong Kong that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Get ready for a dose of cuteness overload with Dash & Lily. Centred around two teenagers caught up in a whirlwind romance during the Christmas holiday season, the show is set in New York City and follows pessimistic Dash (Austin Abrams) and happy-go-lucky Lily (Midori Francis) as they trade messages and dares through a shared notebook, eventually developing feelings for each other as the challenges go on. Balancing the right amount of sweet and whimsical, Dash & Lily is the perfect, bite-sized offering to sink your teeth into for a bit of syrupy romance.
You would have thought that the internet’s favourite fictional couple can be nothing less than perfect together, but no, in the third and final instalment of the To All the Boys movie franchise, Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky once again have to fight to stay together. The nemesis this time is their high school graduation and the pair’s increasingly different plans regarding college. Will the third time be the charm that spells a happily-ever-after for Covinsky? Perfect for a rom-com binge, you can start all the way with the very first film and work your way to the grand finale.
Another trilogy of feel-good rom-coms, The Kissing Booth is about two teenage besties, Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney), whose lifelong friendship is challenged when Elle develops a crush on Lee’s older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi). Based on a popular Wattpad novel, the film adaptations are a sugary-sweet exploration of the trials and tribulations of high school romances and the growing pains of college relationships. While the subject matter comes off as cliché, the films do the trick if you are in the mood for something light.
Titular character Alex Truelove is skittishly determined to lose his virginity to his girlfriend but hits it off with (and accidentally chats up) Elliot, a gay indie kid who stirs up a maelstrom of confusion and longing. This quippy post-millennial grab bag of identity politics hits a tender note regarding the navigating of social environments, and Madeline Weinstein is great as Alex’s girlfriend Claire. We are still waiting for old-school conservatism to die its slow death in the representation of teen gay romance, but Alex Strangelove is nevertheless is another step in the right direction.
Set It Up follows two hapless assistants to high-powered and highly-strung bosses as they team up to hook both their superiors up with each other—the idea is that their bosses will be too busy getting it on to work them to the bone. Naturally, all the sneaky planning and plot-hatching slowly end up drawing them closer to each other. Nobody’s accusing this rom-com of being wildly original, but it does provide some much-needed brevity and laughs. Plus, it’s always great to see Lucy Liu on-screen, and Zoey Deutch gives off a wonderfully charming performance.
Squared Love is a Polish movie that tackles love as seen by a serial womaniser. Adrianna Chlebicka plays Monika, a woman who leads a double life: She is a school teacher who also moonlights as a model to pay off her father’s debts. Her model persona catches the attention of a celebrity journalist when working together—he flirts and she plays along for the sake of one last gig. When she connects with him “in real life” too, will sparks fly for her true identity, or will the renowned playboy prefer the glamorous model instead?
Turning the age-old trope of “budding romance” on its head, Someone Great begins at the end of a relationship instead. Jenny (played by Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin fame) scores her dream job in San Francisco, but her boyfriend decides not to move with her. As she understandably spirals into a depressive mood, her two best friends work to make her memories prior to leaving New York good ones. Make this holiday an introspectively funny one as Jenny balances the good memories of her romance with love for herself and hopes for the future.
Playing on the tried-and-tested “time machine genre” coupled with an energetic cast and off-beat humour, When We First Met follows the story of Noah, who meets Avery, the girl of his dreams, at a Halloween party but misses the opportunity to date her. Years later, Noah remains haunted by the fact that she meets her future fiancé the day after the party, and he comes across a way to travel back in time to alter his first meeting with Avery and change their future. While not the most original of premises, When We First Met nevertheless provides an amusing rom-com experience with an unexpected twist, and Adam DeVine brings his signature humour to the table.