Best Valentine’s Day Movies: Top 5 Romantic Flicks Most Beloved By Critics

Hollywood has some heavy hitters in regard to romance films. So much so, you may go through a box of tissues watching love stories unfold on screen. The best way to help you get in the right mindset for the lovey-dovey holiday is with a little bit of movie magic. So, we searched for the best Valentine’s Day movies that critics say will tug on your heartstrings.

Love when a movie has a happy ending? You’re definitely not alone. According to a study, feel-good films contain an element of humor and the classic happy ending, and they often involve outsiders in search of true love. And even in the tense, dramatic moments, the movies somehow remain lighthearted. These factors are what make feel-good flicks so appealing. 

TV in general is appealing to us and has become an integral part of day-to-day life. The average adult watches TV for three-and-a-half hours every day! All of those hours undoubtedly add up. A recent survey of 2,000 adults finds that the average TV viewer will watch an astounding 78,705 hours of programming (movies, sports, news, etc.) in their lifetime. That’s a whole lot of screen time!

Make the most of your time spent watching movies with our list below. StudyFinds put together the best Valentine’s Day movies of all time, according to movie critics and hopeless romantics alike. In addition to the tissues, you may want to grab your favorite Valentine’s Day candy! Or pop some fresh popcorn with one of the best popcorn makers money can buy. Also, make sure to let us know your favorite flick to watch for V-Day in the comments. 

couple eating and watching valentines day movie
(Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels)

The List: Best Valentine’s Day Movies Of All Time, According To Critics 

1. “Valentine’s Day” (2010)

Oprah Daily recommends this flick with the perfect name: “This aptly titled film takes place in Los Angeles on (you guessed it) February 14. The ensemble cast reads like the guest list at a splashy Hollywood event: Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Shirley MacLaine, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxx, and Anne Hathaway, just to name a few.” 

“Where better to start than the movie named after the holiday? This is one of those big ensemble romantic comedies of yore where nothing really happens but all the love stories are somehow connected…They literally do not make ‘em like this anymore,” TV Guide claims.

Real Simple says the plot isn’t real simple, but the movie is worth a watch because it’s full of stars: “Superstars collide in this movie so full of intersecting Valentine’s Day plot lines you might need a map to track them all. Think American-style Love Actually, with a less heartbreaking cheating story.”

2. “Pride & Prejudice” (2005)

Town & Country thinks you’ll swoon for this movie: “Why It’s Swoon-Worthy: There are a slew of adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic. We like this one for its earthy sensibility that still maintains the humor, wit, and (yes) sexual tension between Lizzie Bennet (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfayden).” 

“It’s a classic for a reason. This Jane Austen novel has been adapted (and remixed) many times before. But the romance between a strong-willed countryman’s daughter, Elizabeth Bennet, and a rich Fitzwilliam Darcy comes alive when in Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden’s hands. Whether it’s Mr. Darcy’s love words or the drama surrounding their relationship, the film will bewitch your body and soul,” TODAY writes.

Martha Stewart recommends it, too: “Are you a fan of period pieces? Then this is a must-watch Valentine’s Day movie. The film, which was adapted from the 1813 novel by Jane Austen, follows the eccentric Elizabeth Bennet as she falls in love with the stubborn Mr. Darcy during the Georgian era.” 

3. “Always Be My Maybe” (2019) 

This movie means a lot to Love What Matters: “Can sparks still fly for a childhood couple that has spent 15 years apart? They may be in different places in their lives, but actors Ali Wong and Randall Park portray characters with so much chemistry that you will be smiling throughout the entire film.”

“Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) grew up together in San Francisco, where Marcus’ family embraced her as one their own. But after a major loss for both of them, their friendship is suddenly severed. Fifteen years later, their paths cross again and they get a second chance at being the love of one another’s life. Funny and oozing with with lead character chemistry, this movie also features a very memorable appearance from Keanu Reeves,” Elle gushes. 

“When Sasha (Wong) moves back to San Francisco, she and Marcus (Randall) reconnect. But is the gap between their current positions—she, a famous chef and he, still living at home—too large to bridge?” says Oprah Daily. Watch the movie to find out!

4. “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018)

iGEEKSBLOG loves this rom-com: “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a teenage romantic comedy film that has caught the attention of critics and audiences alike. It’s based on a trilogy of novels written by Jenny Han and is one of the best Valentine’s Day movies on Netflix. In the movie, Lara Jean’s love letters are inexplicably mailed to her five crushes. Her school life then transforms from a quiet, nondescript one to one which wreaks absolute havoc. The movie features great character development. Moreover, it adds a flavor to a tried-and-tested idea to make this a movie worth your time. Watch this movie for the characters, story, and its rehash of the early 2000s style of romantic comedies.” 

“Lara Jean didn’t intend for every one of her exes to read her most personal inner thoughts. But that’s exactly what happens in Susan Johnson’s hit Netflix rom-com. It stars Lana Condor as the unfortunate author, and as each of her secret love letters is revealed, you’ll read pieces of your own dating history between the lines,” Harper’s BAZAAR writes. 

To sum it all up, Martha Stewart writes, “Lara Jean Song Covey’s love life spirals out of control in this coming of age film that details the trials and tribulations of navigating romance during high school.”

5. “The Notebook” (2004)

Fandango says this movie is a classic: “‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’ It’s sappy dialogue like this that turned Nicholas Sparks’ popular novel into an even more popular movie. Casting eye candy like the insanely likable Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams didn’t hurt, either. Make sure to have lots of tissues handy, gang.” 

The Suffolk Journal raves, “The Notebook is a classic love story, bringing me to tears even after watching it for the 100th time. I’m also a huge Rachel McAdams fan, who plays the lead role of Allie Hamilton. Critics and haters of the film call Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) ‘toxic’ for his pursuit of Allie. I definitely beg to differ. These two parallel opposite lovers are a match made in heaven, in my opinion. Noah is in love with Allie at first sight, and even after they are apart for several years, fate brings the two back together for the rest of their lives. They have a passionate, exciting attraction to one another that most people go their whole lives without ever experiencing.” 

“That iconic rain-soaked kiss makes The Notebook a romantic classic, powered by the palpable chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, but what really brings on the tears is the relationship between their older characters, played by James Garner and director Cassavetes’s mother Gena Rowlands,” adds Town & Country.

If you love romance films, make sure to check out our list of the top five of all time. These aren’t just for Valentine’s Day, either. Critics think you can watch them every day of the year! 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.