12 Best Sad Romantic Movies on Netflix (July 2024)

Sad love stories poke at the bittersweet part of our minds and hearts, evoking emotions we may not have felt in real life. The death of a partner, unrequited love, breakups, love barred by societal prejudices, love hindered by a tragedy; all these and more contribute to the genre we address as sad romances. Netflix has a vast number of sad romances whose stories are set in various periods of human history, some even involving more than one timeline. However, it is the intimacy of the romance and how it is depicted that sets apart the best from the rest. Here, we bring you the best sad love movies streamable on Netflix.

12. Beyond the Universe (2022)

This well-executed drama follows Nina (Giulia Be), a music lover with a passion for piano, whose lupus diagnosis and the upcoming termination from piano school pose a grave threat to her dream of becoming a pianist. However, she soon meets an amicable doctor, Gabriel (Henry Zaga), who brings reassurance back into her life, and as romance blossoms between them, so does her positivity. But what about her kidney condition? How long does she have before something goes wrong? Is Gabriel willing to risk his career to help Nina live? Be that as it may, for now, he has to get her to audition for a huge orchestra. The connections and the way they are established, along with the acting underscored by camera work, contribute to this film’s prowess as a sad romance. You can watch this Diego Freitas directorial right here.

11. Irreplaceable You (2018)

Directed by Stephanie Laing, ‘Irreplaceable You’ follows lovers Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman), who are engaged. Unfortunately, before they can tie the nuptial knot, Abbie is told that she has a terminal illness and an uncertain amount of time to live. Thus, she begins searching for a new companion for Sam in her absence, something that Sam doesn’t want her to do, for it is impossible for someone else to take Sam’s place. In her endeavor, however, Sam makes new friends who share her state and help her understand the importance of living and making the most of the time with your loved ones, especially when your time is short. Does she find her replacement? A typical sad romance as can be made out from its story, ‘Irreplaceble You’ manages to not be melodramatic but establishes the sad romantic themes nicely. You can watch the film here.

10. All the Bright Places (2020)

Adapted from Jennifer Niven’s eponymous novel, ‘All the Bright Places’ follows Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, two teenagers struggling with their emotional states, Theodore being a loner and Violet with survivor’s guilt in the aftermath of her sister’s death. The bittersweet drama shows how these two self-made outcasts find peace in each other’s company. However, their emotional scars often compromise their friendship, keeping them from doing what it takes to be better on their own as well as together. Will a school project that requires them to explore Indiana be of any help? ‘All the Bright Places’ is directed by Brett Haley and stars Elle Fanning as Violet and Justice Smith as Theodore. The film offers a serious take on teen emotions and the importance of addressing them, nicely blending this message with a romance that isn’t overwhelmingly sentimental but raw. You can watch ‘All the Bright Places’ here.

9. Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)

This Indian Bollywood (Hindi) drama is directed by Karan Johar and stars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Saif Ali Khan in the lead. A love triangle romance that has become a cult among Indian audiences, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ is set in New York City and on the secondary level, the primary one being the love story, explores non-resident Indians, aka NRIs, and the way they make do in the middle of a society run on a different culture.

We have Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) who moves in beside Naina Catherine Kapur’s (Preity Zinta) home in New York. Naina’s family has been dealing with financial and emotional burdens, all of which Aman seems to tackle nicely. As Aman helps Naina’s family realize the importance of living today without worrying about tomorrow, which may not even come, Naina starts falling for him. Meanwhile, Naina’s classmate/best friend Rohit (Saif Ali Khan) falls for her, and when she tells him about her feelings for Aman, Rohit talks to Aman about it. Aman thus decides to patch them up together, sacrificing his love for Naina. Why? Because he has a terminal illness and his time is running out. Certainly a tearjerker, ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ won two National Film Awards in 2003 and became the highest-grossing Indian film that year. You can watch it here.

8. Good Grief (2024)

An artist, Marc, grieving the loss of his husband, Oliver (Luke Evans), finds out via a note that the latter had been seeing someone else. Sounds grief-y enough? Written and directed by Daniel Levy (‘Schitt’s Creek’), who also stars as Marc, ‘Good Grief’ follows Marc and his co-mid-30 best friends, Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel), who go on an emotionally charged trip to Paris with the hope that it will help Marc come to terms with the truth bomb that has dropped on him that too on top of the recent tragedy. Are Sophie and Thomas up to the task? Levy does manage to bring some of the ‘Schitt’s Creek’ weight to the film in terms of its sincere emotions. The onscreen chemistry among Levy, Negga, and Patel is palpable and adds to the narrative in a subtle yet effective manner, which, accompanied by its sad romantic tone, earns the film a spot in this list. You can watch ‘Good Grief’ here.

7. The Last Letter From Your Lover (2021)

Directed by Augustine Frizzell, ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ is a British drama based on Jojo Moyes’ 2011 novel of the same name. Set across two time periods that are connected by a string of love letters, the film follows two women: Journalist Ellie Haworth, who comes across love letters between two characters, “J” and “Boot,” and married wealthy socialite woman Jennifer Stirling, in the mid-1960s, who gets into an affair with journalist Anthony O’Hare and start writing letters to each other in secrecy. As Ellie tries to know more about the letters and the lovers, wondering if they are still alive and if she can reunite them, she also learns to apply the lessons in her own relationship. With compelling performances by Felicity Jones (‘The Theory of Everything’), Shailene Woodley (‘The Fault in Our Stars’), Joe Alwyn (‘The Favourite’), and Callum Turner (‘The Only Living Boy in New York’), ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ offers a believable story that nicely balances its romance and rawness. The way it connects two love stories, both underscored by a sense of sadness, set in different timelines makes the film a rightful addition to this list. It can be streamed right here.

6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’ is set in 1946, right after the end of World War II. We follow Juliet Ashton (Lily James), a London-based author, who, while promoting her latest book, receives a letter from a member of the titular book club based out of Guernsey, Channel Islands, off the French coast of Normandy. Her interest is piqued, and she arrives at Guernsey and gets to know the members of the club, including Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), the guy who wrote the letter.

As stories of the club members and their separated loved ones grasp Juliet, she finds herself drawn to them and decides to write an article about them. As time passes, Juliet and Dawsey fall for each other but Juliet is already engaged. Will her article be published? Is there a future for Juliet and Dawsey? Based on the 2008 novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ deals with love and pain, each exclusive of the other, and connects them together in a subtle manner to give us a bittersweet romance that is set against the backdrop of one of the darkest periods in world history. You can watch it here.

5. Dreamy Eyes (2019)

This brilliant Vietnamese drama is directed by Victor Vu and tells a tale of unrequited love that spans decades. We have Ngan (Tran Nghia) and Hà Lan (Trúc Anh), who are childhood best friends. Ngan secretly loves Hà Lan but doesn’t reveal it. As time goes by, they both grow up. Hà Lan starts dating a guy and even gives birth to his child, but the guy’s father disapproves of her. Eventually, we see Ngan taking up the role of a surrogate father for Hà Lan’s daughter, Tra Long. Even after all this, Ngan keeps quiet about his feelings while joining Hà Lan in her pain. Will this be Ngan’s state forever? Will Hà Lan never find out about Ngan’s love for her? ‘Dreamy Eyes’ is a sure-shot tearjerker that was the Vietnamese entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Oscars although it didn’t receive a nomination. You can watch it here.

4. La La Land (2016)

A multiple Academy-Award-winning musical drama that revamped musicals on the big screen, ‘La La Land,’ by Damien Chazelle, follows Sebastian “Seb” Wilder (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist who dreams of owning his own jazz club, and Amelia “Mia” Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who wants to make it big in Hollywood, both of meet under the weirdest of circumstances but slowly navigate their way into a sweet romance. However, their careers, dreams, and priorities soon clash, and they find it difficult to choose between what they want for themselves and their relationship, almost disregarding the support that they need from each other that no one else can provide. A visual and auditory treat underscored by a sweet-and-sour romance, ‘La La Land’ is a rare gem. You can watch it here.

3. A Walk to Remember (2002)

Adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ 1999 novel of the same name, ‘A Walk to Remember’ is a cult classic and tops the list of Netflix’s sad romances. Director Adam Shankman manages to transfer the novel’s soul into his film, rendering it the best Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation despite changing the setting from the 1950s in the novel to the early 2000s. Starring Mandy Moore and Shane West, the film follows two polar opposite high school students, Landon Carter (West), the cool guy, and Jamie Sullivan (Moore), the introverted and meek girl, who slowly fall for each other through unconventional means, including community service and a play, despite having an unlikeable first encounter. As their love grows deeper, Jamie finds out that she has leukemia that has passed the curable stage. The question is: Can love run out of time? Maybe not but what about spending love together? Moore and West won the Choice Movie Chemistry award at the 2002 Teen Choice Awards. Moore also won the Choice Breakout Movie Actress at the 2002 Teen Choice Awards and the Best Breakthrough Female Performance award at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards. ‘A Walk to Remember’ is a timeless must-watch you can stream right here.

2. Blue Jay (2016)

This compelling romantic dramedy is directed by Alex Lehmann and stars Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass. We have Jim (Duplass) and Amanda (Paulson), who bump into each other at a supermarket in their California hometown. They were high school sweethearts but a lot has changed since then, and both have moved on in their lives. However, as they catch up on old times, the memories and feelings resurface, along with the misunderstandings and the reason they separated come into view, sending the viewers into despair and making us wonder if some things just aren’t meant to be. Or are they? Shot in black and white, ‘Blue Jay’ is, as they say, hopelessly romantic, with brilliant performances by Duplass and Paulson, who offer the fun, warmth, and melancholy that fit the narrative perfectly. You can watch it here.

1. Call Me by Your Name (2017)

This brilliant adaptation of André Aciman’s acclaimed novel ‘Call Me by Your Name’ is directed by Luca Guadagnino. Considered one of the best films of the 21st century, it explores an unlikely romance between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), who lives in Italy, and 24-year-old graduate Oliver (Armie Hammer). Oliver has been invited by Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor, to spend his summer with them while helping him with research. Whether and how Elio comes to terms with his sexuality after being attracted to Oliver, who too reciprocates despite making it clear that they have no future. Is he right? A raw LGBTQ+ drama involving a beautiful conversation between a father and his son about love and acceptance, ‘Call Me by Your Name’ tops our list.

The film earned four nominations at the 2018 Oscars, including Best Actor for (Chalamet) and Best Picture, and won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The screenplay also won at the 2018 Choice Awards, 2018 BAFTAs, and the 2018 Writers Guild of America Awards. You can watch ‘Call Me by Your Name’ here.

Read More: Saddest Movies on Netflix