The 10 Best Romantic Comedies of the Decade

Best Romantic Comedies of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

In some ways, the past decade was a bit of a desert when it comes to romantic comedies. The rom-com’s mainstream heyday was over with the onset of our current millennium, which brought about dreck like Gigli and The Hottie and the Nottie. But with the dearth of quality mainstream rom-coms came the birth of the indie and the subversive rom-com – and that’s when things got interesting. 

So let’s talk about the ten best romantic comedies of the past ten years – with a couple of disclaimers. 1) I have a whole other list coming for the best teen movies of the decade, so if you’re furious that you don’t see Easy A or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before on here, stay tuned. And 2) many of the best romantic comedies of the past ten years have actually lived on television. I could do an entire list of nothing but rom-com TV series: You’re The Worst, Catastrophe, Please Like Me, Lovesick, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, The Mindy Project, Chewing Gum, Younger, New Girl – well, would you look at that? I did it! 

But this list – this list is about the ten best romantic comedy FILMS of the past decade. And boy, aren’t they romantic? Presented in chronological order…

Beginners

Mike Mills, 2010

Inspired by writer/director Mills’ relationship with his own father, Beginners follows an artist named Oliver (Ewan McGregor) whose father Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out and lives the last five years of his life as an openly gay man. Whimsical, poignant and deeply compassionate, Beginners is a story about honesty, and it’s as much a love story between father and son as it is between Oliver and the free-spirited woman he falls for at a party (Mélanie Laurent).

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, 2011

An ensemble rom-com celebrating the complicated love lives of several seemingly random strangers whose stories intersect in unexpected ways, Crazy, Stupid, Love. boasts a compelling romance between Steve Carell’s Cal and Julianne Moore’s Emily, but is probably best known for the even more compelling scene in which Ryan Gosling performs Dirty Dancing’s “the lift” on a duly appreciative Emma Stone. La La Land ground zero!

Enough Said

Nicole Holofcener, 2013

Enough Said is an empty nest dramedy starring the great Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva, who falls for a warm, funny man later revealed to be the ex-husband of her new friend Marianne (Catherine Keener). Hijinks, as you might guess, ensue, but always grounded in the easy, essential humanity of all of Holofcener’s work. Enough Said is even more special for being the immensely charming last performance of James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack during post-production.

Obvious Child

Gillian Robespierre, 2014

Writer/director Robespierre’s feature debut got a lot of ink for being the “abortion rom-com,” but thanks to the brilliant, pointed writing and a star-making performance by a remarkably honest Jenny Slate, it’s so much more than that (although a comedy about abortion would be pretty noteworthy in and of itself). Obvious Child is an exceptional, beautiful thing that ensures I’ll follow both Robespierre and Slate wherever they go – including a swell sophomore pairing in 2017’s Landline

Top Five

Chris Rock, 2014

In Top Five, Rock writes, directs and stars as Andre, a comedy superstar whose career is in the process of tanking. Andre grants an interview to NY Times journalist Chelsea (Rosario Dawson) while trying to become a serious actor and planning an elaborate wedding to a reality TV star. Inconveniently timed sparks fly, and Rock and Dawson have legendary chemistry. There are a lot of complicated and fascinating character beats in Top Five, a story in which the good guys are kind of bad and the bad guys are always more interesting than they seem.

Amira & Sam

Sean Mullin, 2015

Starring Martin Starr and Dina Shihabi, Amira & Sam tells the story of an army vet’s unexpected romance with an Iraqi immigrant under threat of deportation. The film is unafraid to dive into some weighty issues, but it never forgets to be hilarious and beautiful and super hot, to boot. Starr and Shihabi are really wonderful together, and Mullin’s direction is a warm nod to the misfits-in-love stories of old.

The Big Sick

Michael Showalter, 2017

One of the rare romantic comedies that make it to Oscar contender territory, The Big Sick is a hilarious and meaningful retelling of writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani’s unconventional romantic origins. Nanjiani stars as a fictional version of himself with Zoe Kazan taking on the role of the woman he falls for, alienates and then almost loses to a mysterious illness that leaves her in a coma. The Big Sick is so funny and smart and beautiful and real, and it just might have the highest rewatchability quotient of any film on this list.

crazy rich asians box office

Crazy Rich Asians

Jon M. Chu, 2018

Based on the first book in Kevin Kwan’s vicariously thrilling trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians skips over the part most rom-coms focus on – the falling in love – right into the most stressful part of a relationship: meeting the family. But with a phenomenal ensemble and eye-popping production design, the movie never loses our interest for a second – and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Constance Wu and Henry Golding are so dang fun to look at. 

The Long Shot Review

Long Shot

Jonathan Levine, 2019

Can you believe we’ve made it to 2019? (I mean the planet, not just this list.) And what a way to bring in this year, with Levine’s crazy-engaging romantic comedy that could almost be called a Notting Hill for the nearly-2020s. Seth Rogen is Fred, a super-liberal stoner journalist whose childhood crush Charlotte (Charlize Theron) grew up to be the g-d Secretary of State. They reunite as adults and she hires him as a speech writer, and gosh, there are a lot of gratifying gender reversals in this lovely, non-stop hilarious movie. Theron and Rogen are both EXCELLENT.  

Always Be My Maybe

Nahnatchka Khan, 2019

We got two this year – both out in May, actually, so what a tremendous month for the modern rom-com! Ali Wong and Randall Park star as lifelong besties who meet back up in San Francisco, and finally take the time to sort out decades of complicated will-we-won’t-we feelings. Always Be My Maybe is a romance, sure, but it’s also a love letter to friendship, food and family, and has the best Keanu Reeves performance of the year, and I’m saying that in a year that included a John Wick movie.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: