Streaming Saviour: Is Netflix the Rom-Com Hero we’ve been waiting for?

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Romantic comedies are a popular genre of film due to their light-hearted nature and hopeful happy endings. However, traditional rom-coms have slowly dripped out of cinemas over the past few years, with people now turning to streaming giant Netflix for their cheesy fill of unrealistic romance.

Often twinned with a catchy indie soundtrack and viral celebrity heart-throbs, these rom-coms present that little slice of heaven that people yearn for. They inspire dramatic looks out of rainy bus windows and are probably the reason why you always turn around after locking eyes with a stranger. Inside them exists a world which is magical, containing the right combination of human interactions to make your heart squeeze. It was a huge emotional blow when the genre became less fruitful in cinemas, slowly falling from screens and out of public affections. And yet, there is something special and essentially timeless about the genre which cannot be let go – something Netflix has successfully cashed in on.

As well as the streaming of classic rom-coms that Netflix has acquired, their original film productions come in many different forms and genres. They are now infamous for taking the tackiest ideas and turning them into rom-com masterpieces. Particular favourites include To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Set It Up, Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great, as well as a whole host of Hallmark Christmas films. These are filled with charming casts who present fantastic chemistry, coupled with cute storylines that make Netflix frontrunners in the genre. Something else refreshing about a lot of these movies is their passion for representation, casting actors and portraying themes from many different walks of life, while also presenting diverse kinds of relationships and sexualities.

That being said, not all of these originals have hit the same mark. It’s hard to add ‘too cheesy’ to a list of complaints, but this is sometimes a bit of a problem with Netflix’s rom-coms. Fatalities include The Kissing Booth and The Perfect Date, whose cringeworthy moments make them very difficult to sit through. While some of these films are quite successful at presenting progressive ideologies, some feature outdated stereotypes and highly unrealistic storylines. After, for example, is a story solely about the classic archetype of the bookish girl who gives up her studies for the emotionally closed-off bad boy – simply seen that way because of his tattoos and an English accent. This film presents the toxic idea that people should entirely change who they are for the benefit of someone else, and that everyone is equally as changeable.

As well as having a great selection of classics and originals, Netflix’s commitment to rom-coms as a popular genre of film is something truly remarkable, even if some of them are slightly disappointing. What they offer is that something special: the ability to immerse yourself completely in the guiltiest of pleasures from the comfort of your own home, without fear of judgement for crying your eyes out in a cinema.

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, directed by Michael Fimognari, will be available to stream via Netflix on February 12th. Watch the trailer below: 

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