A teenage romance movie need not only be appealing to the teen crowd. Unless you’re a much younger person reading this, chances are you remember what it was like in high school. It’s that strange time in your life where you’re expected to answer a lot of tough questions before venturing out into the world on your own. And we’re not just talking about the SATs or ACTs. We feel the need to question who we want to be with, debating whether our relationships will remain friendships or take a turn for the romantic. This is why teen romances hold such a warm place in the heart for older folks while still being a very relatable and engaging picture for its targeted demographic. Here are 22 teen romance movies on Netflix that are sure to make the heart swell and a smile crack.
Last updated: 21 February, 2019.
Edge of Seventeen
This coming-of-age high school film finds Hailee Steinfeld playing a teenager struggling to grow up amid a snarky teacher, a mostly-absent mother, and her best friend dating her brother. With so much changing around her, she feels alone and isolated in a world she doesn’t fully understand yet. Perhaps the kind and keen teen Hayden Szeto can help her better come out of her shell and have a little more confidence.
A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song
The classic story of Cinderella takes a more modern and musical approach to how one unfortunate girl happens upon love. You know the drill: a cruel stepmother and her wicked children conspire against a young girl, in this case, a teenager seeking to make her dreams of singing professionally come true. But dreams of true love may also come true when her angelic voice attracts the new boy in school.
A collective of boys make a pact that before they finish high school, all of them will have had sex. They go about trying to get in bed with women all the weird and wrong ways, resulting in much mockery and humiliation. Of course, one thing they didn’t count on so much with their pact was falling in love when they decide to take action. One of them probably didn’t count on their dad walking in on them in the infamous pie scene.
An updated version of John Waters classic, Hairspray reimagines the chaotic and cooky world of a prejudicial Baltimore into a vibrant and quirky musical. While still containing the same story of Tracy trying to become a dancing sensation despite her weight, the bouncier tone, along with hilarious supporting performances by John Travolta and Christopher Walken, make the music and romance all the more charming.
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Based on Louise Rennison’s novels, teenager Georgia Nicholson is hoping to get the attention of Robbie to be her new boyfriend. But it won’t be easy for Georgia. Not only is Robbie part of a fraternal twin pair but she also has to deal with troubles at home with her parents and all the troubles that come with being a teenager trying to balance it all.
When the end of high school looms, it can feel as though its the end of an era for a teenager, when something desperate and unique must be done. And for the teen collective of Dude, their time is running out fast as they only have two weeks before graduation. And within that two weeks is a wealth of experience from many parties to emotional life changes.
Akin to American Pie, Alex Strangelove is yet another teen romance of high school students setting a timely goal of losing virginity before their schooling is through. But there’s something that a high school senior didn’t count on for this goal. Not merely falling in love but the prospect of perhaps not being of the sexual orientation originally thought. What follows is an emotional journey of trying to figure yourself out amid the tough grounds of the final days of high school.
Saoirse Ronan plays a teenager who is eagerly awaiting to graduate high school in 2002 so she can leave behind California for New York City college. Her last year in Catholic school finds her forming romances with the drama club student and the bad boy of the school. But these relationships will take routes she doesn’t expect in her fast-paced coming-of-age story.
A lot of teenage romances are about when the boy meets the girl but Love, Simon is a charming divergence of boy meets boy. Or a boy who thinks he meets a boy. Nick Robinson plays an average suburban teenager who is secretly gay and confesses it secretly online. Another teenage boy from school admits he is gay as well and that he likes him. But who could it be? It’s a heartwarming little mystery of coming out with a rather sweet and freeing ending.
Edge of Seventeen
Hailee Steinfeld plays high schooler Nadine, an awkward teen feeling especially alone when she discovers her best friend is dating her jock brother. It isn’t until she meets the charming Hayden Szeto and receives some sage advice from her snarky teacher played by Woody Harrelson that she starts to come out of her tightly-shut shell of quips and sneers. Director Kelly Fremon Craig weaves a particularly engrossing film for those who are or ever were the outsider in high school who did a better job handing out insults than maintaining relationships.
A more relatable Cinderella story, Mae Whitman plays the DUFF of her pretty friends, described as the “designated ugly fat friend.” But her general weirdness attracts the eye of Robbie Amell, a track athlete who volunteers his services to make her more presentable for a man. We can see where this story is going but it’s a brilliant romantic comedy for the quirky chemistry of Whitman and Amell who are genuinely likable and hilarious.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Beautifully fantastical and relatable, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before stars Lana Condor as high school junior Lara Jean Covey shyly attracted to boys. She’s so shy she’ll write them letters of passion and then never send them. But when all the letters are mailed to the boys by her sister, she’s forced to confront her feelings.
A fable, perhaps, but Sing Street is such an inspiring teen coming-of-age romance that one can’t help but be inspired to pick up a guitar after watching it. Ferdia Walsh-Peelo plays a poor Dublin schooler of 1985 who wants something to change. He decides one day to try for the hand of the cool older girl played by Lucy Boynton, impressing her by saying he’s in a band. The problem is he doesn’t have a band but he soon starts one quickly with a gang of plucky outsiders.
Ellen Page and Michael Cera find themselves at an awkward stage in their high school relationship when Page’s character finds out she is pregnant with Cera’s child. She tries to form a bond with other men as the due date approaches but they’re ultimately meant to end up together. Thanks to a script by Diablo Cody, the film is fast and feisty with its dialogue that keeps up the wit with its pregnancy drama.
John Cusack stars as Lloyd, an optimist teenager who hopes to win the heart of the lovely Diane, played by Ione Skye. She seems to be out of his league as she’s a perfect teen in terms of beauty and academics but she also finds him attractive. It’s just a matter of getting around her disapproving dad played by John Mahone.
Pretty in Pink
Molly Ringwald was a staple of John Hughes’ many teen comedies defined as the Brat Pack but she’s at her strongest in Pretty in Pink. She plays Chicago high school outcast Andie, a poor girl who would rather spend time at the record store. Jon Cryer plays her best friend Ducky who has a crush on her but isn’t sure if she’s willing to take their relationship to the next level. Easily the most dramatic of the Brat Pack romances, Pretty in Pink is an absolute must when it comes to teen romances.
The Breakfast Club
To quote John Hughes’ other teen comedy, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while.” The Breakfast Club slows down the lives of a handful of teenagers when they all receive Saturday detention in the high school library. The misfit group comprised of Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, and Ally Sheedy all come together to learn more about each other and maybe even fall in love.
Emma Stone plays a teenager that switches gears from being a proper high school student who keeps her record clean to a girl lying about her virginity. But when a nosey Amanda Bynes spreads rumors about Stone, the once clean-cut girl finds herself becoming uncomfortably popular for reasons she didn’t want. One of the early Stone performances that is absolutely adorable and sassy, especially when paired with Penn Badgley.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Logan Lerman plays Charlie, a teenager used to being the wallflower of parties. But his life of being shy soon changes when the two outgoing teens of Emma Watson and Ezra Miller come into his life and change it forever with love, art, and writing dreams. And that friendship will have to strengthen when the trio could be splitting up when college time rolls around.
The Spectacular Now
Miles Teller plays teenage party animal Sutter Keely who soon befriends Shailene Woodley’s character of Aimee Finicky. They start off as strangers but slowly develop a unique relationship as Sutter tries to conquer his demons and Aimee starts thinking about how she wants to go into adulthood. Directed by James Ponsoldt (“The End of the Tour”), it’s a strongly engaging teen romance with a loving throwback to John Hughes teen comedies in its charms.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings play an adorable teenage couple. Initially, Cera’s character of Nick can’t get over his ex-girlfriend of Tris (Alexis Dziena). But when Dennings’ character of Norah finds herself drawn to him at the club, there’s a chemistry that clicks as they get to know and love each other. They connect over the course of one wild night of awkward run-ins, drunk friends, and a helpful band.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Scott Pilgrim’s teenage romance may be the most action-packed of any relationship building. In order to get with the woman he loves, he’ll have to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in a series of serial and pop culture-laced battles fit for a video game. Directed by Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) and starring Michael Cera as the lead, the film is a bombastic romance of visual flair inspired by video games and manga.