If you loved David Nicholls’ swoony and clever 2009 novel One Day, then you may already know that it’s currently streaming in limited series form on Netflix. You may also know that there was a 2011 movie version of it starring Anne Hathaway. Unfortunately, it pulled pretty terrible reviews, mostly because of Hathaway’s wobbly British accent that vacillated between “working class” and The Crown. Thankfully, the Netflix series is getting better reviews – most likely because, as a limited series, it allows the material to breathe. To that end, we’ve compiled some rom-com book adaptations you should watch after binging One Day.
As the first wide-release gay rom-com in, well, ever, Love, Simon set off a maelstrom of praise and controversy when it hit cinemas in 2018. Judging by the anger it inspired at Fox News, you’d think it was a receptacle of filth and ineptitude, but Love, Simon – and the series it inspired, Love, Victor – were subtle, sweet, and silly. Though representative of a certain privileged upper-middle-class sector of the queer population, the story still rings true with pearls of wisdom to spare.
‘Silver Linings Playbook’
This unforgettable 2012 film adapted its similarly-titled source novel with humor and grace, while somehow elevating the rom-com genre. Thanks to affecting, leveled performances from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (the latter of whom won an Oscar for this), Silver Linings Playbook avoided turning its subject matter – mental illness – into a punchline. This movie isn’t always the easiest to watch, but the highs are high enough to be worth it.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’
The author of Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan, has written several hilarious novels, including China Rich Girlfriend, Rich People Problems, and Sex and Vanity, but Crazy Rich Asians is easily the most famous of his oeuvre. That’s, of course, thanks to the wild success of this 2018 film that pitted Constance Wu’s character against a formidable, hilariously icy Michelle Yeoh. Watching the two spar was more than worth the price of admission, and viewers ultimately forgot that there was ever a guy that they were fighting over. That guy, Henry Golding, wasn’t as memorable as the movie itself, but his presence at least pushed Crazy Rich Asians into rom-com territory, earning it a place on this list.
‘Love at First Sight’
Once you see the title of the book that this Netflix movie is based on, you’ll understand why they changed it. That is, this 2023 film is adapted from Jennifer E. Smith’s novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Thankfully, the movie itself is snappier than the title, offering both chuckles and squeals as its central pair finds love in an airport ove 24 hours. The two main actors, Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy, keep the chemistry flowing.
‘Pride & Prejudice’
Pride & Prejudice is on this list not only because it’s endlessly rewatchable, but because it’s adapted from what is arguably the first modern rom-com. Jane Austen’s source novel, which substitutes the ampersand for a boring “and,” is a watershed novel for literature thanks to its characterizations, satire, and wit. Meanwhile, the 2005 movie does it great justice, spinning laughs, squirms, and goosebumps in equal measure, and featuring some of the best musical cues out of all the movies on this list. Plus, Keira Knightley’s take on the character is one of cinema’s most unforgettable rom-com performances, placing her in the rom-com Hall of Fame.
‘The Idea of You’
Hopefully, this Anne Hathaway-starring book adaptation will get a better reception than One Day. Based on a 2017 book by Robinne Lee, this rom-com will follow the story of 40-year-old Solène (Hathaway), who finds herself lusting after Hayes Campbell, a sexy 24-year-old boy band singer. Out on Prime Video in May, this story will no doubt feature swoons, sighs, and big swings. Also, Solénes teenage daughter probably won’t be thrilled that her mom is dating her boy band crush. Can you imagine if your mom had done that? You would have begged for emancipation.
‘Beach Read,’ ‘People We Meet on Vacation,’ and ‘Book Lovers’
Anyone on BookTok or Bookstagram will have already heard of this trio of upcoming rom-coms adapted from Emily Henry novels. Sadly, there’s no release date for any of them yet, but fans can expect the frothy, funny source material of all three novels to grace their screens soon-ish.