20 Heartwarming Friends-To-Lovers Movies to Watch Right Now


There’s something undeniably heartwarming about watching two best friends fall in love. Maybe it’s the sense of familiarity and comfort that comes with seeing two people who already know and care for each other embark on a romantic journey. Maybe it’s the feeling of rooting for a relationship that feels predestined, as if these two people were always meant to be together. Whatever the reason, the best-friends-to-lovers trope has remained popular for decades, appearing in countless films and television shows.


At its core, the best-friends-to-lovers trope is about the transformative power of love. It’s about taking a relationship that was once purely platonic and watching it evolve into something deeper and more meaningful. It’s a journey that can be both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, as the characters navigate the complexities of falling for their best friend and potentially jeopardizing the relationship they already have. So, whether you’re a fan of the trope or you’re simply looking for a feel-good love story, these movies are sure to warm your heart and leave you rooting for the couple every step of the way.

Updated on Dec. 23, 2023: If you need some warm romance this holiday season, this article has been updated with even more content.


20 Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Sasha Tran & Marcus Kim

In Always Be My Maybe, two childhood friends reconnect after 15 years apart and realize they have feelings for each other. As they navigate the challenges of adult life and the expectations of their respective social circles, they must decide if they are brave enough to risk everything for a chance at love. The film stars Ali Wong and Randall Park as Sasha Tran and Marcus Kim respectively, and needless to say, the actors play their roles remarkably well. It’s up there as one of the best rom-coms on Netflix.

Owing to Park and Wong’s genuine chemistry on-screen, Always Be My Maybe would be both a critical and commercial success for Netflix, debuting to millions of concurrent viewers and getting rave reviews from critics. The film’s director, Nahnatchka Khan, would later go on to direct Totally Killer in 2023.

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19 Plus One (2019)

Ben King & Alice Mori

Plus One follows the story of two friends who decide to attend every wedding they are invited to as each other’s plus one. The film stars Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid as Alice Mori and Ben King, respectively. As the two journey together, they begin to develop feelings for each other and must decide if they are ready to take their relationship to the next level.

This film features a solid premise with plenty of room for a budding relationship to grow. Though its emotional stakes are low, the fun found throughout Mori and Quaid’s respective performances make Plus One an entertaining rom-com worth experiencing.

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18 Yesterday (2019)

Jack Malik & Ellie Appleton

Yesterday

Release Date
June 27, 2019

Cast
Himesh Patel , Lily James , Sophia Di Martino , Ellise Chappell , Meera Syal , Harry Michell

Rating
PG-13

Yesterday stars Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, a struggling musician who wakes up in a world where no one has ever heard of the Beatles. When he starts performing their songs as his own, he becomes an overnight sensation. His childhood friend, Ellie – played by Lily James – encourages him to take this musical endeavor to the next level. As they tour together, they begin to realize they have feelings for each other, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that Ellie is engaged.

It’s a bizarre premise for a rom-com, but the overwhelming amount of sentimentality and reverence for the Beatles makes Yesterday an entertaining watch through and through. Along with scoring big at the box office, Yesterday would be a big hit for director Danny Boyle, who previously directed films like Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Steve Jobs, and Slumdog Millionaire.

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17 The Switch (2010)

Wally Mars & Kassie Larson

In The Switch, Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) wants to become a single mother. To accomplish this, she resorts to utilizing a sperm donor. Despite her best friend, Wally Mars (Jason Bateman), sharing an interest in helping her, Kassie opts to find a separate donor. However, a freak accident leaves them both with a bizarre discovery seven years later, as it’s revealed that Kassie’s son is directly related to Wally.

Ethical implications aside, this motion picture isn’t just a funny romance story. it also explores parenthood and marriage from an interesting lens, made more compelling by the dual performances of Bateman and Aniston. The child actor playing Kassie’s son, Thomas Robinson, gives a truly heart-touching performance as well. It’s a film whose greater story is carried by its charismatic characters, and given the direction provided by Will Speck and Josh Gordon, there are plenty of laughs to be found as well.

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16 When We First Met (2018)

Noah Ashby & Carrie Grey

When We First Met follows the story of Noah Ashby, who is given the chance to travel back in time to the night he met his dream girl for the first time. In order to finally win her over, he relives the night over and over, ultimately learning more about himself in the process. Sooner or later, he may have to realize that some things in life weren’t meant to be.

Adam DeVine plays Noah in When We First Met, and though he pursues the affection of Avery Martin (Alexandra Daddario) throughout this cheesy adventure, he ultimately realizes that his true love lies with Carrie Grey (Shelley Hennig) instead. It’s a classic twist on a typical rom-com formula, but it’s given some creative elements with its reliance on time travel. A year after When We First Met, Adam DeVine would get an opportunity to star in HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones, which is still ongoing to this day.

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15 The Duff (2015)

Bianca Piper & Wesley Rush

the duff

the duff

Release Date
February 20, 2015

Director
Ari Sandel

Rating
PG-13

The Duff is the story of a high school student named Bianca (Mae Whitman), who discovers that she is the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” – aka, “DUFF” – in her social group. She decides to reinvent herself with the help of a charming classmate, Wesley (Robbie Amell). As they work together, they begin to develop feelings for each other, and must endure the challenges of high school amid their insecurities.

The Duff is a teen comedy similar to that of Easy A and Mean Girls, and while it may not reach the highs of either film, it’s more than serviceable as a comedy. Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell have enough chemistry to make their relationship feel authentic, and it’s made more intriguing by the typical drama you’d find in high school romances.

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14 The F Word (2013)

Wallace & Chantry

The F Word, alternatively known as What If, tells the story of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), a young man who falls for his best friend’s cousin, Chantry (Zoe Kazan), but is hesitant to risk their friendship for a chance at love. As they explore their complicated relationship, they must decide if their feelings are worth the risk.

Though more than a decade old by this point, The F Word is still incredibly entertaining to this day. Radcliffe continued his trend of doing just about whatever role he wanted, later exemplified by 2016’s Swiss Army Man, and Zoe Kazan beautifully balanced the film’s comedy and romance in equal measure. Michael Dowse, the film’s director, would later venture into action comedies with 2020’s Coffee & Kareem and 2019’s Stuber.

Stream on Paramount+ with Showtime

13 One Day (2011)

Dexter Mayhew & Emma Morley

One Day

One Day

Release Date
March 2, 2011

Rating
PG-13

One Day is the story of two friends, Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) and Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway), who spend one day together each year on the same date and watch their relationship evolve over two decades. As they traverse their paths and experience different relationships, they continually find themselves drawn back to each other and must decide if they are meant to be more than just friends.

A tale as old as time, One Day saw mixed reviews but modest audience reception overall. A series adaptation of One Day, both based on the original book by David Nicholls, is currently slated for release on Netflix in February 2024.

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12 No Strings Attached (2011)

Emma Kurtzman & Adam Franklin

No Strings Attached follows the story of two longtime friends, Emma Kurtzman (Natalie Portman) and Adam Franklin (Ashton Kutcher), who decide to have a casual, “no strings attached” relationship. However, they quickly realize they have deeper feelings for each other. As they navigate the challenges of commitment and the expectations of their respective social circles, they must decide if they are ready to take their relationship to the next level.

It’s a formula we’ve seen before, but for 2011, the concept was admittedly pretty novel. Portman and Kutcher are as lovable as ever, and the direction provided by Ivan Reitman, who previously directed comedies like Kindergarten Cop and Stripes, gives this story some much-needed comedy. It’s hard to find any major faults with No Strings Attached, making it a terrific film for a relaxed viewing session.

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11 Flipped (2010)

Juli Baker & Bryce Loski

Flipped

Flipped

Release Date
August 6, 2010

Rating
PG

Flipped is the heartwarming story of Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll) and Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe), two young friends who grow up together and fall in love over several years. As they go through the challenges of adolescence and their insecurities, they must decide if they are meant to be more than just friends.

This romantic dramedy film floundered when it debuted in 2010, but it has since seen a modern reappraisal due to its realistic depictions of teenage personalities. Rob Reiner, the film’s director, certainly knows how to deliver compelling stories like this, given that he rose to fame with films like Stand by Me and When Harry Met Sally. Flipped is, overall, an underrated cult film that deserves the warm recognition it sorely missed when it originally premiered.

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10 Love, Rosie (2014)

Rosie Dunne & Alex Stewart

Love, Rosie follows the story of Rosie Dunne (Lily Collins) and Alex Stewart (Sam Claflin), who are two best friends separated by circumstance. However, despite their time spent apart, they remain connected through their love for each other. As they grow up and experience different relationships, they are continually drawn back to each other and must decide if they are meant to be more than just friends.

Taking inspiration from Cecelia Ahern’s 2004 novel, Where Rainbows End, this pleasant film is arguably the most straightforward example of two best friends falling in love. Lily Collins shows off her impressive range in this film, having originally starred in films like The Blind Side and Priest, while Sam Claflin provides some impressive chemistry prior to his extreme role in 2018’s The Nightingale.

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9 Just Friends (2005)

Chris Bander & Jamie Palamino

Just Friends is a romantic comedy about a high school outcast named Chris, played by Ryan Reynolds, who returns home after years away and reconnects with his childhood best friend, Jamie, played by Amy Smart. Battling with his insecurities, Chris takes time to work on himself and is now a successful music executive. As they spend time together, they realize they have feelings for each other, but their past and present complications stand in the way of a potential romance.

It’s not the most timely film on this list, but what it lacks in contemporary values, it makes up for with everything else. Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart play an impressive duo here, and for Reynolds especially, it would be an important stepping stone prior to his roles in Definitely, Maybe and Ghosted. Reynolds and Smart even reunited for an Aviation Gin commercial in 2023.

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8 13 Going On 30 (2004)

Jenna Rink & Matty Flamhaff

13 Going On 30 follows the story of a young girl, Jenna Rink (Jennifer Garner), who wishes to be “thirty, flirty, and thriving” before waking up as a successful adult. As she navigates her new life, she reconnects with her childhood best friend, Matty Flamhaff (Mark Ruffalo). She soon realizes that she has feelings for him, amid the other troubles that come with adulthood.

13 Going On 30 is an incredible rom-com, not only garnering praise for its cutesy storytelling, but for its overall positive messaging. It would be an especially prominent film early in Mark Ruffalo’s acting career, and its incredible success at the box office netted it a place in heartwarming rom-com history.

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7 My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)

Julianne Potter & Michael O’Neal

My Best Friend’s Wedding is a particularly classic rom-com. Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) is a woman who realizes she is in love with her best friend, Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney), just as he is about to marry someone else. As she tries to win him over, she must confront her feelings and decide if she is willing to risk their friendship for a chance at love.

Though this film’s ending may not be what you expected, it certainly earned My Best Friend’s Wedding a spot as one of the best rom-coms of all time. My Best Friend’s Wedding would be a particularly important star vehicle for Julia Roberts, who would later go on to star in Notting Hill and Runaway Bride shortly afterward. It’s a heartwarming film that’s sure to leave you feeling all fuzzy inside.

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6 Reality Bites (1994)

Lelaina Pierce & Troy Dyer

Reality Bites tells the story of a group of young friends, specifically Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder) and Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke), navigating the challenges of adulthood and finding their place in the world. As they spend more and more time together, they realize that they’re drawn to each other, only ever capitalizing on these feelings in a haze of alcohol and rash decision-making. They must decide if they are ready to take their relationship more seriously, or remain as friends — if that’s even an option.

Though the romance featured here is only one part of a much larger puzzle, Reality Bites presents a captivating story with plenty of emotional highs and lows. It’s a notable film for Ben Stiller, as Reality Bites would serve as his feature-length directorial debut. Like other films in this collection, it initially debuted to mixed reviews, but near-universal praise was doled out to Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke’s brilliant performances.

Buy or Rent on Prime Video

5 Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Keith Nelson & Watts

Some Kind of Wonderful is the heartwarming story of a young man named Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz), who falls for his best friend, Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson). However, as he takes on the ups and downs of adolescent romance, he may find himself growing more attached to his longtime friend, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), instead. John Hughes wrote this romantic teen drama, having previously written The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off throughout the 1980s.

Though Some Kind of Wonderful may be overshadowed by Hughes’ other famous films, it’s still a notable entry in his prolific career. As a bizarro version of Pretty in Pink, one could argue that the alternative story it presents – especially its heartwarming finale – is one that hits much harder as a result. Interestingly, Hughes and director Howard Deutch collaborated for both Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful.

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4 Definitely, Maybe (2008)

William Hayes & April Hoffman

Definitely, Maybe

Definitely, Maybe

Release Date
February 8, 2008

Director
Adam Brooks

Cast
Ryan Reynolds , An Nguyen , Matthew Mason , Rick Derby , Sakina Jaffrey , Bob Wiltfong

Rating
PG-13

Definitely, Maybe is certainly an unconventional romantic comedy on this list. We follow the story of Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) as we delve into his career, family, and romantic life. As Hayes tells the story of how an impending divorce came to be, we get pieces of the puzzle that is Hayes’ romantic history. Throughout his reflections, and with the help of his daughter’s insight, he realizes that perhaps the love of his life was someone he never paid true attention to: his best friend, April Hoffman (Isla Fisher).

This non-traditional rom-com makes for excellent viewing whenever you’re feeling down. The ups and downs associated with Hayes’ story make for a compelling journey that, eventually, leads to a sweet, sappy ending. Interestingly, Abigail Breslin, who plays Hayes’ daughter, would later star in films like Zombieland and Final Girl.

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3 A Walk to Remember (2002)

Landon Carter & Jamie Sullivan

This certified teenage tearjerker is one of the most romantic movies to come out of Hollywood. A Walk to Remember was adapted from Nicholas Sparks’ novel of the same name, bringing this delicate story to life on the big screen.

We follow Jamie Sullivan (Mandy Moore), a kind and loving person who gets tangled up with Landon Carter (Shane West), a rebellious rabble-rouser. When an underage drinking incident threatens Landon with expulsion, he’s forced to atone for his actions by participating in his school’s stage play. Jamie offers to help Landon on one condition: they cannot fall in love. But as the two spend more and more time together, will they be able to stick to their word?

As classic a story as they come, this Adam Shankman film sees Landon and Jamie becoming friends before gradually falling for each other. Though its story takes a sharp turn into a heartwrenching drama, it’s one that’s made more powerful by Shane West and Mandy Moore’s convincing performances.

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2 When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Harry Burns & Sally Albright

One of the most popular movies of all time, When Harry Met Sally, asks one simple question: can men and women just be close friends? Told from the perspectives of Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan), When Harry Met Sally examines their erratic relationship as they share a series of chance encounters over the gargantuan span of 12 years.

Being another terrific Rob Reiner flick, When Harry Met Sally was an incredible romantic dramedy that still holds up to this day. If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having,” you’ll be happy to know that it originates from this film. We won’t spoil the scene for you here, though. It’s a film whose comedic elements are balanced by some emotionally compelling moments, with an ending that’ll leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. It certainly helps that some consider it to be the best rom-com of all time.

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1 Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Pat Solitano Jr. & Tiffany Maxwell

In Sliver Linings Playbook, Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental health facility after nearly a full year, in an effort to treat his bipolar disorder. When he is finally out, he moves back with his family in hopes of regaining some balance while he works things out with his wife. On his journey, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), an acquaintance of a friend, who is having some personal issues herself. They decide to help each other achieve each of their individual goals. However, as the two forge a friendship that is both rocky and deeply rewarding, they realize that their desires may have changed — and that they need each other the most.

Not only did Silver Linings Playbook light up the box office, it also did so with numerous critical accolades. It would receive several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, with Jennifer Lawrence ultimately winning an Oscar for Best Actress. Of course, Bradley Cooper would also receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. It’s easily one of the most captivating movies on this list, and it easily deserves your attention.

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