If 2019 was the year that proved that romantic comedies were back, 2020 will show us that they’re officially here to stay. The next twelve months will supply us with a steady
slate of films that are bound to make audiences obsess, laugh, and crush, hard. From hotly-anticipated sequels such as To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You to beloved reboots like West Side Story and Emma. Come for the sweet storylines and stay for the star-studded lineups — which include appearances from favorites like Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Kumail Nanjiani, Kristen Wiig, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Ansel Elgort — across a variety of these eagerly awaited romances. Not to mention that Jennifer Lopez will also make her official return to the rom-com (post her award-winning turn in Hustlers), by starring in Marry Me, opposite Owen Wilson.
While rom-coms are often known to favor the stories of heterosexual couples, this year we’ll see gains for representation within the genre. Two new films,
The Prom and Happiest Season, will feature queer characters as the leading couples. In The Prom, based on the blockbuster Broadway hit and adapted by Ryan Murphy for Netflix, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) fights for the right to take her girlfriend to prom in her conservative hometown. And in the Happiest Season, Kristen Stewart plays a young woman ready to propose to her girlfriend, whose plans are thwarted when she discovers her girlfriend’s secret: she’s yet to come out to her parents.
Whether you’re looking for a rom-com set to a rollicking musical score, a love story from the 19th century, or just another chance to see more of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky,
here's our list of the most anticipated rom-coms of 2020. 1 'Elsewhere' (Jan. 24)
Bruno (Aden Young) lives in the seaside home he built with his wife, who has tragically passed away. As a young widower, he leads a life of solitude. That's until his in-laws turn up to take back the property his house is on, and evict Bruno in the process. After deciding to stay put and continue living there, Bruno finds himself in for a surprise when he comes home one day to learn that he'll now be cohabitating with a mystery woman. In traditional rom-com fashion, hijinks and misunderstandings ensue.
2 'To All the Boys 2: P.S. I Still Love You' (Feb. 12)
The sequel to the wildly popular
To All the Boys I've Loved Before — To All the Boys 2: P.S. I Love You — picks up where the first film left off, with Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) now officially a couple. Things are great until another recipient of one of Lara Jean's love letters enters the picture, throwing a wrench into the new couple's relationship. 3 'The Photograph' (Feb. 14)
Leaning more "rom" than "com,"
The Photograph focuses on Mae Morton (Issa Rae), the estranged daughter of a famous photographer. Opposite Mae is Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield), a journalist interviewing her about her mother, with whom sparks fly. As Mae and Michael's relationship unfolds, the secrets of Mae's mother's love life begin to reveal themselves in tender flashbacks. 4 'Emma' (Feb. 21)
An adaptation of the Jane Austen classic,
Emma stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse, the meddling matchmaker whose romantic pairings between her neighbors and friends are, perhaps, not as good as she believes them to be. Update: Emma will be available online on Friday, March 20 as NBCUniversal moves some of its most recent releases to streaming in light of COVID-19 delays and theater closures. It will cost $19.99 to rent via a variety of on-demand rental services, and will be viewable over a 48-hour window. 5 'The Lovebirds' (Apr. 3) Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Issa Rae's second appearance on this list is for
The Lovebirds, in which she stars opposite the newly-ripped Kumail Nanjiani. The couple are on the verge of breaking up but suddenly find themselves wrapped up in a murder mystery — you know, as you do. Update March 19: Per Variety, Paramount Pictures has delayed the release of Lovebirds , citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. They have not yet announced when it will be coming out. Update March 24: The Hollywood Reporter shared that the previously-delayed The Lovebirds will be forgoing a theatrical release and will instead be premiering directly on Netflix. It's not available just yet, but a safe bet is that it'll be up sometime around its initial theatrical release date, April 3. 6 'Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar' (Jul. 31) Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) are best friends on vacation in Florida. What would otherwise be a fun time out with a best pal takes a turn for the surreal as they become wrapped up in a super villain's plot to murder a whole bunch of people. Of course, they also manage to find time for love and romance amidst their escapades.
7 'Happiest Season' (Nov. 20) Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images
A young woman's (Kristen Stewart) plans to propose to her girlfriend (Mackenzie Davis) at her family's holiday party are derailed when she finds out that her girlfriend still hasn't come out to her super conservative family.
8 'The Prom' (Fall 2020) Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images The Prom tells the story of a group of washed-up Broadway actors — Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep), Barry Glickman (James Corden), and Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman) — in search of a charity case they can attach themselves to in order to regain some clout and popularity. Their search brings them to a conservative Indiana town where a young high school student is fighting for the right to take her girlfriend to prom. 9 'West Side Story' (Dec. 18) Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Steven Spielberg directs this adaptation of the popular Broadway musical
West Side Story, which tells the story of Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler), two young teenagers who fall in love despite their affiliations with rival gangs in 1950s New York City. 10 'Marry Me' (2020)
After finding out that her fiancé is cheating, pop star Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) has an epic meltdown during a concert and spontaneously decides to marry a fan from the crowd. Enter Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), the lucky, unexpected groom. Fun fact: this is isn't the first time the duo has appeared together on the big screen. They both appeared in 1997's
Anaconda — a far cry from a romcom, indeed.