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Beloved for her ability to convey charming, vulnerable and relatable characters, actress Meg Ryan made her mark in Hollywood — and on our hearts — by leading the casts of some of the most prolific and beloved rom-com movies of the last 30 years. Now, after taking an 8-year acting hiatus to spend time with her family, the 61-year-old has finally returned to the genre that she helped define with the recent release of her newest rom-com What Happens Later.
Ryan co-wrote, directed and stars in the movie as Willa, a woman who ends up snowed in at a regional airport with ex-lover Bill (David Duchovny), whom she has not seen in years. To their surprise, the pair find themselves just as attracted to, and annoyed by, each other as they had decades earlier.
While What Happens Later is garnering mixed reviews, most fans were thrilled to see Ryan return to the genre we all love her in. “Clearly romantic comedy is my franchise genre, I don’t mind saying that, it’s true,” Meg Ryan said to the BBC. “I love doing them and hopefully always will do them. I don’t feel particularly typecast because I think I do so many different kinds of things.”
In honor of her return (and hope for many more feel-good films to come!), we've rounded up our favorite Meg Ryan rom-com movies, and ranked them — from cute to heartwarming to watched them thousands of times but still get butterflies. See if you agree!
10. My Mom's New Boyfriend (2008)
Comedy, crime and romance are all wrapped up in one fun movie as Meg Ryan plays Marty, whose son Henry (played by Colin Hanks) is a young FBI agent.
Henry comes home after being away for three years and almost doesn’t recognize his own mom: Marty has lost over 100 pounds, is beautiful and has become a regular on the party circuit, dating several men, including her new beau Tommy, played by the handsome Antonio Banderas. Henry soon suspects that Tommy is an international art thief — or is he?
Watch My Mom's New Boyfriend now on Amazon.
9. Addicted to Love (1997)
Matthew Broderick plays the a good-natured astronomer Sam, who was jilted by the love of his life and is out for revenge. Well, it so happens that Maggie (expertly played by Ryan) is looking for revenge on her ex-fiance as well — who happened to cheat on her with Sam's girlfriend. Eventually Sam and Maggie join forces to break up the happy couple, but end up growing closer themselves.
Watch Addicted to Love now on Amazon.
8. Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
Opposite Tom Hanks, Ryan took on three roles as DeDe/Angeliza/Patricia. Hanks plays Joe Banks who has just been told he’s dying of a rare disease. With nothing left to lose, he accepts money to sacrifice himself into a volcano on behalf of the native islanders. But along the way, he meets and falls in love with Patricia who was the one to take him to the volcano. But wait — is Joe really dying?
7. I.Q. (1994)
One of Ryan’s lesser known movies co-stars Tim Robbins as Ed Walters, the mechanic who romances the math wiz, Catherine Boyd (Ryan), the niece of Albert Einstein. It’s actually love at first sight for Ed and this cute rom-com is heavy on the sweet and the laughs.
Watch I.Q. now on Pluto.
6. Kate & Leopold (2001)
Liev Schreiber is a physicist named Stuart who accidentally brings his great-great-grandfather Leopold (Hugh Jackman), who is also an English Duke in 1876, through an opening in a gap in time near the Brooklyn Bridge to present-day New York City.
Related: See Hugh Jackman in our 18 of the Sexiest Actors Ranked by Height
The Duke, of course, falls in love with a sassy advertising exec named Kate (Ryan) who is Stuart’s ex-girlfriend. Leopold is clueless of modern society but nothing holds him back from winning the affections of Kate.
Watch Kate & Leopold now on Hulu.
5. French Kiss (1995)
Returning to “cute” in this film directed by Lawrence Kasdan and co-starring Kevin Kline as Luc, this rom-com follows another Kate (Meg Ryan) who flies to France to confront her straying fiancé. But trouble lies ahead when a charming French thief seated next to her uses her for smuggling a stolen diamond necklace. Along the way, Luc and Kate begin to have feelings for each other, naturally!
Watch French Kiss now on Roku.
4. Prelude to a Kiss (1992)
After Rita (Ryan) and Peter (Alec Baldwin) have a chance meeting at a party, they quickly fall in love despite having very different personalities. Yet attraction wins out after a quick courtship and they decide to get married at her parents’ upscale home.
Some supernatural events take place to test their marriage, but don’t worry, after struggling to come to terms with their relationship, a kiss wins out.
Watch Prelude to a Kiss now on Amazon.
3. You've Got Mail (1998)
Another Tom Hanks teaming, the film tells the tale of two booksellers who fall in love, and another mega hit by director Nora Ephron. The story is of two people who are in an online romance but are completely ignorant to the fact that they are also business rivals. The title of the film takes its cue from the AOL greeting users received when they got a new email. While that’s a bit dated, the premise of falling in love never ages.
Watch You've Got Mail now on Netflix.
2. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The runner up in our list of Meg Ryan movies is the film where she really hit her niche for creating perfect rom-coms with When Harry Met Sally. Ryan plays Sally Albright opposite Billy Crystal as longtime friends turned lovers. The role garnered her nominations for both Golden Globe and BAFTA. Who can forget the famous scene at the deli where she proved that a woman can fake…well, you know.
Watch When Harry Met Sally now on Hulu.
1. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
The top tier of our list of Meg Ryan rom-com movies, finds her appearing again with a young Tom Hanks in another successful Nora Ephron film, for which Ryan was again nominated for a Golden Globe. Oddly, the two leads don’t actually meet for most of the film.
After recently-widowed Sam's (Hanks) son calls a radio talk show on Christmas Eve to find his dad a partner, Annie (Ryan) becomes infatuated with his story even though she is engaged. Annie eventually writes to Sam to meet on Valentine’s Day, but Sam wants his future love to meet in a very traditional way – face to face. Will they or won’t they?
Watch Sleepless in Seattle now on Amazon.
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