It’s very possible that watching these movies will cause you to question every relationship you’ve ever been in. Maybe it will make you realize how lucky you are to be in your current relationship. Or maybe it will make you realize you should have been out the fucking door months ago. It’s not an easy thing to do but breaking up should be a decision, not a reaction and sometimes you need a little perspective to help you make the right choice. What better way to gain some of that than by watching movies meant to manipulate you emotionally? A lot of people are weary of this method as films often romanticize relationships but I find that this approach only reinforces what you already know deep down. Plus, most of these have endings that I’ll call emotionally complex.
Celeste and Jesse Forever is a 2012 romcom starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg. They play a pair of best friends that married young but are driven apart by Jesse’s unwillingness to grow up. I think this movie, more than others on this list, is about regret and acceptance. It also features Emma Roberts who’s always a delight.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 romantic science fiction film that more than anything else should teach you never to try and win a breakup. It stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as a former couple that erases their memories of each other. I honestly think that before you commit to a relationship with someone, you should ask them what the “okay” in this movie means to them. It doesn’t have to determine whether you should be in a relationship with them or anything but you should know where they stand on this scene going in.
Take This Waltz is a 2011 comedy drama for which Michelle Williams deserves every award in the world. It also stars Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman (and also Luke Kirby but who cares). This film is basically about a woman with a bad case of chronic melancholia that tries to fill her happiness gap with other people instead of realizing her lack of fulfillment has more do to with what’s going on with her than what’s happening in her relationship. It’s terrifying because I think it shows how completely oblivious one party can be that their relationship is in crisis.
Usually I remember where I was when I saw a movie. Who I was with. What we talked about after. Sometimes I mix up the details but there are always details. Except for Click (2006). I don’t remember any of that. I don’t even remember what this movie was about. If you tried to make me watch it again, I’d probably run because it’s uncomfortable thinking about how sad it made me. It was a different kind of sadness that what other movies cause. One that just sat there. Maybe because it was an Adam Sandler film so it snuck up on me. Maybe I was just GOING THROUGH A THING (because when am I not, send help). I’m assuming that if it made me that sad, there has to be a lesson about life and love in there.
What can I say about The Notebook (2004) that hasn’t already been said? Probably a lot because I’m extremely unique and my voice is missing from most conversations. The Notebook is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel which is something you say when you want people to roll their eyes. I’ve never read one of his books so that’s just something I’ve picked up on in my day to day interactions with annoying people. I guess to me this one is about how some people are all, “this relationship was different, nothing will ever compare, etc. etc.” and everyone else is like, “calm down, you’ll be fine, that’s what you think now but eventually you’ll find someone you feel as strongly about again” and how those people could be VERY WRONG. So maybe you’ll break up with the love of your life for whatever reason and they’ll be gone and you’ll just sit with that forever I guess. Oh, it stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Header Image by Rory Midhani