The 5 Best Post-Breakup Movies No Matter How You’re Feeling

Breakups are hard. These five films will make crying, self-reflection and moving on easier than a tub of ice cream can.
June 24, 2020
8 mins read

Wallowing with copious amounts of junk food and your favorite rom-coms on repeat is a common way to get over a breakup. But if you’ve already exhausted your usual post-breakup movies, here are five suggestions that you should try out.

This list features post-breakup movies from a few genres that have different effects on your mind. Each movie has its own purpose. Many of them encourage emotional release while others help us understand our own romantic relationships. Some give us a break from our problems or just make us realize that it could be worse. Regardless of your needs post-breakup, there’s something for everyone on this list.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

After a difficult breakup, sometimes all you want is to forget everything about your ex. All the happy memories make you miss them like crazy and all the bad ones make you want to throw everything that reminds you of them off a cliff.

In the world of the science-fiction drama “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” you can do just that. Through a nonlinear plot and elements of a psychological thriller, the film explores the effects of this concept that many scorned lovers have fantasized about over the years.

Since its debut, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” has become a cult classic. The film features a star-studded cast including Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst and Mark Ruffalo.

Without giving away too much of the plot, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” perfectly fits the mold of the post-breakup movie.

2. La La Land (2016)

The musical “La La Land” delighted audiences when it hit first theaters and has cemented itself ever since as a romantic classic.

While I was wallowing deep in teenage post-breakup depression, I went to the movies to see what all the hype was about.

No movie has ever made me cry that hard in public. I was sobbing in the movie theater bathroom with a wad of tissue paper in my hands long after the credits rolled.

With a fun soundtrack, a magical Hollywood setting and performances from Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, “La La Land” is a successful film on its own. But having that deeper understanding of the difficulties that come with any relationship heightened the impact of the film.

Even if you have already seen “La La Land” at a stable point in your life, I highly suggest you rewatch it next time your heart is broken.

3. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones is the only character to perfectly embody how a person feels after a bad breakup.

Whether she is religiously counting her calories, cigarettes and glasses of wine or bundled up in her comforter in a monogamous relationship with ice cream, Jones really knows how to move on from a former beau.

Bridget Jones’s Diary” has everything you need in a post-breakup, romantic comedy.

Based on Helen Fielding’s quintessential chick literature series by the same name, the movie stars Renée Zellweger who plays Bridget Jones, a 30-something singleton living in London.

Bridget keeps a diary in which she chronicles the ups and downs of her romantic relationships with her boss, Daniel Cleaver, and the haughty barrister, Mark Darcy.

With the adorably floppy-haired Hugh Grant and the only true Mr. Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice,” Colin Firth, as the leading lads, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” is the perfect, cheesy rom-com to watch after a breakup.

4. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. And then…?

The independent comedy-drama boasts authentic performances from both leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The film focuses on Tom Hansen’s relationship with the archetypal manic pixie dream girl, Summer Finn.

500 Days of Summer” analyzes a relationship gone sour, told completely from Tom’s romanticized point of view of Summer. So if you’re looking to understand Summer’s perspective on their relationship, you won’t get it.

The movie looks at what happens when you hold a lover up on a pedestal. Inevitably, you set them up for failure as they cannot realistically reach your high standards. And it all plays out with an amazing soundtrack including songs from The Smiths as well as Regina Spektor.

5. Midsommar (2019)

Not all therapeutic post-breakup movies are feel-good romantic comedies or heart-wrenching dramas. Some can be disturbing psychological horror films, too.

The director, Ari Aster, said he considers “Midsommar” to be a breakup movie and “more of a fairy tale than a horror film” in an interview with the Washington Post.

With anxiety-inducing ambiguity and relentless gore, Aster more than met the high expectations horror fans had after his directorial debut, “Hereditary.” With only two feature-length films under his belt with A24, Aster has redefined modern horror alongside Jordan Peele’s blockbuster hits “Get Out” and “Us.”

The folk horror film centers on the deteriorating relationship of college students Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) during their trip to celebrate a midsummer celebration with a commune in Sweden. Everything about “Midsommar” is unsettling from drinks laced with psychedelic drugs, young girls adorning flower crowns and endless sunlight.

Although the setting is what attracted many viewers to the film, the unresolved tension and toxic relationship between Dani and Christian is the real core of “Midsommar.”

“Midsommar” is open to many different interpretations. While some hold the ending of the film in a negative light, others even view it as a happy ending. That’s what makes it such a successful Aster film. It makes the audience think.

While the film is not for the fainthearted, my first viewing of the film was incredibly healing. While in the middle of the worst breakup, I was able to see myself in both Christian and Dani’s positions.

So whether you’ve just been dumped or you’ve just grown apart, any of these five movies are worth a view. They might even have an impact on you or at least cheer you up during this difficult time.

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