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Top 10 Break-Up Movies

Sometimes after a bad break-up, the best thing you can do for yourself is settle down on the couch in your PJs with a few good friends and marathon a bunch of movies (preferably with popcorn, cartons of chocolate, and a box of tissues next to you.) If you were looking for a few break-up movie suggestions, you’re in luck, because we’ve complied a list of our top ten just for you!

1. Sleepwalk With Me (2012)

There are times when you’ve been with the same person for so long that you don’t even realize that the relationship has come to a natural end. You drag it out, not wanting to hurt the other person’s feelings, and stick with them just because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do – even though you know it can’t last.

That’s basically what happens with the couple in Sleepwalk With Me, an indie-comedy directed by, written by, and starring Mike Birbiglia. NPR’s Ira Glass, host of “This American Life,” was also involved in the movie and has said that people have come up to him about the film and how it completely changed how their view their own relationships. 

2. Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg play a couple – Celeste and Jesse, if you couldn’t already guess from the title – on the brink of getting divorced (they just need to sign the papers). Instead of screaming and throwing blunt objects at each other on a daily basis, however, Celeste and Jesse act like nothing has changed – they’re still best friends – and this dynamic doesn’t cease to weird out their mutual friends who expected a little more anger and fiery exchanges.

Eventually, Celeste and Jesse get to the point where there is a little more tension between them, particularly after Jesse gets romantically involved with another woman which indicates to Celeste that he’s beginning to move on. And Celeste consequently realizes that this break-up is a lot harder on her than she originally thought.

The movie is more dramedy than comedy and the conclusion of the film is what really leaves you feeling satisfied.

3. The Loved Ones (2010)

For those of us who like a good dosage of gruesome horror in our post-break-up movie marathons (and let’s be real, this is all of us once someone’s broken our hearts) here’s an Australian flick about a crazy teenage girl and her crazy adult father kidnapping and torturing some poor soul because he turned her down when she asked him to prom. I guess that’s one way to deal with rejection?

The Loved Ones stars Robin McLeavy as “Princess” (as in daddy’s little princess) and Xavier Samuel (you may recognize him from one of the Twilight films). The movie earned rave reviews from critics and is rated a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, so trust us when we say that this movie is excellent.

4. Blue Valentine (2010)

I first watched this movie on TV with my dad. At right about the point where the two main characters’ (played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) relationship started crumbling, he turned to me and said, “This reminds me of my parents.”

Now, I realize you don’t know my father, but trust me when I say that my grandparents’ marriage was not a pretty one. I’m going to say that when a movie captures that feeling of a union shattering so completely affected my dad to the point where he actually couldn’t finish it, that movie has done its job and then some.

5. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Sometimes referred to as a real-life version of a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” it makes a sort of comic sense that Zooey Deschanel would star in this film as the object of the male lead’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) obsession.

Instead of being a movie about romance, the writers took an anti-love stance (as evidenced by the opening narration that stresses “this isn’t a love story”) and decided to explore what happens when a person falls head over heels for an idealized version of someone who doesn’t quite feel the same way.

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Okay, I wouldn’t call this movie realistic. Like many Judd Apatow-produced movies, it takes its realism and mixes it into a big bag of funny. Starting with a comically grim stance on the topic, the movie transcends sadness and becomes more of a hopeful story about the light (new relationship) at the end of the breakup tunnel.

Jason Segel stars as an everyday guy who just got his heart broken by up-and-coming actress Sarah Marshall (Kirsten Bell). To get over the break-up, he goes on vacation… only to run into Sarah Marshall herself and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand). If you’re looking to laugh at a plethora of dirty jokes and watch a particularly cringe worthy break-up scene involving Jason Segel crying and standing full-frontal in front of Kirsten Bell, then this movie was made for you.

7. Revolutionary Road (2008)

Okay, let me just say that more than any other film on this list, this movie is not a pleasant movie. There’s a certain scene in Revolutionary Road that emotionally ruined me for days after I watched it (WARNING: huge spoilers if you haven’t seen or know nothing about this movie beyond the fact that Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet are in it and are unhappy.)

Revolutionary Road tells the story of a couple with big dreams, who after marrying settle into the mediocrity of day-to-day life, and subsequently falls violently out of love with one another. It’s a depressing film with no happy ending… which, you know, makes for great viewing after a break-up.

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

There are a lot of people who, after having their heart broken, might wish they could just erase all the painful memories of their lover from their brains so they can move on. Well, in the universe of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, that’s actually possible.

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star as Joel Barish and Clementine, ex-lovers who undergo an experimental procedure to erase all memories of their relationship – but as Joel discovers, deleting a person that important to you is harder than it seems, and moving on takes a lot more than simply forgetting someone exists.

9. Love Actually (2003)

There are a bunch of stories in Love Actually, ranging from serious and dramatic to lighthearted and comedic, but the one that will absolutely shatter you is the one involving Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. They play a married couple going through a very rough patch. In addition, you have Liam Neeson’s character attempting to move past the death of his wife and raise his only son as a single father.

10. Legally Blonde (2001)

Boyfriend breaks up with you? No big. Just get into Harvard, become a badass lawyer, and meet the true love of your life – all while rubbing all this into your asshole ex’s face.

This is what Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) does in Legally Blonde after her boyfriend Warner (Matthew Davis) dumps her because he wants to be with someone smarter and more serious. Elle gains admissions into Harvard Law with the intention of winning Warner back, but she ends up learning a lot more about herself (like the fact that she IS smart) and realizes that she’s much better off without him.

Besides being an empowering, “who run the world? GIRLS” kind of movie, Legally Blonde is also really, really cute and fun, and you can never have too much cuteness in your life.

What are some of your favorite break-up movies?

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  • moccca

    Scott Pilgrim vs the Rest of the World!!! He was left by his girlfriend over a year ago and FINALLY is falling in love with a mysterious girl, that’s new in town. But to get together with her he must beat up her seven evil exes and stand a confrontation with his own ex – a funny, playful and heartful action-movie about moving on…