A person rather close to me just went through a breakup of sorts, and it got me revisiting my favorite breakup films.
Personally, I prefer “breakup” films to formulaic romances, since they’re usually more realistic, often drill further into the characteristics of relationships all of us relate to, and typically end on an optimistic note–one of moving on (a rite of passage we all need to learn at some point). No, I’m not a pessimist, and Empire is not my favorite Star Wars film.
You won’t find The Break Up (terrible, TERRIBLE film) or The Notebook (Kryptonite for any man, plus there’s no breakup–they both die!) on this list. Casablanca? That film transcends genres or silly lists such as mine, in my opinion. I should also mention that I consider Hitchcock’s Marnie as a one of the great romance films, so my opinion’s probably a more little skewed than most.
So, in no particular order, my top five:
As much as I appreciate Europe being Woody Allen’s muse, I really hope he revisits New York someday. This one has to be here.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Considering Michel Gondry’s done some of the most incredible, acid-trip-laden videos of all time (Go ahead, look up Kylie Minogue’s “Come Into My World” or the Chemical Brothers “Let Forever Be“), it’s no wonder his analysis into getting over a relationship’s on my list. The incredible low-budget-you-wouldn’t-realize-it’s-low budget special effects make this worth watching, but it’s Gondry’s investigation into that “erase button” we all think we want (but don’t, really) make this a classic. Oh, and best. Jim. Carrey. Film. Ever.
My high school friends turned me on this one to cheer me up after one of my biggest breakups. Being wanted back after you finally get over someone rings so true. It’s not surprise it’s semi-autobiographical of Jon Favreau.
500 Days of Summer
The last film of memory where I remember laughing out loud in the theater. I can’t blame any man for having a crush on Zooey Deschanel.
Harold and Maude
Worth seeing just for the fake suicide attempts. Why didn’t I think of trying to pick up elderly women at funerals?
Jon Cusack takes the adventure we all wish we’d do at some point or another–revisiting all of our past relationships in hopes of closure.