Movies to help you through a break-up

Break-ups totally suck. There’s no way around it. If I could count the times I’ve sat watching Bride Wars while crying into a tub of popcorn, I’m sure I’d feel ashamed. Lucky, then, that I can’t remember. Plus, Chris Pratt’s in Bride Wars, so eye candy is my excuse.

What’s helped me every bit as much as listening to songs about doomed relationships (thanks T. Swift, you are our queen) and reading break-up books like It’s Called a Break-up Because it’s Broken (by the authors of He’s Just Not That Into You), is selecting movies that speak to the empty space where my heart used to be. Like Woody Allen says in Hannah and Her Sisters, “Look at all the people up there on the screen, they’re real funny, and what if the worst is true. What if there is no God and you only go around once and that’s it. Well, ya know, don’t you wanna be part of the experience?” Time to get out of bed and put the Ben and Jerry’s tub down. Here are five movies which helped me do just that.

Hello I Must Be Going (Dir: Todd Louiso, 2012)

This one’s a heartbreaker. Melanie Lynskey, total goddess, has moved back in with her mom and dad following a split from her husband. She’s sleeping late, eating mainly ice cream based goods, and never changes out of her sweats. She’s basically a state. But when she meets the much younger Christopher Abbott (Marnie’s ex, Charlie, from Girls!), she begins to realize what a difference being appreciated, understood and loved can make. It’s also about how the person you marry isn’t always the person that ‘gets’ you, as hard as that is to admit.

Young Adult (Dir: Jason Reitman, 2011)

The reason that Young Adult is so satisfying to watch, particularly if you’re going through a tough time in your life, is that Charlize Theron is an unadulterated mess. And she’s completely unapologetic for it. A successful ghostwriter for a popular series of teen books much like Sweet Valley High, Theron has an epiphany when she finds out that her high school boyfriend, played by the ever-delicious Patrick Wilson, had a baby. She takes this as a sign that she must go back to her hometown and get back together with him (he’s not even single!). An unlikely friendship with the town’s loser, played by Patton Oswalt, ensues. Theron gets a lot drunk, a lot stupid, and she owns every inch of her disaster. I could watch this movie forever.

Take This Waltz (Dir: Sarah Polley, 2011)

If there was ever a movie that nailed what being married is like, it’s Take This Waltz. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen have been together forever. Their sex life has stalled, and Williams is missing the early excitement of a relationship. When a new person moves in next door, the trouble starts. Their instant connection and electric chemistry make Williams yearn for a totally different life. Sarah Silverman co-stars, and has one of the best lines of all time: “Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.” Wait until you’ve been separated a while before attempting this one. It’s totes emosh, but the emotional journey that Williams embarks on is so captivating, it made me realize that even the strongest relationships encounter problems now and again.

Something Borrowed (Dir: Luke Greenfield, 2011)

One of my favorite movies of the last few years, Something Borrowed features so many amazing actors. Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin play BFFs who have always done everything together. Hudson is even engaged to Goodwin’s law school buddy and former-crush played by Colin Egglesfield. Their mutual bestie from school, John freaking Krasinski, offers sage advice and total comedy throughout. Needless to say this one gets all twisted up morally, as the characters confront their feelings about marriage, infidelity and friendship. And once you’ve watched it, you can read the sequel, Something Blue by Emily Giffin. Sometimes, in love, there’s really no right or wrong.

You’ve Got Mail (Dir: Nora Ephron, 1998)

As far as I’m concerned, You’ve Got Mail is the greatest movie of all time. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan embark on an internet relationship, back in the nineties when a chat room was the coolest place to be. They’re both dating other people, but connect online, writing emails containing just the best sentiments: “Don’t you love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.” IRL, they’re business competitors, and both run book stores. This film will fill your heart right up.

Bonus round: Celeste and Jesse Forever (Dir: Lee Toland Krieger, 2012)

Not one for the faint of heart, Celeste and Jesse Forever riffs on how beautiful it is to date your best friend, and how equally devastating it is if you then break-up with said bestie. If you’re in a bad way, maybe delay watching this. It’s totally great, but brutal in its accuracy. You’ve got to be ready.

[Images: Warner Bros.]

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