I know: It seems like only a short time ago, you were sitting in a café, taking in some live jazz, smugly cuddling hand-in-hand with your new, wonderful partner, and thinking to yourself, "Maybe this time, I'll be lucky." However, cut to a slightly darker present, and here you are: single again. If you're anything like me, chances are you could use some movies to help you through your painful breakup. After all, no matter how many times you helplessly watch a relationship blossom, bloom, and wilt before you, it hits hard every time, and there's no better way to cope than with film. If you're dealing with the familiar pangs of anger, self-doubt, loneliness, and resentment that can accompany a doomed relationship, I recommend putting on your most comfortable jammies, cuddling up with a bottle of wine, and putting on a few of these hilarious, heart-wrenching, therapeutic films.
Who knows why breakups happen, really? You can try to hurl blame around all you like, but, most of the time, neither party is really at fault in a breakup. Blame usually falls on completely uncontrollable things like timing, miscommunication, and the all-around rigmarole of modern life. So, if you're in the process of trying to make sense of it all, I recommend that you take a deep breath, put a pause on your Facebook stalking, and lose yourself in the movies, characters, and musical numbers that have already made sense of it for you.
You're not alone in your loneliness, and sometimes you just need Sally Bowles to remind you of that. Here are eight movie to help you through the grieving process.
If you think I didn't know what I was referencing at the beginning of this article, you're wrong. Bob Fosse's film adaptation of the Broadway show is essentially the perfect movie; if you're drowning in a kiddie pool of misery, you should watch it — if only to see Liza Minelli's heartbreaking rendition of "Maybe This Time."
First Wives Club (1996)
Even if your ex is the nicest person in the world who truly never did anything to hurt you, watching Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler get revenge on their conniving, selfish ex-husbands will make you feel insanely empowered. #youdontownme
Funny Girl (1968)
OK, yeah, there's a lot of musicals on this list — but what other genre gets the sheer amount of hurt feelings and absurd melodrama attached to romance as well as this one does? If anyone knows a thing or two about a broken heart, it's Barbra Streisand's iconic character Fanny Brice. Plus, Streisand's voice — oy! I can't believe it's not butter, because it's so much like butter!
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 (2003, 2004)
Kill Bill is basically the ultimate breakup revenge fantasy. Your ex probably didn't do anything as terrible as murdering your fiancée and leaving you in a coma for five years, but that doesn't mean you can't relate to the metaphor. This will help you get some of the rage out in a way that doesn't involve keying your ex's car.
Muriel's Wedding (1995)
Through the combined powers of Toni Collette and ABBA, this movie will have you feeling better about your new single life in no time. You're not alone — you're with Muriel!
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
One warning: Avoid this movie if you're in a dark emotional state — it's particularly depressing thanks to its portrayal of a dying relationship, and might make you feel worse. Ultimately, though, the message it sends is a necessary reminder that no matter how much hurt or regret you're feeling now, the times you shared with your partner are still a meaningful part of your life.
Also, as a side effect, you might feel the urge to dye your hair blue after you watch it.
Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen's classic film wrestles with what he perceives as the futility of romantic pursuit, ultimately finding an existential calm that is best summed up by Allen's own narration in the film:
“It reminds me of that old joke — you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist's office and says, hey doc, my brother's crazy! He thinks he's a chicken. Then the doc says, why don't you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would but I need the eggs. I guess that's how I feel about relationships. They're totally crazy, irrational, and absurd, but we keep going through it because we need the eggs.”
Remember — you've gone without eggs before, and you can do it again. Maybe next time you'll find the right chicken, but for now live your single, eggless life with pride and compassion.
Images: Buena Vista Film