Regardless of your cinematic preferences, there are definitely some movies every couple should watch — especially if your end goal is to spark meaningful conversation. Sure, you two might love a horror movie or lighthearted comedy. And yes, those genres can spark debate and conversation in their own way. But when it really gets down to watching a movie, then having a heart-to-heart, it looks like you'll want to reach for those dramas and classics.
"Talking about a meaningful movie is a great way to open up a conversation and deepen the intimacy between two people," relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of the relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. If you're trying to broach a difficult topic, or simply get to know your partner better, watching one of the films below may do the trick.
The cool thing about these movies, though, is that they can even affect your relationship without need for an actual convo once the credits roll. And that can be perfect for couples who are having trouble opening up. "For some, it is meaningful and bonding to be impacted by a movie and just be with their partner while this is happening," Milrad says. "The experience of being together, while being vulnerable (consciously or not), can lead a person to reflect on their relationship and their behavior in it." Here, some great selections if you want to get that convo flowing.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is cute and quirky, but it can also spark conversation about how and why you're together. "This movie is about why people fall in love and why they fall in love with one person," Milrad says. "It encourages conversations about whether there is 'the one' and gets you thinking about holding onto your 'one.'"
If you're in the mood for a 90s film, watch As Good As It Gets. And then have yourselves a chat. "This movie sends the message that you can love someone and come to accept and understand their quirks," Milrad says. "It encourages you to talk about tolerating and accepting differences, and loving your partner for who they are — not who you wish they were."
When you're craving a movie that'll get you talking about life, check out Crash, Forrest Gump, or Tree of Life. "These films bring awareness of the meaning of life and how all are connected," Lisa Bahar, a licensed psychotherapist who practices Cinema Therapy, tells Bustle. "The value these films bring is to remind us that we are not alone, and even as a couple, we are independent yet connected."
Writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner came together back in the 80s to make this classic, and it's just about as relationship-y as it gets. As Milrad says, "This movie reinforces the notion that great relationships are built on great friendships. It encourages you to think about and appreciate your friendship as a couple and motivates you to work on nurturing it."
If you two are having intimacy issues, of any kind, watch Jerry Maquire ASAP. "It encourages talks about the challenges of getting close and the ways in which you both might distance yourself in the relationship," Milrad says. "The main character has a transformation in the movie, which allows the two of you to witness someone learning to trust, open themselves up to intimacy and, in turn, experience deeper and more meaningful connections with those around them. The message is connection is the key to happiness."
The question of fidelity will come up eventually — as well as what, exactly, that means in your relationship. But the convo can be sparked by watching a movie about the topic, such as the 1951 classic A Place in the Sun. Bahar tells me this, along with Bridges to Madison County and Match Point can be an easy way to start a (probably not so comfortable) conversation.
7. A Single Man
A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford and starring Julienne Moore and Colin Firth, is a drama that touches on pretty much everything — relationships, pain, depression, loss. Bahar tells me it's another good choice if you want to have a deeper discussion.
This 1994 Meg Ryan film is about alcoholism and codependency — two major issues that can have a impact any relationship. "These films explore the journey of being alive and living through pain and still building a life worth living together," Bahar says. If you two are going through something similar right now, this might be worth a watch.
Even if you you're nowhere near having kids (or don't want kids at all) it can still be interesting to hear what your SO has to say after a movie that covers the loss of a child. As Bahar tells me, this movie is also about navigating loss, resolving resentment, and overcoming trauma, which are topics we all can relate to.
For movies that'll make you talk about the future of your relationship, Bahar says you should look no further than Good Will Hunting, Labor Day, and Away From Her — which all deal with the hardships of life. "Sometimes the true test of a relationship is how to be able to compromise and remain to the vows 'in sickness and in health,'" she says. "These films explore stories that enhance the connection of commitment and being a [person who] is willing to stand by another during the most traumatic of incidents."
This film can be fun to watch, for the pure nostalgia of it all. But Breakfast at Tiffany's can also strike up meaningful conversation. "You could discuss what your feelings were initially for each other, and what your 'end goals' are currently," matchmaker and relationship expert Bonnie Winston tells Bustle. "Have they changed... and what are they now? It could also spark a realistic conversation about money, values about love, and what you would or would not do for money.”
Whether it's a cute 90s movie that'll have you talking about friendships and coupledom, or something heavier like Crash or The Rabbit Hole, movies are often an easy way to spark meaningful conversation. So make a date with your partner, and see where the convo takes you.