So many different emotions can be caused by Valentine’s Day. One year you could be depressed, crying over a pale of ice cream because the person you thought you really hit it off with won’t return your calls. While the next year you can be on cloud 9 with heart eyes and rainbow farts because you think you found “the one”. Whatever your current relationship status is, here are 14 movies that will remind you just how difficult relationships can be.
*Heartbreaking Spoilers Ahead*
Young lovers Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and Robbie (James McAvoy) are torn apart when Cecilia’s jealous younger sister, Briony, accuses Robbie of rape. The film then follows the three of them as they deal with the consequences. Robbie and Cecilia never lose hope and Robbie promises to return to Cecilia after World War II. The couple then reunites and Briony later realizes the consequences of her actions. She sets out to make things right, but the audience comes to find out at the end of the movie that the couple getting back together was imagined by Briony, and Robbie and Cecilia died during the war, never to be reunited.
Something I loved about this movie is that it almost feels like an alternate universe where Jack (Leonardo Dicaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslett) ended up together after Titanic. However, instead of a beautiful love story that girls everywhere have dreamed about, we have a movie that has both parties cheating on their spouses, constant lies, and resentment for one another. The Wheeler’s have fallen into a depressing muck where the husband is stuck at a job he doesn’t want with the wife being stuck at home in a place she doesn’t want to live. They then believe the relationship could rebound with the dream of moving to Paris, but they decide that idea is too unrealistic when Winslett becomes pregnant. Later while at home alone Winslett’s character decides to perform an at-home abortion and ends up dying… Maybe it was best Jack died in Titanic...
A good friend of mine told me all about how he went to see Blue Valentine in theaters on a first date. Ryan Gosling, who was best known for his work in The Notebook is in a romance film with Michelle Williams? Safe movie bet, right? Wrong. Gosling and Williams’s characters are portrayed through different points in their relationship from falling in love, having a child, and eventually getting a divorce. So needless to say my friend realized he picked the wrong movie and wasn’t asked out on a second date.
500 Days of Summer
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hopeless romantic who thinks he’s met the girl of his dreams in Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel. The film is told in a nonlinear fashion which ultimately leads to the relationship imploding and the couple splitting apart. Tom later learns that Summer is now engaged to be married. As if this wasn’t a big enough blow, Summer ends up admitting to Tom that she was never really in love with him in the first place… Bummer. Sure, it ends on a hopeful note as Tom meets a new girl, but we’ve just spent the entire movie watching Tom cry about how Summer should love him because he’s so “nice” and good to her. All we can hope is that this new girl walks away after that first coffee.
La La Land
Damian Chazelle’s love letter to Los Angeles shows you LA isn’t the city where dreams are made of. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star as two struggling artists who are determined to make their dreams a reality. While the couple does find success, they learn it comes with a price. The epilogue of the film takes place five years after the main events and we find out Stone’s character is now married to a different man, content with her life but devoid of the passion she had with Gosling. Stone runs into Gosling’s character who has fulfilled his dream of opening his own jazz club. With a somber dance number, they both imagine what life would be like if they had stayed together (though filled with love, they both would give up their ultimate career dreams), before parting ways forever.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play two sheepherders who begin their relationship as budding friends but quickly strike up a passionate romance that lasts all summer. The two cowboys each settle down and marry, but continue their affair in secrecy. The audience is left eagerly awaiting the day the two cowboys admit their love for each other, but sadly that day never comes. As if this wasn’t depressing enough we also find out Gyllenhaal’s character died in an accident while changing a tire, and Ledger imagines a homophobic mob beating Jack to death… What an ending.
The English Patient
Set during World War II, a nurse looks after a critically burned man named Almásy (Ralph Fiennes) who is a cartographer. He begins to explain to the nurse how he began an affair with a woman who joined him on an expedition named Katherine. When Katherine’s husband finds out about the affair the husband deliberately crashes a plane, that narrowly missed Almásy. Katherine is seriously injured so Almásy sets out an expedition to get help, but by the time he comes back, Katherine is dead. After he finishes his story he tells the nurse he wants a lethal dose of morphine, who complies and reads Katherine’s final journal entries to him as he dies.
Get Out was marketed as a horror mystery which I absolutely agree with, but I was not expecting what happens in the course of this 104 minute film. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) are an interracial couple who go on a weekend getaway to meet Rose’s family. While it’s pretty clear from the beginning that something is up with Rose’s family I still wasn’t expecting her to be involved. Throughout the entire film she is sticking up for Chris whether it’s with the police officer who is racially profiling, to her parents who don’t seem to know how to act around him. That’s why the twist of the film is so bittersweet when you find out not only is Rose playing Chris, she’s been doing this for years! But remember.. Rose does say he was one of her favorites.
Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a bright 16-year-old schoolgirl who dreams of attending Oxford University. While waiting for a ride she meets a charming older man named David Goldman. The two begin to bond over music and a relationship quickly ensues. She falls head over heels for him and the two agree to marry, with Jenny deciding to drop out of school and not apply to university. Jenny later comes to learn that David is already married and she comes to realize she gave up her education for this older man she barely knew. Stay in school kids.
Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a guy who is unable to commit to a relationship, which had landed him right in the middle of a divorce with his wife. Theodore then gets himself a new OS, choosing a woman’s voice, which calls herself Samantha. Man and machine continue to bond, but eventually, Theodore begins to question his newfound relationship. Finally, Samantha calls Theodore one last time and tells him that she, along with all the OS’s are going away. Once again Theodore is left alone, and feeling the loss of someone he held very near and dear to his heart.
Taking technology-based relationships one step further than Her, we have Ex Machina. The film follows Caleb Smith (Dohmnall Gleeson) who wins a one week trip to help with a Turing test that would judge whether he believed an AI named Ava (Alicia Vikander) could pass for having, or maybe even have, thought and consciousness. Ava and Caleb grow close and she even begins to express a romantic interest in him, as well as the outside world. The two then plan to escape together, but Ava ends up leaving Caleb trapped inside the facility as he screams for help, and escapes to experience the outside world on her own.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Alright, hear me out. The relationship between Han and Leia has been around for decades. I always liked to imagine them happily ever after, having their own space babies, but all of my dreams were crushed when I watched The Force Awakens. Audiences come to find out that Han and Leia did indeed have a baby, but he ended up being seduced by the dark side, which inevitably split the once happy couple apart. It all comes to a climax when Han and Leia’s son, Kylo, kills Han! So much for happily ever after.
Call Me by Your Name
Timothée Chalamet plays Elio, a 17-year-old boy who stays at his family’s summer home in Northern Italy, where he meets Oliver (Armie Hammer). The two begin a relationship where they bond over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and living in Italy. The couple spends a beautiful summer together, but Oliver must go back to the State’s when his next semester of school starts. Elio continues to hold out hope to stay together, but Oliver calls to tell him he is getting married, leaving Elio heartbroken… Really Oliver? You had to do it over the phone? Couldn’t even come back and tell him face to face?
Far From Heaven
It’s a Todd Haynes movie beautifully costumed and decorated to look like picture-perfect nostalgia, so you know shit’s about to go down and turn tragic. Cathy (Julianne Moore) turns to Raymond (Dennis Haysbert) when her husband Frank (Dennis Quaid) reveals “struggles” with homosexuality, but 1950s suburbia isn’t quite so open to an interracial relationship, or even the mere sight of a black man and a white woman out in public together. So despite a beautifully told story of two people gently getting to know each other, the movie can only end one way: Cathy and Raymond part, their would-be romance unfulfilled, driven apart by the 1950s politics hiding behind the glossy Rock Hudson classics of the silver screen.
April Dawn | Editorial Intern