Movies have touched on and explored break ups and relationship finales for decades on the end, but this list is a combination of the best, the worst, the saddest, the meanest, and the funniest of relationships begins, ends, and even the aftermath of a break up.
10. High Fidelity
High Fidelity is a film shown through the male perspective about a grown man who hasn’t quite grown up, but the realistic contemplation about the relationships he’s had, why they didn’t work out, and his current break up so disturbing. But essentially it takes looking at all those break ups and the current one in his mid life to understand how he keeps ending up alone.
9. Kramer Vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer shows how ugly divorce, especially with kids involved can be. How cold, how strange and unfamiliar, and how badly two people that have already hurt each other enough can continue to throughout spite and selfishness, but mostly how it affects the kid in the middle. One of my favorite Hoffman performances, this is one does NOT have a feel good ending.
8. War Of The Roses
Mr. and Mrs. Smith have nothing on Kathleen and Michael. These two had it out like no couple I’ve ever seen and maybe the way many of us would want to. The vindictiveness of the two reaches all time highs, but the chemistry and Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas make this a classic break up.
7. Blue Valentine
Takes a deep look at the beginnings and intensity, fire, and passion of young ferocious love and the dark turn of where it can take you.
6. Splendor In The Grass
When Warren Beatty breaks and ruins Natalie Woods heart in this, you see someone so broken from being dumped by the dream man for her, and Natalie Wood brings it down with her sorrow and Beatty with his handsome good looks.
5. Gone With The Wind
One of the most iconic break ups ever, and most discussed in cinema, when Rhett walks out that door on Scarlett there is no doubt some of us believe she will get him back and some of us know he was plenty done with her. Either way, this one scene is a break up of all break ups.
4. Mrs. Doubtfire
While it’s hilarious to both adult and child the aspect of divorce being really openly examined at a time where it became a much more prevalent thing in society makes the exaggerated way the story is told still entertaining, but an obvious point of connection to any parent or child going through divorce. It really quite fairly touched on each sides feelings and gave them a real existence.
Take a not from Jon Favreau on all the wrong things to do in a break up from his character Mikey. Trent, his player best friend tries desperately to help his friend get over the ex and move forward, but in this hilarious comedy, Mikey has to figure things out on his own.
2. The Way We Were
Romantic and timeless is how I always will remember my beloved Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand both at their best in this story of how an unlikely couple falls for each other, but even from the beginning to the iconic push of his hair, and Barbara’s uttering, “Your girl is lovely, Hubble.” Kick me hard, I cry like a girl every time even though you know a love like that is fleeting and not long lasting.
1. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
By the end of a relationship, when things have gone sour, it’s always easy to point out what drove a person to the point of no longer wanting to be together, and the idea of going back in your mind and remembering what made you love that person in the first place is gut wrenching. A line Kate Winslet’s character says at the beginning of her and Joel’s relationship is, “All the things you like about me, you’re going to hate.” The stinging truth of those words is so honest and profound it cuts deep. The idea that people don’t change, and we are who we are is contemplated throughout this whole film. Even musing the thought of erasing ones memory of heartache, essentially behind that is the fact looms the forgone conclusion that we are doomed to make the same fatal errors again and again.