Lists, Top 10 Movies, Top 10 Performances, Top 10s — December 11, 2013 at 11:20 am



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.

3. Swingers


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.





  • This list is missing Shaun of the Dead! 😛

  • Great picks, Heather! Blue Valentine and Eternal Sunshine are movies I could watch again because of the strong performances. High Fidelity is one of my all-time favorite times. I like how even though Rob thinks he’s learned something by examining his past loves, he comes so close to making the same mistake again.
    I haven’t seen Kramer vs. Kramer or Splendor in the Grass, but I’ll ask my significant other to add them to the Netflix queue.

  • I was going to say High Fidelity – that had to be on here somewhere. Great choice Heather!

    …but I have no complaints about Eternal Sunshine…watched it for the second time in 2013 and thought it was even better 2nd time around.

    War of the Roses is another favorite of mine, and I think Mrs Doubtfire is a little underrated (Williams is terrific!).

  • Really good list about break-ups mate :), I will add “into the wild” break up with everything and of course “Paris, Texas”