CultureHead Magazine

Image via A24 Films
Image via A24 Films

Breakups can be sad… or liberating. Even though usually sadness and heartbreak overshadow everything else, some relationships leave you feeling a whole specter of emotions ranging from relief to anger. The recommended recipe to get over a breakup involves acknowledging your feelings – looking them in the face before you can heal and move on. Some may call it sitting in your sweatpants, eating ice cream, and watching movies but I call it being emotionally mature by giving space for my feelings to exist, which just happens to require sweets and binge-watching. 

After going down the rabbit hole of breakup movies, I realized that there are not enough recommendation lists for women who perhaps do not feel like watching a soapy drama or an upbeat romantic comedy following a breakup. What if you’re in the mood to feel vindicated rather than being uplifted? After all, dating men could be exhausting and there is a reason why an expression likening ending a relationship to dodging a bullet exists. 

So, allow me to present this (heavily heteronormative and white) list of breakup movies for when you feel like reminding yourself why breakups can be good and indulging yourself by living vicariously through these characters who engage in some disturbing and morally questionable actions. 

I do have to warn you that depending on the context and your emotional state, some of these films might be triggering.

1. Phantom Thread

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Vicky Krieps and Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread. Courtesy of Focus Features

Okay, this one might seem like the odd one out. It is very slow-paced among other things. I would still argue that it is a great post-breakup watch if you break down Daniel Day-Lewis’ character with his casually cruel and dismissive treatment of women in his life. His fragile genius remains all-consuming and crippling for others until he meets his match. 

2. Widows

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Viola Davis in Widows. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

An ensemble cast with Viola Davis and Daniel Kaluuya among its midst. It is a classic heist movie with a twist of girl power and mysterious husband trope to it. Just the right amount of vindication and bullets, if you ask me. 

3. The Girl on the Train

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Emily Blunt in The Girl on the Train. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Emily Blunt shows us just what cunning gaslighting can do to a woman. It is a nice watch that could be quite predictable but that’s what makes it comfortable and satisfying in its own way. Its director, Tate Taylor, is mostly famous for his 2011 film The Help which is both funny and telling to me. This man knows how to deliver what is expected from the movies of each genre. No more, no less. But don’t you just love the messiness of white people and their suburban affairs?

As a bonus, I can offer What Lies Beneath as The Girl on the Train 2000s predecessor.

4. Gone Girl

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Men hate it, Anne Hathaway loves it. David Fincher almost lost it with how unprofessional Ben Affleck was on set when filming it. It’s a classic. It could only get better if it was directed by a woman but oh well. 

The ‘cool girl’ monologue should reach the same iconic status as the rules of Fight Club. And Rosamund Pike is just too powerful in bringing Amy Dunne to life. That sharp bob at the end? It could end lives.

5. The Love Witch

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Samantha Robinson in The Love Witch. Courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

I feel it is best to go into watching this one without knowing too much about the plot. I will say that this one is directed by a woman, Anna Biller. It is visually stunning which makes it the right mix of pretty and spicy to keep you and your wine bottle company for the evening. 

6. Crimson Peak

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak. Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Ah, mother always knows best. Even if she has to haunt you to tell you that. 

Have you ever dated a guy who was just too close with his sister? I hope no but if you have, this film might be for you. It also offers two distinct flavors of leading white men with Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam as its two romantic leads!

7. Get Out

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out. Courtesy of Universal Pictures. 

Name a better breakup movie for the Biden era. I’ll wait.

8. Jennifer’s Body

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

“I only eat boys”. Oof. Terribly underrated movie that is finally getting the appreciation it deserves. It was marketed as this sexy comedy horror film with Megan Fox as the main bait for the male audience when it should have been recognized for what it was – a take on girlhood and surviving it in a terrible world we live in, as told by a men-eating teenager. 

9. Ready or Not

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Samara Weaving in Ready or Not. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

This film could be simplistically described as a distant less woke cousin of Get Out. Get Out does not have Adam Brody though, and this one does. This movie is kind of gory. If you come from a family with nosy and pushy in-laws, it might soothe you in a weird way but we won’t tell anyone.

10. Midsommar

10 Alternative Breakup Movies to Watch CultureHead Magazine
Florence Pugh in Midsommar. Courtesy of A24

This one is pretty self-explanatory if you have seen it. If you haven’t and you feel like you need to do something cathartic to commemorate the end of your last toxic relationship, watching Midsommar alone in your apartment late at night might be it. And yes, Ari Aster, the director of the film, was inspired by his own breakup.

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