1. How to Be Single (2016)
How to Be Single is the perfect companion if you’re on a path of self-discovery post-relationship. Newly single Alice sets out to experience New York City to its fullest potential. With her wild and adventurous co-worker Robin she sets off to learn how to put herself above her relationships, one hilarious escapade at a time.
2. An Education (2009)
Jenny is a smart and talented 16-year-old who gets swept off her feet by the alluring and much older David. David turns out to be a bit of a dick but both Jenny and her parents are duped by his charms. When Jenny finds out he has a wife and children she has to rebuild her academic life and the identity she gave up for love.
3. Ghost World (2001)
Director Terry Zwigoff co-wrote Ghost World’s screenplay together with Daniel Clowes, who wrote the original graphic novel it’s based on. There is a romance element to the film – Enid falls for a middle-aged vintage-music collector called Seymour – but the heart of the plot centres around friendship and alienation (and some amazing outfits).
4. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
500 Days of Summer will resonate with anyone who’s been broken up with. Tom reflects back on his time with Summer Finn, who he fell madly and deeply in love with. Summer however was never that into the boyfriend/relationship thing. The film is hilarious and sad, and also surprisingly wise. Tom’s little sister Rachel tells him: “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate.” Well said, Rachel.
5. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Spike Lee wrote, directed, edited, and starred in this movie, which turns stereotypical gender roles on its head. Nola Darling juggles sexual relationships with three different men (I’m tired already) and tells us how she doesn’t want to be owned by any of them.
6. Lola Versus (2012)
Lola is about to get married to her boyfriend, Luke, and then he dumps her. With the help of her best friends, Henry and Alice, Lola tries to move on despite her heartbreak. She makes countless bad decisions, from obsessing over her ex to sleeping with the wrong people. In fact, there’s a feeling that Lola uses her breakup as an excuse to become a total mess of a person. She’s self-destructive and very self-absorbed. However, there is redemption at the end: Lola finally learns how to take care of herself.
7. On My Way (2013)
The iconic Catherine Deneuve plays Cathy, who faces a failed relationship and a business that’s on the verge of bankruptcy. One day, instead of running her daily errands, Cathy embarks on a spontaneous road trip with her grandson, who she barely knows. During their odyssey across France she reconnects her past with her present and makes new friends along the way.
8. West Side Story (1961)
Yes, the West Side Story is full of romance and music and declarations of love, but it doesn’t exactly end well. Two rival New York City gangs go head to head. When our star-struck lovers Maria and Tony try to end the violence, things take a turn for the worse. I’d rather be single tbh.
9. Begin Again (2013)
Musician Gretta has recently been left by her long-term boyfriend, who has landed a deal with a big-time record label. Lovelorn Gretta finds herself alone in New York City until Dan, an unemployed former record-label exec, hears her sing in a bar. The two embark on a transformative musical collaboration and teach each other a thing or two about forgiveness.
10. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013)
Fifteen-year-old Adèle feels like there’s something missing in her life until she crosses paths with a blue-haired art student called Emma. The girls meet again, this time in a gay bar, and an intense, erotic relationship develops. Adèle’s infatuation helps her assert herself as a woman as she discovers her desires and passion, but the honeymoon phase ends almost as swiftly as it began.
11. Candy (2006)
Dan, a reckless poet and heroin addict, falls in love with Candy, a young artist. Dan’s allure (even though he’s dunk and careless 24/7) sucks her into a whirlwind of romance and addiction. Not only will this film make you want to be single, you’ll also want to not do drugs, like, ever.
12. Middle of Nowhere (2012)
Ava DuVernay’s stunning film shows a young woman who has to choose between the love of her life (who is imprisoned) and a new fella who sweeps her off her feet. The film is complicated and heartbreaking, and as in reality, there’s no magical fairytale ending.
13. Nights and Weekends (2008)
Relationships are shit, and long-distance relationships are even more shit, but James and Mattie are trying their hardest to make it work. However, their visits soon become shorter and are quickly replaced by phone calls, chats, and emails. They eventually decide to call it off. Twelve years later they meet up again but it seems like too much has changed between them.
14. Breaking Upwards (2009)
Imagine planning your breakup with your partner? Pretty weird, right? Well, that’s what Daryl and Zoe decide to try out after four years of being pretty dependent on each other. The plan becomes confusing and a total mess.
15. Brief Encounter (1945)
Brief Encounter showed audiences of the 1940s that women don’t have to be totally domesticated – they can go out and have affairs! Although our heroine ends up returning to her husband, the film in its entirety makes a pretty good case for never, ever getting hitched.
16. The Lobster (2015)
Imagine being FORCED to find a romantic partner. Well, that’s exactly what happens in the dystopian world of The Lobster. If you fail at finding a mate you get turned into an animal (turn me into a sloth plz)!
17. Ex Machina (2015)
Because the film’s central characters are two men and a woman, you’d expect there to be a ton of romance, jealousy, and sexual tension here, but this isn’t a classic love story – there’s a robot, for goodness’ sake! The film is actually a pretty frightening look at the dynamics between creator and creation.
18. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain is a moving tale of two sheep herders who fall in love, and while it’s passionate and deeply intense it’s also full of suffering, pain, and tragedy.
19. Weekend (2011)
This is a wonderful film about a chance encounter and I challenge you to watch it without crying at the end. It also serves to remind us that things don’t need to last forever to have an impact on us. Sometimes a short weekend can change your life.
20. Waiting to Exhale (1995)
Waiting to Exhale tells the story of four successful and stunning best friends who keep wasting their time on dumbass man-babies. I highly recommend watching Angela Bassett torch her husband’s BMW on repeat.
21. Casablanca (1942)
While the central story of this classic film involves Rick and Ilsa’s war-torn romance, this is hardly a straightforward love story. The smaller tender moments, the flashbacks, the comedy, and all the quotable lines will leave you reeling. Here’s looking at you, kid.
22. Ghost (1990)
The moral of this ’90s classic is: Don’t fall in love, because your lover may die and turn into a ghost, which is really frustrating, and then things will get really fucking weird and you’ll start making phallic pottery together.
23. My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Forget love. Love is awkward and complicated. All you need is a best friend who has your back, sings you a song in the middle of a restaurant, and comes to your rescue when you’re lonely AF drinking by yourself at a wedding.
24. Jaws (1975)
When love has gotten you down it’s good to remember that there are bigger fish to fry, literally. SO STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT EX.
25. Closer (2004)
This film adaptation of Patrick Marber’s play of the same name is pretty much an advertisement for cigarettes (the characters smoke a lot) and singledom (they break up a lot). In fact it has one of the most brutal exchanges between a couple in cinematic history, which Fall Out Boy immortalized in their lyrics: “HE TASTES LIKE YOU BUT SWEETER ”
26. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
When you’re watching the intimate relationship between Clarice and Dr Hannibal Lector unfold you’re going to feel uneasy to say the least. There’s a mutual admiration but at the same time it’s all a bit fucked-up. Stay away from serial killers, people.
27. Echo Park (2014)
“I’m leaving in a few weeks’ time, so it’s a kind of a no-risk situation,” is how the relationship between Alex and Sophie begins. The two quickly find out this no-risk situation does not exist, and the more their relationship develops, the more your heart breaks a little at the same time.
28. First Wives Club (1996)
Has your ex left you for someone else? Did they move on in the nick of time? Don’t stress. Watch this movie and then watch it again. The stellar cast in this film join together to destroy their exes, but not through catfights, putting each other down, or targeting the new wives. They win because they know their tax returns, they’re a solid team, and, most of all, they’re savvy as hell.
29. Blue Valentine (2010)
This film is about falling out of love, rather than falling in love. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams fall for each other quite instantly and so beautifully that the demise of their relationship hurts you like hell. Love sucks, people. IT SUCKS.
30. Queen (2013)
This film ignores audiences’ expectation for a happy-ending love story. The female protagonist gets ditched by the altar and decides to move the fuck on with her life.
31. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
Not only do you get to watch two whole films of Uma Thurman’s character Beatrix setting out to kill her ex, she also kills his entire squad. Instead of getting over someone by getting under someone, just induce a heart attack when they least expect it and kill all their pals. Just kidding.
32. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
This dark comedy film is an adaptation of Edward Albee’s Tony-winning play of the same name. It’s pretty much an emotional horror story, and you’ll leave it feeling shattered and totally convinced that relationships are the devil.
33. Take This Waltz (2011)
Sarah Polley’s film is pretty much a warning against letting lust get in the way of a happy marriage, but hey – we’re only human, and humans are pretty shit. Especially when confronted with hot neighbours.
34. Swingers (1996)
Mike begins this film utterly heartbroken. His six-year relationship has come to an end and he’s trying to become a comedian out in LA. As a result he’s bitter and all he does is wait from a call from either his agent or his ex. His BFF Trent and their social squad try everything they can to get Mike out of his funk.
35. Sad Movie (2005)
This brilliant Korean gem of a film is ALL about breakups. The eight characters are all facing quite brutal separations, and one of them begins his own breakup agency that helps other lovers breakup.
36. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
This action-packed film is feminist AF and doesn’t force some bullshit romance between its two incredibly badass but ultimately damaged and redemption-driven leads, Furiosa and Max.
37. Your Friends & Neighbors (1998)
Characters in this Neil LaBute film are extremely selfish – everyone is purely focused on their own needs. There’s lots of cheating, bad behaviour, and power struggles that’ll make you say: “All humans are trash.”
38. Ghostbusters (2016)
The trolls tried their hardest to sabotage this all-female reboot, but they did not win! Paul Feig unapologetically combines ghouls and girl power and there’s no sappy romance plot. These women have more important things to worry about.
39.An Unmarried Woman (1978)
Erica Benton’s husband leaves her for a younger woman because men are the worst. Erica then finds herself headfirst in post-breakup land, where dudes assume you’re up for anything just because you’re single.