5 Movies That Accurately Depict the Painful Truth of a Breakup

Movies get a lot of things wrong.

From the too-good-to-be-true portrayal of romantic relationships, to the often unhealthy behaviors of couples who are characterized as true love, there's more than enough to be critical of in the film industry.

However, sometimes movies get it exactly right, especially when it comes to the harsh emotions associated with ending a relationship.

Keep scrolling for five movies that accurately depict the painful truth of a breakup.

(500) Days of Summer (2009) 

One of our favorite relationship movies, (500) Days of Summer puts a new spin on the classic fairytale romance. Instead of a carefree relationship that ends in a happily ever after, Summer and Tom's partnership is riddled with commitment issues and various misunderstandings. When Summer eventually calls off their romance, even though it never officially reached the relationship stage, Tom is completely distraught.

What we love most about this movie is the fact that it tracks the entire life cycle of the breakup. Tom is devastated, angry, inconsolable, despondent—basically he runs the entire gamut of emotions we've all felt when we lose someone important to us. The film even goes so far as to capture Tom's misguided hope that he and Summer will get back together, despite the fact that she's in a happy relationship. Of course, the movie also captures the moment that Tom moves on, but the stunningly accurate depiction of the nonlinear path we take to mend our broken hearts is something we can all sadly relate to.

Tom starting at Summer in (500) days of Summer

((500) Days of Summer via Fox Searchlight Pictures)


The Holiday (2006) 

Although at its core this is a lighthearted, festive film, the struggle to move on after a relationship is captured with frustrating clarity in The Holiday. Unfortunately, more often than not, ending the relationship doesn't simultaneously end your feelings for the other person. Iris—who can't help but love a man who consistently uses her for his own gain—perfectly captures the struggle of letting go of someone you love.

Even knowing that Jasper is completely wrong for her, Iris continues to make herself available to him and sends herself into hysterical crying fits trying to let go of their relationship. It's not until she embraces her own power and stops defining herself through this one man, that she's able to kick him to the curb. It's a painful glimpse into the struggle we've all faced to make our heart agree with our head and move on from someone we know isn't right for us.

the holiday: iris leaning over the stove

(The Holiday via Columbia Pictures Corporation)


Crazy Stupid Love (2011) 

While Crazy Stupid Love depicts a variety of different romances and breakups over the course of the film, the one we find most relatable is Cal and Emily's divorce. Of course, we can't relate to the length or seriousness of their relationship, but we can definitely identify with their out-of-the-blue breakup.

Emily essentially blindsides Cal with a divorce, claiming that she hasn't been happy in the relationship for a long time, while Cal is obviously shocked that their relationship is apparently in such a bad place. It captures an unfortunate truth about breakups—that you and your partner often aren't on the same page. Oftentimes one partner wants to fight to improve the relationship, while the other has already decided that there's nothing left to be done but split up. It leads to messy, confusing situations and a lot of pain, which Crazy Stupid Love depicts with stunning accuracy.

Crazy Stupid Love; Cal and Emily

(Crazy Stupid Love via Carousel Productions)


The Break-Up (2006) 

True to its name, The Break-Up is all about—who would have guessed??—a breakup! Unfortunately, this situation is made more complicated by the fact that Brooke and Gary still live together, despite choosing to end their romance. Even though this movie takes on a more comedic tone, the overall message is clear—some people are simply incompatible, even though they might genuinely love each other.

By the time Gary realizes the things he needs to change to make Brooke happy, she decides that there's too much baggage saddled onto their relationship. They go their separate ways and move on, leaving viewers fairly certain that a relationship together isn't part of their future. This film captures a fundamental truth—that loving someone isn't enough to make things work. A certain level of compatibility, compromise and understanding has to be reached, and no amount of love can cover the issues that will arise if you're not on the same page in those departments.

the breakup: brooke and gary in the kitchen

(The Break-Up via Universal Pictures)


Me Before You (2016) 

Of course, there are extenuating circumstances in this movie that make it a bit more complicated than all the others, but there's still an underlying message about the end of relationships. Even though Lou loves Will desperately, brings a variety of life and color back into his world and loyally sticks by his side, she can't convince him to stay with her.

The lesson is this—no amount of love can change who someone is at their core. Simply loving someone isn't enough to make them into the person you want them to be, which means that your only option is accepting who they are or ending the relationship. Me Before You captures the painful reality of a relationship that changes your life, but must ultimately come to an end. Love isn't enough to convince someone to stay with you if they don't want to in their heart, which is a sad reality of breakups that we've all had to face.

me before you: lou sitting on will's lap

(Me Before You via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)


Need a little advice to get through your own breakup? Click HERE for the best ways to act on social media after a split.