10 movies Touching upon divorces, breakups and more, Netflix has a range of rom-coms that are not meant to make you feel like rose-tinted rainbows and butterflies. Whether your relationship status is single, self-partnered, or complicated, there are movies out there that you will be able to relate to. If the thought of meet-cutes and dating montages makes you yawn, look no further. Below, we share our pick 10 films that will make you feel grateful for being single.
1. Marriage Story (2019)
The conscious uncoupling of two New York creatives is the focus of Noah Baumbach’s devastating family drama. It features career-best performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, who capture the fears and frustrations that come with arranging a bicoastal divorce while co-parenting their young son Henry (Azhy Robertson). There are tense courtroom scenes, a farcical home visit from a social worker and a much-memed fight—enough to make solitude seem wildly appealing.
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2. Blue Valentine (2010)
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are the picture of youthful exuberance in Derek Cianfrance’s account of a whirlwind romance—that is until their relationship unravels. Armed with an ukulele and a goofy smile, Gosling is Dean, a house painter settled in Pennsylvania. Williams is his wife Cindy, a nurse trying to make ends meet. Their arguments are caught in agonising close-ups and become all the more tragic when interspersed with recollections of their carefree courtship.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The only way to get over a breakup? Targeted amnesia courtesy of medical corporation Lacuna Inc—or so thinks Joel (Jim Carrey) in Michel Gondry’s sci-fi classic about bruised egos and broken hearts. The woman he is so desperate to forget is Clementine (Kate Winslet), a force of nature who has already undergone the procedure to wipe him from her mind. Part fever dream, part melancholic reality, the film sees Joel mull over his painful memories and eventually pine for a reconciliation.
4. Frances Ha (2012)
Shot in luminous black and white and stuffed with French New Wave references, Frances Ha has all the hallmarks of a sweeping romance—but in the hands of director Noah Baumbach, it’s an ode to female friendship. Greta Gerwig stars as a dancer who has a quarter-life crisis when her best friend (Mickey Sumner) moves out of their apartment. She fills the void with family visits and an ill-fated solo trip to Paris, but their reunion is more moving than any teary declaration of love.
5. The Women (1939)
A forgotten gem from the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Women is nothing short of revolutionary: a rip-roaring comedy written by women (Anita Loos and Jane Murfin) for an all-female cast. Joan Crawford plays Crystal, a scheming shopgirl who clashes with the virtuous Mary (Norma Shearer). Meanwhile, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine lend support as Mary’s gossipy friends. With catfights and camaraderie, it presents a complicated vision of a world without men.
6. Hustlers (2019)
When the 2008 financial crash wipes out the profits of a New York strip club, a group of employees hatches a plan to scam Wall Street bankers out of millions. Lorene Scafaria’s electrifying retelling of the true story functions as a feminist fable and a cautionary tale. Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, and Lili Reinhart shine as hustlers upending the system, but it’s impossible to forget Jennifer Lopez who sizzles as the glamorous ringleader Ramona: the definition of a dangerous, independent woman.
7. Booksmart (2019)
Two friends wonder if their youth has passed them by in Olivia Wilde’s crowd-pleasing high school comedy. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever are Molly and Amy, cautious bookworms keen to make the most of their final night before graduation. They party on a yacht, watch porn in the back of a Lyft, have disastrous run-ins with their crushes and attend an elaborate murder mystery dinner. It makes for a mile-a-minute romp imbued with genuine emotion as the pair prepare to part ways.
8. Little Women (2019)
Greta Gerwig’s heartfelt Louisa May Alcott adaptation is a meditation on women and commerce in the 19th century. It opens with Jo (Saoirse Ronan) selling her short stories in New York. Back home, her sister Meg (Emma Watson) is struggling with her finances while Amy (Florence Pugh) considers the economic benefits of marriage. The plot zips between the present and their rose-tinted past, but the focus remains on Jo’s enduring love of books and the novel she gives birth to at the end.
9. Girls Trip (2017)
Raucous doesn’t even begin to describe Girls Trip, the foul-mouthed, gross-out comedy that turned Tiffany Haddish into an overnight sensation. The latter’s scene-stealing turn as party animal Dina makes her the star of the Flossy Posse—a group of friends played by Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith—who head to New Orleans for a weekend of debauchery. Add dance-offs, bar fights and side-splitting set pieces, and you have the perfect film for a rowdy girls’ night in.
10. Animals (2019)
After a decade of codependency, flatmates Laura (Holliday Grainger) and Tyler (Alia Shawkat) grow apart when the former starts dating a pianist (Fra Fee). Their millennial ennui and freewheeling hedonism are the driving forces behind Sophie Hyde’s poignant drama, adapted from Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel of the same name. Its magic, however, lies in the chemistry between its leads and their depiction of an all-consuming friendship. As they trawl through Dublin’s dive bars and dingy clubs, you can’t help but follow them down the rabbit hole.