Following a breakup, films about revenge, healing, and redemption can be cathartic.
For those angry about their ex, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" and "Gone Girl" have revenge-driven plots.
But "Before Sunrise" and "Someone Great," however, have uplifting and empowering messages.
Losing someone, for better or for worse, can be extremely difficult.
One of the easiest ways to begin exploring your emotions in the aftermath of the breakup is to turn on a film. And when it comes to great breakup movies, there's no shortage of options.
Should you hold on to some resentment for your former partner, there are plenty of films filled with revenge, including "Kill Bill: Vol. 1," "Midsommar," and "Gone Girl." If you're seeking a more uplifting viewing experience, "Before Sunrise" and "Bridget Jones's Diary" will instill hope for a brighter future ahead.
Here are 25 films to watch after going through a breakup.
"Someone Great" tracks the aftermath of an abrupt breakup.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
After Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) lands her dream job across the country, her boyfriend of nine years (Lakeith Stanfield) breaks up with her. With hilarious friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow) by her side, Jenny struggles to make sense of the breakup and her impending move from New York City.
The Netflix original doesn't take itself too seriously, weaving in laughs between painfully raw flashbacks of Jenny's former relationship, but it does capture the confusion and loss that comes with an abrupt split.
"Someone Great" is a new type of breakup film, challenging its viewers to appreciate the lessons they learned from their exes, rather than to hate them.
Two people erase their memories of each other in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Have you ever been so angry with someone that you wish you never met them? In the 2004 film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) and Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) are so fed up with their fights that each of them hires a firm to permanently erase all their memories of their relationship.
When they unintentionally meet up after their procedures, they're immediately drawn to each other without realizing that they've dated in the past. Their files are eventually leaked from the firm, and they have to decide whether or not they should stay broken up or try to build a new relationship together.
"Under the Tuscan Sun" proves that healing can happen in unlikely places.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%
The 2003 film is based on the memoir of the same name written by Frances Mayes. After a San Francisco-based journalist learns that her husband has been cheating on her with a much younger woman, Frances (Diane Lane) falls into a deep depression. In an effort to make her feel better, her friends gift her a trip to Italy.
While she's on the trip, she capriciously buys a neglected villa in the remote countryside and begins to renovate. Along the way, she meets new friends, faces new challenges on her own, and begins to process her divorce.
Uplifting and filled with corny laughs, "Under the Tuscan Sun" shows that with the right mindset, breakups can lead to new adventure.
A woman seeks revenge after she's attacked in her wedding dress in "Kill Bill: Vol. 1."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Filled with high-energy fight scenes, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" is a comeback story that's guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Four high schoolers team up on their ex-boyfriend in "John Tucker Must Die."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 28%
What happens when three high school girls find out that they're all dating the same boy? They hatch a plan for a fourth girl to break his heart.
In the 2006 film "John Tucker Must Die," the unlikely squad of Kate (Brittany Snow), Heather (Ashanti), Beth (Sophia Bush), and Carrie (Arielle Kebbel) desperately want revenge on the most popular boy in school, John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe).
And while the romantic comedy shows just how messy breakups can be, it also shows that some people never change — no matter how many humiliating pranks you try to pull on them.
A woman with a seemingly perfect life breaks up with her boyfriend in the 2018 film "Nappily Ever After"
Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
Violet (Sanaa Lathan) seems to have it all: a great job, a steady relationship, and gorgeous hair. After her boyfriend Clint (Ricky Whittle) doesn't propose to her, she breaks up with him and sees him with a new woman shortly after.
In a tale of reinvention and self-discovery based on the book by Trisha R. Thomas, Violet shaves her head and begins to question what it takes to make herself truly happy, independent of what others think.
A dumpee schools her ex-boyfriend in "Legally Blonde."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
After her boyfriend breaks up with her before leaving for Harvard Law School, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) decides to follow him there, confident that they'll rekindle as classmates.
The sorority president is accepted to the elite law school, only to find that her ex has a new fiancé. In response, Woods dives headfirst into her coursework, determined to prove herself as a top student.
Unapologetically herself despite numerous barriers standing in her way, Elle proves her critics wrong and emerges from her breakup stronger than ever in "Legally Blonde."
A man realizes that he's glorified his ex in "500 Day of Summer."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
The 2009 film follows Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an architect-turned-greeting card writer who immediately falls hard for Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). "500 Days of Summer" launches into a non-linear timeline of their relationship, with Tom playing out their conversations, dates, and time spent together in the aftermath of having his heart broken by Summer.
Confused and struggling with depression following the breakup, Tom realizes that he's only been remembering the positive aspects of their relationship and decides to turn his life around.
An emotional roller-coaster, "500 Days of Summer" doesn't sugarcoat the pain that comes at the end of a relationship, but it does give you permission to look back if it will allow you to move forward.
"The Break-Up" is difficult to watch, but it holds an important message.
After buying a condominium together, Gary Grobowski (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke Meyers (Jennifer Aniston) call it quits on their relationship. Neither of them wants to move out of the space, so they agree to coexist as roommates — until they pester each other so much that they sell the condo.
Between last-minute efforts to save their relationship to moments of acceptance, the 2006 film "The Break-Up" proves that even the most complicated, painful endings don't have to remain nasty forever.
"La La Land" will both break your heart and give you hope.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
In the 2016 Oscar-winning musical "La La Land," Mia (Emma Stone) plays a struggling actress who meets a nostalgic jazz musician named Sebastian (Ryan Gosling). Both trying to make it in Los Angeles, they start a relationship, which is shot in scenes and musical numbers reminiscent of the "Singin' in the Rain" and "An American in Paris" era of film.
Eventually, their wildest dreams come to fruition, and they must reckon with the decision to either pursue their careers or stay together.
And despite the heartbreak in the latter half of the film, "La La Land" is a testament to appreciating the person who was once in your life — even if the relationship doesn't last past the closing epilogue.
"Midsommar" is a breakup movie shrouded in horror.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
After Dani (Florence Pugh) loses her family in a tragic accident, she decides to join her increasingly-distant boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his friends to attend a remote festival called Midsommar in a Swedish village.
The trip turns sinister as the visitors realize that they're trapped by a cult, and each of them has an involuntary role to play in the festival. Dani, who leaned on Christian after her loss despite his veering attention, eventually pulls the plug on her relationship.
A horror film filled its fair share of gore and stomach-turning moments, "Midsommar" ultimately shows that a bad breakup can feel as final as death.
"Call Me by Your Name" artfully captures a summer romance.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, "Call Me by Your Name" follows 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer) as they form feelings for one another during a summer spent in rural Italy.
Their secret relationship plays out in a series of scenes that look more like watercolor paintings than real-life moments: scenic bike rides, afternoons reading in the sun, and hikes through waterfalls.
The summer eventually comes to an end, and they must part ways as Oliver returns to graduate school in the United States. The closing scene, in conjunction with the film's soundtrack, will make you cry — but you'll be grateful for the opportunity to witness their romance nonetheless.
"Before Sunrise" is a romantic film about two young strangers who meet on a train.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American traveling through Europe to get over a broken relationship, notices a Parisian named Celine (Julie Delpy) reading on a train.
Although they're headed to different cities, Jesse convinces Celine to get off the train with him in Vienna, and they spend the night walking the streets and delving into philosophical conversations about life, literature, and love.
"Before Sunrise" is dialogue-heavy, demonstrating the connection between Jesse and Celine and hinting that the duo met on the train for a reason. They're forced to say goodbye when morning inevitably comes, but the film instills hope about the unpredictability of the future.
"Sliding Doors" shows that one tiny moment can change the entire course of a person's life.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%
The 1998 film demonstrates the domino effect that one tiny moment can have on a person's life.
"Sliding Doors" shows two versions of Helen Quilley (Gwyneth Paltrow)'s life. The only difference is that she boards a train in one of them, arriving home in time to catch her boyfriend cheating, and misses the train in the other version, in turn arriving too late to find him in bed with another woman.
The fleeting moment echoes itself throughout the remainder of Helen's life, reminding viewers that every decision leads to new beginnings, even if they aren't readily apparent.
The 2000 film "High Fidelity" is based off of the novel by Nick Hornby.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
After vinyl shop owner Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is dumped by his longtime girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle), he begins to rehash his "Top Five" failed relationships in an attempt to wrap his head around losing Laura.
Frustrated with himself and desperate to find a reason for why he isn't further along in life, Rob eventually begins to ask himself whether or not he's been a problem. "High Fidelity" serves as a good reminder to look inward first.
A woman tries to break off her best friend's engagement in the 1997 film "My Best Friend's Wedding."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%
As students at Brown University, Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney) and Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) promise each other that they'll get married if they're both single at 28 years old. Shortly before Michael's 28th birthday, he calls Julianne to tell her that he's getting married to Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz).
Upon hearing the news, Julianne has an epiphany, realizing that she's in love with her best friend. She sets out on a mission to break off his engagement, hoping that he'll choose her instead.
A movie about friendship, love, and sacrifice, "My Best Friend's Wedding" shows that things don't always go according to plan. And life doesn't end when you turn 28.
"Eat Pray Love" follows a recently divorced woman on her around-the-world journey.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 35%
Based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, the 2010 film "Eat Pray Love" hones in on Liz's (Julia Roberts) life after her seemingly perfect marriage ends. She decides to embark on her own adventure and sets off for a solo trip to Italy, India, and Bali.
She eats gelato, dances at an Indian wedding, and flirts on Bali's beaches, proving that self-discovery and adventure can go a long way in mending a broken heart.
A composer stays at the same resort as his ex and her new boyfriend in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
Depressed after his relationship with actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) ends, Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) takes a tropical vacation in the hopes of getting over the breakup. Shortly after arriving, he learns that Sarah and her new rock star boyfriend are staying at the same resort as him.
Out of pity, the concierge Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis) offers him a top suite, and they begin to spend time together. Eventually, Peter must choose between Rachel and Sarah.
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" hysterically demonstrates the temptation to rekindle with an ex before realizing that the breakup happened for a reason.
A woman frames her cheating husband for murder in "Gone Girl."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
When Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) discovers that her husband (Ben Affleck) is having an affair with one of his students, she takes off, framing him for her sudden disappearance.
Based on the book by Gillian Flynn, the 2014 film "Gone Girl" allows the audience to witness both sides of the constructed crime as it plays out, leaving it up to viewers to decide who is truly guilty.
"Bridget Jones's Diary" is a tale of reinvention.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is a lonely woman in her 30s with an unrequited crush on her boss. After reaching a breaking point, Bridget grows determined to get her life together: exercising, dressing up for work, and journaling about her feelings. But when she becomes the center of a love triangle, her life becomes complicated.
A reinterpretation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," this 2001 film is filled with cringe-worthy, laugh-out-loud moments that will inevitably leave you in a better mood.
In the 1996 film "The First Wives Club," three college friends try to find dirt on their exes.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%
Three friends reunite in "The First Wives Club" after one of their college companions passes away. After catching up, Annie (Diane Keaton), Brenda (Bette Midler), and Elise (Goldie Hawn) realize that they have all been wronged by their former partners and begin to hatch a plan.
As the club members dig up incriminating and embarrassing information in an effort to ruin their exes' lives, the women begin to learn things about themselves as well.
Separate storylines play out in "He's Just Not That Into You."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%
From a woman who's overly eager about each man she meets to a man caught cheating on his wife with a yoga instructor, the 2009 film "He's Just Not That Into You" provides a brutal look at the pain and difficulty that often comes with struggling relationships.
And while four different scenarios play out, the answer might be more simple than the nine main characters want to accept: the other person might not be the right person for them.
A breakup with the Joker leads to Harley Quinn's newfound independence in "Birds of Prey."
Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%
While dating the Joker, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was utterly untouchable to all of the looming threats in Gotham City. When the villain dumps her, she's left to fend for herself as multiple people hunt her down.
After a haircut, a new pet, and the convergence of a lethal team including Helena Bertinelli/The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Dinah Lance/Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Harley proves that she doesn't need protecting at all. Rather, "Birds of Prey" shows that there's a new player roaming the streets of Gotham City.
Two women, one living near London, and one living in Los Angeles, decide to swap homes for Christmas after romantic troubles in "The Holiday"
Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%
Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) is heartbroken when she realizes her ex-boyfriend Jasper Bloom (Rufus Sewell) has moved on and gotten engaged during the Christmas period.
And in a spur-of-the-moment decision, Iris swaps her idyllic cottage in the UK for a swanky Los Angeles mansion owned by Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz), whose own relationship has just gone down in flames.
The pair live in each other's houses for the holidays, getting over their respective romantic issues with flings that could become something more serious.
When three women discover they've all been dating the same man, they plot to get their revenge in "The Other Woman"
Rotten Tomatoes score: 26%
When Carly (Cameron Diaz) tries to surprise her new boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) with a sexy outfit, she meets Kate (Leslie Mann), his wife. After Carly confesses what's been going on, she and Kate discover that Mark actually has another girlfriend, Amber (Kate Upton).
After some arguing, the trio gets their revenge on Mark by uncovering his shady work tactics and embezzlement.
This story was originally published on February 24, 2020, and most recently updated on November 6, 2023.
Read the original article on Insider