15 Best Movies to Watch Right After a Breakup

15 Best Movies to Watch Right After a Breakup

April 17, 2024

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Everyone handles breakups differently. While some prefer to twist the knife by drowning themselves in a sea of schmaltz, others would rather binge-watch gory revenge films to induce a cathartic release of anger. 

Over here, we believe that a great way to get through heartbreak is to see the hope in it. You can get a little sad and a little angry, but at the end of the day, it’s the desire to be better or even just okay that will keep you going. So below, we’ve rounded up the best movies to watch fresh out of a breakup. They still touch on love and romance, and they’ll make sure you use up the full range of your emotions, but they’ll also keep you grounded with their uplifting wisdom and optimism.

11. Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

7.9

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Mike Leigh

Actors

Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Caroline Martin, Eddie Marsan

Moods

Feel-Good, Heart-warming, Lighthearted

Happy-Go-Lucky is a Mike Leigh feel-good movie tells the story of Poppy, a North London teacher, whose story we follow through a number of different situations: driving lessons, solving work issues, having fun with friends, all while trying not to lose her optimism. The acting is superb, Sally Hawkins is a gem as Poppy, and one cannot describe it, one simply has to see it and enjoy it, because it leaves you smiling 🙂

12. In the Heights (2021)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Jon M. Chu

Actors

Anthony Ramos, Ariana Greenblatt, Christopher Jackson, Corey Hawkins

Moods

Dramatic, Emotional, Feel-Good

Even if you aren’t familiar with the original, Tony Award-winning Broadway production from Lin-Manuel Miranda, this adaptation of In the Heights is still infused with the same infectious energy and loaded with many of the same eclectic songs. This is musical theater at its most fundamental (cheesy, us-against-the-world romance; unstoppable optimism) and also at some of its most unique—with old-school Broadway numbers mixing seamlessly with hip hop, Latin dance, and cheery 2000s pop. But beyond its music, In the Heights offers a gorgeous tapestry of stories about life in a proud immigrant community and the challenges of staying rooted to home while reaching for the stars.

13. Dating Amber (2020)

7.6

Country

Ireland, Ireland UK USA Belgium

Director

David Freyne

Actors

Ally Ni Chiarain, Anastasia Blake, Arian Nik, Art Campion

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Funny

This lovely comedy-romance from Ireland is about a closeted gay teen and his lesbian schoolmate who pretend to be in a relationship to avoid being bullied at their school.

This premise makes Dating Amber an original story in a genre in which that’s increasingly rare. This is added to the setting, in 1995 rural Ireland, which is executed to gorgeous perfection in everything from the clothes to the music. 

Dating Amber ends up being more coming-of-age than a comedy-romance. It’s a tale of friendship and self-acceptance.

14. Summerland (2020)

7.6

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Female director, Jessica Swale

Actors

Amanda Lawrence, Amanda Root, Casper Allpress, Daniel Eghan

Moods

Feel-Good, Heart-warming, Lovely

Named after the Celtic concept of heaven, Summerland is a rare queer period drama that feels hopeful rather than despairing. The film takes us to the countryside in World War II, where our protagonist, the reclusive writer Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton), studies the folklore about Summerland. We know that her isolation wasn’t fully chosen; her refusal to marry causes adults to gossip and causes children to speculate that she’s a witch. But this all changes when a young evacuee is entrusted to Alice’s care.

Gemma Arterton shines as a reluctant guardian stifled by repressed grief, and she makes Alice’s dynamic with Frank (Lucas Bond) and her former lover Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) incredibly believable. And while it would have been lovely to see more of Vera, even just their first meeting easily captures that heady sense of pure enchantment with another person. It’s no wonder that Alice has to cling to folklore the same way we do. For many of us, it’s the only way we can express our hopes, fears, and dreams.

15. maboroshi (2023)

7.6

Country

Japan

Director

Female director, Mari Okada

Actors

Ayaka Saito, Daiki Kobayashi, Junya Enoki, Kento Hayashi

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Emotional

Unlike plenty of time torn films, Maboroshi is the kind of film that doesn’t have a straightforward explanation for the town of Mifuse standing still in time. But even when it doesn’t have a logical reason, the way the film unfolds has a distinct feeling as it explores the illusions the town either could cling to, or release to grow. This kind of storytelling would be familiar to fans of the prolific screenwriter Mari Okada, who just started directing in 2018 with Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, but even those new to her work would appreciate the pure emotion driving Maboroshi, if they can let go of reality and enjoy MAPPA’s exquisite art for a moment.

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