10 bittersweet relationship dramas

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The movies have always had us believe in perfect love stories that unrealistically end with the couples promising to love each other forever. While those stories give us something to be hopeful about, it’s the broken, dysfunctional relationship films that leave a scar on the audience’s mind for years. Director Sam Levinson’s Malcolm and Marie, which will premiere tomorrow on Netflix, seems to belong to the latter category as the trailer claims that ‘this is not a love story’ but ‘a story about love’.

Before you step into the fragile world of relationships with the Zendaya and John David Washington-starrer, here are 10 films of similar nature that will make you embrace the imperfections of relationships.

1. Marriage Story (Netflix)

This Noam Baumbach directorial follows Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver) as they go through a messy divorce. The film unfolds in a way that we learn about the times when they were happy with each other, to now, when they are putting each other down for the custody of their son. A fondness remains between the two, despite the bitterness.

2. Blue Valentine (Netflix)

Blue Valentine stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

Derek Cianfrance directorial Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, is one of those romance films that leaves you in a pensive mood for days. The film is narrated in a non-linear format where, on one hand, we learn about the early days of Dean and Cindy’s romance, and on the other hand, we see their marriage fall apart. They are both damaged, and they soon learn that love isn’t all that they need to live a happy life.

3. Pieces of a Woman (Netflix)

This Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf-starrer follows Martha and Sean as they get ready to welcome their first child. After an unfortunate incident during the home-birth, the couple starts falling apart as they find each other emotionally unavailable. Martha is wallowing in her pain, while Sean relapses and starts taking drugs again. Their relationship hits rock bottom when Sean attacks Martha.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Google Play Store)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind stars Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey.

Joel and Clementine had a volatile relationship, and after a bitter break-up, Clementine decides that she wants to erase all the memories related to Joel. Joel decides to do the same, but whilst the procedure is going on, he starts to see the love they have for each other and wants to undo the process. But it might be too late to get her back. Directed by Michel Gondry, the film stars Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey.

5. The Wife (Prime Video)

The Wife tells the story of a celebrated ‘writer’ and his wife. He is being honoured with the Nobel Prize, but little does anyone know that all of his success actually belongs to his wife, who has ghostwritten for him since the beginning of his career. The dissatisfaction, the adultery, the injustice of society has strained their relationship of 40 years, which has now reached a breaking point. Directed by Bjorn L Runge, the film stars Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.

6. The Squid and The Whale (MUBI)

the squid and the whale The Squid and The Whale is directed by Noah Baumbach.

This Noam Baumbach film follows a family as the parents are in the process of getting a divorce, and the children feel lost in this strange mental space. Starring Laura Linney, Jeff Daniels, Owen Kline and Jesse Eisenberg, The Squid and The Whale showcases parents as humans and how the dark side of their personality is revealed as they separate. The film is a tragic story where the kids pick up the pieces of their parents’ broken relationship.

7. 500 Days of Summer (YouTube, Google Play Store)

500 Days of Summer is the story of a failed relationship between Tom and Summer, narrated from Tom’s point of view. Tom has spent a large part of the year in a semi-relationship with Summer and is constantly anxious about their next step. When she breaks up with him, Tom’s life goes for a toss. The Marc Webb directorial stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

8. Revolutionary Road (Prime Video)

revolutionary road Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road.

Frank and April seem to be the perfect couple, but their mundane lifestyle has sucked the joy out of their life completely. They are both unhappy with their circumstances and hope to restart their life in Paris, but life has other plans for them. The loss of love between the two further hampers their relationship, and their affairs complicate matters further. Revolutionary Road suggests that despite the appearance of perfection, no relationship is ever perfect. Directed by Sam Mendes, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

9. Celeste and Jesse Forever (Google Play Store)

Celeste and Jesse get married at a young age. While they have always had different aims in life, nothing ever shook the foundation of their relationship until Celeste decides that they should separate. They still want to be friends with each other, even though they are going through a divorce. The peaceful divorce turns sideways shortly after Celeste finds out that Jesse has found love again and is expecting a baby. Directed by Lee Toland Krieger, the film stars Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg.

10. The Break Up (Netflix)

The Break-Up, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, follows Gary and Brooke who are on the verge of breaking up. Like any modern-day couple, one among them feels less-appreciated, and the other feels they aren’t at liberty to act as they want. Despite loving each other, they break-up but continue to live in the same house as it is yet to be sold.

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