True love is the one that overcomes all obstacles and we guess that only a lucky few get to live it. This impossible concept makes us believe that someone is willing to create a genuine connection with us. It makes us feel we’re inside a work of art, as if our lives were being told by a kind narrator. Few movies appropriately depict this mythical reality. Crazy. Stupid. Love, for example, manages to do so by telling the story of a couple in the process of getting a divorce; after going through bad moments, they solve their problems and realize they're meant to be together.
Although we’d love to believe that this happens all the time, only in special occasions it’s a good idea to get back with your ex; it all depends on the context. Contrasting how Crazy. Stupid. Love depicts this reunion, there are films that show the negativity around the idea of getting back with previous partners. These movies are clear examples of the reality many people live every day: a life of constant pain, emotional exhaustion, and lack of meaning in life.
These movies show the unavoidable human melodrama and explain why getting back together with an ex can be a bad idea indeed.
Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012) – Lee Toland
Celeste and Jesse’s story is one of the most difficult ones to watch. Many people end their relationships and have to see their exes on a daily basis. In this movie, the problem is that even if they have broken up, they decide to remain as friends living together. While they try to keep their friendship alive, the idea of getting back together is always hovering over them. This movie shows that sometimes it’s better to put physical distance to see what the world has to offer and follow a new path.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Michel Gondry
It’s probably one of the most misinterpreted movies of the twenty first century. Eternal Sunshine… highlights the process we all face in a metaphorical and wonderful way. The manner in which the memories of the characters are interwoven in the narrative shows that all the good things must surface first rather than being submerged only in the bad memories. Sometimes by looking back we are able to see what is ahead..
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) – Nicholas Stoller
A man misses his ex so much that the only thing he can think of is on getting back together with her –a very common scenario. Peter’s friends convince him to go on a trip to forget her, but little did they know she was going to be in the same hotel with her new boyfriend. We know that Sarah Marshall is a selfish person, but our hero must notice it by himself. Along the movie, Peter has to go through a nightmare to finally get over her.
Nocturnal Animals (2016) – Tom Ford
Nocturnal Animals is a complex movie about not being able to overcome a failed relationship and how we're exposed to vengeance if we succumb to our desires. Susan is a wealthy woman who starts reading her ex-boyfriend's new novel after she abandoned him because she thought he was an unsuccessful writer and saw no future next to him. While reading the book she realizes she loves him more than she had imagined, but now he doesn’t feel that way. It’s a heartbreaking, realistic, and extremely tragic story that will make you ache.
Annie Hall (1977) – Woody Allen
Annie Hall starts with Alan (Woody Allen) telling us that he broke up with the woman who gives the name to the movie. We witness the downfall of the relationship and in this downward spiral we also get to see a few positive glimmers of this faded love.
The film narrates how we change when we are in a relationship and that along the way we sometimes forget all the love we used to feel for the other person. Ultimately the film tells us that it is far better to move on rather than seek out our destiny in the past.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) – Edgar Wright
Scott Pilgrim’s main problem in the second part of the film is that he can’t get over his former girlfriend Envy Adams. Just thinking about her makes him anxious because he’s afraid of still having feelings for her, especially because there’s someone else in his life. In this movie, which embodies millennial love problems, Edgar Wright advises his viewers to ignore their exes and let new experiences happen.
Blue Valentine (2010) — Derek Cianfrance
Dean (Ryan Gosling) is probably the most faithful character in film history. He knows Cindy lied to him, and it hurts him so much, but he doesn’t give up on her because it would be more painful being without her. This destructive relationship shows what happens when no one wants to go; they end up living in a vicious cycle.
(500) Days of Summer (2009) – Marc Webb
Tom’s greatest mistake was to build a fantasy around his ex. At his most vulnerable he creates scenarios where he imagines getting back together with Summer and moving forward with life. The greatest lesson this movie has to offer is that we cannot place people on a pedestal and that it is far easier to look to the future for support and happiness.
Crazy. Stupid. Love talks about true love and how we can give it one more chance, but after going through these films, it's inevitable to be reluctant of going out again with someone we used to love. To commit the same mistakes seems like a bad idea, but again, the results will always vary according to the context.
Maybe it’s normal to wait for everything to settle and then start over.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards