Posted by Redmond Bacon @redmondbacon
Have realised my dream of finally living in Berlin. I like movies, techno, and talking too much in bars.

Depending on how far along the line you were, a break-up can actually feel like somebody close to you has died — except you can still stalk that person on Facebook whilst you really should be working. Once you were so close, talked to each other every day, were deeply in love, and now its over. Your ask yourself unanswerable questions: "Why did it end?" "What do I do now?" "How do I get over him/her?"

John Cusack in High Fidelity - trying to work it all out. Touchstone Pictures.
John Cusack in High Fidelity - trying to work it all out. Touchstone Pictures.

Whilst its easy to ask Google for the answers, or go drinking with your friends and inappropriately try and hit on strangers before you black out, sometimes the best way to get through it is to load up the old Netflix and work your way through the different stages of grief. According to the Kübler-Ross model there are five:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

My advice would be to invite a good non-judgemental friend over, watch all these in a row, have a few drinks, then you'll be ripe and ready to move the fuck on.

Warning: Contains Spoilers.

Denial - Fatal Attraction

Don't Do A Glenn. Paramount
Don't Do A Glenn. Paramount

Denial is when you categorically refuse that you are actually breaking up with someone. This complete lack of understanding that it is over has never been better exemplified by Fatal Attraction, in which Glenn Close's character tries everything she can to convince her ex-lover that they are still a thing. A tense thriller film, it will help to cathartically exorcise that sense of denial right out of you. Just don't get any ideas when you look at your pets.

Anger - Battle Royale

Don't Kill Your Ex. AM Associates
Don't Kill Your Ex. AM Associates

In a way, Battle Royale shows the true meaning of young love. When someone breaks your heart, sometimes you just want to kill them. By putting an entire class of students on a remote island and telling them that either they have to kill each other or die, the setting allows a lot of the kids to work through their problems; in the process making the film an excellent allegory of all the raging hormones that conspire to make your teenage years a misery. Like great Greek tragedy, it should rip all that pent-up emotion right out of you.

Bargaining - Get Over It

Planning to win her back. Miramax.
Planning to win her back. Miramax.

The greatest film of the late 90s, early 00s teen movie era (yes I said it), Get Over It expertly adapts A Midsummer Night's Dream to modern times. It depicts a sad sack named Berke (Ben Foster), who in trying to get back his ex, works out a ridiculously elaborate meta-theatrical plan. With a certain glossy sweetness to its core, it work as a caution about the perils of living in the past when the glorious future is ready and waiting to happen.

Depression - Blue is The Warmest Color

Cry it all out. Quat'sous Films
Cry it all out. Quat'sous Films

Really Blue Is The Warmest Color could be about any of these stages, but it works particularly well for depicting how post-romantic depression can rid you of the desire to do anything. Anchored by a glorious performance by Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue Is The Warmest Color sees her post-break up being initially unable to get pass the deep sadness inside her. Exarchapoulos lets it all hang on her face — all filmed in exquisite widescreen — crying unashamedly large tears. Because its OK to be sad, really. But she moves on, eventually, leading to:

Acceptance - (500) Days Of Summer

Getting over it.
Getting over it.

In (500) Days of Summer — or Annie Hall for twee millennials — Tom spends a large majority of the film perplexed why "the one" didn't see him in quite the same way. He becomes stuck in a rut, going through all the stages I have detailed here. But slowly and surely, he realises that it really is over, and decides to refocus on himself, redoing his portfolio and finally trying to make it as an architect. The film cleverly sees how accepting an intense break-up can actually allow you to reprioritise what is most important in life, making you a better person in the process.

Bonus Stage: Moving On - Before Sunrise

They're both much hotter than your ex. Castle Rock entertainment.
They're both much hotter than your ex. Castle Rock entertainment.

Whilst acceptance is fine, you're still single and moving through a bunch of unsatisfying one-night stands, wondering where the next love of your life will come along and pick you back up. Don't expect it to happen straight away, but when it does you'll know that this new person is so, so, much better than your ex. Jesse (played by the ever-charming Ethan Hawke) is one such person, who upon breaking up with his ex in Madrid, travels to Vienna alone. In a remarkable act of confidence he asks Céline (Julie Delpy), whom he has just met on a train, to go spend the day with him. The rest of the film is a remarkable act of magic — seeing new love blossom in real time.

What Film Do You Watch After A Break-Up?