Romantic movies give us the opportunity to take part in a beautiful story exploring the relationship between two people. Most of the time, they give us a positive outlook in the hard and confusing game that is finding your better half, and overall give us hope.
But other times, they build us up with a beautiful connection between two people, only to take our hearts and step on them with gut-wrenching, tear-inducing endings. Here are six examples of the most brutal ones, with spoilers:
1. A Walk To Remember (2002)
- Starring: Mandy Moore, Shane West
- Sadness level: 10
A Walk To Remember has become a classic because of its unexpected story. For the majority of its runtime, the movie tricks us into believing it's the usual good-girl-falls-for-the-bad-boy story. We see how regular troublemaker Landon starts changing his ways after meeting Jamie and their journey as they slowly fall in love.
All is nice and well until it's revealed that Jamie has leukemia. That's when the movie starts tugging at your heartstrings the most, because we see Landon trying to make every single one of her life goals come true, such as being in two places at once (come on, tell me you didn't cry in that scene). But, as Landon realizes their time together is short, he proposes to Jamie and they marry.
Ultimately, Jamie dies and our favorite bad-boy-turned-good is left with the guilt of not being able to fulfill Jamie's last wish: to witness a miracle. But as it's revealed in the film, Landon was her miracle...
No... I'm not crying... Let's move on.
2. Me Before You (2016)
- Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claffin
- Sadness level: 9
Louisa Clark is a quirky girl who's trying to support her family and unfortunately loses her job at a coffee shop. In need of money, she gets hired as a caregiver to a handsome young man, Will, who was disabled after being hit by a motorcycle. The accident made Will a very cynical and rude guy, and he constantly mocks Clark when she first arrives at his home.
Despite their initial (very heavy) friction, Louisa makes the effort to build a relationship with him and eventually succeeds. The young woman gives Will a new outlook on life and the two eventually fall in love. Unfortunately, Will sees himself as a burden to the ones whom he loves because of his disability and arranges an assisted suicide.
Louisa tasks herself with changing his mind once again. But just when we think her love has made him change his mind, he goes through and ends his life. Of course, not before a heartbreaking scene of them talking for the last time. After that, it's revealed that Will left Louisa a substantial amount of money to live her life — and to leave everyone watching in tears.
3. Remember Me (2010)
- Starring: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin
- Sadness level: 9
This movie deals with a conflicted young man named Tyler, whose brother committed suicide, causing a strenuous relationship with his dad. He gets in trouble with a police officer during a brawl.
To get back at the officer, Tyler seduces the man's daughter, Alyssa, to break her heart. Thankfully though, he isn't able to see his plan through as the two fall in love. Throughout the film, we see Tyler and Alyssa's relationship evolve into something very special as he tries to reconnect with his estranged father.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan, as father and son agree to meet for lunch; Tyler goes to his dad's office and realizes that his dad keeps pictures of him and his sister. Everything is tied up with a nice bow, isn't? Tyler is in love, he's reconnected with his father... right?
Well, the film's on this list for a reason, so, no. That's exactly when the gut punch comes: Tyler's dad's office is in one of the buildings of the World Trade Center and he's there on September 11, 2001. I think it's easy to figure out from there that Tyler and Alyssa's love story doesn't have a happy ending.
4. La La Land (2016)
- Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
- Sadness level: 7
La La Land gives us a surprisingly realistic approach (you know, despite the musical numbers) to a relationship between two struggling artists — Mia and Sebastian — who fall in love. Throughout the film, we see their ups and downs as they go through the predicaments of trying to succeed in their respective ambitions.
But don't expect a happy ending where love triumphs over adversity, because they break things off so that Mia can focus entirely on her acting career.
The worst part is that by the end, it's shown that they still have strong feelings for each other, making their romance feel even more like a kick in the face for the audience. Thanks for leaving us like this by the end, La La Land...
5. Little Manhattan (2005)
- Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Charlie Ray
- Sadness level: 5
Do you remember your first crush as a kid? Well, chances are it was confusing, painful and devastating at the same time. And I haven't seen a film that illustrates this experience better than Little Manhattan. The story follows Gabe, who befriends and falls in love with classmate Rose Mary Telesco after they're paired up as sparring partners in karate class.
We see them go on adventures together, such as apartment-hunting for Gabe's dad, standing up to bullies and making up wild stories with the city's skyline. But then the sadness comes: Rose Mary's parents plan on sending her to a six-week-long summer camp and then transferring her to a private school. Realizing that time is running out for their life together, Gabe finally declares his love. Rose Mary breaks his heart by answering she's not ready for love, and the two share a dance together before their lives split apart.
6. Titanic (1997)
- Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet
- Sadness level: 10
We couldn't forget the king of all love movies: Titanic. From the beginning, we knew there would be some trouble with the couple as the story takes place during one of history's biggest tragedies (and it starts in the present day with only Rose being alive, so there's that).
As Rose and Jack fell in love, no matter the social differences we fell in love with them. We are convinced that these two are meant to be together, but the film shows us in the most brutal way possible that life doesn't always go as expected when we see Jack frozen in the water. Which is why Jack's ultimate sacrifice to keep Rose warm had such an impact.
Since 1997, we've been dissecting that floating door scene, arguing how both of them could have lived, to the point where even James Cameron had to clear up the matter. That should tell you how much this scene has hurt us.
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Something I noticed with many of these romantic films is that it's common to have one of the protagonists die, leaving the other to carry on the memory of their love. Romantic movies are incredible experiences, but that doesn't change the fact they can be pretty cruel with us as audiences from time to time.