clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 12 Steps of Breakup Movies

Obviously.
Obviously.

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Breaking up is hard to do. Fortunately, Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO GO, Redbox, and Verizon On Demand are there to get you through it. Below, what you should watch and when.


Step 1: Eat, Pray, Love

It's important to watch an inspiring romantic comedy—in which the female lead goes through a breakup, travels the world, and [spoiler alert!], finds true love once and for all—while you're feeling optimistic. That could be you! You could go to Italy! You could eat a lot of pasta! You could meditate! You could ride off on a boat with a new love interest in Bali! This feeling of omg anything is possible rn!!!!! won't last, so relish in it while you can.

Step 2: The Taken Trilogy

Now you need to be distracted, and what better than three Liam Neeson movies that all have essentially the same plot? The key here is that hopefully there's no way you're going to be able to personally relate to any of these narratives, so the distraction level is high. Also, they don't require any real mental energy whatsoever so you can do other activities in the background, like text your mom.

Step 3: The Boy Next Door

You're not quite ready for a rebound, so in the meantime, get lost in someone else's courtesy of J.Lo's latest erotic thriller. The lesson at the end of these one-hour-and-thirty-one minutes: don't rebound close to home. Especially if that person is a sociopath and especially if they are in high school.

Step 4: The Wire, Season One

This isn't a movie per se, but for argument's sake let's consider this 13 hours of mini-movies with a common thread. You're at the point where you need to grieve—sulk in your underwear, whatever—but you absolutely must put a time limit on it. You have one season to indulge in this behavior and then that's it. Besides, a lot of people don't even like season two.

Step 5: Get Him to the Greek

Option to substitute any other Russell Brand movie. You just need something playing in the background while you're getting kind of high (still in your underwear—it's OK. No one really expected you to move on that fast anyway).

Step 6: The Sweetest Thing

Arguably Cameron Diaz's magnum opus, this 2002 CLASSIC is a feel-good girly movie that includes not one but two sing-alongs: one about penis size and another, well, pretty much also about penis size. There was probably no better movie made during this year. City of God and The Pianist pale in comparison. The writer of this post has watched The Sweetest Thing more times than any grown woman ever should.

Step 7: Blue Is the Warmest Color

Oh, you thought you were over it? Think again! You just bumped into your ex for the first time at [insert any place here] and now you want to claw your eyes out for having deceived you like this. Your utmost misery is dying for company, and this is where it finds it: nestled in a three-hour love story that doesn't end well for the lead character. Go ahead and sob. You've earned it!

Step 8: How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Welcome to Tinder! There's a lot of disappointment and god-awful people ahead, but if you're looking to "hang out" with someone new (or just someone within a two-mile radius) once or twice tops, this is how you prep. It's the tale of a "successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker" and a "strapping, young islander." It's obviously sexy.

Step 9: Girlhood

Okay, at some point you should watch an actually legit movie because almost everything else on this list is garbage. Girlhood was really good. You need to have conversations with people that don't involve discussing the major plot developments in season one of The Wire, because everyone already watched that, like, thirteen years ago. Plus, the time you had to vent about your ex to your friends has expired, so you need a new topic of conversation.

Step 10: The Other Woman

Anger sets in. You need a movie-length version of "Hit 'Em Up Style," but since that doesn't exist, you get The Other Woman. This 2014 masterpiece only got a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes—equivalent to one lowly star—but pay that no mind. The plot is a tangled mess of shenanigans effortlessly performed by Cameron Diaz (again), Kate Upton, and Leslie Mann, and the evil two-and-three-and-four-timing boyfriend is Jaime Lannister. He GETS WHAT HE DESERVES.

Step 11: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

It's time—time to finally get your shit together and move on. Take a cue from Jason Segel and funnel all of that energy into producing the Dracula-inspired puppet musical of your dreams. Or, something more feasible and less weird.

Step 12: Carmen: A Hip Hopera

Beyoncé's acting debut from 2001 (and it's—spoiler alert—tragic ending) is just another reminder that really, you're better off single. Until the next one comes along, that is.