Romantic movies to kill romance

Photo of woman eating popcorn on her bed or couch
Photo of woman eating popcorn on her bed or couch
Contributed image

Watching romantic movies is as synonymous with Valentine’s Day as roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. However, some movies (while focused on romance), aren’t exactly romantic. Here are some fantastic films that double as perfect date-repellents.

The Graduate (USA, 1967) 

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Kathrine Ross 

Do you know the song Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel? They’re referring to Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 best picture nominee The Graduate. The film is about Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) returning from college and struggling with which direction he should take his life. When an elder family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), makes sexual advances toward Benjamin, a complex and messy relationship ensues that threatens his future and the reputation of those around him.  

It wouldn’t be a stretch to call this film a masterpiece from top to bottom. There are fantastic performances, iconic music and the story takes many twists and turns. However, considering the prominent themes of deceit and aimlessness, you may be better suited to choosing a more modest film for date night. 

Woman in the Dunes (Japan, 1964) 

Starring: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida 

When an Entomologist stays the night in a small sandy village with a widowed woman, he is distraught when he finds out that he is now stuck in the woman’s house and forced to remain by the odd villagers. After trying to escape his captivity, things become more complex as the Entomologist develops feelings for the widowed woman and a particular appreciation for the harsh condition of the desert. 

With stunning shot composition, beautiful lighting and an enigmatic environment, Woman in the Dunes is a stunning piece of the Japanese new wave film movement. Its romance pushes the film forward, but the bizarre circumstances surrounding the couple make it a unconventional for Valentine’s day. 

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (USA, 2020) 

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette

From the extraordinary and mysterious mind of Charlie Kaufman, we get a film that feels weird, bleak, and challenging to comprehend. I’m Thinking of Ending Things follows Lucy (Jessie Buckley) as she travels to her new boyfriend’s family farm to meet his parents. Constantly struggling with pessimism regarding their relationship and the strange happenings around her, Jesse and the film walk a fine line between reality and fantasy.

While ideas about romance and relationships are a central theme, these ideas expand into feelings of loneliness and contempt for the outside world. Put simply; this movie is a massive downer. While it’s undoubtedly one of the best films to come out so far in the 2020s, making your date depressed might not be best for your Valentine’s day evening. 

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