“500 Days of Summer” asks us to take a more complete look back and realize that while it wasn’t meant to be, we will love again.
There’s no sugar-coating it: breakups are awful. Even in the best cases, chances are it’s going to take some time to readjust to your newfound single-dom before you feel like yourself again. Typically, in the days or weeks (sometimes months!) following a bad breakup, you’ll find yourself unable to focus on your responsibilities and stuck in a thought loop, wondering how it all went wrong and where to go from here.
It takes real strength of character to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Though it may be painful and involve considerable sobbing and comfort food, you need to do the emotional work to break through to the other side, feeling whole and better than ever. Let yourself feel sad. Mourn your relationship for what it was and take comfort in knowing that soon, your wounds will heal and you’ll be a wiser and better version of yourself with a bit of distance and perspective.
They say time heals all wounds, so trust that it will, but until then, be good to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Spend a weekend curled up in bed with popcorn and a box of tissues close at hand, binging on movies and television that can help you through the worst of your heartache.
Here’s a list of some of the shows and movies that helped me get through a breakup and that I would recommend to anyone going through a similar situation:
1. "Under the Tuscan Sun" (2003)
While I don’t suggest watching too many films that picture soul-crushing breakups (for obvious reasons), “Under the Tuscan Sun” is a must! Diane Lane stars as Frances, a successful writer, professor and critic; a woman who has it all, until her seemingly happy marriage comes crashing down in flames.
In the devastating fallout that ensues, Frances has an important choice to make: continue to wallow indefinitely, or move forward and rebuild her life. Needless to say, Frances takes a spontaneous trip to Tuscany seeking a new lease on life.
Rather than feature a satisfying revenge fantasy—wherein Frances’s ex-husband gets his comeuppance in the end—”Under the Tuscan Sun” never depicts him at all. Instead, the film focuses on Frances and her road to recovery after some serious heartache.
It’s easy to dwell on things we can’t change, but this story inspires us to trust that our futures are brighter than ever if we only choose to see it.
2. "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (2017)
This television pilot delivers nothing less than its title suggests: Mrs. Maisel is a true marvel. A quick-witted housewife in the 1950s with two children, Miriam “Midge” Maisel managed to achieve the life she always dreamed of. Unfortunately, Midge encounters an unexpected marital disaster which causes her to briefly descends to the brink of sanity and 50s propriety (culminating in a frantic scene featuring some strong language and brief nudity).
Once the shock of the disaster wears off, she turns the love and support she once gave her husband who dreamed of being a stand-up comedian in on herself and chooses to finally be the star of her own life.
Like a young Joan Rivers, Midge uses her life and marital experience as fodder for a stand-up routine of her own and it won’t be long before this talented comedian outshines her fellow funnymen (including her ex)!
3. "Parks and Recreation" (2009-2015)
If you’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Rec (and even if you have) now is the time to start watching. This uproariously funny TV show features an ensemble cast of eccentric characters that will seriously cheer you up when you need a laugh.
Amy Poehler leads her cast of co-workers as Leslie Knope, a dedicated civil servant devoted to her job beautifying public spaces in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. While the team does battle with hysterically unreal townspeople and government forces, they become the best of friends despite their wildly differing personalities.
Leslie Knope will challenge and motivate you to do anything with half as much devotion as she has for her hometown. If you need a break from heavily relationship-based content, this is a great way to escape.
4. "500 Days of Summer" (2009)
Sometimes the cold, hard truth provides the sort of perspective that can really help you shake the aftermath of a breakup. “500 Days of Summer” tells the story of a boy, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls head-over-heels for a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Through a series of flashback vignettes we get a glimpse into various memories through Tom’s eyes: from the exciting magic of a new relationship right through to its bitter end, until he’s finally able to get over the woman he once believed was “the one.”
Letting go of someone is never easy, especially when the promise of true love is still strong in your memory. “500 Days of Summer” asks us to take a more complete look back and realize that while it wasn’t meant to be, we will love again, and next time it’ll be a better fit.
5. "Begin Again" (2013)
Greta (Keira Knightley) and Dave (Adam Levine) play a couple whose long term relationship goes south after he lands a record deal that launches him into stardom. Just before Gretta calls it quits in New York for good, her own original music is noticed by Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a down-on-his-luck music producer. The pair take New York by storm and learn lessons about authenticity and staying true to oneself along the way.