Best Movie Breakups of All Time

the social networkThe new movie The Social Network opens with a brutal breakup scene -- which has inspired a frenzy of articles around the Internet where people post their favorite movie breakups.

Onscreen breakups fall into two categories: Either they’re way more dramatic than anything you ever imagined -- and therefore allow you to live out your fantasy of saying just the right thing to that turdball you inexplicably adored sophomore year -- or they’re so real you feel like you're listening in to someone's actual heartbreak..

Which ones made the lists -- the realistic ones? Or the dramatic ones? And which do you find most effective?


The EW list:

  • The Social Network (obvi): Pretty real. But oddly satisfying.
  • The Hangover: More dramatic than real, but the fantasy factor makes it a keeper.
  • Titanic: Everything about this movie makes me barf.
  • Legally Blonde: Elle getting dumped sets off all her empowerment. So it's more dramatic than realistic, but a good message nonetheless!
  • Ross and Rachel on Friends: Neither. It's a sitcom. Nobody behaves this way, but life might be better if we did.
  • First Wives Club: Dramatic, not realistic. At all. Kinda lame actually.
  • Office Space: Dumped on an answering machine! Not cool, lady! And very close to real!
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: I can’t believe this is on the list. Moving on.
  • Gone With the Wind: Classic! Dramatic! Effective! Great! So it doesn't have to be realistic!
  • Annie Hall: Classic! Effective! Great, because instead of being dramatic, it's ordinary, almost banal. The relationship and life goes on ... how can that be?
  • Samantha and Richard in Sex and the City: So over-dramatic. But let’s face it, like a Magnolia Bakery cupcake, it hit the spot even though we felt shame at loving it so.
  • Waiting to Exhale: Well, come on. Who doesn’t want to set the dude’s car on fire? It's dramatic so we don't have to be.

The Moviefone List:

  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Not actually realistic, but the humiliation of being naked the whole time? That's kind of how it feels. So it's like a realistic depiction of your feelings. I know, deep.
  • Gone With the Wind (again): See above.
  • The Foot Fist Way: I think we'd all like to pee on the person who broke our hearts. But we don't.
  • Wet, Hot American Summer: Totally realistic. In fact, every high school kid should have to watch it so they know what to expect.
  • Waiting to Exhale (again): Yeah, that’s still pretty good.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s: This one should also be required watching -- for college kids. Because like Wet, Hot American Summer, it's what really happens.
  • Bananas: Like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this is a snapshot of how it really feels to desperately try to talk someone out of dumping you.
  • Closer: I never watched this before. Ouch. Ick. Wow. Too close! Can’t write! Very real! (Not safe for work! Not safe for work!)
  • 500 Days of Summer: “You’re still my best friend.” The five worst words to hear during a breakup. (I once almost threw a guy out the window when he called me his “best buddy.” During a breakup. So yeah, real.)
  • Say Anything: I have this one memorized. “Oh. I feel like a dick. You must think I’m a dick.” “No, Lloyd. We shared the most intimate thing two people could share.” “You shared it with a dick.” He gave her his heart … and she gave him a pen. Yeah. Real.

What They Forgot ...

My Favorite Realistic Movie Breakup:

Twice in a Lifetime: I’m a movie nerd. Okay. This stars Gene Hackman and Ellen Burstyn, and it’s this really sad scene where this 50-year-old guy is telling his wife that, yes, they have a fine life, but it’s not enough for him. It’s really sad! I also have a megacrush on Gene Hackman; plus, I saw an interview with Ellen Burstyn where she said that you can’t see it on screen, but he took off his wedding ring while they were filming it and that made her cry so, so, so hard. All right!

My Favorite Over-Dramatic Movie Breakup:

Who wouldn’t want to lay a curse like this on the man who’s made you miserable for almost your entire life? Clear your schedule for the next nine minutes and break out the Kleenex. Then hit play. “I may be poor. I may be black. I may be ugly. But I’m here. Dear God, I’m here!”


Which pop-culture breakup scene feels real to you -- and which do you watch strictly for the drama factor?

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