In our Blue Filter series, we are inviting our writers to reflect on the films that they have connected with through challenging or upsetting times, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and before. In the latest entry of the series, Patrycja Gronert looks at how breakup movies provide solace for those going through a breakup.
Falling in love is such a beautiful feeling, but some people are still terrified of it. I was. I tried to shy away from love as long as possible. It caught me when I was 21, and it turns out that my fears were misplaced. Having a person who supports us in difficult times is something that everybody needs. Our shared moments, date nights and inside jokes are things that can never be taken away from us. We make albums together, planning to show them to our children, nephews, or nieces. In these moments, we think that nothing bad can happen to us.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Sometimes, the fear makes sense. Suddenly we lose everything that makes us happy, becoming convinced that we cannot live and function alone. We feel a pain that we have never imagined before, and everything ceases to matter. Time heals all wounds, but sometimes a lot more is needed.
Breakup depression exists, and it can rid us of our sense of self-worth. We should not detach ourselves from the outside world, but at the same time we all need moments of rest and days to ourselves. So let’s have a glass of wine and watch a movie.
In my case, it was two months before I got out of bed and a month before I allowed myself to turn on the first movie, fearing that each one would reduce me to tears. But in the end each of them was a source of much-needed strength. Four films in particular stood out for me during this time; How To Get Over A Breakup, I Feel Pretty, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and P.S. I Love You.
In the relatively underseen How To Get Over A Breakup, the main character Maria has to deal with one breakup after another in the space of barely a few months. She writes a blog about breakups and relationships, which becomes very popular. Then, with the help of her friends, Maria moves on and starts living her own life, trying to craft a future for herself. By the end, you too will realise that you need to focus on your personal growth, and it will help you learn how to live on your own again. Ghosts of the past will haunt you, but day by day you will slowly stop noticing them, and one day you will be able to look at the past and smile without any tears. Thanks to Maria, you will have some hope again.
By comparison to the lesser known life of Maria, I’m sure you’ve heard of the trials and tribulations of the one and only Bridget Jones. If you’ve never watched Bridget Jones’ Diary before however, now is the time. I remember not being too fond of the movie at the beginning. I’m a feminist, and as much as I appreciate every woman regardless of her choices, I hated the way Bridget was portrayed in this movie. But then I watched it once again, and now it’s my first choice whenever I’m feeling down. Bridget Jones is a failure who devotes her whole life to men. She’s 33 and desperate. But she is often almost unbearably relatable… how many of us drink wine on our own and sing along to sad hits when feeling down? After seeing this movie, you’ll do everything you can to not end up like her. It worked out for me.
Jones is a character who suffers from moments of lacking confidence, much like Renee – the main character in I Feel Pretty. It is usual for our confidence and self-esteem to diminish or even wholly wane after breakups. But I Feel Pretty helps you to appreciate yourself. The film focuses mainly on Renee who, thanks to a miracle, changes from an insecure, complex girl to a self-confident woman who knows her worth. When she begins to notice her value, everyone else around her also starts paying attention to her. Renee helped me to realise that I am able to overcome any adversities that stand in my way.
By a long shot however, the real tear-jerker of the group is P.S. I Love you. When Holly loses her husband to a brain tumor, her whole world is ruined. However, Gerry returns to her in farewell letters he wrote before his death. Thanks to them, Holly starts living again. This is the only sad movie I’d let you watch during that difficult time in your life. It will not only make you emotional but also give you hope for true love, it will make you appreciate what you’ve got. It will make you cry and laugh at the same time, an as I discovered you need to let those emotions out. Holly finds her true love and, in dire circumstances, loses it, but after few months, she manages to get up and live again. Although it will break your heart, you will smile through your tears at the very end, and you will understand that this is the beginning of a new stage in your life.
Giving myself a chance to watch those movies helped me a lot with my grief. Because it is grief that people experience after a breakup. In the end, it means losing an important person who played one of the most significant roles in our lives. So my advice in a way is simple; just take your time, watch as many movies as possible, and find at least one good thing in each of them. Focus on the positivityand look in the future with lots of hope. If Maria, Bridget, Renee, and even Holly were able to stay strong, so can you.
Words by Patrycja Gronert.
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