Becoming single is weird. The experience can feel like a blessing or absolute hell, and it's usually a bit of both. You've got a lot more free time and lots of new territory to navigate. Your mom keeps calling to see how you're feeling, but you're gonna implode if you talk about it any more. You left your favorite sweater at your ex's place, but texting them about it will seem desperate. Your roommate keeps telling you to get on Tinder, but it feels too soon. (What if your ex sees your profile? Are they swiping yet?)
Whether you're relieved or absolutely devastated by your new relationship status, there's one solid way to fill the time you used to spend with your ex that doesn't involve rehashing your breakup: Netflixing (a verb I just made up). Because everybody experiences relationships differently, I've compiled a Netflix roundup to fit various breakup moods—whether that means crying to Josh Groban or re-enacting Destiny's Child's "Independent Women" music video.
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
When you need a relatable reality check.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the ultimate movie to watch post-breakup. For starters, main character Peter (Jason Segel) starts out exactly where you are, romantically devastated, so it's already relatable. The movie is ridiculous and funny as hell, which is always good when you've only taken breaks from crying to shove Ben & Jerry's in your mouth all weekend. And lucky for you, none of the romantic relationships depicted in the film are all that desirable (read: everyone is fucked up), so you won't find yourself consumed by jealousy, which usually happens if you turn on a rom-com amidst your new singledom.
What really pushes this movie to the top of this list is that it sheds light on a crucial fact we tend to forget when we've just gone through a breakup: You can pretty much guarantee that the reality of your relationship was nowhere near as picturesque as your memory plays it—and that's worth remembering.
2. Revolutionary Road
When you want to sulk and cry it out.
Watch Revolutionary Road because crying to Titanic during a breakup is far too cliché, and you can only give up so much of your dignity in times of heartache. This film will give you the Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet romance that you crave, but with less lighthearted courtship and more "hopeless emptiness," as Winslet's character April calls it in the film.
This movie, like your heart, is heavy, so take its two-hour runtime to sulk, cry, and feel bad for yourself and the characters involved. Sometimes you need to feel your feelings to their fullest extent—this is the time to do it. Afterward, I beg of you, will yourself to get out of the house and do something fun or at least distracting. Get your nails done, go axe throwing, whatever. The heart can only take so much.
3. Mad Money
When you need a break from sulking.
I don't know about you, but women-scamming-the-government-for-money is my favorite genre of film. If you agree, try watching Mad Money post-breakup when you're ready to take a breather from feeling sorry for yourself. Who knows, you may end up replacing those tears with something close to laughter. If the iconic cast including Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes can't distract you from whoever just ripped their way through your heart, I'm not sure what will.
Plus, now that you're single, you'll finally have time to focus on some things that have been on the back-burner, like starting that new potentially lucrative project. This film might just be the motivation you need to get out there and chase your money—though I'd suggest legal methods...
4. Kill Bill
When you want revenge.
The emotions we have following a breakup aren't always sadness and self-pity. For some, it's all pure, unfiltered anger. If you find yourself riding that wave, a much better idea than breaking plates in your apartment while cursing your ex's name is to live vicariously through Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill and then take a nap.
Now, before you decide to turn on the movie, you should know that the film was produced by Harvey Weinstein and has been criticized for using sexual assault as an "emotional catalyst." And earlier this year, Uma Thurman alleged that the film's producers had her perform a driving stunt that they knew would risk her safety, which resulted in a car crash and Thurman's hospitalization. That said, many believe that Kill Bill's feminist legacy overpowers the misogynist men that contributed to its creation. After all—despite coming out in the early 2000s (aka the golden age of American rom-coms)— Kill Bill is an action movie that centers a complex woman lead, focusing on her strength and perseverance rather than her romantic pursuits.
5. Bee Movie
When you'd rather die than think about love ever again.
On top of being perfect, the Bee Movie is an excellent distraction from the fuckboy, fuckgirl, or fuck-gender-non-conforming person in your life. Tell me how you're going to think about—let alone stress about—whether or not your bum ex is on Tinder yet when Barry (the bee) is out here trying to save the world and all of beekind from the ruthless destruction of the human race?? You're not.
Bee Movie will have you asking yourself some big questions, namely: Can a human and a bee make love? Am I an awful person for eating honey? How do I befriend a bee without it stinging me? Am I going to hell for that bee I squashed last summer? You'll be so busy contemplating answers to these complex questions that you won't have time to think about your breakup. Plus, your new knowledge of the horrors of the honey industry will make for very enlightening dinner conversations, and no one has to know your learnedness has come from a children's cartoon.
6. Magic Mike
When you're ready to celebrate being single.
If movies had auras, Magic Mike's would be ~ single and out here~. If your breakup was more relief than heartbreak, this is the movie for you. If it was they type of shattering heartbreak that left you wondering how you'll ever look at another person romantically again, this movie is also for you.
Magic Mike will leave you ready to start a new dedicated ab workout, shower a stripper in dollar bills, and sensually give your laundry covered desk chair the best lap dance of its life. I'm no therapist, but I'm convinced that all three of these acts are extremely healthy coping mechanisms. Not all movies provide entertainment and therapeutic techniques, so shoutout to Magic Mike.
7. Eyes Wide Shut
When you're horny.
Listen, being single does not mean being sexually unsatisfied. They make insane vibrators these days, and casual sex has its perks. For some, however, the risk of fucking a stranger is not considered desirable when a breakup is still fresh.
So, when you find yourself alone and horny—and you will, because such is the human condition—consider turning on Eyes Wide Shut, a mysterious erotic drama starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. The film is filled with masked parties, ritual orgies, and sexual fantasies, making it the perfect way to satiate your horniness at a time in your life when sex may not be quite as available as it used to be.
8. Front Cover
When you need a reminder that relationships are complicated and that's okay.
Romantic dramedy Front Cover encompasses a whole lot more than romance as our two lovers Ryan and Ning struggle to accept their Chinese and gay identities respectively—and perhaps that's what makes their relationship feel so real. Romance doesn't exist in a bubble, isolated from the other issues that occupy our minds, and Front Cover is a wonderful example of that.
The film might even make you believe that—despite any emotional challenges you're navigating in life—you, too, could one day find love that manifests as gently and beautifully as Ryan and Ning's.
9. While You Were Sleeping
When you need to believe in love again.
While You Were Sleeping, starring 2000s rom-com queen Sandra Bullock, is just the cheesy-in-a-good-way type of love story you need right now, and it even has a slightly less predictable plot than these films usually do. Bullock's character Lucy hates her job, her neighbor, and the creepy, awkward predicament she lied her way into, but she still manages to land a charming guy who's ready to spend the rest of his life with her.
The movie is a solid reminder that no matter how huge your rut, it might be exactly what will lead you to your happily ever after.