Hate V-Day? Here’s your anti-Valentine’s watchlist to keep you company

Ah, Valentine’s is upon us, whether you like it or not.

If you dread this season like it’s the plague or if kilig makes you cringe more than it sets your heart aflutter, then this anti-Valentine’s watchlist could help you get through this month of flowers and chocolates, candlelit dinners and heart-shaped what-nots. 

Whether you’re just recovering from a bad breakup or if romance is not your thing, then ticking off the movies on this list might do your anti-cheese self wonders this “season of love.”

Gone Girl (2014)

I couldn’t believe that it’s been a decade since this dark and convoluted film premiered in theaters. Based on Gillian Flynn’s sensational novel of the same name, the story follows married couple Ben Affleck (Nick) and Rosamund Pike (Amy), who at first seems like your picture-perfect white American married couple.

Things go awry when Amy goes missing on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, with Nick becoming the prime suspect. It raises the question: How well do you really know your partner?

Director David Fincher deftly takes us on a mind-bending journey through marriage—warts and all. This thriller is sure to make you feel better if you’re not yet ready to get (or are no longer) married.

Midsommar (2019)

Another twisted entry on this anti-Valentine’s watchlist is Ari Aster’s follow-up to his hit movie Hereditary. Don’t be fooled by its dreamy, peaceful location, because something sinister is at work—even in broad daylight.

The movie has dysfunctional couple Dani (Florence Pugh in her usual stellar self) and Christian (Jack Reynor) going on a trip to rural Sweden. Just when you thought that nothing could be worse than their troubled relationship, things get even weirder and downright menacing when they arrive at their seemingly idyllic destination and get entangled with a bizarre pagan cult. 

This disturbing movie will make you feel glad you have no emotionally distant boyfriend/girlfriend who makes you feel worthless and takes you somewhere you can flex on Instagram but turns out to be a one-way ticket because there’s no going back. 

Get Out (2017)

You know a couple’s relationship has leveled up when meeting the parents is already on the agenda. But what may be a milestone for some turns out to be a nightmare for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya in a searing Oscar-nominated performance).

Interracial couple Chris and Rose (Allison Williams) travel to upstate New York for the weekend to meet her parents for the first time. What starts out as an awkward visit soon enough makes a horrifying turn as Chris finds himself fighting for his survival—and sanity.

A thriller that’s also part comedy and part social commentary, Get Out manages to lay bare the persistent and systemic racism in the US in such an eerie yet thought-provoking way—you’ll feel disturbed even long after you’ve finished watching the film.

It will definitely make you feel lucky to not have someone to bring home and introduce to your folks just yet.

Marriage Story (2019)

I loved this movie despite it being quite difficult to watch because it felt real and made me feel things (my 21-year relationship with my husband is doing just fine, thank you). As someone who has been in a long-term relationship for over half my life, however, I can relate to some of the issues our distressed couple is going through. 

Scarlett Johansson (Nicole) and Adam Driver (Charlie) are a couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce. Just like any breakup, things get messy and ugly, with Johansson and Driver delivering what could possibly be the best performances of their already illustrious careers. They were so raw and so believable, I lost count of how many times I cried during the movie.   

Marriage Story will make you think twice about dating to marry or longing for your better half to pop that question, because you’ll end up wondering why bother if you’ll only break up in the end? After all, even the most enduring couples sometimes still breakup.

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Revolutionary Road was the highly anticipated reunion of Titanic (1997) co-stars and real-life best friends Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Don’t expect them to be the same moon-eyed characters they played on the ill-fated ship though. Far from being the star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose were, this film, set in the mid-fifties, follows a young couple living in a Connecticut suburb struggling to raise their two children while fighting personal demons.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio reunite in Revolutionary Road, a 2008 film that’s anything like the Titanic (1997). Photo from Time Out

As unflinching in its portrayal of a crumbling relationship as Marriage Story is, this film will also make you not want to get sucked into what could be a bleak marriage. 

Someone Great (2018)

The ever-charismatic Gina Rodriguez plays music journalist Jenny who’s reeling from a painful breakup after her boyfriend of nine years dumps her before she leaves New York to take on her dream job. You’ll love the female friendships, the electric chemistry between the leads, soundtrack, dialogue—watch out for Jenny’s heart-wrenching, tear-soaked monologue/letter/breakup advice toward the end of the movie. 

Though billed as a romantic comedy—and sure there are laugh-out-loud moments—the movie makes it to this Anti-Valentine’s watchlist as it does a great job of showing how relationships can be tough but breaking up is way tougher. You’ll be spared the heartaches if you’re single, though, lucky you.

Past Lives (2023)

One of my favorite films from last year, this moving and unforgettable debut feature from Celine Song explores life’s many “What if’s” through the magnetic performances of its lead actors Greta Lee (Nora), Teo Yoo (Hae Sung), and John Magaro (Arthur).

You may think, “What is a romantic movie doing in an anti-Valentine’s watchlist?” Past Lives, however, goes beyond your typical romance. It’s more a contemplation as it raises more questions than answers about regrets and past loves, but it does so in such an elegant and sublime way. I cried along with Nora and wanted to give Hae Sung a big hug by the end of the film.

Past Lives will make you feel good if you don’t have a TOTGA—the one that got away—with that resulting feeling of being stuck in the past with all your lingering feelings making you unable to move on.

The new lifestyle.