5 Movie Romances With Depressing Endings
We all love a good romance movie. Few things in life are as satisfying as watching a couple fall in love on the big screen. They go through their requisite meet cute and getting to know you phase before some misunderstanding or obstacle comes along to temporarily break them up so they can have a big, emotional reunion in the final act. It’s a familiar ride…at least it is until it veers off course.
Sadly, not all romances end with the promise of happily ever after. Sometimes filmmakers feel it’s better to leave us crying over our popcorn instead. Tragic romances give us a glimpse of the couple’s happiness only to wrench it away as quickly as Lucy yanked that football away from Charlie Brown. That doesn’t make them any less satisfying than their cheerier counterparts though.
These five romances may have depressing endings, but that doesn’t stop me from channeling my inner Charlie Brown and watching them over and over again, always hoping that maybe this time the couple will ride off into the sunset instead of leaving me sobbing like a tiny, tiny baby.
It’s not like James Cameron didn’t warn us. We all knew that boat was going to sink, but it didn’t have to take out half of one of cinema’s most swoonworthy couples in the process. Jack and Rose were the archetypical star-crossed lovers right down to the class divide and the downer ending. They were supposed to spend the rest of their days crossing off things on Rose’s bucket list, but instead Jack ended up dying an unbearably noble death whilst clinging to the side of a piece of driftwood that I still maintain could have held two people, or at the very least, could have been time-shared.
Rose went on to live a long and full life, and met up with Jack again in Titanic heaven, but it was cold comfort to a generation of teenage girls who went on to plaster their walls with Leonardo DiCaprio’s face.
Woody Allen’s most popular film is notable for being as funny as it is brutally honest. The relationship between Alvy and Annie is sweet and intense, not just love, but lurve. Everything about the duo is endearing from Annie’s unusual wardrobe choices to Alvy’s neurosis. They seem to complement each other beautifully despite their different personalities, but Annie Hall is at heart a story about a couple that is falling apart. Not in a big traumatic way like in Blue Valentine, but in the small, normal way most couples split in real life despite their best efforts to hold their relationship together. The film is funny because it mines the truth for laughs. Annie and Alvy get back together only to realize once again that they just don’t fit anymore.
It’s a familiar relationship trajectory; the final message being that sometimes even lurve isn’t enough to keep two people together, but that doesn’t mean the journey they shared wasn’t a wonderful one.
They never sleep together. They never kiss. Their entire love story is played out through song and it is achingly romantic. The movie sails along on a sea of yearning and flawless harmonizing, constantly teasing the duo’s connection even though we know that they’re not meant to be. But they should have been.
Yes, she had a husband in the Czech Republic and he wasn’t quite over his ex-girlfriend, but two people who made such beautiful music together should have been able to work something out, if only to satisfy the lovelorn audience who fell so in love with them over the course of the movie.
Given the time period they were living in, Jack and Ennis were doomed from the word go. The injustice of their situation only made the time they share together all the more bittersweet. Watching their tentative flirting grow into very real feelings always leaves me as melancholy as it does happy because I know the shirt scene is coming and the shirt scene is one of the most emotionally devastating moments in cinema history. There’s no getting around it: Jack and Ennis’s love story hurts. But then, all the best love stories do.
Unlike the other couples on this list, it’s hard to root for Scarlett and Rhett. Their chemistry is off the charts, sure, but they make for a combustible duo. They’re miserable pretty much full-stop when they are together making the second half of the movie a soul-sucking slog of depression. Still, even though they are terrible together you just know that when Rhett walks out that door he’s never going to find another woman who understands him the way Scarlett does and vice versa. They get each other.
Their love was messy, complicated (Scarlett was a bit slow on the uptake thanks to her unfortunate infatuation with that walking black hole of boredom Ashley) and compelling enough to make even the most jaded of hearts break when in the end they realize Scarlett has figured out her feelings one moment too late for it to matter.
Those are the five movie romances that depress me the most, but there are plenty of other doomed lovers out there. Which movie couples do you think had a more depressing ending than these guys?
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