If you’re tired of watching Hugh Grant bumble his way through life or couldn’t care less how to lose a guy in 10 days, we’ve rounded up the best anti-Valentine films that will satisfy your inner cynic.

From the offbeat indie film with a banging soundtrack to the cult classic that deep dives into divorce, these are our top picks to watch this February 14th – so good they’ll make you glad you’re single. Here are seven of the best:

Frances Ha

Greta Gerwig is better known these days for her direction work on films like Lady Bird, Little Women and, of course, Barbie – but before all that, she starred in Frances Ha, directed by her partner Noah Baumbach.

Shot in black and white, it’s a comedy-drama focusing on a woman, Frances, in her later 20s (Gerwig), who’s struggling as a dancer in New York City. She faces, among other things, the all too relatable problem of affording rent. She’s forced to move after her friend Sophie moves neighbourhood, and has something of a quarter-life crisis. Why is it a great anti-Valentine film? Because it’s more about friendship, and the single Frances is more interested in finding self-fulfilment than a perfect romance.

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

Kramer Vs Kramer

The first “relationship breaking down” film on this list, Kramer vs Kramer is a now iconic legal drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. The story tells of the fallout of Ted (Hoffman) and Johanna’s (Streep) marriage, with Ted learning following a promotion that Johanna wants to separate. The couple eventually decides to divorce and their breakup takes a particular toll on the couple’s son, Billy, who is caught up in a custody battle.

The custody battle becomes even more difficult for them when their lawyers engage in character assassination to try and win the case. The film won five Oscars including Best Picture and Streep’s first Academy Award and was the highest grosser of 1979.

Stream on Amazon Prime Video

The Lobster

If you loved Poor Things, you might want to watch Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2015 flick, The Lobster.

A particularly odd and absurdist comedy-drama, The Lobster sees David (Colin Farrell) move into a hotel after his wife leaves him for another man. The hotel manager informs him that all of the singletons in the hotel are obliged to find a new romantic partner within 45 days- or else they’ll transform into an animal. The singletons do at least get to choose which animal to become should they fail, and David wants to be a lobster. Rachel Weisz stars opposite Farrell, and the two characters begin a rather bizarre “romance.”

Stream on Channel 4

Marriage Story

If you want a more painful story of a marriage breakdown than Kramer vs Kramer, you can opt for 2019’s Marriage Story. Another Baumbach film, Marriage Story is definitely not a comedy, focusing on Nicole (Scarlett Johannson) and Charlie (Adam Driver)’s divorce, and it’s not a pretty one.

Unflinching in its exploration of how marriages can end up very unhappy, the film is anchored by Johannson and Driver’s lead performances, with the kind of onscreen arguments that feel so real they make you cringe. Also starring are Alan Alda, Ray Liotta and Julie Hagerty- but out of these, it’s Laura Dern’s turn as Nicole’s lawyer Nora that steals the show, winning her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar along with Driver’s Best Actor.

Stream on Netflix

Get Out

If you’d rather have scares in your anti-Valentine viewing of choice, then Get Out fits the bill. Propelling director Jordan Peele to becoming one of the most sought-after names in Hollywood, this creepy psychological thriller was one those films everyone was talking about at the time, following Chris (Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya), a young Black man from New York who is invited by his white girlfriend Rose (M3GAN star Allison Williams) to meet the rest of her family.

Things, however, quickly go wrong as Chris begins to discover numerous secrets about the family that leave him shocked to the core. It has themes that tackle issues of race and privilege and was nominated for several Oscars. LaKeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Knives Out), Lil Rel Howery (Poker Face), Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Stephen Root (Succession) also appear in the cast.

stream on netflix

Booksmart

Booksmart came out in 2019 and quietly became one of last decade’s best comedies. It’s something of a coming-of-age teen comedy but without the overwhelming focus on romance. Two students in high school, Amy (played by Ticket to Paradise and No One Will Save You star Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (played by Lady Bird and American Crime Story star Beanie Feldstein) are finally graduating and have prestigious Ivy League universities in their sights. But they’ve never been very popular amongst the rest of their cohort, and they’re already wondering if perhaps their happiest days have passed them by. To remedy this, they end up concocting a plan to get out of their self-doubting rut and start partying instead of endlessly working. It’s a film about friendship and having fun, rather than rivalry and chasing dates.

Also in the cast are Jessica Williams (Shrinking), Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth), Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) and Friends star Lisa Kudrow.

Purchase on amazon prime video

500 Days of Summer

We put 500 Days of Summer in our Best Romance Films To Watch For Valentine’s Day piece, but truthfully the film balances between a rom-com and a heart-pulling breakup drama, so it belongs here too. It sees Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) reflecting on his relationship with the girl he thought was his soulmate after their relationship fails. Tom is convinced that true love and soul mates do exist, but the titular Summer (Zooey Deschanel) does not. The film follows a non-linear narrative, as Tom desperately tries to figure out exactly what went wrong in a relationship he thought was perfect, and if he can turn things around and win Summer back- and it’s one of those films that perfectly portrays young love. And did we mention it has a banging soundtrack?

Stream on disney plus

Picnic At Hanging Rock

Definitely the most anti-Valentine film on this list, as it has very little to do with love and romance- but the holiday does feature in the plot. The mystery film was directed by Peter Weir (Dead Poet’s Society, The Truman Show) and is adapted from a 1967 novel of the same name. On Valentine’s Day, 1900, a group of schoolgirls in Victoria, Australia and their teacher head to the natural landmark Hanging Rock, and suddenly disappear. The disappearance seems highly mysterious and has a profound effect on the local community. The film stars Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse and Jacki Weaver, and is worth watching at any time of year- but Valentine’s setting makes it all the better to watch in February.

stream on amazon prime video

stream on Netflix

Revolutionary Road

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio… surely that means an epic love story like no other, right? Well, not quite: Revolutionary Road reunites the two stars of Titanic in a romantic drama, but there’s no Celine Dion here.

They play a couple, Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet), living in the 1950s, who are experiencing problems with their love and marriage as their own personal issues strain them. The drama, based on a novel by Richard Yates, is directed by Bond and 1917 director Sam Mendes. When they meet, Frank works as a dockworker but wants to move into retail, while April is an aspiring actress. Things seem pretty idyllic, as they marry and April announces she’s pregnant. But they both have problems, despite appearing to friends as inseparable and April questions Frank’s faithfulness. As films about love going stale and dreams falling away go, it’s certainly up there.

Michael Shannon (The Bikeriders), David Harbour (Stranger Things) and Kathryn Hahn (Glass Onion) also star.

Stream on paramount+

Blue Valentine

A film with the name Blue Valentine is pretty clearly one to watch if you don’t want sunshine and roses. Ryan Gosling is known for roles in comedies like Ken in Barbie or perma-Valentine’s staple The Notebook, but Blue Valentine is one of his more underrated films. He stars opposite award-winning actress Michelle Williams, who’s recently starred in films like The Fabelmans and All The Money in the World, in a time-jumping story about failing marriage and love.

A little like Marriage Story, our main characters Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Gosling) are in a relationship and living with their daughter Frankie, but it’s not a happy one. Both can see that their marriage is fraying and is not what it once was, and wonder if it can be saved. The narrative moves back and forth from when they were first getting to know each other and heading for a happy relationship, to the present day with strains and concerns for the wellbeing of their daughter- and the result is a gripping, sad drama.

stream on itvx


Want to receive more great articles like this every day? Join our daily email now