Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Anyone who wants to celebrate love in its Valentine-y, idealized form should avoid Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind at all costs. Unless, of course, you find watching the steady disintegration of a relationship taking place inside someone's brain to be a light, romantic activity that won't make you want to run to your ex. Or erase them. Or, in the case of the movie, both.
On the surface, a movie about a dude falling in love with Siri doesn't seem too bad, but the longer you think about it, the sadder it gets. The whole time you're watching it you're wondering if there will ever be a point when you're lonely enough to want to make out with a sufficiently advanced Alexa, and do you really want to know the answer to that question? It only gets worse when you realize that not even a computer program tailor-made for your assistance makes for a good partner because you can never tell when it's sneaking off to chat up the ghost of Alan Watts.
Celeste and Jesse Forever
All "divorce romances" should be avoided on Valentine's Day as a rule, but this one is particularly bad since it's Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones at their most charming. You really want them to stay together, and seeing how their relationship was actually holding them back is a sad reminder that not even the nice-feeling romances are necessarily meant to last. Definitely leave this one for February 15th.
The Fault in Our Stars
Oh you like love? You like relationships? You like it when sick kids find happiness and meaning in their cruelly short lives? The Fault in Our Stars thinks that's suuuper cute. The Fault in Our Stars thinks it's so cute that the movie is going to serve you a big heaping plate of all those things you love—the romance, the wish-fulfillment, the glimmering hope of youthful exuberance—and then it's going to kick you in the face. Hope you like crying so hard your eyes swell shut.
Any movie that begins with "the girl I loved is dead" should kind of prepare you for what's coming, but there's still nothing particularly Valentine-y about a movie where of the two gorgeous romantic leads, one dies slowly of tuberculosis and the other ends up a penniless alcoholic whose romance-hating father was actually right about the dangers of Paris. What? That's really how it starts!
If you're in a relationship, don't watch Gone Girl with your boo on Valentine's Day. You will both lay awake at night, next to each other but somehow disconnected, with doubt about everything you thought you know about your lover poisoning the air between you. If you're single, Gone Girl will straight up make you never want to get married. Either way, save it for another day.
Not to spoil Atonement but this romance between a rich girl and a servant is best summed up in the immortal words of Game of Thrones' Ramsay Bolton: "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." Things can always get worse in Atonement. Always.
You know Ryan Gosling had to pop up somewhere on this list, but feel free to watch The Notebook on Valentine's Day if you want some feel-good tears. Do not, however, watch Gosling in Blue Valentine, which manages to cover an unplanned pregnancy, bad exes, workplace harassment, violence, divorce, and a devastated, adorable child. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Jane Austen's bounce-back from giving up the love of her life consisted of becoming Jane freaking Austen, one of the world's most beloved writers. Your bounce-back from giving up the love of your life might be impressive, but you'll likely not approach "becoming Jane Austen" levels of triumphing over your solitude. Just a little something to think about this Valentine's Day.
This movie was kind of billed as a romance and it's got a cool sci-fi twist on the traditional lovey-dovey setup...but it's still technically the story of Chris Pratt getting so lonely he condemns Jennifer Lawrence to die decades before her life was supposed to start. That's just the premise. Still feeling romantic?
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.