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High Fidelity (2000)
High Fidelity (2000)

Top ten films to break up to

If you think your break-up's bad spare a thought for these poor sods on film

To celebrate French director Philippe Garrel's atmospheric new film Jealousy about broken love lives we're brooding over break-up flicks this week. From High Fidelity to Blue Valentine – misery loves company...and a top ten, get ready to lol-sob your way through these picks.


If only every trace of memory of your former lover could be totally erased from your brain, right? That's the premise of this high-concept but very human romantic sci-fi, penned by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry, in which two exes (Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey) undergo an experimental procedure.


Niggling pettiness sparks the decline of a toxic relationship between a slacker removals guy (Ryan Gosling) and a nurse with fidelity issues (Michelle Williams) in this bleak, rawly devastating anti-romance from director Derek Cianfrance. If you think YOUR break-up's bad…


Animosity doesn't pay in one of the best black comedies of the '80s. The fine love between love and hate turns into an outrageous out-and-out war in as a divorcing couple (Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas) both refuse to move out of the mansion they've filled with their prized possessions. 


For OTT catharsis you can't beat Andrzej Zulawski's '80s Berlin-set cult gem, in which a hysteria-infused marriage break-up escalates into supernatural horror. In its most famed scene, a deranged and possessed Isabelle Adjani covers the walls of an underground pass with supermarket goods.


If tasteful wallowing's more your thing, no-one makes the melancholy of a broken heart as aesthetically attractive as Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai. With lushly shot, rainy alley-ways and the iconic track Yumeji's Theme, he tells of the denied desire and separation of two neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who fall for each other after their spouses start having an affair.


Heartache king Wong Kar-wai had already nailed a harder-edged melancholy in this stylishly shot tale of impossible love between two guys from Hong Kong (Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) who bicker while together but mope when apart, and move to Buenos Aires in a last-ditch attempt for a new start.


The "it's not you, it's me" school of thought gets the wry dramatic treatment in this Stephen Frears adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel. John Cusack stars as a record-store owner who, when his girlfriend dumps him, decides to get in touch with his old flames to find out where he keeps going wrong in his relationships.


Breaking up is even more of a blow to the pride when your "boyfriend" doesn't think you're in a relationship in the first place. In this comical Czech New Wave classic from director Milos Forman a small-town girl has a one-night stand with a musician and turns up at his place in Prague with a suitcase - to the shock of his parents.


In this rom-com classic, Woody Allen plays one of his typical neurotics. New York comic Alvy Singer tries to decipher the reason his relationship with the ditsy title character, a singer played by Diane Keaton, failed. Nerves, self-deception, and a whole range of hang-ups form a stew of coupledom, reassuring us that all partners in romance are flawed - and that's part of the charm.


Does the future heal the past? In her experimental documentary Swedish director Maja Borg visits 97-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco at The Venus Project in Florida, seeking both an alternative to our failed global economic system and a way out of the heartbreak of her own ended relationship with Italian actress Nadya Cazan, who first introduced her to Fresco's vision.

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