Valentine’s Day is here. If you’re loved up, you can celebrate to your heart’s content with classic romantic movies like Casablanca, or comedies like When Harry Met Sally. They’ll all make you suitably dewy eyed.
But what if you just want to escape the whole darn thing?
Here’s some mood-killers that should help you give the schmaltziest day of the year the biggest thumbs down going. Even if some of them do have the teeniest element of romance…
Gone Girl (2014)
David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller is enough to make you glad you’re single. Amy (Rosamund Pike) and Nick (Ben Affleck) appear to have a perfect marriage but, in truth, it’s about as screwed up as they come – lies, lies and more lies, not to mention kidnapping, adultery and murder.
You almost don’t blame her for taking her public revenge, except that they’re both as bad as each other, and deserve each other.
So sit back and immerse yourself in the comfort of not being in a toxic relationship like theirs.
Handle with care. For some, Spike Jonze’s story of the ‘relationship’ between a man and his OS system is deeply romantic. For others, it’s a painful study of loneliness and disappointment which, for the cynics among us, makes it the perfect anti-Valentine’s watch.
It shows that love always lets us down, regardless of who or what the object of our affection happens to be.
And it’s reinforced by the vaguely sinister undertone that goes with never knowing who’s actually behind the OS system.
Released seven years ago, it’s worth a re-watch on any day of the year for its portrait of the influence technology has on our lives. It seems even more relevant today.
Ari Aster’s hit from last year isn’t just the psychological horror it appears to be. Nor is the relationship at its core as toxic in the same way as Gone Girl, but it’s fractured and the unhappy Dani (Florence Pugh) knows in her heart that it’s going nowhere.
Not one to watch if you’re going through a break-up and, in truth, probably not a great choice as a date movie. But if you get a frisson of delight and a certain satisfaction from seeing a faithless lover get their just deserts, this will absolutely hit the spot.
Despite all that sunshine, beautiful landscapes and lovely flowers, romantic it most certainly ain’t.
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Let’s go full-on unromantic, and there’s not a trace of it in the Coen Brothers’ Oscar winning modern western. Not even anti-hero Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) and wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) are especially loved up in the few scenes they share together.
It’s ultra-violent, relentlessly gripping and cold blooded, full of shocks and surprises and the occasional iconic scene. Just what you need if you’re avoiding the supposedly most romantic day of the year.
Love just doesn’t come into it – and if anything approaching that sneaks into your mind, just take a look at that notoriously bad haircut sported by Javier Bardem. That’ll kill it stone dead.
Taxi Driver (1976)
We know the story. In a sleazy, violent New York, loner Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) is going off the rails. No romance there, then. Except there’s an element of love gone wrong that kicks off the action.
His feelings for the lovely Betsy (Sybill Shepherd) aren’t reciprocated on any level and that rejection is the catalyst for everything that follows. Let’s face it, his idea of a good date movie and the way he deals – or doesn’t – with being turned down is enough to put anybody off the idea of dating.
And the seedy, downbeat tone of the movie, the violence and Bickle’s dramatic mental decline, will have you deleting your Tinder app in no time.
A good horror will always ruin even the slightest of romantic moments, and Jordan Peele’s latest offering is so scary it will completely destroy it.
So Lupita Nyong’o and her family are happy enough, but there’s nothing especially loved up about them and when their holiday home is invaded by their doppelgangers – of sorts – it all gets hair-raisingly terrifying.
There’s no chance of feeling in the mood for love while you’re watching this: it’s too frightening, too riveting and you just won’t want to know! The ultimate cold shower for Valentine’s Day.
And, if you’d rather go to the cinema instead of staying at home, Sonic The Hedgehog and the re-release of The Lost Boys all land on Valentine’s Day as well.
Great antidotes to all those hearts and flowers.