Thanks to the arbitrary malice of the Oxford admin office and the Gregorian calendar, Valentine’s day this year falls in the middle of Fifth Week, and you know what that means—a double whammy of fifth week and singleton blues. So, to cheer you up, Cherwell has compiled the official film guide to curing your blues via the box:
Single? This film will make you glad you are. Gone Girl, David Fletcher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 thriller, would surely win any prize going for the worst film to watch on a first date. Centred on the disappearance of Amy (Rosamund Pike), all signs seem to point at shifty husband Nick (Ben Affleck) as the source of her disappearance, but as the police investigation gets underway it becomes clear that something is amiss. If you want to watch the picking apart of a dysfunctional marriage to hammer home that all relationships are secretly fuelled by hatred anyway, Gone Girl will bring some validation to your sorrow.
For a more realistic portrayal of the perils of modern dating, you can’t go wrong with 500 Days of Summer. Zooey Deschanel plays the titular Summer, a prototypical manic pixie dream girl constructed by Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and the film plays out the gradual failure of their relationship over the course of a year and a half. It may not be cheerful but at least it’s realistic, and it is certainly pleasing to see a film that deconstructs its own tropes—the recognition of Tom’s naïve perception of women is made manifest in the cathartic ending, in which Tom meets a girl named Autumn, proving that Summer was, to him, a phase and not a person in her own right. So, if you’re experiencing something of a winter of discontent, 500 Days of Summer could be just the one for you.
Too scared of commitment to commit to an entire film? Try an episode of Lovesick to cure your heartache. Originally billed as Scrotal Recall, Lovesick follows Dylan, a 20-something recently diagnosed with chlamydia who is tasked with telling all his ex-partners about his diagnosis. Every episode is centred on a different ex-girlfriend as the show continually jumps back and forth in time. Perfect for dipping in and out of. Cheeky.
Sometimes we all need to have a good old fashioned cry, and especially since it’s Fifth Week, perfect crying material comes to us in the hands of Disney’s Up. Unless you’re really into cartoons about old people exploring the rainforest, watching the entire film won’t be necessary. Just opt for the first ten minutes and the sequence in which Carl and Ellie’s marriage is summarised, to remind you that love is fleeting and ephemeral at the best of times— and if a pixelated old man can’t be lucky in love, what does it matter if that girl from Bridge the other night didn’t text you back?
Need a total and utter distraction from anything vaguely work/romance related? Let childhood classic Finding Nemo distract you with its rather ominous tale of a fish being kidnapped. It may not be high culture, but it does have some valuable life lessons for us all, so when in doubt, remember—“just keep swimming.”