Five films (which may end your relationship) to see before Valentine’s Day

There’s only a month until Valentine’s Day, and a small sad proportion of the population will doubtless be fretting at the prospect of limping through another day of nationally mandated love and affection without exposing their true feelings as to the hollow, petrified husk which is all that’s left of their empty relationships. We’ve all been there, and – just in case you think this might actually be the year you hang yourself with the ribbon from round a Me To You Bear’s neck to avoid another silent dinner date – we thought it was time to provide some help. We’ve scoured the dozens of films due to be released between now and February 14th, and by happy chance there are several which, carefully applied once a week, should ease your other half into the prospect of spending life alone. Good luck!

Conviction – 14th January
At first glance, Conviction may not seem like the sort of thing you really need if you’re seeking to expose the underlying flaws in an ailing relationship. Hilary Swank playing a hard-as-nails working class character who trains as a lawyer in an attempt to overturn her brother’s wrongful conviction? It sounds positively uplifting – sort of a cross between Legally Blonde and Erin Brockovich. However, the true genius of this choice demands a closer reading. Swank’s character shows absolute dedication to her beloved brother, sacrificing her own marriage as the struggle to support two children whilst balancing a job with law school take their inevitable toll on her emotional life. As with any film showing such extraordinary selflessness, each viewer leaves the theatre speculating as to whether anyone in their life would merit a similar degree of altruism. Just wait for your significant other to realise that you’re not actually worth it, and you should be rolling in the emotional currency of a tearful split a full month before Valentine’s Day!

I Spit On Your Grave – 21st January
The controversial remake of 1978 proto-torture-porn sensation Day of the Woman (memorable for finally giving the world a legitimate excuse for using the words ‘Buster Keaton’ and ‘anally gang-raped’ in the same sentence), I Spit On Your Grave might be the least romantic film of all time. Essentially, it deals with a lady novelist being spectacularly assaulted and then left for dead by a posse of rednecks – so far, so lovey-dovey – who she later tracks down one by one and murders in cartoonish fashion. Two of the rapists are killed by a shotgun blast which eviscerates one of them after already having negotiated the digestive system of the other – not surprising, really, since the latter rapist has the gun lodged firmly in his rectum. Charming. However, it should have the convenient effect of (respectively) making your boyfriend cross his legs for at least a fortnight, in which case you can blame the breakup on him not being interested, or making your girlfriend become a nun/kill you. Either way you manage to duck Valentine’s Day altogether. Score!

Biutiful – 28th January
We’re very excited about Biutiful, the Mexican Oscar-hopeful which stars Javier Bardem as an underworld kingpin struggling to maintain a relationship with his children in the face of his dodgy dealings and alcoholic wife, but even more thrilling is the prospect of just how awkward you and your better half will feel as you leave the cinema. This is going to be Revolutionary Road all over again – it doesn’t matter how hard you strive and how much effort you put into yapping about emigrating to Paris, ultimately Leo’s still knocking off receptionists and doesn’t want your children. Javier Bardem’s character could be the best dad in the world, but the mother of his children is still going to die, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. This is perfect. As you get up, mutter something about the utter futility of hope (take that, Obama!) and remember to leave some Schopenhauer lying around – you never know, your other half might even go the whole hog and top themselves like he did. Sympathy, cool black outfits AND single for V-Day!

Rabbit Hole – 4th February
Right. If you’ve made it into February with your relationship nominally intact, you’ve clearly not been adhering to the plan which we’ve carefully laid out above (more fool you). However, there’s still time to save the day and ensure that you’re in a position to spend Valentine’s Day as all right-thinking people should – in bed with a bottle of port and Seasons 1-6 of House. Rabbit Hole stars Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman as a happily married couple whose youngest son is killed in a car accident, setting into motion a chain of events which threatens to tear apart everything they have painstakingly built. As Eckhart immerses himself in the past and Kidman inexplicably takes up with the driver who mowed down her child, you will both realise that if they can’t hold it together then you certainly won’t be able to – only last week you threatened to join the Foreign Legion because of that issue with the cheese grater, for God’s sake! Just give it up, abandon all hope of getting your CDs back and potter off into the night – it’s for the best.

Gnomeo and Juliet – 11th February
Really? It’s the 11th now – you really are cutting it unnecessarily fine. Still, the sentient robot which presumably chooses film release dates has saved up the best for last. Take your beloved to Gnomeo and Juliet (sell it as a pre-Valentine’s Day treat) and watch their faith in humanity slowly dribble out of them into the seat cushion. As a truly extraordinary array of thespian talent – we’re talking James McAvoy AND Emily Blunt AND Michael Caine AND Maggie Smith AND Julie Walters AND Patrick Stewart AND Richard Wilson AND OZZY BLOODY OSBOURNE – lines up and is viciously buggered to a toe-tappin’ Elton John soundtrack, you will come to realise that everything you have ever loved will eventually turn on you and exact dread vengeance; in a world where the sometime Prince of Darkness will lend his voice to a CGI faun there’s barely any point in breathing, let alone maintaining a connection with another human being. Plus the titular couple will presumably die at the end, which should help. Job done.

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