S.A.D. Movies for Singles


“Marie Antoinette” was directed by Sofia Coppola. (COURTESY OF LEIGH JOHNSON)


As Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.) approaches, it becomes important to remember the flip side of Valentine’s Day. There are many individuals out there who are sadly missing a partner or have no one to spend the day of romance with. More than likely, they will retreat into the darkness of their homes with nary a thing to do except curl up on their couches and turn on the television. In anticipation of that inevitability, the following list features a variety of films which rebuke the concept of traditional relationships. Who needs romance anyway?

“Troy” (2004)

In “Troy,” Wolfgang Petersen weaves the definitive cinematic version of the tragedy of the Trojan War. Famously, it was jump started by an ill-fated romance between Helen of Troy (Diane Kruger) and the warrior Paris (Orlando Bloom) in a tale that somehow manages to end much more tragically than “Romeo and Juliet” could ever hope to. Brad Pitt and Eric Bana round out the main cast as Achilles and Hector, both of whom were in their prime when making this film. Its tragic romance is only bolstered by spectacular action sequences and true expressions of dramatic weight. “Troy” is an epic that shows just what happens when romance is taken to its most extreme, and it does it with as much style as substance.

“The Departed” (2006)

Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller might at first seem like an odd choice for a list like this, but the Academy Award-winning film is filled to the brim with subtext about how traditional relationships should be. Its pair of main characters, Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), each embody American ideals in different ways. It is telling that Sullivan, the bad guy posing as a good guy, is the one to receive an idealized wife (Vera Farmiga) and an allegedly perfect life. Yet, that same woman also becomes smitten with Costigan, the dangerous and aggressive undercover cop. This is a world where violence reigns and where love goes to die. In other words, it is a perfect film for those lacking romantic companionship.

“Marie Antoinette” (2006)

Sofia Coppola’s 2006 take on the dangerous emotional and mental vacancy of the modern day as seen through the lens of 19th century French royalty is a near masterpiece. Featuring Kirsten Dunst as the eponymous French queen, the film features beautiful shots of the Palace of Versailles fit for any dramatic epic and costume design that absolutely deserved the Academy Award it won. However, it is the unusual combination of its historical setting with contemporary music and narrative techniques that creates a tapestry so beautiful in its contradictions that it becomes a perfect companion for any lonely day. As well, King Louis XVI (Jason Schwartzman) and Marie Antoinette make for a very odd and uneven couple, so one can also take pleasure in witnessing their comically dysfunctional marriage.

“Doctor Strange” (2016)

Marvel Studios has always produced high quality films, but rarely have they crafted a tale so dense in its thematic and interpersonal aspects. Though the film has quite a lot of special effects and the usual superhero antics, it holds a dramatic heft carried admirably by its principle actors. To wit, world famous surgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) used to be in a relationship with fellow doctor Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), but his indifference and arrogance quickly put an end to it. Even when Strange has an accident and is placed on a path that leads to his discovery of magic, Palmer was never far out of reach. This is a film that does not have a forced romance, nor does it feel the need to have the pair kiss. Being single is just fine for the two, even if one of them does happen to be the Sorcerer Supreme.

“Lady Bird” (2017)

Watching “Lady Bird” can feel cathartic for anyone who has ever been trapped at home, where alleged friends and family can feel like they are suffocating you. The multidimensionality of this film is one that cannot be stated in mere words; it needs to be witnessed. Saoirse Ronan stars as Christine “Lady Bird” McPhearson, an oddball who desperately wants to be special. Her relationships, especially the ones she has with her two love interests fail to live up to her idealized worldview, leaving her crushed and despondent. Lady Bird is the very definition of a S.A.D. girl, but she never loses hope and never gives up on her dreams even if things don’t always work out. Indeed, the one who stays by her side until the end is not a boy who she sought out due to her insecurities and need for self-actualization, but her female best friend. This is a film which cannot be missed, the perfect pick me up for any solitary souls who feel that their lives are worth less than they are.