10 Movies About Dysfunctional Relationships

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As much as moviegoers love an old-school rom-com with a happy ending, movie couples with a souring relationship or unconventional ways of professing love still crave a handful of audiences.

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From unusually attractive romantic couples to ignoring red flags with passionate displays of love, dysfunctional movie couples highlight the innate flaws of human beings. Films like this stand in contrast to films with an optimistic view of the love story: many destructive relationships depicted on screen give audiences an adrenaline rush while proving that love doesn’t win. still.

‘Natural Born Killers’ (1994)

Having the same relationship goals can lead to a stronger relationship: Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliet Lewis) indeed share the same goals – to commit as much violence as humanly possible.

After a cute dating moment played like an 80s family sitcom, born killers (1994) follows the Knox couple as they embark on a killing spree. Their serial murders eventually attract the attention of an equally dangerous detective and the mass media, who glorify their malignant acts. The 1994 American crime film also sparked controversy with the real-life media for allegedly inspiring copycat crimes.

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“Possession” (1981)

One of the underrated gems of the horror genre, Possession sees the relationship between an international spy Mark (Sam Neil), and his wife Anna (Isabelle Adjani), collapsing, the latter being suspected of having an affair. The truth isn’t always in plain sight as she exhibits increasingly bizarre behaviors that indicate the paranormal might be in charge of Anna.

When the public least expects it, Possession morphs from a typical commentary on failed marriages into a thematically engulfing body horror film of a relationship gone sour and separation anxiety.

‘Birds Without Names’ (2017)

Clinging to an idealized version of romance isn’t always the healthiest. Unable to keep away from her abusive ex-lover, Towako (Yu Aoi) engages in hollow adventures while living idly with a man fifteen years her senior, Jinji (Sadao Abe), who idolizes him. Towako’s life takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that her toxic ex-lover disappeared five years ago and she suspects Jinji is responsible.

While keeping viewers on the edge of their seat regarding the real culprit, nameless birds (2017) is a cryptic Japanese mystery thriller that provides insight into the victims of abusive relationships, which unfolds as a cycle of self-punishment.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

jim carrey sheds his comedic skin and metamorphoses into one of his best drama film roles. Carrey plays Joel, a heartbroken man who knows his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) underwent a procedure to have his memories erased from his. Joël decides to follow in her footsteps but soon regrets his decisions as his love for Clementine remains strong.

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Alongside the equally gorgeous and chameleon-like Winslet, the 2004 sci-fi romance drama is fueled by a decidedly optimistic take on a pessimistic relationship. This relationship is bound to be rekindled again and again as it is blinded by the good memories of the couple.


“Damage” (1992)

An erotic psychological thriller directed by Louis Malle, damage oversees the moral downfall of a respected British politician, Dr. Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons), when he falls in love with his son’s fiancée, Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche).

As shown in one of the film’s quotes: “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive,” the love between Fleming and Barton is socially forbidden while interfering with the audience’s moral compass. This film offers strong feelings of guilt and does not hesitate to assess the consequences of the toxic relationship with other loved ones.

“Bitter Moon” (1992)

What happens when love becomes too passionate and all-consuming? It crashes and burns, viscerally illustrated in bitter moon.

The erotic romance drama centers on two couples, Nigel (Hugh Grant) and Fiona (Kristin ScottThomas), who are an ordinary couple, but bored by each other’s unadventurous spirit in the realm of romance. In contrast, Oscar (Pierre Coyote) and Mimi (Emmanuelle Seigner)’s passionate love story over the years has survived bouts of ruinous jealousy, fearless sexual exploration, and countless reconciliations.

‘Gone Girl’ (2014)

Fan favorite “Cool Girl” Amy Dunne (Rosamund pike) and revenge on her unfaithful husband Nick (Ben Affleck) will not be sorely lacking. missing girl initially portrays Amy as a suburban white bride and perfect woman, gradually revealing her true intentions behind her alleged kidnapping while cementing her status as a beloved cinematic anti-hero.

Amy and Nick strive to be better versions of themselves, pretending to be people they’re not. When they fail to follow their fictionalized images, Amy and Nick seek to destroy each other in sickness and health.

‘Heathlands’ (1989)

Tired of John Hughes‘ high school upbeat romantic comedy work, Heathers is the go-to movie for dark comedy and anti-Valentine’s Day vibes. After new student JD (Christian Slater) arrives, high schooler Veronica Sawyer (winona ryder) drifts away from her grassroots clique and becomes involved in a string of murders staged as teenage suicides.

fans of mean girls (2004) and the lost boys (1987) would share a mutual admiration for the teen movie due to its timeless quality and witty retelling of archetypal high school drama. Not to mention the unorthodox but undeniable attraction between the two lovebirds, JD and Veronica, that redefines “toxic relationships.”


“Happy Together” (1997)

“Let’s do it again,” said Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) to Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung) amid their many breakups and subsequent reconciliations.

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Under the meticulous direction of an eminent Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai, Happy together (1997) transforms a destructive same-sex relationship into a poignant tale of romantic redemption. By residing in a country alienated and surrounded by strangers, the sense of longing for the other is fortified as all hostilities and betrayals of the past are ignored in exchange for familiar intimacy.

‘Tie me Up! Tie Me Up!” (1989)

A look at the title reminds Fifty shades of Grey (2015), but by Pedro Almodóvar Coming to terms with the pleasures and perils of Stockholm Syndrome offers more than just superficial acts of sadomasochism.

Recently released from a psychiatric hospital, Tie me Up! Tie me up! sees an unstable but attractive Ricky (Antonio Banderas) on a quest to kidnap Marina Osorio (Victoria April), a porn star turned actress whom Ricky once shared intimacy with. Amid all the racy sequences and twisted love story, the 1989 dark rom-com offers some laughs given its over-the-top plot.

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