Hollywood is head-over-heels for a good rom-com, a trope that has been in constant rotation in cinema since the silent age. Many times these films drill in the utmost importance of falling in love and finding “the one,” and while these flicks can inspire comfort and real yearning, sometimes it’s nice to zig instead of zag. A “happy ending” does not necessarily correlate with being in a relationship, which is why it’s refreshing when films embrace singleness and all it has to offer.
Single readers out there know that it is absolutely possible to feel both happy and fulfilled while living an independent life. The silver screen has gradually moved away from outdated concepts concerning marriage and children as the only keys to wholeness, and has slowly delved into depictions of real, content, and satisfied characters who just so happen to be riding solo. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest movies that embrace being single.
10 How to Be Single
The direct and aptly named 2016 rom-com How to Be Single is based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo and follows a group of young women in New York City and their different approaches to being single. With a diverse and talented cast including Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr. and Jason Mantzoukas, the film brings the funny and reaffirms that it’s okay to be single. How to Be Single centers on Alice (Johnson) as she navigates singledom after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend. Wilson dazzles as her best friend Robin, who unapologetically embraces all that single life has to offer. Not only does the film take viewers on a journey of self-discovery, but it also highlights the power and importance of friendship.
9 Under the Tuscan Sun
The 2003 rom-com drama Under the Tuscan Sun follows a recently divorced writer who impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany, hoping that it will change her life for the better. Based on the Frances Mayes memoir, Diane Lane stars as the author who embarks on an Italian adventure in search of a fresh start after being cheated on by her husband. When she purchases a charming yet rundown villa, her outlook on life begins to shift, and she once again finds purpose and meaning as she fixes it up. Frances both embraces her new independence and meets an assortment of quirky yet kind characters that touch her soul.
8 Baby Mama
Beloved Saturday Night Live alumni Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are a comedy dream-team in the 2008 comedy Baby Mama. Fey stars as a successful and single businesswoman whose dreams of having a child are dashed when she discovers she’s infertile, so she hires a woman to be her surrogate. Poehler co-stars as an overbearing and immature woman who initially lies about being pregnant in order to score a payout, but in doing so develops a close bond with Fey’s character and gets cold feet. Baby Mama is a hilarious movie that reminds audiences they don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to have a family, and it demonstrates that single, powerhouse women can have it all too.
7 The First Wives Club
The iconic, single-girl-empowering movie The First Wives Club stars Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diana Keaton as three divorcees who seek revenge on the husbands who left them for younger women. Based on the 1992 Elizabeth Goldsmith novel of the same name, the comedy at its core is an ode to friendship as the ladies band together to not only exact retribution but also have fun embracing single life and their newfound independence. The First Wives Club was a surprise box office hit and developed a cult-like following, primarily among middle-aged women. The New York Times praised the female-driven film, saying, “Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn make a spirited, surprisingly harmonious trio.”
6 Legally Blonde
When sorority girl Elle Woods gets dumped by her Ivy League boyfriend, she sets off to win him back by earning a degree at Harvard Law School and along the way discovers that there’s so much more to her than just looks and being blonde. The iconic 2001 comedy Legally Blonde is sometimes considered to be the epitome of girl power in the movies, and encourages viewers to live their most authentic single life, reminding them that they don’t need a man to be complete. Reese Witherspoon’s magnetic Elle is an unstoppable force and overcomes countless stereotypes as she finds her voice and self-confidence. CNN perfectly summed up the theme of the film, proclaiming it as a “sassy satire that retains a message: believe in yourself and follow your dreams.”
5 Someone Great
The Netflix romantic comedy Someone Great follows an NYC music journalist who is left devastated after being broken up with on the eve of her big cross-country move. She decides to enjoy all that the city has to offer in a final hurrah, along with her two best friends. The heart-warming film stars Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, and DeWanda Wise as the trio who whoop it up one last time, deepening their everlasting bond along the way. Someone Great tackles heavy topics such as grief, love and the unyielding power of friendship, while inspiring viewers that there’s light at the end of the breakup tunnel.
4 Eat Pray Love
Arguably the most famous film about being single, the 2010 biographical romantic drama Eat Pray Love focuses on a married woman who realizes how unfulfilling her marriage is, and decides her life needs to go in a completely different direction. After a difficult divorce, she leaves her troubles behind her and takes off to explore the world on her own. Julia Roberts stars as Elizabeth “Liz” Gilbert, a woman on a journey of self-discovery who yearns to find the meaning of life and to do so immerses herself in diverse cultures. Eat Pray Love is inspirational, compelling, and ultimately delivers the message of the importance of self-love and inner peace.
3 Wedding Crashers
The 2005 raunchy comedy farce Wedding Crashers is truly the ultimate film for embracing the possible wildness of single life and all the perks it has to offer. Dynamic duo Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star as John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of intensely committed womanizers who make it their lives’ mission to sneak into weddings in an attempt to meet and ultimately seduce women. Wedding Crashers glorifies the allure of being single and epically highlights the freedoms and benefits that can come with it. Though romance and love naturally blossom in the film, at its core it’s a celebration of male friendship. The Los Angeles Times poignantly concluded the movie is “really just a love story about a couple of buddies who live happily ever after. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more charming couple.”
2 Obvious Child
2014 romantic dramedy Obvious Child follows stand-up comedian Donna (SNL‘s Jenny Slate), whose unplanned pregnancy forces her to address the realities of independent womanhood. After being cheated on by her boyfriend, Donna has a one-night stand in an attempt to move on and ends up getting pregnant. Obvious Child delves into heavy subjects like unplanned pregnancy and abortion, as Donna is faced with the uncomfortable truth of her life and situation. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, with Slate being praised for her honest and real depiction of a conflicted woman’s painful and personal decision.
1 The Other Woman
Nick Cassavetes’ 2014 comedy The Other Woman centers on three very different women who discover they are all romantically involved with the same man. After learning about each other, the trio sets out to extract their revenge. The star-studded cast features Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and the film was a box office success. Full of big laughs and diabolical schemes, The Other Woman starts out being a tale of revenge but along the way the characters bond and form a powerful kinship. It’s a women’s empowerment comedy that takes the leading ladies on an adventure of self-growth and confidence, while serving laughs along the way.
Don’t expect to see Cameron Diaz returning to the big screen anytime soon as she feels ‘whole’ following her retirement from acting, as she tells host Kevin Hart.
About The Author