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Everyone has a Jack Dawson

by Flora 19 days ago in movie review

8 "the one that got away" movies to watch after Titanic

Everyone has a Jack Dawson
Photo by Olisa Obiora on Unsplash

When I was fifteen I watched Titanic for the first time

We had it on a VHS tape. Well, technically two VHS tapes because that is how it was when a film was over two hours long. My friend's kept nudging me to watch "even if it is just for Leo" but I put it off because I knew it was long and sad. And in my teenaged brain, that meant boring. But when a tragic case of strep throat kicked me down for over a week, with a house to myself and antibiotic-induced boredom, I thought I would finally see what the fuss was about.

So I slipped in the first tape. It was breathtaking. Romantic. He had gumption. She had grace. He was cheeky. She was ballsy. Two people from two different worlds collided and passionately fell in love. For a fifteen-year-old adolescent who had never been kissed, I couldn't wait for someone to look at me like Jack looked at Rose.

And then, with ten minutes left on the first tape...

...the Titanic started to sink

The second tape was nothing like the stunning, romantic magic I just watched. There was yelling, screaming, crying, dying, sinking, drowning. I cried from the first ten minutes to ten minutes after the credits rolled. I remember my inflamed infected throat burning as I soaked my pillow with tears.

And when it ended, I stared at the black off-screen bawling and AUDIBLY saying to myself, "I'm going to love more. I'm going to care more. I'm going to live like every day counts," between gasping breaths.

(Thank God I was home alone.)

And that day, I vowed to myself that I would never watch Titanic again until I had a bad breakup, a huge loss, or experience something so devastating that I would need an outlet in order to cry for hours.

You know... when you need ugly cry into a pint of ice cream while Juliette wakes up to Romeo dead on her chest. Or recite the words “wake up, wake up, Jack,” before Rose lets her love fade into the oblivion of the Atlantic. You need to scream at the screen and punch your pillow and soak your blanket with tears. You need to bask in the love that was lost. You need to miss your Jack Dawson.

You need the perfect formula of

no happily ever afters

words left unsaid

lack of closure

unanswered questions

deep regret


bad timing

messes that are too big to fix

unending longing


Everyone has someone that got away. Everyone has someone that still makes them wonder what if. Everyone has that person they have typed into Instagram to see who is winning. Everyone has someone that occasionally stars in their dreams WHEN THEY DIDN'T EVEN AUDITION.

Everyone has a Jack Dawson

When Titanic is over, but the tears keep coming, these eight movies will give you comfort as you reminisce about the one that got away. So grab your friends, Ben & Jerry, some tissues, and a bottle of wine. Don't worry, you won't need a glass for these. You can drink straight from the bottle.

1) 500 Days of summer (2009)

Watch if you like: Dance numbers to 80's songs. 'Laugh then cry then laugh again' movies. Visually pleasing and artistic shots. Indie films. Cute banter. Zooey always looking fire in cute dresses. Boys that wear cardigans. Tell me more: Summer meets Tom when she starts a new job at a greeting card company. He is immediately infatuated with her throughout their growing interactions at work. Even though she tells Tom she doesn't believe in love, the more time spent together, the more Tom believes that he could change her mind. He battles with the opposition of her words to her actions and often gets caught between fantasy and reality as their relationship evolves. This Indie dramedy bounces forwards and backward within the 500 of having Summer in Tom's life and you hang on to every second of it. Lovers at Stake: Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 'The One That Got Away' Formula = a cute awkward lovestruck boy searching for the one + a beautiful quirky girl who doesn't believe in love

What I Learned About Love

  1. IKEA dates make you want to cohabitate
  2. Kissing in copy rooms is hot
  3. After your first time together, animation birds and a marching band will accompany you in a show-stopping dance number on the street
  4. Yelling "penis" makes boys like you
  5. Don't stay with someone who has told you they don't believe in love if you do

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

When I first watched this movie at 15, Summer made me incredibly angry. I thought she was cluelessly selfish and used Tom. And in some regards I think all those things are still partially true, but as I grow up and have had different types of romantic relationships I understand her a little bit more. I think I have been both a Tom and a Summer in different relationships. She was straight forward with her intentions and never said she loved him. She enjoyed having a romantic, playful relationship without any expectation to commit further. He knew that. And I think relationships like that can work, and if you both are on the same page it can be beautiful and healing. The selfishness that lingers is that she knew Tom was in love with her and activaly hoping for a bigger commitment and she ignored the fact. And that is what makes me scream at the television. He loved her so much, but should have known when to walk away, and she should have been more aware of someone besides herself to also be able to let him go for his sake.

2) Someone Great 


Watch if you like: Girl power. Ru Paul Cameos. Kitchen dance-offs to Lizzo. Drug-induced fun. Life-lasting bonding friendships. Cute flashbacks. Watching LaKeith Stanfield exist. Tell me more: After eight years of deep love, Jenny and Nate decide to split up after Jenny receives a job in San Fransisco. Nate seems tied to New York and they didn't want long-distance to be their reality. With only one week before the move, Jenny and her two best friends have a wild night in New York City as Jenny looks back on her almost decade with Nate and wonders if she made a mistake. This Netflix original romantic comedy makes you laugh until you can't breathe, cry until you don't need to wash off your makeup anymore, empower you to find independence, and miss your girlfriends. Lovers at Stake: Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) and Nate (LaKeith Stanfield) Heartbreak level 💔 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 'The One That Got Away' Formula = Holding on to history for the sake of time spent together + wanting to move cities to pursue your career and future

What I Learned About Love

  1. Breakups always suck, even when it's mutual
  2. Ru Paul always has drugs for the heartbroken
  3. Drunk dancing is the first step of healing your heart
  4. If "Jenny" can break up with LaKeith Stanfield and not be a shell of a human being, then I will be okay
  5. The love between friends can last a lifetime

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

I watched this movie twice in one week when I first saw it. It made me happily nostalgic of wild nights with my girlfriends and at the same time, incredibly sad thinking of love and friendships I've had to lose in pursuit of who I want to be. Breaking up while still in love is one of the worst feelings cause it leaves you with a lingering 'what if.' I cried and laughed so much in this one and although it centers around losing a long love, it is more about knowing when to start a new chapter and knowing that friendships can cross oceans and timezones. I've definitely been Jenny, and I have missed my Nate while also knowing a move and a change was the right decision.

3) Moulin Rouge (2001)

Watch if you like: Baz Lurman. Quirky musicals to popular songs. Theater drama. Bohemian Love. Nicole Kidman with the most amazing hair to grace this earth. Dancing with the stars (literally.) Tell me more: Christian, a penniless English writer, moves to Paris to pursue poetry and writing. He befriends his bohemian upstairs neighbor who convinces him to write a play for the Moulin Rouge stage. During his visit to the Moulin Rouge, he quickly falls in love with a courtesan, Satine. When a jealous Duke financially invests in the show in exchange for isolated access to Satine, jealousy complicates their secret affair. This musical drama keeps you second-guessing as jealousy, power, and forces of nature try to split Christian and Satine apart. Lovers at Stake: Christian (Ewan McGreggor) and Satine (Nicole Kidman) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 💔 ❤️ ❤️ 'The One That Got Away' Formula = Jealous powerful men + uncontrollable forces of nature

What I Learned About Love

  1. Get yourself a boy that yell-cries your name in the rain until security comes
  2. Musical numbers can be executed perfectly on the spot without rehearsal or sharing idea if there is a chance to save a cute boy from getting in trouble
  3. Even when you are groaning erotic innuendos while lying on the floor in lingerie, some boys just want to sing you Elton John.... and there is something so pure about that
  4. Love is a drug that makes the moon sing to you (literally)
  5. If there is a chance to run away with your love, you should just do it

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

This is my favorite movie of all time. I watch it when I'm heartbroken. I watch it when I am happy. When I meet people and tell them that this is my favorite movie, I get one of three faces. 1. That movie is weird.. You're weird 2. Wtf is Moulin Rouge?!? 3. Oh my gooossshhh I am so glad we found each other. And that is how I weed out my friendships. (Only joking.) This movie is equally rediculous and heart breaking. The soundtrack is still played on repeat in my home and nothing has a concoction so sweet of tradegy, musical numbers, young twitterpated Ewan McGreggor and fighting for your dreams. It's quirky, cute, exciting, suspensful and oh so romantic. 

It makes me ugly cry knowing that Christian will live a life without Satine, holding her still body when the curtain drops.

4) La La Land 


Watch if you like: Musicals. Emma Stone singing (like an angel.) Ryan Gosling playing the piano (well or just doing anything.) John Legend cameo. Jazz music. Colorful dresses. Ending montage scenes that break you like the opening montage scene of UP. Classic movie nostalgia. Reliving oscar drama. Tell me more: Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a jazz musician, fall in love one LA summer. While trying to pursue and navigate their dreams, different career opportunities present themselves and force the lovers to make decisions that could separate them . Set in LA, this film is nostalgic to classic Hollywood movies and musicals. Lovers at Stake: Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 💔 💔 ❤️ 'The One That Got Away' Formula = Discontent + two artists in pursuit of a career that take them around the world

What I Learned About Love

  1. Sometimes you need to just dance it out
  2. Although my mother taught me to never let a boy honk for you to get out, it's still hot
  3. Jazz music is sexy like c'mon
  4. What you want out of love can change as you age
  5. It's okay to put yourself first and prioritize your dreams

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

The first time I watched this movie I had innner termoil around it's musical identity. There is a difference between a movie about a musician (therefore it includes music - like Bohemian Rhapsody) and a musical. A musical should be using song and dance as a means to communicate while everyone is aware that this is normal. I think the thing that bothered me is that it was a marriage of both. It started out with a musical number and had a few in between, but the music was mainly centered around Sebastian's career. But after my musically anylitical brain CHILLED TF OUT, on a second watch, I was amazed by the beauty of this film and still cry watching the bittersweet ending.

5) Atonement 

Watch if you like: Crying until you can't breathe. Keira Knightly just being one of the best actors of our generation. English accents. Beautiful scenery. War themes. Sibling strife. Forbidden love. Benedict Cumberbatch. Again, just so so much crying. Tell me more: Two recent Cambridge graduates, Robby and Cecelia, live in close quarters while Robby's mother works as a housekeeper for Ceicilia's family upperclass estate. As their secret romance develops, Cecelia's younger sister witnesses a romantic interaction between the two and miscontrues the meaning. False accusations are stated and Robby in turn is sentenced to serve time in the army for his apparent transgresion, separating the lovers while they try to safely return to each other. This heartbreaking drama based on a novel by Ian McEwan keeps sadness leering over you hours after the credits roll. Lovers at Stake: Cecelia (Keira Knightly) and Robby (James MacAvoy) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 (I'd add more if I could) 'The One That Got Away' Formula = false accusations + World War Two

What I Learned About Love

  1. Kissing in libraries is hot
  2. Writing romantic letters is a lost art we should revisit
  3. Nothing seems more heartbreaking than waiting to hear if your love is safe while he is away at war
  4. I don't know how you could not fall in love in England
  5. Forgiveness frees you, it doesn't change things

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

This is the only book I have ever cried reading. And the movie is just the same. It reaches such a different level of sadness beyond just being star-crossed lovers. The resentment towards family is such a different type of wound that goes beyond losing the love of your life. I introduced this movie to my boyfriend and once the end scene finished he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "why the hell would you do this to me?" I still ache thinking about Briony and her novel and how much her entire life was painful due to a mistake made when she was only thirteen. She was filled with such regret and grief that the lovers had to live through the fictional ending of her novels to balance her conscience.

6) Chemical Hearts 


Watch if you like: Poetry. Highschool love. Indie films. Sweet boys in big sweaters. First loves. Adolescent awkwardness. Lili Reinhart. Sciencey shit. Supportive sisters. Tell me more: Grace is a new transfer at Henry's highschool and after both being assigned key editor for the school newspaper they begin to spend more time together. As their romantic interest for eachother grows, Henry discovers the reason for Grace's transfer and tries to navigate their romantic relationship knowing her secret. This Amazon Prime original is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking as you sink into a love that could never be. Lovers at Stake: Grace (Lili Reinhart) and Henry (Austin Abrams) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ 'The One That Got Away' Formula = Romantic trauma + bad timing

What I Learned About Love

  1. Why are cute, nice boys so underrated? They are the real thing
  2. To weed out unsuitable matches, give your crush a poetry books to read and see if they get it
  3. Nobody crushes like a highschooler
  4. Find a boy that makes you music playlists
  5. Falling in love again doesn't mean you always fall out of love with someone else

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

The ending of this broke my heart. Although I knew that she needed time to herself and to sort out her trauma, I also thought they were a great couple and had such chemistry. I felt upset knowing how much he loved her although she just wasn't ready. I have been Grace. Met someone too great too soon and I wasn't ready. I wasn't healed yet, and it's a different type of heartbreak knowing you have to let someone go because you can't love them as much as you could if you were healthy. This one was a hard one to watch for me, but resonated so deeply. It was a very bittersweet ending knowing that it was best, even after tasting such potentail. The line that broke me the most is when Henry says, "how can you kiss me like that and not make me think you love me?" Then Grace responds saying, "That is the only way I know how to kiss." *cue the rain*

7) Blue Valentine 


Watch if you like: Things that are just way too damn real. Ryan Gosling playing the ukelele. Crying until you are numb. The idea of falling in love in a retirement home. Chemistry that is so electric you could start a lightning storm. Love through different stages of life. Tell me more: Dean and Cindy begin their whirlwind romance after meeing in a retirement home. The film spans years from their first meeting to their marriage and raising a child together. This emotional drama shows the rawness and difficulties of marriage and the choice that love is. Lovers at Stake: Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 'The One That Got Away' Formula = Apathy + resentment

What I Learned About Love

  1. Love is a choice
  2. Dancing in the street to a boy's ukelele is extremely cute
  3. Retirement home meet-cutes supersede all others
  4. You can't fix things if you don't try
  5. Boys that keep your door open to talk to you are either extremely romantic... or he is a serial killer

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

The scene where Dean throws his wedding ring into the weeds and then immediately gets out of the car and starts looking for it makes me just ache. They have so much chemistry and love for eachother, but they just gave up. Mental illness is really hard on relationships and you can see them fall into deep depression as time went by. Even though I understand the guilt of being depressed while in a relationship, it is so heartbreaking to see two people that love eachother as much as they do feel apathetic about working together to keep their marriage healthy and alive.

8) Marriage Story (2019)

Watch if you like: Laura Dern always being a badass boss lady. Scarlett Johansson looking good in literally any haircut. A script that is so real. Award-worthy acting. Fight scenes that make you bawl. Tell me more: After years of marriage, Charlie and Nicole begin the process of divorce. After receiving a job opportunity in Los Angeles, Nicole uproots the New York family and takes their son to live with her in LA. Charlie begins sharing time in both cities as they pursue their careers, raise their son and continue with the emotional process of divorce. This Academy winner, Netflix original shows a beautiful depiction of the brokenness, compassion, and grief of divorce. Lovers at Stake: Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) Heartbreak level 💔 💔 💔 💔 💔 'The One That Got Away' Formula = selfishness + pursuing your own happiness

What I Learned About Love

  1. Dads that dress up for Halloween to match their child is such a pure form of a father's love
  2. There is a chance your mom could like your partner more than you
  3. Happy endings can exist without the person you thought. Sometimes the happy ending is having a child together
  4. A family doesn't always need to be one unit in one city
  5. Love is hard

My personal thoughts (may include spoilers)

When Charlie and Nicole have the explosive fight in Charlie's LA rental and he screams "sometimes I wish you were dead," I just sobbed. It's raw and honest and so hard to watch. My parents only got half way through my reccomendation before turning it off because it was "just too real." When I first watched the film, I assumed they would go through the divorce process only to decide to remain together at the end. But the choice Nicole made to move forward, away from a man too selfish to respect her career and personal desires, felt more perfect to me. Throughout the entire journey, the center focus of their love was for their son and to me that is the most beautiful part of it all. Having two parents love you so much that they fight over spending more time with you is a gift that lots of children don't get, parents separated or not. Scarlet and Adam were brilliant as usual and I couldn't imagine a more convincing pair for these incredibly difficult roles.

By the end of these films your wine bottle should be empty, icecream pint licked clean and tissue box used up. So the next time the tragedy of heartbreak, loss, or just strep throat comes your way, you can chose a title with confidence and cry over your own Jack Dawson.

Cause everyone has a Jack Dawson

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Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'

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