If you’re looking for relatable movies to watch post-breakup, “In a Relationship” is a good one to add to your list. It's got breakups, new beginnings, and an equal balance of male and female perspectives. None of it is overdramatized. We don't get a cheesy love story, we get a real one, and maybe it isn't even love. We don't see everyone getting their way. We don't see people who know exactly what they want fighting for love like it's a prize to be won. There's definitely not a knight in shining armor or a damsel in distress. We see confused people. People who just really don't know. We see real fights and tension building up. This movie is just...real.
Let’s talk about Hallie and Owen. They’ve been together maybe 3 to 5 years. We’re not really sure. We can be sure they’re in a long-term relationship just by the way they touch each other without any hesitation, the way they speak over each other with little regard for politeness, and how comfortable they are in each others’ presence. The fact we can tell they’ve been together for years without being told that is something the writers and director did really well.
Despite some small red flags that present themselves early on in the film, things don’t end until Hallie suggests moving in with him. Owen isn’t too thrilled about the idea. The scene actually cuts with him looking annoyed, but we can assume there wasn’t much of a conversation when later on Hallie finds that he’s been looking for new places (alone) on Craigslist, which leads to the breakup scene. The breakup scene is a great example of how we twist each others’ words until we hear what we want to hear, and are left confused about what just happened. Actually, they flip-flop between the words “break up” and “break” so I think even they are confused about where to go from here. Unfortunately, the director decided to skip out on the emotional reactions and dive right into them exploring hookups and drugs and changing a couple of lifestyle habits. I would have liked to see more of the first few days after the breakup.
Meanwhile, as they navigate the end of the relationship and single life, their friends Matt and Willa begin a relationship of their own. Kind of. They don’t actually call it that, of course. Well, one of them does, one of them doesn’t. Relatable? Anyways, Matt is way more into Willa than she is into him, and she’s stuck on a guy that doesn’t really care about her. It’s hard to leave old patterns behind, which we know a lot of our menders can relate to. Matt may not be the cool guy she’s used to, and she’s way over the mixtapes and magic tricks that make him seem like a lovesick puppy, but he actually treats her well, unlike the last one.
Will Hallie and Owen ever get back together? If not, how were they able to move on from having their lives intertwined for years? Will Willa realize how much of a gem Matt is and develop feelings for him? Or will Matt be left heartbroken? Lots of things get real messy during the phase of relationship initiation, and in the process of relationship termination, so there really are a number of ways this can pan out. I haven’t seen the ending yet, but I personally hope neither couple ends up together. Matt deserves someone who likes him for his mixtapes and magic tricks, not in spite of them. Willa shouldn’t have to lie about her feelings (or lack thereof), and Hallie and Owen shouldn’t have to force something to work when it really just isn’t working. I hope they can all be honest with each other, and really, themselves.