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LOVE MOVIES With Sad and Depressing Endings

Love movies with tragic endings.

Michalina Peruga

6 April 2023

I don’t think there’s anything better than a love story with a sad ending. Unfulfilled, tragic love provides more emotions and thrills than any love story with a happy ending. Here are 6 romantic movies with tragic and depressing endings.

Waterloo Bridge (1940)

This very successful British melodrama tells an insanely sad love story. Ballerina Myra Lester (Vivien Leigh) and Captain Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor) meet on London’s Waterloo Bridge during World War I and fall in love at first sight. They plan further meetings, although Madame Olga, teacher and master of Myra’s dancing group, categorically forbids her from having contact with the captain. Against the tyranny, the girl meets with Roy, who proposes to her marriage. However, the war prevents the lovers from marrying, and the man is summoned to the front. Separated from her lover, Myra is kicked out of Madame Olga’s dance group for disobedience. The girl struggles to make ends meet when one day she learns that her beloved died in the war. Devastated and distraught, she resorts to prostitution to earn her bread. After a year, he discovers that Roy is alive, although he suffered in the war. The couple starts dating again, but Myra is convinced that she doesn’t deserve Roy because of her past. The girl commits suicide on Waterloo Bridge where they met.

The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Although Russian cinema is currently censored, the work of the Tbilisi-born director Mikhail Kalatozov is a great, artistically refined film that could not be missing from this list. The production could only be made after Stalin’s death and is far from Soviet propaganda films. Cranes Are Flying is a deeply anti-war film that shows the senselessness and cruelty of war, as well as the effects of warfare on the lives of civilians and soldiers. Kalatozov’s film is a war melodrama that tells the love story of Veronika (Tatiana Samoilova) and Boris (Alexei Batalov), two young people on the verge of adulthood. When World War II breaks out, Boris is sent to the front as a volunteer. The desperate Weronika stays in Moscow, and during the bombing of the city, her entire family dies and her apartment is destroyed. She is taken in by the family of Borys, who gives no sign of life. Weronika reluctantly marries his cousin, Marek (Aleksandr Shvorin), although she still believes that her beloved will return. Her wartime experiences and deportation to Siberia leave a brutal mark on her. When the war ends, during the victory celebrations, Weronika hopes, but in vain, looks for Boris among the soldiers returning from the front. It is an extremely powerful, well-shot, depressing final scene that makes it clear that Boris is dead.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

Days of Wine and Roses is a great, unknown film by Blake Edwards, director of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Pink Panther series. Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) meets the charming secretary Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick), a teetotaler whose only weakness is an addiction to chocolate. Joe, on the other hand, is a PR specialist at an advertising agency in San Francisco, and meetings with contractors while drinking are an important part of his job. The couple gets married, and shortly after their daughter Debbie (Debbie Megowan) is born. Joe gets Kirsten used to sipping alcohol socially, and soon the pair descend into alcoholism. The following years are ups and downs for the spouses, during which they try to break the addiction. Joe finally manages to overcome his addiction, but Kirsten continues to fight it unsuccessfully. In a depressing, tragic ending, the resigned woman leaves the house as Joe watches her through the window. At the same time, their daughter wakes up and asks about her mother.

Titanic (1997)

The reasons for choosing this title do not need to be explained to anyone. The ending of Titanic breaks my heart. Rose (Kate Winslet) only survives a shipwreck by climbing a wooden door adrift in the icy water. Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) submerged in water died of hypothermia. There is no sadder scene in any romance than when Rose sees the lights of a lifeboat on the horizon and hears the shouts of rescuers. Convinced that rescue has just come for her and her beloved, trying to wake Jack, she discovers that he is not asleep at all, but dead. Distraught Rose kisses her lover’s hands and lets his body fall into the sea.

Amour (2012)

The film by the Austrian Michael Haneke is a moving drama about the most difficult aspects of love, about old age, illness and death. Two retirees lead a rather successful life in their old age, until Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke. As a result, the woman is bedridden and does not fully recover. Her husband Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) takes care of her daily. The man loves his wife and at the end of the film, out of pity, he smothers her with a pillow after telling her a reassuring story from his childhood.

La La Land (2016)

Damien Chazelle’s hit from a few years ago is a tribute to the old cinema, but it challenges the patterns that govern Hollywood romances. The ending of the film is just such an alternative to the typical Hollywood happy ending. The film tells the romantic story of Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a musician who dreams of his own jazz club, and Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress. The characters pursue their dreams while trying to maintain their relationship, but eventually part ways. They meet at the end of the movie. Now a famous actress, Mia walks into Sebastian’s jazz club with her husband and watches him perform live. When their eyes meet, a sequence of images takes several minutes. It is an alternative vision of their relationship, showing how their life together could have turned out had they made different choices. It’s a bittersweet, depressing ending.

Michalina Peruga

Michalina Peruga

Film scholar, art historian and lover of contemporary horror cinema and classic Hollywood cinema, especially film noir and the work of Alfred Hitchcock. In cinema, she loves mixing genres, breaking patterns and looking closely at characters.

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