3 Must Watch Bittersweet Films

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

SOURCE: Focus Features

The feeling I get after watching a film can range from satisfaction to all out anger, but the one feeling that affects me more then anything is that of bitter-sweetness. That feeling of happiness but with a pervasive tinge of sadness sprinkled in. These films usually enter my list of all time favourites, even though they carry such an emotional blow that I cant watch them too often.  Then sometimes I end up watching them as a kind of emotional masochism. So here are my 3 recommendations for some truly top shelf bitter-sweetness.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

SOURCE: Focus Features [via. YouTube]

Eternal Sunshine is without a doubt one of my favourite films of all time, from the moment I first watched it had an extreme affect on me. Set In a world where you can have painful memories of people, pets or events erased, Joel (Jim Carrey) learns that former girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had him erased from his memory. Knowing this Joel decides to have his own memory erased, what follows is a surreal, non-linear delve into his memories as they begin to get erased. Through the hodgepodge of mixed up and confused memories is a story of extreme romantic love, loneliness, loss and the importance of memory. The B story is one of unrequited love, between the employees of the company performing the erasure of Joel's memory (Kristen Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson) and adds emphasis to the main themes of the main plot. 

After the film finishes your left with a feeling of tremendous loss and a feeling of tragedy at the death of these memories. But still with hope for the future of these characters that have lost so much of themselves but are still essentially the same people. 

Jeff Who Lives at Home (2011)

SOURCE: Paramount Vintage [via. YouTube]

Jeff Who Lives at Home follows the story of Jeff (Jason Segal) a stoner living in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement. Who looks for signs in everyday occurrences on what to do with his life. While brother Pat (Ed Helms) is stuck in a failing marriage that he's desperately trying to fix. This film follows one day with these characters and their antics, this paints a picture of a group of people at their breaking point, desperate to cling onto any semblance of stability in their lives. 

The tender sweetness of this family all trying to look after each-other despite obvious flaws gives this film an underpinning sense of melancholy while still being funny. At the conclusion of the film the story gives the sense that things aren't perfect or even fixed, but that's OK, life is a work in progress.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

SOURCE: Touchstone Pictures [via. YouTube]

Director Wes Anderson has the extreme talent to be able to add a pervasive feeling of sadness into all of his films. The film that really catapulted his career as well as setting a concrete vision for his unique style was The Royal Tenenbaums. The Tenenbaum children Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Richie (Luke Wilson), were regarded as child geniuses in their youth and managed to gain a certain amount of fame, but as they grew older they became estranged and grew apart. The family is reunited after the selfish, neglectful patriarch Royal (Gene Hackman) tells them of his stomach cancer diagnosis. The film paints the picture of a family who are self absorbed and manipulative, while being extremely lonely, fragile and longing for companionship. 

This complete package of very human flaws and emotions is what really makes empathy for the characters feel justified. As the story progresses and some of the wounds of family life are healed, the sadness of knowing of all that wasted time being angry is where the real tragedy is hiding, as well as knowing not everything can be fixed. The other reason to watch this film is the absolutely stunning cinematography. A definite must for fans of symmetrical imagery.



  1. I loved all three so much! Eternal Sunshine is just the bestest of the best though. Need to watch again ASAP xx

  2. I have to admit that I've never actually read any of these. My favourite Bittersweet film is probably the Virgin Suicides - the book also has the same kind of vibe.

    1. yesss! I totally agree with this!! The Virgin Suicides is so so like this x

  3. I haven't watched any of these films and I'm obviously really missing out! I love the sound of Jeff Who Lives at Home, I'm sure that'd be an interesting watch! I like films that are a little bit different and not predictable, so thank you for these recommendations!

    Abbey ✨ www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

  4. The only one I've seen is Eternal Sunshine, and I love it. It's so clever and it's nice to see Jim Carrey in a serious role for a change! It's not something you see very often, and he's actually an amazing actor!

    Charlotte / wonderfullybookish.co.uk :)

  5. I'm a huge fan of bittersweet films! I loved Eternal Sunshine and this has given me a couple of other ideas. My favourite ever is a Japanese one called After Life.

  6. So many people have recommended Enternal Sunshine to me, I think that's a sign that I need to watch it soon! The other two look very interesting too, I will have to add them to my list of films to watch.

    Abs x