Over the years, I've worked at several different video stores and movie theaters. I've seen couples deeply in love before a movie have a possibly relationship-ending argument by the time it was over. That's why when you plan what movie to watch with your s/o (especially on Valentine's Day), it's always smart to choose a film that will inspire an interesting discussion without necessarily guaranteeing a brutal fight. In that spirit, here are a few movies that will help grease the wheels of serious conversation in your relationship.
Secretary (2002): This shouldn't be a hot take but: the "Fifty Shades" books wouldn't know a real sub/dom relationship if it dripped candle wax all over their nipples. In fact, the story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele leans much closer to abuse than it does a healthy BDSM relationship. Enter "Secretary," a painfully erotic story of Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a submissive secretary and her dominant lover and boss, E. Edward Grey (James Spader). "Fifty Shades" author E.L. James ripped off the most romantic and sexy film about BDSM ever made and "Secretary" is the perfect ice breaker for a partner interested in adding a little pain to their pleasure. Also, E.L. James should be sued. Hard.
A Home at the End of the World (2004): Having that discussion about adding someone to a relationship is almost impossible to have. When you realize it's not a threesome you want, but an actual polyamorous coupling, it's a scary and possibly isolating feeling to have by yourself. "At Home at the End of the World" tells the story of two best friends (Colin Farrell & Dallas Roberts) who meet an older woman (Robin Wright) and decide to spend the rest of their lives together. The film offers a real glimpse into what a poly life can be like, while also leaving enough open to inspire some powerful conversations between couples.
La Notte (1961): Michelangelo Antonioni has delved into marriage with his work before, but "La Notte" shows one on life support in a way that feels desperately honest. It's easy to spend months trying to bring back something that's already dead. "La Notte" reminds the audience what that looks like and, in a way, gives them permission to say goodbye. Sometimes only one person is ready to let go. "La Notte" really helps explore what that looks like in a relationship or marriage.
50 First Dates (2004): Yeah, an Adam Sandler movie. Hear me out. Sometimes it can be hard to tell our partner how much we truly love them either because we're afraid of how much they mean to us or a dozen other reasons connected to our own perceived shortcomings. The metaphor of falling in love with someone with short term memory loss, whose memory resets every single morning, is a heartbreaking, but also beautiful one. Yes, seeing the confusion and knowing everything that came before is gone would be rough, but getting to watch that person fall in love with you every day would be a joy. For someone struggling to say how much they love their partner, they can always look to this goofy flick with a massive heart and say: "This much. I love you this much."