36 Movies That'll Make You Feel Just Fine About Being Single On Valentine's Day

Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films; Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
There are plenty of films about people being single on Valentine's Day. The trouble is, two hours and a cringe-worthy singalong with her besties later, the heroine has ended up in the arms of some dude like Gerard Butler. (Frankly, we'd happily take a lifetime supply of Lean Cuisine meals for one over that prospect.)

So, let's scrap the rom-coms. If you're spending February 14 at home and solo (or with the Ann Perkins to your Leslie Knope — it is Galentine's Day, after all), how about focusing on films that celebrate female independence, friendship, success, and empowerment? Men might come into the picture, they might not, but they're never the end-all-be-all of our protagonist's life. Kinda like real life, you see?

And if all else fails, put on something like Revolutionary Road, Kramer vs. Kramer, or Rosemary's Baby. If those don't make you feel better about being a party of one, nothing will.

Here are 36 picks to get you started.

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Photo: Courtesy of MGM.
Thelma & Louise (1991)

Even Brad Pitt's conman cowboy proves to be more trouble than he's worth in this drama starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. While we wouldn't advise running from the law, a road trip with your best gal definitely sounds more enticing than a prix-fixe dinner for two at Spaghetti Warehouse.
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Photo: Courtesy of MGM.
Legally Blonde (2001)

Revenge is a dish best served in a snazzy pink cardi: Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) gets dumped, then gains admission into Harvard Law and uses her perm knowledge to crack a major case. Who needs a boyfriend now?
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Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Angela Bassett, and Loretta Devine played four friends in Phoenix grappling with personal problems. Even though most of those problems have to do with men, the women come out the other side stronger, smarter, and, in some cases, happily single. The scene where Angela Bassett torches her ex's car is worth the rental alone.
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Photo: Courtesy of Miramax Films.
Muriel's Wedding (1994)

Lonely Muriel (Toni Colette) eventually discovers that marrying a dreamboat pales in comparison to ABBA singalongs with her best friend, Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths).
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Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
9 to 5 (1980)

Office life in the '80s was a step up from Mad Men days, but just barely. Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton star as three very different women who realize they're much more powerful teaming up to take down their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss (Dabney Coleman) than gossiping and backstabbing each other. Talk about sticking it to the man.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
All About My Mother (1999)

Pedro Almodóvar is known for his laser-sharp insight into female relationships, and this beautiful movie about a woman in mourning will basically wreck you. When Manuela's (Cecilia Roth) son Esteban dies, she goes back to Barcelona to tell Lola, the trans woman with whom Maneula had Esteban. In her search for Lola, Manuela's life becomes interwoven with the other women she meets, including a pregnant nun played by Penélope Cruz.
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Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
An Unmarried Woman (1978)

Erica (Jill Clayburgh) is thrown for a loop when her husband ditches her for a younger woman. Lucky for her, she's smart as hell, and she's got a gang of awesome friends (including the fabulous Kelly Bishop of Gilmore Girls) to help her get back on her feet and navigate the world of love and lust.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Auntie Mame (1958)

As Mame, Rosalind Russell is a role model for every glamorous aunt or aunt-like figure in a kid's life. Besides having the most fabulous wardrobe and eccentric adventures, Mame has a motto we could all stand to live by. "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Baby Mama (2008)

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's real-life best-friendship resulted in this uneven but funny movie about an uptight exec named Kate (Fey) who hires a blue-collar woman named Angie (Poehler) to be her surrogate. Hijinks ensue when Angie and her common-law husband break up and she shows up on Kate's doorstep, looking for a place to crash.
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Photo: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures.
Beaches (1988)

Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey are the wind beneath each other's wings in this drama about a lifelong friendship between two very different women. Beaches will require at least one box of Kleenex per viewer, more if the viewer was a tween when Beaches came out and/or watched it at sleepovers and then sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" until someone's mom told everyone to quiet down and go to bed, already.
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Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Broken English (2007)

Zoe Cassavetes wrote and directed this movie that stars Parker Posey as Nora, who is 35 and single, living in NYC. Everyone else is happy and hooked up, but Nora's kind of a mess. She meets a hot French guy (Melvil Poupaud) who is only in town for a few days, but will she take a chance on just, you know, having fun and seeing where things will go? Bonus: Justin Theroux has a cameo as a gross one-night stand, and Cassavetes's own mother, Gena Rowlands, plays Nora's mom.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, Love & Basketball) directed this coming-of-age tale based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd. After her mother is killed by her father, Lily (Dakota Fanning) leaves town with her caregiver Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson). She goes to live with the three Boatwright sisters, who teach her all about the secrets of bee-keeping — and more. Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo star as August, June, and May Boatwright.
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Photo: Courtesy of Orion Pictures.
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

Rosanna Arquette stars as a Jersey housewife named Roberta who is obsessed with a mysterious woman named Susan (Madonna) and the personal ads addressed to her in the local newspaper. A comedy of errors has Roberta mistaken for Susan and on the run from some bad guys while Susan's doing her cool bohemian thing around NYC. Was there anything more glamorously trashy than '80s Madonna? We think not.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company.
Dirty Girl (2010)

Juno Temple stars as Danielle, the requisite bad girl of her small-town high school, who bonds with Clarke (Jeremy Dozier), a gay teen who's abused by his homophobic father. Together, they ditch Norman, OK, for a road trip to find Danielle's real dad and, you know, themselves.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

Mother-daughter drama of the highest order kicks off this intergenerational story about best friends for life, the secrets they keep for each other, and the secrets we keep from each other. Ellen Burstyn, Sandra Bullock, Maggie Smith, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight, and Fionnula Flanagan make up one rockin' ensemble.
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Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
The First Wives Club (1996)

Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton are in perfect form as three middle-aged women who reunite after the death of a friend. Together, they hatch all sorts of complicated plans to wreak havoc on the lives of the exes, who left them all for younger models.
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Photo: Courtesy of IFC Films.
Frances Ha (2012)

Greta Gerwig stars as the increasingly messy Frances, whose best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) just keeps getting more and more grown-up. Can their relationship hold up under the stress of being a twentysomething? People have a lot of strong feelings about Frances Ha, but love it or loathe it, it's one of the best representations on film of how it feels to break up with your bestie.
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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

Okay, so the film version of Fannie Flagg's book is little more platonic than the book, but the ride-or-die relationship between Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) and Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) is unforgettable. The present-day friendship between Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) and Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) is a transgenerational joy to boot.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cineville.
Gas Food Lodging (1992)

Allison Anders directed this indie about a working class mom juggling two daughters and a waitressing gig in a tiny New Mexico town. Dreamy Ione Skye plays the troubled older sister Trudi, who eventually decides to just become a waitress like her mom, and baby Fairuza Balk co-stars as her little sister Shade (of course).
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Photo: Courtesy of United Artists.
Ghost World (2001)

Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch are small town weirdos who have just graduated from high school in this adaptation of the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. What starts off as a prank on a local lonely dude named Seymour (Steve Buscemi) ends up changing their friendship forever. Bonus: Enid (Birch) has the coolest outfits and resting bitch face ever.
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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

Sigourney Weaver stars as the late naturalist Dian Fossey, who ditches everything to study gorillas in Africa. It's fraught with danger, especially when she takes her studies to Rwanda and begins her fight against poaching. Fossey met a tragic end, but her life was one-of-a-kind.
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Photo: Courtesy of Miramax.
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is ridiculously upbeat and resilient, even for a kindergarten teacher. From the very first scene of her and her gal pals clubbing until the sun rises, you know this is a special movie about one funny, complicated woman who sees the world in an entirely unique way.
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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
How To Make An American Quilt (1995)

Winona Ryder is the central character in this film about a grad student, Finn, who goes to spend the summer with her grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) and great-aunt (Anne Bancroft). Their quilting group gathers to work on Finn's marriage quilt — Finn is ambivalent about marrying her sweetie, played by Dermot Mulroney — and tell tales from their past. The intensely cool ensemble includes Maya Angelou, Kate Nelligan, Jean Simmons, Lois Smith, and Alfre Woodard.
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Photo: Courtesy of Viz Pictures.
Kamikaze Girls (2004)

This over-the-top Japanese comedy is about the unlikely friendship between Momoko (Kyoko Fukada), an elegant gothic Lolita, and Ichiko (Anna Tsuchiya), a badass biker babe. In addition to awesome eye candy and a nonsensical plot, Kamikaze Girls is secretly very sweet.
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Photo: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains (1982)

Corinne (Diane Lane) inadvertently starts a punk rock grrrl revolution when she, her sister Tracy (Marin Kanter), and their cousin Jessica (Laura Dern) start getting attention for their kick-butt band the Stains. With fabulous hair and make-up, an inspirational sneer, and the mantra, "We don't put out!" Corinne and her gals inspire female teens around the country.
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Photo: Courtesy of First Run Features.
Maidentrip (2013)

Laura Dekker was determined to become the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone, and by age 16, she'd accomplished just that. Dekker documented her trip, which she began at 14, with a handheld camera; director Jillian Schlesinger adds in footage of the legal and media scrutiny that accompanied Dekker's controversial voyage.
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Photo: Courtesy of Orion Pictures.
Mermaids (1990)

Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci play Cher's daughters. What more do you need? Okay, Cher is a fabulous single mom, Ryder's character is obsessed with nuns even though her family is Jewish, and Ricci's a champion swimmer. Toss in Bob Hoskins as a love interest, and you've got a wonderfully weird '90s movie.
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Photo: Courtesy of A24.
Obvious Child (2014)

Okay, yes, this is about the aftermath of a breakup and an unintended pregnancy and so on, but the meat of the movie shows fierce love between protagonist Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) and her friends and family. Maybe she'll end up with the guy, and maybe not, but the intimate moments between Donna and best friend Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann), and Donna and her mom Nancy (Polly Draper) are what make this a must-see.
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Photo: Courtesy of First Look Pictures.
Party Girl (1995)

For women of a certain age, Parker Posey's good-time girl Mary and her ultra-hip bohemian adventures were nothing short of inspirational. What's cooler than that, though, is when Mary finds herself unexpectedly loving her gig as a librarian. Keep your eyes open for The Lady Bunny and other cool cameos.
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Photo: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures.
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)

Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) are co-dependent best friends who decide the best way to prepare for their 10-year high school reunion is to make up an entirely preposterous history for themselves and how awesome their lives have been since graduation. Plus, there's an interpretive dance scene you cannot miss.
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Photo: Courtesy of Transmission Films.
Tracks (2013)

Mia Wasikowska rocks as real-life explorer Robyn Davidson, who traveled across western Australia in the '70s with four camels and a dog. Although her trip is mostly solitary and internal, Robyn does encounter occasional humans, including an Aboriginal elder named Mr. Eddy, and an American photographer (Adam Driver) who meets with her every few months along the way.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Waitress (2007)

The late Adrienne Shelly wrote this lovely film about a waitress named Jenna (Keri Russell) who's caught between a rock and a hard place — namely, she's pregnant, married to an oaf, and having an affair with her married doc (Nathan Fillion, y'all!). Her talent for baking delicious pies could be her way out of this mess — along with a little help from her friends, of course.
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Photo: Courtesy of Miramax Films.
Walking and Talking (1996)

Nicole Holofcener has a rare talent for capturing the complex world of female friendship, and this indie with Catherine Keener and Anne Heche is the ne plus ultra of the genre. Amelia (Keener) is left to her own devices when Laura (Heche) gets engaged, and she's not coping too well. Amelia's ill-advised romance with the local video store clerk (Kevin Corrigan, behind painfully thick glasses) is frightfully insightful and painfully funny. And, you can see how NYC once looked, before everything became a Duane Reade.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Whip It (2009)

The most intense relationship in this dramedy is the one between the Hurl Scouts, a roller derby team in Austin, TX. Small-town misfit Bliss (Ellen Page) finds a new lust for life when she straps on her skates and joins the derby scene, even though it throws a wrench in her relationship with her parents and her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat). Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and a host of cool chicks co-star. (Barrymore also directed.)
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Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Wild (2014)

Based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, Wild is the story of a woman who finds herself at the lowest, most confused part of her life, and decides to strap on her hiking boots and head into the woods (and tundra, and desert) to figure out what the hell to do about it. Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, is tough, vulnerable, messy, sexy, and smart as hell.
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Photo: Courtesy of Newmarket Films.
Whale Rider (2002)

This coming-of-age tale stars Keisha Castle-Hughes as a young Maori girl named Pai, who is bound and determined to take over as the leader of her tribe despite its patrilineal tradition. Her grandfather Koro currently holds the title, and he's not having any of this girly nonsense, but perhaps — just perhaps — Pai can convince him and the other members of their community that she's exactly the leader they need.
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