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The Top 10 Movies About Surviving Long Distance Relationships

The Top 10 Movies About Surviving Long Distance Relationships

Maintaining a relationship when separated by distance can be one of the most challenging things a couple faces. The isolation, lack of physical intimacy, difficulty communicating, and doubts that creep in are just some of the struggles that test whether the relationship can withstand being apart.

Fortunately, there are many inspiring movies that realistically portray the trials of long distance relationships while also showing how love can prevail despite the challenges. This blog post will explore 10 of the best films about surviving long distance relationships and what each can teach viewers.

#1 The Half of It (2020)

One of the newest additions to this genre is the Netflix film The Half of It. Set in a small town in Washington state, the story follows Ellie Chu, a shy, academically gifted teenage girl who moonlights as a professional essay writer to earn money.

When Paul Munsky needs help wooing the popular girl Aster Flores, he hires Ellie to help craft love letters. However, Ellie soon finds herself developing feelings for Aster as well.

What makes The Half of It such an insightful movie about long distance relationships is that it not only depicts Ellie and Aster’s growing bond despite their separation once Aster goes away to college, but it also shows the difficulty for Ellie of seeing the person she cares for fall for someone else, even if that “someone else” is merely through letters at first.

The film realistically portrays the insecurity, jealousy, and pain that can come with wanting someone from afar without truly being able to be with them. Overall, it’s a poignant reminder of how distance can complicate relationships both emotionally and physically.

#2 The Spectacular Now (2013)

Directed by James Ponsoldt and based on the novel of the same name, The Spectacular Now explores the tumultuous relationship between high school senior Sutter, a freewheeling party boy, and Aimee, an introspective “nice girl.”

What starts as a casual pairing evolves into genuine feelings neither expected. But the relationship is put to the test when Aimee heads off to college while Sutter remains behind, still struggling to figure out his future.

What makes this film so moving is how authentically it depicts the challenges of maintaining an intimate connection from afar, from missing casual touches and intimate moments to feeling disconnected by diverging life experiences and priorities pulling them in different directions.

Viewers see the daily struggles up close, like texting constantly to feel close yet also fearful of smothering the other person. The movie brings to light how distance can magnify insecurities and test commitment in a very real, emotionally impactful way.

#3 Eternity and a Day (1998)

Directed by Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos, Eternity and a Day is a beautiful, poetic work exploring both the joy and pain of reconnection. The story follows an aging writer who, upon learning he has only a short time left to live, embarks on a search to reconnect with his estranged grown daughter whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years.

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What makes this film so poignant for long distance relationships is how it portrays the complex feelings that can arise from reuniting after prolonged separation. Viewers see the deep longing for reconciling with someone important you’ve been apart from, but also the anxiety of whether that bond can be repaired after so much time.

The movie delves deeply into universal themes of loss, regret, forgiveness and making the most of the time we have with loved ones before it’s too late – all central issues for couples or family members separated by distance as well. Overall it’s a moving exploration of relationships tested and transformed by both absence and reunion.

#4 Up In The Air (2009)

Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air is about a “rightsizing” consultant who fires people for a living and resides perpetually in airports and hotels in order to avoid emotional attachments, since he’s always on the move.

However, his solitary transient lifestyle is disrupted when he meets and falls for a similarly mobile woman in the same line of work whom he regularly sees aboard flights.

For couples in long distance relationships, this film offers valuable perspective into how constant traveling can impact intimacy and bonding. Viewers witness the challenges of staying connected through brief in-flight or hotel room encounters scattered across different cities and time zones.

It also shows how easy it becomes to convince yourself such a lifestyle is “easier” than committing fully, when in reality constant movement makes forming meaningful relationships near impossible. Overall the movie is a thoughtful look at how distance in a relationship, whether physical or emotional, can breed disconnection if not carefully navigated.

#5 Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

In this offbeat indie gem starring Ryan Gosling, Lars Lindstrom is a shy, isolated man who develops an attachment to a life-sized sex doll named Bianca whom he introduces to his community as his girlfriend. At first his unusual relationship seems to give Lars confidence, but eventually the townspeople stage an intervention, concerned for Lars’ mental health and ability to have normal relationships.

While on the surface this may not seem like a typical “long distance movie,” it offers profound insight into how loneliness and lack of physical intimacy in a relationship can warp one’s perceptions.

Through Lars’ journey, viewers see how easy it is to convince yourself a non-tangible relationship can satisfy deep-seated needs for companionship, when in reality it often does more harm by enabling avoidance of real vulnerability and intimacy with others.

This film highlights the importance of emotional and physical connection to maintaining a healthy bond, something long distance couples must work extra hard to cultivate from afar.

#6 Your Name. (2016)

One of the top-grossing anime films of all time worldwide, Your Name. tells the fantastical story of Mitsuha and Taki, two high schoolers who begin body swapping in their sleep, living each other’s lives without explanation.

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Over time, their bond intensifies and they fall in love, despite never meeting. However, a coming natural disaster threatens to separate them forever without resolving their feelings.

For couples dealing with physical separation, this sci-fi tale reminds us that true intimacy is about connecting on an emotional level regardless of circumstances.

Viewers see how Mitsuha and Taki learn intimate details of each other’s lives and form a deep trust and care through their mystical link, showing that strong emotional bonds can develop independently of proximity.

The film also powerfully portrays the pain and urgency of wanting to express yourself to your loved one before it’s too late. For long distance couples, it’s a poignant reminder of appreciating each moment together.

#7 Frances Ha (2012)

Directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig in a breakthrough leading role, Frances Ha is a quirky indie comedy/drama that follows the aimless adventures of Frances, a 27-year-old aspiring dancer scraping by in New York City and going through an on-again, off-again long distance relationship with her college boyfriend.

Viewers see firsthand in Frances’ story the difficulty of maintaining intimacy from afar as life gets busy and priorities shift. Her relationship remains largely undeveloped as she and her boyfriend exist perpetually in a gray area between togetherness and singledom.

This movie offers perspective for couples attempting long distance – it highlights how distance can breed complacency if you don’t consciously invest in nurturing emotional and physical closeness regularly through communication, visits and shared experiences to reinforce your bond remains a top priority.

#8 500 Days of Summer (2009)

Starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in breakthrough performances, 500 Days of Summer tells the story of Tom, a greeting card writer who falls hopelessly in love with his co-worker Summer despite her insistence she doesn’t want a serious relationship. The movie charts their ups and downs through nonlinear storytelling peppered with fantasy sequences that represent Tom’s idealized visions.

This unique film offers a realistic look at how the line between passion and infatuation can blur when experiencing a new love largely through limited interactions versus daily life together. It shows how distance inherently adds mystery which can drive intense feelings, yet also feeds idealization which ultimately sets the relationship up for disappointment.

Most importantly, 500 Days highlights the valuable learning that comes from unpacking what you truly want and need from a partner versus projecting hopes onto someone unable or unwilling to meet them where you are.

#9 The Sky Is Everywhere (2022)

Based on the Jandy Nelson novel, The Sky Is Everywhere tells the story of teenager Lennie who is dealing with grief after her sister dies suddenly. She finds herself torn between two very different boys – her sister’s boyfriend Tony and new classmate Joe.

Though primarily a coming-of-age drama about first love, this story also offers thoughtful perspective on long distance relationships. Viewers witness Lennie juggle feelings for both boys and her desire to explore new connections while still feeling tied to Tony as he leaves for college across the country.

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The film poignantly portrays the inner conflict that comes with moving on while still caring deeply for someone now absent, showing how distance complicates the healing process in the wake of loss. It reminds couples that change is inevitable, yet commitment requires actively choosing each other despite life’s complexities.

#10 The First Time (2012)

Starring Britt Robertson and Dylan O’Brien in early roles, The First Time follows high school seniors Dave and Aubrey who meet and form an instant intimate connection, losing their virginity to each other that night on the beach despite barely knowing each other.

They quickly fall in love but soon face the challenges of a long distance relationship as Aubrey heads away to college while Dave remains behind for his last year of high school.

What makes this film ring so true for navigating a new relationship with the inevitable barrier of distance is how authentically it portrays the fragility of a bond still in its infancy being tested so early on.

Viewers see up close the difficulty of maintaining passion and intimacy through texts and infrequent calls alone after experiencing that intense emotional and physical connection. There is realistic uncertainty that their feelings will endure the long separation before they’ve truly established solid trust and communication skills to strengthen their bond.

Most impactful is how the film represents the perspective of both individuals – Aubrey grappling with temptation of new experiences away at school pulling her attention versus remaining devoted, and Dave wrestling with insecurities that she will lose interest once presented with exciting options.

Their story highlights for long distance couples the importance of ongoing comprehension, compromise and reinvestment to keep that early spark alive through a period that threatens to extinguish it. Ultimately it’s a poignant reminder to appreciate the present together instead of anxiously projecting an uncertain future.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, while maintaining a caring relationship from a distance comes with very real struggles, these top 10 movies provide inspiration that through communication, commitment to each other, and cherishing the time you do have together – whether brief visits or quality virtual interactions – intimacy and affection can indeed survive being apart.

They offer thoughtful perspectives into navigating the joys and hurdles long distance poses through emotionally impactful stories and characters. Most importantly, they remind couples that any relationship requires consent effort, yet the rewards of overcoming obstacles serve to further strengthen the bond of those deeply invested in each other.

Viewers walk away feeling motivated that with understanding and teamwork, love can prevail against great adversity like separation.

Also Read: The 5 Stages of a Long-Term Relationship


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