This is the third installment in our series on the changing nature of long-distance relationships today, as even the meaning of that idea and the terms that constitute it continue to morph.
“Love finds a way.” You’ve heard it a hundred times, uttered by the sickeningly in-love long distance couple determined not to let the miles affect their unwavering affection for one another. Still, a long distance relationship is a circumstance very few want to find themselves in. But what defines ‘long distance’? Is a 30 minute drive below the typical threshold? Do the partners have to be in the same continent, planet, or even a part of the same species? Here are seven movies that challenge the Nicolas Sparks star-crossed lovers version of a long distance relationship.
Old Joy (2006)
This feature film is based on one of the short stories in “Livability”, a novel by Jonathon Raymond. Two friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time meet up for a two-day trip in the woods of Oregon. Then, they return home safely. Director Kelly Reichardt managed to depict Raymond’s story perfectly. An Oregon native herself, Reichardt’s backcountry depiction of the film shined through with stunning clarity. This 76-minute movie discusses the subtleties of friendship; how best friends evolve over time and – in this case – become more and more distant with each other. The friendship is extremely well played out throughout the progressively awkward dialogue.
The Sure Thing (1985)
19-year old John Cusack plays Walter Gibson, a young and adventurous college student who travels across the country to get laid. Along the way, he meets a fellow student travelling in the same direction. Together, they embark on a series of hilarious events that draw them together. The Sure Thing takes the notion of a typical long distance relationship and asks the question: what happens when you meet someone along the way?
“Her” refers to an advanced operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, that learns through experience and conversation. Joaquin Phoenix plays the geeky and socially awkward Theodore. Over the course of the film, the two develop and atypical relationship. “Her” lacks a physical form – she is, essentially, just a voice in the ear of Theodore. The movie challenges the role of technology in relationships. Can a person fall in love with a voice?
The Bubble (2006)
The Bubble is a film about love in times of war. The film centers on a group of sexually diverse friends in Tel Aviv. The dynamics of their friendships are radically changed when a gay Palestinian man shows up at their door. A romantic drama, the film touches on the issues Palestinians face in Israel, but also on the struggle two men face as members of opposing cultures. Only a few miles apart, but separated by hundreds of years of hatred, can the Israeli and the Palestinian maintain their love?
The Lake House (2006)
The Lake house is a love story between an architect living in the year 2006 and a doctor further down the time axis in 2008. Long distance relationships are tricky to maintain to say the least – those who practice it believe that, with enough investment of time and energy, love conquers all. Most skeptics issue the relationship a death sentence before the couple can even pack their bags. Would you jump on board a love story when the distance between the lovers is Time itself?
Another Earth (2011)
How cool is it to have the exact same earth suddenly appear in orbit right next to ours? The movie started off as a very simple idea: What would it be like to sit in front of yourself? And this movie takes it to the next level, with a bit of Sci-fi involved but centered on relationships. Is it possible to have a relationship with a person on another planet?