‘Last Call for Istanbul’ by Turkish Director Gonenc Uyanik, takes us on a spicy romantic getaway as two married strangers feel an irresistible attraction towards each other and resist temptations through a thrilling night in New York City. Serin and Mehemet meet at JFK airport, where Serin’s luggage has been misplaced and Mehemet offers to help. They end up staying at the same hotel, meeting once again the next day. As they spend most of the day together, they talk about their marriages. Serin is unhappy as her husband wants to stay in Istanbul and have children while she wants to pursue her career in New York.
Mehemet is happily married and very much in love with his wife, yet he is unable to resist Serin and tries to get closer to her. All is not as it seems, as the film discusses mature themes of marriage and infidelity, how people can change over the course of relationships and lose sight of what brought them together in the first place. The passionate and complex romance of the Netflix film can leave the audience in contemplation regarding the nature of relationships, which are further explored in films of a similarly mature nature. We’ve curated a list of movies like ‘Last Call for Istanbul’ that touch upon the complexities of relationships.
8. Indecent Proposal (1993)
Happily married couple David and Diana Murphy are living the dream. They have started a new life together alongside their careers, and have even taken a loan to finance the construction of their future home. However, their lives are rattled when the recession hits, they lose their jobs, and their finances hit the deep red. In a last-ditch attempt to save their future, they bet everything they have at a Las Vegas Casino. They lose, and at their lowest point, are approached by a billionaire who has been watching them. He makes a simple offer to give them a million dollars in return for one night with Diana. Taken aback but all out of options, they agree.
With Adrian Lyne in the director’s chair, ‘Indecent Proposal‘ paints a nightmare scenario for any loving couple. It blurs the line between love, pragmatism, and loyalty, exploring how infidelity, regardless of the circumstances, can put exorbitant stress on a marriage. The Turkish film by Gonenc Uyanik examines the legitimacy in breaking a marriage for one’s dreams. Those who enjoyed the film in this regard will appreciate the contrasting situation of the Murphys in which they do what they have to, to save their dream, and in doing so, hang their marriage at the edge.
7. The Story of Us (1999)
A romantic comedy-drama, ‘The Story of Us’ portrays Ben and Katie Jordan, a couple on the verge of separation after 15 years of marriage. The two have been staying together for a long time despite their hearts no longer being in it. After their children leave for summer school, they start to live separately, enjoying their newfound space but unexpectedly missing one another. The Rob Reiner directorial navigates the relationship’s highs and lows, emphasizing the struggles and complexities of marriage.
Similar to ‘Last Call for Istanbul,’ the film delves into themes of communication breakdowns, personal growth, and the challenges of balancing love and independence. Through humorous and poignant moments, it explores the intricacies of marriage, demonstrating the profound emotional journey of rediscovering love amidst the trials and tribulations that often accompany the institution of marriage.
6. It’s Complicated (2009)
Nancy Meyers helmed ‘It’s Complicated’ is a romantic comedy, which follows Jane Adler (Meryl Streep), a successful businesswoman, navigating her life post-divorce. Amidst her children’s graduation, she meets her ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), who has married the girl he had cheated on her with. Yet, meeting after years, they feel attracted to each other and begin an affair. Their rekindled intimacy sparks reevaluation as Jane grows closer to her architect (Steve Martin) as well, highlighting the complex dynamics between them despite their enduring connection.
If you enjoyed ‘Last Call for Istanbul’ for its close look at the romance in infidelity, the film will present a more light-hearted and comedic take on the same. The narrative beautifully explores the intricacies of love after divorce, emphasizing the enduring power of affection and the humorous complexities of rediscovering romance in mature relationships. Through witty banter and heartfelt moments, it conveys the idea that love can endure despite complications.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife,’ directed by Robert Schwentke, is a romantic drama with a twist, it centers on Henry DeTamble, who involuntarily time-travels due to a genetic anomaly. His sporadic disappearances and unpredictable time jumps deeply strain his marriage to Clare Abshire. At many points in time, he would know of all the loving time they had spent together, while a younger version of his wife would be clueless. At other points, she would experience a younger version of her husband, who is ignorant of their future.
The film intricately weaves themes of love, loss, and the challenges faced in their marriage due to Henry’s uncontrollable time-traveling. If you felt sympathetic to the challenges in maintaining a marriage in ‘Last Call for Istanbul, ‘ this film will quadruple the difficulty as the couple battles time itself. It illustrates the profound difficulties of sustaining a marriage amidst unpredictable circumstances.
4. Unfaithful (2002)
Connie Sumner leads a picture-perfect life, having a joyful son, a caring husband, and a home to share with them. Yet she is unsatisfied and wants to break out of her mundane routine with some excitement in her life. She runs into a handsome stranger one day, and they become increasingly infatuated with each other, culminating in her committing adultery.
Soon after she has had her fun, Connie Sumner no longer wants to risk further involvement with him, but her new lover has other ideas that will cast a shadow over her life. Gonenc Uyanik’s film dabbles in the nature of adultery and the circumstances that lead to someone risking their marriage. Taking a darker approach, ‘Unfaithful’ looks at the very real possibility of an affair endangering everything in a marriage.
3. Closer (2004)
Mike Nichols directed, ‘Closer,’ follows the romantic whims and bitter retaliations between two couples. Dan (Jude Law) is a journalist who is cheating on his waitress girlfriend, Alice (Natalie Portman), with a photographer, Anna (Julia Roberts). It is not long before Anna’s boyfriend, Larry (Clive Owen), realizes what’s going on. Alice, too, becomes wise to her partner’s unfaithfulness, and both disgruntled partners meet up, creating an emotionally devastating battleground from which none of them will escape unscathed.
Those appreciating a discourse on attraction and infidelity in ‘Last Call for Istanbul,’ will feel a grim emotion exuding from this movie’s characters, betrayal. ‘Closer’ delves into the blurred lines between truth and deception, capturing the emotional turmoil, desire, and consequences of infidelity, while offering a raw and intense portrayal of the complexities within human relationships.
2. Little Children (2006)
A psychological romantic drama directed by Todd Field, ‘Little Children’ examines the mental states of people in varying social and emotional situations, with none of them being good. Serah (Kate Winslet) is stuck in a loveless marriage and refuses to continue without taking a chance with Brad (Patrick Wilson), a married law school student feeling disillusioned in his own marriage. They find solace in their clandestine affair amidst the backdrop of suburban life. The film shares multiple themes with Gonenc Uyanik’s work, dissecting desires, infidelity, and the complexity of relationships. As they grapple with personal dissatisfaction, their affair unveils the underlying tensions and longings within their lives.
1. Blue Valentine (2010)
‘Blue Valentine,’ a 2010 romantic drama, traces the relationship of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) throughout its many stages. The film vividly portrays the complexities of love and the inherent difficulties within relationships. Through a nonlinear narrative, it contrasts the initial spark of their romance with the gradual erosion of their connection over time.
The film by director Derek Cianfrance, delves into themes of emotional strain, communication breakdowns, and unfulfilled expectations, highlighting the harsh realities of sustaining a relationship amidst personal struggles. If you appreciate ‘Last Call for Istanbul’ for its realistic portrayal of relationships and expectations within them, ‘Blue Valentine’ offers a strikingly raw and poignant depiction of the challenges, disappointments, and heartaches that often accompany romantic partnerships.