A happy Valentine’s Day to anyone out there reading this post!
My good friend, Patti, just posted about some of her favourite movie couples and this got me thinking about some of my own favourite onscreen loves. Films depict love in all its states and, for that reason, I’ve chosen some slightly unconventional favourites that aren’t always romantic.
In no particular order, here are six of my favourite couples on film:
The Sundance Kid and Etta Place (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969).
Okay, okay, so we all know that the real romance in this film is the one between the titular characters. However, there’s something I love about the relationship between these two. I felt it from the moment when Etta is introduced, appearing to be the victim of a typical Sundance break-in, which sums them up perfectly. There’s nothing overbearing about this couple, they’re the three best friends with Butch Cassidy and yet you can tell that they really care about each other. The lover of Robert Redford, and best friend of Paul Newman? You’re probably not going to get much better.
Jackie Brown and Max Cherry (Jackie Brown, 1997).
It’s so stereotypical and pretentious but I mean it when I say that this is an underrated film. The protagonist is a strong, middle-aged African-American woman and yet Jackie Brown never dips into offensive racial stereotypes of sassiness. The film’s treatment of her relationship with Max, a man of a similar age, is mature and never the focus of the film. The ending proves that.
Bob and Nicoletta (Down by Law, 1986).
These three men escape from prison in Louisiana and stop in at a house on the river, which happens to be owned by Nicoletta. Bob and Nicoletta (real life couple Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi) immediately fall head over heels for each other, and Bob decides to stay. Their breakfast dance, if it could even be called that, to ‘It’s Raining’ by Irma Thomas is beautiful.
Enid and Seymour (Ghost World, 2001).
You know it’s never going to work out and it’s kind of icky, but they’ve met at the right time and place and they need each other at this moment. Enid has just finished high school and has no idea what she wants to do with her life, but she knows that she hates nearly everything. Seymour is middle-aged and hates a lot of things too but finds it difficult to connect with people beyond his record collection. Who knew a friendship and relationship could blossom from a prank involving a personals ad?
Terry and Edie (On the Waterfront, 1954).
I have to confess that I’m an absolute sucker for these gritty, forbidden romances. Terry is unwittingly used by the union mob in the dockyards to ambush Edie’s brother, who is murdered for wanting to testify against the thugs. There’s a moral element to this, as Terry must grapple with turning on his friends and testifying, along with the guilt of what he has done and how it affects their relationship. It’s a little cheesy and emotional but I love it.
Antoine Doinel and Christine Darbon (Baisers Voles/Stolen Kisses, 1968).
Although their relationship will decline in the following Doinel films, Baisers Voles has so many sweet little moments that I can temporarily forget what’s to come. Watching Doinel try to impress his love interest by holding down a job is charming. When Christine wants Antoine back, she simply disables her TV and calls the repairman (guess who?). I love the innocence and shyness of their relationship.
I started to make a list of honourable mentions but there were too many to count, so perhaps they can wait for another post. In any case now I’m interested – what are some of your favourite movie couples? Is there anyone onscreen that you’ve instantly connected with?