So as Valentine’s Day slowly winds down, ending the suffering for singletons, it seems only right to mention the 10 great couples that are often overlooked as ‘great romances’. Hopefully rather than the traditional epic romances in film and TV that are often held in front of our faces as what to aspire to, which is frankly as uncomfortable as electric shock treatment, or so I imagine, I want to explore the ones that are often forgotten, the ones that perhaps aren’t quite ‘epic’ but are just as important. Particularly for us normal folk.
Number 1. Meet me in St. Louis – Esther Smith (Judy Garland) & John Truett (Tom Drake)
Who doesn’t love a romance where the woman is at first insulted and compared to her beau’s grandmother? Not to mention we get to witness Esther physically attack John and after finding out he’s innocent of being a bully she flies to his side and they share their first kiss. An example that even great romances can include awkwardness and even a bit of hilarious squabbling.
Number 2. Hercules – Hercules (voiced by Tate Donovan) & Meg (voiced by Susan Egan)
She’s secretly working for the bad guy and falls for the hero despite her hatred of love. He literally walks through hell to save her soul and revive her. Oh! And then he gives up becoming a God and being with his family for her on Mt. Olympus. That, my friend, is a true gentleman.
Number 3. Charmed – Piper Halliwell (Holly Marie Combs) & Leo (Brian Krause)
What’s not to love about this couple realistically? They meet, and they’re awkward, and cute. She argues with her sisters over who gets to have a crack at the handy man. She’s a witch he turns out to be a guardian angel. He nearly dies for her countless times. They love, have children, break up, get back together and even at points give up their magic for each other. Although they may not have been as racy as say, Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) dating a demon (Julian McMahon), they were the perfect couple we secretly all wanted to be a part of.
Number 4. Blue is the Warmest Colour – Emma (Léa Seydoux) & Adéle (Adéle Exarchopoulos)
Passionate, tempestuous and possibly one of the best depictions of a romance in modern cinema. A coming of age tale revolving around sexuality, the couple battle common relationship issues relating to friendships, passions and even infidelity. Ultimately, the couple remain separate, but both hold a deep love for each other that remains tangible. I was addicted from the very first scene and could not get this relationship out of my head for a very long time!
Number 5. Sense & Sensibility – Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet) & Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman)
Not only does this particular interpretation involve two of the greatest actors ever, but it demonstrates that love doesn’t always come where it’s expected. Colonel Brandon immediately falls for young Marianne, but she is besotted with another until he nurses her through a deep sickness. She sees the goodness in him and despite his age falls in love with his soul. Who doesn’t love an underdog who gets the girl?
Number 6. Forrest Gump – Forrest (Tom Hanks) & Jenny (Robin Wright)
He remains unfailingly faithful and falls in love with her as a child. This is the thing we dream about. Well, maybe not that the hero is slightly challenged, but hey! He happens to be possibly the most heroic and genuinely pure of all our romantic heroes, though we may not think so at first glance. Eventually his girl comes home to him and they live out her last days in happiness with their son and their memories. Not to mention we all teared up when Jenny died and he speaks about their son to her gravestone. Sorry, I’m sobbing again!
Number 7. Despicable Me 2 – Gru (Steve Carell) & Lucy (Kristen Wiig)
He’s an ex-evil super-villain who is raising three adorable girls. She’s a slightly crazy obsessed fangirl who becomes a spy because of him. Oh! And she adores his daughters. How can you not love the villain dad finding love? Not to mention the minions love her. Oh! and she tazers him! That means this is a romance for the histories. Unarguably cute. It’s impossible not to love.
Number 8. Friends – Monica (Courtney Cox) & Chandler (Matthew Perry)
While we all obsessed over whether Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) were going to get back together, there was even better romance hiding behind. Monica and Chandler, two best friends who drunkenly hook-up and then slowly fall in love, become the staple couple of the group, getting married and then having children. They even survive his career change and fertility problems. They were the couple that was real, the one that warmed your heart, and they included the funny guy we secretly all loved.
Number 9. Dorian Grey – Dorian Grey (Ben Barnes) & Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin)
Lust. Obsession. Idolisation. Beauty. And the supernatural. What’s not to love? In the novel it’s all implied, in the film it’s full frontal and highly intoxicating. We see the adoration of Basil simply fall through the screen and then it all ends in a crime of passion as Dorian murders his artist lover. What could be more epic? And yet we don’t seem to value it romantically. However their relationship evokes the queston; what if Dorian has not been so ego-centric? What if he had actually reciprocated Basil’s level or adoration, then it could have been perfect.
Number 10. The Princess Bride – Westley (Cary Elwes) & Buttercup (Robin Wright)
Not only our second underrated romance including Robin Wright, but this is a film that if you haven’t been introduced to it you’re seriously missing out. Hilariously funny and adorable, this couple are heart-warming and possibly battle every obstacle you could imagine. Westley even dies at one point! But then is revived and storms Buttercup’s wedding to save her while experiencing temporary paralysis, oh and he outwits her evil fiancé out of a duel tying him to a chair. Not bad for temporary paralysis. But what makes this one of the best romances of all time? A true hidden gem? Is that this is a story told to a young boy by his grandfather and even after being told a romance story the boy still begs for it to be read again. Now that is a truly good romance.
And so now i hope we can all firmly say that romance does not have to be epic, or famous, or cliche to be real. There’s hope for us all yet.