One thing that can make or break a film is the romance factor. Even for movies that aren't necessarily categorized in the romance genre, a strong romantic relationship can make what would be a simply memorable film, into an iconic one.
Over the years, there have been countless captivating relationships in film history. But that's not to say that many of these couples don't deserve to be called captivating. Looking past the hype and romanticization, let's explore 10 movies couples that are actually terrible (despite popular opinion).
10 TOM AND SUMMER - (500) DAYS OF SUMMER
This non-linear narrative film that starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel was widely known as one of the most real movies about love.
The film presents a cynical, often cold, take on love in general. To provide more context, this movie does not claim to be a love story, but rather, a story about love. When Tom, the protagonist, meets Summer, he believes she is the love of his life. The problem? Summer doesn't believe in love, and Tom is a self-proclaimed romantic. Though both of these two have their issues, Tom is most definitely not the dream guy he seems to consider himself to be. With his (and his friends') problematic attitude toward women in general, Tom should not be anyone's dream guy, and his relationship with Summer was never meant to be romanticized.
9 MARK AND JULIET - LOVE, ACTUALLY
That scene with Andrew Lincoln holding up the notecard that says, "to me, you are perfect", has become so famous in recent years that it is well known by everyone, even those who haven't seen Love, Actually.
This whole romance itself was problematic, as it threatened both the friendship between Mark and Peter, and the new marriage between Juliet and Peter. Mark and Juliet's relationship is loved and romanticized by the media due to its creation of one of the most famous memes ever to grace the Internet. Regardless of this, the meme is great, the relationship is not.
8 MIA AND SEBASTIAN - LA LA LAND
While La La Land was widely revered by critics and viewers alike, it had many flaws that stood out among a closer watch. The film landed several awards and nominations at award shows such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys. It follows the story of a struggling pianist, Sebastian, and Mia, who strives to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress.
Although the songs were memorable and the sets were aesthetically pleasing, the love story aspect of La La Land does not quite live up to all the hype. Mia and Sebastian are anything but perfect for each other; with Seb's arrogance and what bordered on self-obsession often getting in the way of his relationship with Mia. This dynamic doesn't really deserve all the hype it gets.
7 KATNISS AND GALE - THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES
An omnipresent debate among The Hunger Games fanbase was whether Katniss should end up with Gale, her long-time best friend, or Peeta, her partner in the Games.
Now, even though The Hunger Games movies have long since concluded, and Katniss wound up marrying Peeta and finally getting her happily ever after, it remains a popular opinion among both viewers and readers that Katniss should have ended up with Gale. In the first movie, these two had an admittedly cute friendship. It was later on in the films, that their dynamic became questionable, with Gale and Katniss being frequently at odds with each other. The hostility only grew after Prim's death, and Katniss' relationship with Peeta was portrayed to be much healthier than that of her relationship with Gale.
6 JENNY AND FORREST - FORREST GUMP
Though often considered one of the most beautiful relationships portrayed in film, Jenny and Forrest's dynamic was little more than an example of unrequited love.
Funny, endearing, and heartbreaking, Forrest Gump is still a very well-loved film, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1995. But one aspect of this film that is anything-but-lovable is the story it presents between Jenny and Forrest. The film follows Forrest through decades of his life, depicting Jenny as his constant, his one true love. The problem is that she doesn't love him back, and is often shown to be annoyed with his affections. When they ultimately wind up getting married, it's only after Jenny has given birth to Forrest's child (and withheld this information from him for quite a few years). In addition to this, Jenny is ailing with an ambiguous illness. While this is indeed a heartbreaking story, Jenny and Forrest's relationship really isn't worthy of being romanticized as much as it is.
5 TRIS AND FOUR - DIVERGENT SERIES
The Divergent series received mixed reviews, but the romance between Tris and Four was highly praised. At its core, this dynamic really isn't praise-material. Throughout the films, Tris and Four were the "power couple", and their relationship was a major part of the story.
When examined closely, this relationship really doesn't hold water, as it was very poorly written and inconsistent. The Divergent series came to a tentative end in 2016, with whispers of a final TV movie entitled Ascendant (which was later canceled). But Tris and Four are still loved to this day, while their romance was truly unworthy of this.
4 JACK AND ROSE - THE TITANIC
Though this relationship really wasn't problematic, it wasn't really as special as the hype would suggest, either.
They are regarded by many as the most iconic film couple ever, and that is a significant title to bear. The story of Jack and Rose is probably the most memorable aspect of the 1997 movie. While the story of the Titanic is, of course, true, Jack and Rose's romance is one that is completely fictional, and yet, probably the most famous part of the movie. Though iconic in its own right, this relationship is fraught with tired cliches and tropes. The love story was sweet, beautiful, and tragic - but it is simply not as captivating as all the romanticization makes it seem.
3 CADY AND AARON - MEAN GIRLS
Mean Girls hit theatres in 2004, and today, it is still one of the most iconic films ever made. That said, many aspects of the character of Cady Heron that made her a hit among the audience, were thrown away by the end of the movie.
A major example of this was her relationship with Aaron Samuels. The moral of Cady Heron's story revolved around her accepting herself for who she was. Cady's crush on Aaron was a major storyline in Mean Girls, but perhaps the movie would have been all the more iconic if Cady had of remained independent, her story being more about herself rather than simply "getting the guy".
2 JACK AND ALLY - A STAR IS BORN
A Star Is Born was one of the most talked about films of 2018. Coining several wins and nominations for many award shows, there's no doubt that A Star Is Born had numerous strong aspects to it. Its music and memorable performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, to name a couple.
But one thing about A Star Is Born that does not deserve all the hype that surrounds it, is Ally and Jack's relationship. Audiences loved this dynamic right from the start, but looking past all that romanticization, the relationship is pretty toxic. These two might sing beautifully together, but as a couple, they are completely problematic and do nothing but hurt each other constantly.
1 CHRISTIAN AND ANASTASIA - FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TRILOGY
Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey first...(dis)graced in 2015, Christian and Ana's relationship has been one of the most talked about ever. Fifty Shades reached out to a fanbase that refused to look past the "steamy" exterior of this story.
The fact that Ana and Christian receive so much hype is a sad truth, as many are willing to ignore the abuse. This relationship is deeply disturbing in every way. Anastasia is a young girl who is completely naive and has no self-esteem, and Christian is a wealthy, arrogant businessman. What is especially depressing about this movie is the fact that it markets itself as being empowering, when its female protagonist's storyline revolves around her wondering if she's good enough for a man. This relationship is abuse disguised as romance, and out of every couple on this list is the least deserving of praise.