Movies can be great teaching tools when it comes to love, but some tend to miss the mark. Here are 8 movies about love that got it all wrong.
From a young age, movies are there to tell us to follow our dreams, believe in magic, fight for what’s right, and that there’s always a happily ever after waiting just around the corner. For many, it’s important to grow up with the delightfully naïve belief that love conquers all, and that rainbows drop positivity like raindrops… But what about as adults?
Indeed, there have been many movies geared towards love that may be sending out the wrong message and steering us backwards into the throes of unrealistic relationship expectations. So much so that some researchers actually say romantic comedies are unhealthy for our psyche. We’re not so sure about that one. Regardless, we’re counting down 8 films about love that make us raise our eyebrows.
Movies that teach us all the wrong lessons
Yes, they’re entertaining, and possibly insightful in their own way. But despite the “happily ever after” at the end, these movies may have divulged some twisted lessons along the way.
#1 Groundhog Day. Grumpy and unlikable weather man Phil takes his news crew to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to show the prediction of the local groundhog. After the prediction is over, Phil begins living the same day over and over again. Phil soon exhausts sleeping with random girls and finding different ways to kill himself, and starts focusing on saving people who end up in peril throughout the day.
Beyond this, Phil begins to learn deep, personal information about his co-worker Rita over the course of a couple of months, perhaps longer. Because he lives the same day over again, he makes it his mission to sleep with Rita or to make her fall as in love with him as he now is with her.
#2 The Little Mermaid. Every little girl’s classic Disney dream: to have a mermaid’s tail, to sing like a nightingale, and to catch the man of your dreams. There’s something charming and romantic about this film, even as an adult. Yet, it does pose some unsuitable lessons about love to young and impressionable minds.
To sum up the movie in a pessimistic light, the story follows teenage mermaid Ariel and her quest for true love. Upon swimming to the surface she notes a shipwreck and saves one of the ship’s passengers, a Prince of all people! She swims him to shore and sings about love before flipping off into the water.
Upon telling her father of her outrageously quick love for a human, and how she’s 16 and “not a child anymore!” he freaks out and she runs off. Ariel makes a deal with a witch saying she will give up seeing her father and sisters for eternity to become human, and pursue the man she’s only met once, while also giving up her golden voice in exchange for a pair of legs. Of course, the story ends with a marriage and a happily ever after.
A great movie with a questionable message showing young girls that it’s perfectly fine to follow the pursuit of happiness for a man we’ve merely crushed on from afar, and release family loyalty in the process… Hm.
#3 The Notebook. This movie ends up on a lot of list of love movie “no-no’s” for the sheer fact that it gives the wrong impression about love. For example, many argue that Noah’s extreme devotion to Allie by writing her letters every day for a year, restoring an old house in her honor, and stealing her away from her husband-to-be only sets women up for disappointment when picturing their Prince Charming.
Critics also flogged the movie’s unrealistic view of romance by saying that Noah pursued extreme measures that are more likely to be considered dating by “force” in the feminist age, rather than romantic. On top of all that, despite there being a lot of passion in their relationship, they spend way too much time fighting!
#4 Big. Classic 1988 Tom Hanks film follows Hank’s role as a 12-year old boy named Josh. Josh makes a wish to be bigger and before you know it he wakes up to magically being in his 20s. During his time as an “adult” he begins an intimate relationship with his co-workers.
The problem? He still has the mental capacities of a 12 year old, who obviously is way too immature for anything remotely intimate. Should this be something that’s glorified as cute and cuddly in the world of Rom-Coms?
#5 Looper. This 2012 action thriller was absolutely amazing, yet the romance aspect had me gritting my teeth. Joe is a time-traveler for hire who has to kill his future self. Regardless of the head-scratching storyline, while on the hunt for himself, Joe meets a young woman, Sara, and her son.
Despite only having met Sara once, and not to mention in an overly suspicious and violent manner, she agrees to let him stay on her farm. She crawls off to bed in her room and begins to… masturbate? Getting fed up with self-loving, she invites Joe up for a roll in the hay.
#6 Grease. Classic cult hit “Grease” couples good-girl Sandy and bad-boy, but good at heart, Danny to show how love really does conquer all, including high-school cliques. The problem? The ending of this classic movie shows that the best way to get what you want is to completely change who you are.
#7 No Strings Attached. For starters, kudos to this movie for portraying the ups and downs of slowly falling in love with someone that you’re only meeting up with for sex. However, the downside is that it’s a movie that might make people think that these kinds of relationships always progress to a more mature and romantic stage.
It doesn’t. So unless you’re a mature movie-goer who understands that this is a completely romanticized portrayal of a friends with benefits-type relationships, don’t expect your relationship to end up the same way. [Read: 9 tips to have a great casual relationship]
#8 Most affair movies. It seems that most movies about affairs love to showcase their scandalous and sexy nature, and gloss over the devastating effects it has on the “idiot wife” and her children. “Walk the Line” made for an interesting bio-pic on Johnny Cash and June Carter, but the fact that we cheer for their relationship, despite the marriages and children involved makes my stomach turn.
“American Beauty” is another creep-tastic story that everyone seemed to love. Middle-aged father lusts after his daughter’s slutty best friend, and almost takes her virginity. This is what we find appealing as an audience? Ick. “The End of the Affair” is another blatant affair movie that shows us how to disrespect marriage, and say it’s easier to cheat than to try to rebuild something. [Read: 10 deceptively simple reasons men cheat on great women]
These movies may have you scratching your head when you think about the lessons involved. Movie stalker behavior aside, we say it’s not so bad to have something to believe in when it comes to finding the perfect man or reaching for the stars. Just make sure your methods are better than the ones shown in these flicks.
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