The 20 Most Toxic Movie Relationships, Ranked: From Twilight to Love Actually

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EEveryone remembers the great love affairs of cinema. Of When Harry Met Sally at casablancaHollywood has always loved stories of two people finding their soul mate in the least likely circumstances.

But things don’t always turn out that way.

Some films choose to delve into the darker side of romance – love stories that quickly turn sour and sour.

Often it is deliberate. Films like Nicolas Roeg’s bad timing or Derek Cianfrance blue valentine steer viewers through the choppy waters of a toxic relationship. All you can do is watch through your fingers in horror as something once sacred goes painfully wrong.

Sometimes, however, the toxicity is entirely accidental – a horrific mismatch between people that’s framed as a heartwarming love story (something that’s especially prevalent in older movies like Fat Where The breakfast clubin which troubling relationships are scrutinized more harshly decades after their release).

so here’s The IndependentThe ranking of the 20 most toxic relationships ever seen in cinema….

20. I really like

It’s almost difficult to choose the most toxic relationship among the assortment of interconnected romances in Love in fact. For my money, it’s probably the unhealthy relationship between Prime Minister Hugh Grant and young aide Martine McCutcheon. But there’s a wealth of choice here otherwise.

Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon in “Love Actually”

(Universal)

19. Fatal Attraction

The erotic thriller has been a fertile ground for exploring toxic relationships on screen, and Fatal attraction is certainly no exception. While Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest – who becomes obsessed with Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) after a short sexual banter – may fuel some pretty problematic stereotypes (ahem, boiler bunny), the film still lives on as a gripping depiction of a relationship. really disturbing.

18. Happy Together

Wong Kar Wai, perhaps the greatest trafficker of unfulfilled romantic desires in cinema, portrayed a chaotic love affair between two Hong Kong men (Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung) in Argentina, in this modern queer classic. Happy together is by turns funny and tragic, an idiosyncratic take on a strange and destructive relationship.

17. Twilight

I don’t think I’d put my head too far above the parapet of age gap speech to suggest there’s anything uncertain about a 100-year-old vampire dating a teenage schoolgirl. The Dusk The films are deeply sentimental about the romance of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), but there’s no denying that theirs is deeply toxic.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in “Twilight”

(top entertainment)

16. Cold War

Another movie that could easily have been called “Toxic Relationship: The Movie”, 2018 Polish drama Cold War traces the torrid romance between a talented young singer (Joanna Kulig) and a musical director (Tomasz Kot). There are moments of beauty and emotion in this, but mostly just the sense of unease of watching two people go around in circles in mutually unhappy passion.

15. Basic Instinct

You don’t have to be a detective to figure out there’s something wrong with the twisted romance between Michael Douglas’ grizzled police investigator Nick Curran and Sharon Stone’s seductive novelist Catherine Tramell. , who happens to be the prime suspect in Nick’s latest murder case. Sex and violence collide in Paul Verhoevan’s seminal erotic thriller.

14. Tie Me Up! Tie me up!

Pedro Almodóvar’s 1990 romance is the story of a courtship so garish it must be laughed at. Antonio Banderas plays Ricky, a recently released psychiatric patient who kidnaps and imprisons porn star Marina (Victoria Abril). Eventually – and inevitably – she falls in love with her dysfunctional captor. A sick and provocative pleasure to watch.

Ricky (Antonio Banderas) and Marina (Victoria Abril)

(© 1989 El Deseo, SA – All rights reserved.)

13. She’s All That

The 1999 teen romantic comedy She is all that was a quick hit when first released, but the years have not been kind to its central relationship. Freddie Prinze Jr plays high school jock Zack Siler, while Rachael Leigh Cook is Laney Boggs, the left-handed loner who against all odds wins her affections – but only after physically reinventing herself with a drastic makeover.

12. How to lose a guy in 10 days

One of the very many problematic romantic comedies of the rom-com genre boom of the 90s and 2000s, How to lose a guy in 10 days focuses on a rather shameful relationship between Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. With both parties manipulating and cheating on the other throughout, the film also promotes a number of lazy sexist clichés about dating.

11. Marriage Story

There are moments of genuinely heartbreaking vitriol between feuding spouses Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in Noah Baumbach’s 2019 Oscar-winning drama. Even though the scene has been memorized into oblivion, there’s no denying the visceral unpleasantness of watching. Adam Driver spitting the words, “Everyday I wake up and hope you’re dead,” to the mother of his child.

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in “Marriage Story”

(Netflix)

10. The Breakfast Club

Much of John Hughes’ work could probably make it onto this list; of weird science at sixteen candles, his teen comedies are peppered with inappropriate, toxic or downright reprehensible romances. But for many it is The breakfast club which irritates the most, especially the encounter between rude and sexually harassing John Bender (Judd Nelson) and Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald). Ringwald later admitted as much, reassessing the film’s unsettling romance in an essay for the New Yorker.

9. Blue Valentine

Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 drama followed the ups and downs of a turbulent relationship between a nurse (Michelle Williams) and a volatile blue-collar worker (Ryan Gosling). Intimate and moving, blue valentine presents its destructive central relationship with almost unparalleled candor; the breakdown stings all the more so since the courtship is so genuinely winning.

8. You have mail

Whether or not you buy into the idea that opposites attract, there’s more at stake than just warring sensibilities in Nora Ephron’s 1998 romantic comedy. You’ve got mail. Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox, is a pure, corporate asshole; Megan Ryan plays his unwitting pen pal, a quietly melancholy bookstore idealist. Adapted from the 1930s classic The corner shopEphron makes the whole thing meaner and more jaded, and the central relationship here is littered with red flags.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail”

(Warner Bros.)

7. Beauty and the Beast

You’d think classic kids’ movies would be careful not to instill dangerous ideas about romance in young viewers, but too often that’s not the case. The beauty and the Beast is one of the worst offenders, depicting an extremely problematic romance between young Belle and her captor, the Beast. It’s Stockholm Syndrome presented as true love: a story that gets worse the more you unpack it.

6. Passengers

Chris Pratt is an ethically dubious hero in this 2016 sci-fi romance. After being prematurely awakened from a hypersleep aboard a decades-long spaceflight, he decides to wake Jennifer Lawrence to keep him company – dooming her. to a life of isolated codependency aboard an empty spaceship. It’s ultimately presented as a touching romance, but make no mistake: it’s rotten to the core.

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in “Passengers”

(Colombia)

5. Grease

There are many things that have aged badly Fat, from the throwaway rape joke to the bizarre overage cast. But the central romance — between dewy-eyed Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and leather-jacketed Danny (John Travolta) — is probably the worst of the lot. The film ends with a pretty terrible message, as Sandy reinvents her entire personality just to please her beau.

4. Bad Timing

It might seem like an understatement to describe Art Garfunkel and Theresa Russell’s romance in Nic Roeg’s 1980 drama as a “toxic relationship” – the film ends with one of the most horrific scenes of sexual violence ever screened. But for most of its runtime, bad timing is a compelling portrait of a doomed and turbulent love affair.

3. Missing Girl

While David Fincher’s 2014 thriller keeps you guessing for much of its runtime, one thing becomes clear soon enough – the relationship between Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike) wasn’t remotely healthy. Although few can predict the extreme and murderous depths that Amy ended up sinking into, the Dunnes’ marriage is a spectacle of suburban, car-crash toxicity from start to finish.

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”

(Fox)

2. Gas lamp

Of course, there are plenty of great (and not so great) movies about toxic romance. But how many inspired their own now ubiquitous – and dictionary-verified – piece of socio-romantic jargon? Charles Boyer plays a husband who sneakily manipulates his wife (Ingrid Bergman) into thinking she’s going crazy. If only they had a word for it back then…

1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The toxic relationship movie to end all toxic relationship movies, Mike Nichols’ 1966 adaptation of Edward Albee’s acerbic play is a tour de force of marital dysfunction. Elizabeth Taylor and James Burton – then really married at the time – play a husband and wife whose marriage has crumbled into a state of toxic passive aggression. George Segal and Sandy Dennis, meanwhile, play a young couple trapped in the infernal dinner.

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