We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.


Top 8 Films of Unrequited Love – or as I like to call them, examples of my youth


Unrequited love – the constant mix of pain and longing, and don’t forget the wasted time.  I’ll admit I have quite a weakness for films illustrating this frustrating part of life.  Recently I was sitting on the couch and caught the last 30 minutes of My Best Friend’s Wedding, when my husband walked into the room.  After asking “What’s this?” I excitedly (kind of too excitedly) started to explain the movie and our conversation went a little like this:


ME:“What? You haven’t seen My Best Friend’s Wedding! I love this movie. This is the part where Julia chases Dermot who’s chasing Cameron Diaz. But the best part is Rupert Everett. And the end.”
BOYFRIEND: So Julia Roberts gets Rupert Everett.
ME: Well, he’s gay. She dances at the end with her best gay friend.
BOYFRIEND: So she doesn’t get the guy.
ME: No, that’s why it’s awesome and not predictable and dumb like a lot of other romantic comedies.
BOYFRIEND: Wow, you really like this unrequited love theme.

I already knew this, but to hear it out loud reminded me what a powerful cinematic tool this was. I was also reminded that maybe geeking out on romantic comedies in front of men isn’t that sexy. But as a true fan of the theme of unrequited love, here are my picks for top 8 films of Unrequited Love.

1.  Four Weddings and a Funeral: Kristen Scott Thomas in love with Hugh Grant
This film is funny, clever, quirky and Kristen Scott Thomas is amazing in this film.  While most loved Hugh’s sweet, stammering character, I loved a woman who was independently wealthy, had a biting sense of humor and could rock an amazing hat.  But when she reveals her long-simmering love for Hugh Grant in a moment of vulnerability, it’s a heart-breaking.  Although I always felt she deserved someone better than bumbling Hugh.

2.  Pretty in Pink:  Jon Cryer in love with Molly Ringwald
John Hughes was a master at understanding the traumatic experience that is high school.  He also loved a musical number and unrequited love – enter Jon Cryer’s Duckie.  Duckie is fairly open about his love for high school best friend, Andie, and performs one of my favorite musical numbers in a movie ever. Although I think I would have totally fallen for any high school guy who sang this to me? Then again, I picked a lot of Zeros.

3.  Casablanca: Humphrey Bogart in love with Ingrid Bergman
Well, this is a bit of a rule breaker since we know Ilsa loved Rick the most, but still left with Victor Lazlo.  Although I do believe Victor deserved that loyalty since he had escaped a Nazi concentration camp and was a leader of the Resistance.  Technically Casablanca isn’t a straight-up unrequited love story since Rick and Ilsa so clearly love each other. However, Rick is stuck with Claude Rains in the end and while a pretty awesome character, he’s not nearly the hottie Ilsa is.

4.  Cyrano de Bergerac: Jose Ferrer (Cyrano) in love with Mala Powers (Roxanne)
Since I saw the 1950 version of this film as a young girl, and I think it’s one of the reasons I have a thing for unrequited love stories.  Cyrano helps young Christian woo Roxanne every night from her balcony, feeding the poetic descriptions of love to him and writing the most beautiful love letters to Roxanne.  He remains Roxanne’s friend all the while being madly in love with her.  Then there is a lot of death and Roxanne ends up in a convent to mourn. It’s not a pretty story, and I learned a valuable lesson – don’t help pretty people appear smarter than they are.

5.  Broadcast News: Albert Brooks in love with Holly Hunter
Great film, good love triangle and Albert Brooks is hilarious.  Set in the world of network news – Holly Hunter is a driven news producer.  Her best friend is Brooks, but since he looks like Albert Brooks, she’s got the hots for William Hurt – a news anchor who while handsome is not that bright.  Another lesson of romantic comedies, women keep choosing the dumb hot guys.  Albert Brooks is totally in love with Holly Hunter, and it drives him nuts that she wants dumb William. Still another film where the woman chooses poorly early on and ends up alone. Wait, why do I love these films again?

6.  Love Actually:  Andrew Lincoln in love with Keira Knightley
While Keira Knightley’s story line is a little creepy, leave it to the British to make it quirky and adorable.  Keira thinks her new husband’s best friend (Andrew Lincoln) hates her, but really he’s secretly in love with her. This becomes apparent when she asks to see what he filmed at their wedding and it’s home-video footage only a stalker could love.  The fact that he’s been madly in love with his best friend’s girl is mildly weird, but it’s forgiven if you show up at the door of your taken true love with a bunch of signs (Bob Dylan style) admitting your creepy love?

7.  Gone with the Wind: Clark Gable in love with Vivian Leigh in love with Leslie Howard
This movie is a doozy of everyone loving the wrong person.  Why Scarlett ever loved good but weak Ashley (Leslie Howard – yes this is a man with both a real and fictional female sounding name) over Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler is a mystery.  It’s still an incredible film, and I dream that Scarlett finds Rhett after he walks out on her and she realizes her mistake.  However Gone With the Wind ends with everyone either dead, crying or really unhappy. But maybe a group of Southern slave owners deserve that.

8. My Best Friend’s Wedding: Julia Roberts in love with Dermot Mulroney. See opening paragraph.


2 Responses to “Top 8 Films of Unrequited Love – or as I like to call them, examples of my youth”

  1. Anna Keizer August 1, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I heard that Andie was supposed to end up with Duckie, but that ending didn’t test well in screenings. So messed up. Blane was lame.

  2. Claudia Maittlen-Harris August 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I never knew this!! I just knew Blane’s hair looked weird and wig-like in that final scene. Sounds like a re-shoot. I guess you just knew she wasn’t in love with Duckie. I liked how Kristy Swanson singled him out.

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