Film, TV + Theatre

9 Unexpected romances in unromantic films

No escape from love


By Buro Malaysia

9 Unexpected romances in unromantic films

There are times where you feel like you’re about to watch an utterly predictable movie – be it an animated one or a sci-fi one or an action-packed one – when suddenly you’re hit with bouts of romance, or rather, side stories of love. So if you’re feeling romantic this weekend, but don’t want your typical in-your-face love stories, here are nine movies that will tug at your heartstrings just when you wouldn’t expect it to (spoilers ahead).




Disney-Pixar’s Up doesn’t quite save the tear-jerking love story for anything. Instead, it starts with one. And a very sad, yet loving one at it. If you’ve watched the film, you were probably weeping within the first 15 minutes of it. The flashback of elderly widower Carl Fredricksen, whose quest begins because of a dream he and his late wife Ellie shared, paints a beautiful picture of love, keeping promises, and perseverance.



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

The climax of the Harry Potter series not only puts a seven-year epic magical war to rest, but also reveals some shocking truths, in the case of a character we’ve detested for many years, Professor Snape (Warning: Major spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the movies or read the books, which you should have, by now!) When it was revealed that Snape had actually been protecting Harry for all these years, because of his unrequited and undying love for Harry’s late mother Lily (who ended up marrying the jackass bully of a wizard that became Harry’s dad), it fully explained Snape’s entire character in just one simple explanation. That flashback imagery of Snape rushing into the Potters’ home to find the love of his life murdered is enough to make you weep every single time you recall it.



The Sword in the Stone

You would expect nothing short of cliché romance with any Disney classic animated film, but you wouldn’t have expected one in the goofy, boyish The Sword in the Stone. There is a scene where the wizard Merlin turns the young Arthur into a squirrel, and Arthur encounters an adorable female squirrel that instantly takes to him. Though the romance is fleeting, and obviously one-sided from the poor female squirrel, the heartbreak painted all over her face when she discovers Arthur is a boy is altogether pure and tragic.




Spirited Away

Love goes past the physical and romantic aspects in Spirited Away, and of course, we can’t expect more from a ten-year-old girl. But that’s why it’s so beautiful. In the story, main protagonist Sen encounters a young boy Haku, who helps her survive in the spirit world. Haku turns out to be the spirit of the Kohaku River (a dragon), and Sen’s love for him ends up saving him. Unconditional love aside, Spirited Away has tonnes of other magical moments going for it – a definite must-watch.



District 9

Districts filled with aliens “racially” categorised as “Prawns,” are not exactly the perfect setting for romance. But in the crevices, we see Wikus (brilliantly portrayed by Sharlto Copley) who is trying to survive and overcome a real-life nightmare to get back to his beloved wife Tania. The heart-breaking moment comes in the final scene, where Tania has received a flower made of scrap metal that she can’t bring herself to throw away, followed by a shot of a Prawn delicately crafting the same flower.




This romance was actually rather obvious, with the entire film’s dialogue going, “Eeeeevaa,” and “Walllll-eeeeee,” back and forth. But if any man-made technology can teach us how to love unconditionally, it’s these two robots who are trying to save the earth, and form an undeniably strong bond in the process.




Looper may be your action-packed, Joseph Gordon-Levitt-ogling film, but if you think about it, its undertones are set with a desperate attempt to save and continue living in a romance. Old Joe (Bruce Willis) goes on that hunting rampage simply to save the woman he loves, so that he can live out his days with her.




Juno is probably the most average teenager you’d find on the big screen. The girl – who is your typical moody teen who doesn’t care about anything – has sex with her guy friend Paulie, just ’cause, and ends up getting pregnant. However, the two don’t begin a typical relationship just yet, as Juno first rejects Paulie’s advances. But eventually the film builds up and outlines a pure sort of adolescent love (at least for Paulie) that comes out on top.



King Kong

I liken King Kong’s love for Ann to that of a loving pet who’d go the distance to be with his owner. The story of King Kong seems to essentially be about a gigantic gorilla terrorising New York City, but if you think of it, he’s just trying to be with the one he loves: Ann. This love doesn’t just come out of nowhere though, as the two had formed a special, emotional bond while she was held captive by him, much like Beauty and the Beast, except that King Kong doesn’t turn into a handsome prince in the end.



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