Top Ten Taboo Relationships in Film

The latest Twilight film has hit theatres and I can do like every movie blog has done for the last three years running and make fun of the ridiculous vampire themes and werewolves or I can look at the real center piece of the film, the romance. With that I want to give everyone a look at my Top Ten Taboo Relationships in Film:

Special Mention: The Girlfriend Experience (2009) (dir. Steven Soderbergh)

When dating a prostitute you know there’re some taboos that you’re going to be dealing with.  It’s not even a secret in the relationship that she goes out at night and has sex with other men.  That alone will give a man more than enough trust issues to fill a therapist’s weekly schedule.  I kindly skirted this film out of the Top Ten only for the reason that we never have any other characters outside of the two in the relationship pointing any fingers, which is the main criteria I used in creating this list.  It definitely is a taboo in society and definitely going to be an elephant in the room if you ever bring it up at a friend’s dinner party, “What does your girlfriend do?” “She’s a prostitute…”

10. Atonement (2007) (dir. Joe Wright)

Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) is in love with Cecilia (Keira Knightley), but they both know it can’t happen.  He’s the poor boy that Cecilia’s father is helping out with his education so to further his life.  During this time Robbie works on the estate in any fashion required to show his appreciation for this opportunity.  Unfortunately when he and Cecilia fall in love this is a whole new ball-game for the two of them.  Both of them know that Cecilia’s family will never approve, and Robbie is already getting pressure from his family (who works for Cecilia’s family) to not pursue the matter.  It’s a love that never should’ve been, but was.

9. West Side Story (1961) (dir. Jerome Robbins & Robert Wise)

Maria (Natalie Wood) is the younger sister of the leader of the Sharks and Tony (Richard Beymer) is the Jet’s leader’s right-hand-man.  How can two people from two different sides of society be so in love?  In the musical re-imagining of William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet we get a brilliant film that went on to win 10 Academy Awards.  It is my favourite version of the classic Romeo and Juliet story and will be forever.  It is definitely my favourite film on this list, but maybe not the best ‘taboo’ relationship yet to come.

8. Lars and the Real Girl (2007) (dir. Craig Gillespie)

Your already crazy younger brother tells you he’s got a girlfriend and it turns out to be a blow-up sex doll that he’s bought online and named her Bianca. Lars (Ryan Gosling) goes on this journey to try and get over his own personal issues through this new ‘visitor’.  It’s a hilarious comedy that makes you tear up as you watch how everyone chips together to help make Lars’ life better as he does this asinine thing.

7. Secretary (2002) (dir. Steven Shainberg)

What do you think happens when a masochist meets a sadist?  It’s a match made in heaven I say.  However, when you’ve just come home from a mental institution for cutting yourself and your parents find out that you’re dating your boss who likes to inflict pain on you a few good eyes will be drawn to your union.  It’s one of the greatest love stories that you’ve probably not seen yet and one of Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s best performances.

6. The Graduate (1967) (dir. Mike Nichols)

For those of you who still haven’t seen it the film isn’t just about Ben (Dustin Hoffman) getting it on with the cougar Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), but also eventually falling in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross).  So you can imagine the shock when he announces to his parents that he’s going to marry Elaine Robinson, but he just hasn’t informed her of it yet. He must find some way to woo Elaine, even after admitting to having had an affair with her mother.  The film is the great romantic comedy that it’s billed as and delivers laughs and massive romantic gestures that are probably best reserved for the big screen.

5. Jungle Fever (1991) (dir. Spike Lee)

What happens when a black man and a white woman falls in love in ’90s New York?  Everyone starts to stop and stare at the lady getting a case of the Jungle Fever.  Flipper (Wesley Snipes) falls for his new temp secretary, Angie (Annabella Sciorra), that just happens to be white.

4. Brokeback Mountain (2005) (dir. Ang Lee)

When you’re on the mountain tending to the flock alongside your mate why not keep each other warm at night? Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two cowboys who fell in love while on Brokeback Mountain.  They now lead a lie of heterosexual married lives and are constantly sneaking away together to try and rekindle the love the found on Brokeback Mountain.  It is one of those films that when you watch it you can’t help but weep for the men in love, because they are so afraid of their time when they can’t be honest about their love.  It’s a brilliant drama and if you still haven’t seen it then you have to.

3. Great Balls of Fire (1989) (dir. Jim McBride)

When rock’n’roll soon to be legend, Jerry Lee Lewis (Dennis Quaid), goes ahead and marries his 13-year-old cousin, Myra (Winona Ryder), we watch the downfall of his career.  We can never tell who or when we’ll fall in love, but the world definitely can tell us who not to fall in love with.  When someone decides to marry their 13-year-old cousin the world will get very vocal.  Jerry goes from playing massive theatre filled venues to small backyard kind of jobs again because people don’t understand someone marrying a child.  It’s a sad tale mainly because of how it destroyed a rock’n’roll career that might’ve given us so many hit songs.

2. Beauty and the Beast (1991) (dir. Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)

When we talk about Disney classics then this might just be the first movie that comes to most people’s minds. I know I’m playing fun here, but if you think of the situation quite literally and take away the fairytale setting you end up with a story about a woman who ends up falling in love with an animal, and last I checked bestiality was still illegal.

1. Manhattan (1979) (dir. Woody Allen)

I don’t know what it is about this film that makes it stand out over all the others.  Maybe it’s the fact that it’s directed and starring Woody Allen as he plays a man who falls in love with a younger woman, like he ended up doing in real life.  It’s kind of creepy everytime you see the two of them together and you can see that he’s not really in love, he’s just using this young girl to have a mindless fling.  It’s lines like “I’m dating a girl wherein I can beat up her father.  That’s the first time that phenomenon ever occurred in my life” that just make the movie downright creepy at times.  However, it is one of my favourite movies to watch and definitely my favourite Woody Allen movie of all-time.