Easily 95% of Hollywood stories end with boy get girl, and vice versa. Personally, I'm a fan of this ending. I'm a romantic, somewhere under all this cynicism. So shoot me.
But how often have you seen a film where the man and woman meet, fall in love, and DON'T go home in the end?
There be spoilers ahead, so you've been warned.
These are listed in no particular order, by the way. I will not discuss Romeo and Juliet / West Side Story, because 1) it's the same bloody story, and 2) it's been talked to death.
Shall we begin?
If you don't know this one by now ... where the Hell have you been? It's a classic.
Chronologically, the events are -- Boy meets girl, girl leaves boy because she discovers that she's NOT a widow, girl wanders into boy's gin joint with not-dead husband. Husband happens to be hunted by Nazis because he is THE propaganda arm of the resistance, a true leader. Boy let's girl and husband go off into the sunset, despite that he still loves her, but it's for the greater good, because the husband is needed in World War II, and he needs her. Boy walks off into the fog with his best friend.
It was a great execution, and a classic film. And if you haven't seen it ... what the bleep are you waiting for?
Gone with the Wind
Another classic film, this one is more convoluted. Girl is a whiny little brat who becomes a manipulative woman. In order to keep the family farm within the family, she goes through several men, landing, finally, on a Han Solo prototype. After putting up with years of abuse from this woman, their daughter is killed in a horse riding accident. He has no reason to stay and put up with his wife's crap anymore, and leaves her -- at pretty much the moment where she realizes that she actually loves the guy she married for his money.
Yeah, this was one screwed up dynamic from minute one. Every time I turn into this film, I tune in for Rhett Butler's scenes, and the burning of Atlanta.
When they made a sequel, several decades later, the two finally ended up together, only after she leaves the family farm behind her, deciding that her home was with the family she had created.
But the original was truly an exemplary portrayal of Dorothy Parker's line: For every bitch there is a son of a bitch.
Do I even need to bring this one up? Won a few academy awards. Girl hires boy as bodyguard -- boy is a stiff, OCD security specialist. Boy and girl take a while to warm up to each other. SPend one night together. Boy is screwed up in that he didn't maintain perfect control. Yelling ensues. Boy saves girl. Boy moves onto his next job, letting girl fly off into the sunset.
This film was carried by style as much as anything else. A great many elements of this film still hold up, strangely enough. It's odd, but it mostly works.
If you trip over it on TCM, I do recommend the series, if only for Lionel Barrymore.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Louis Armstrong's piece, "We have all the time in the world has ominous overtones in our household because of this film. It is cruel irony for this film. A new James Bond had just taken over, and married the best Bond girl ever -- Diana "Emma Peel" Rigg.
Bond gets married. Leaves the Secret Service. Drives off on his honeymoon ....
And his wife is murdered in a drive by shooting by Enst Stavro Blofeld.
.... It is possibly the only Bond film that has a real emotional ending.
The Great Gatsby
Talk about a train wreck.
Boy meets girl. Boy is from the wrong side of the tracks. Boy grows up, gets his fortune, and dedicates his entire life to getting enough cash to make the Silver Spoon girl happy. Girl is married. Boy tries to woo girl away from husband. Girl drives boy's car, and runs over a local woman. Girl's husband talks the dead woman's husband into killing boy. Boy dies. Girl wanders off with husband as though nothing happened.
This feels like the prototype of every screwed up love story ever. Why is this guy chasing this girl? He could have any woman he wants, and he focuses all of his attention on married woman who is ultimately a vapid shell of a human being. I don't understand any "romance" where a guy is treated like a doormat by the object of his affections, and he takes it until she comes around -- only in this case, she doesn't come around.
The Manchurian Candidate (Original)
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are broken up by schmuck parents. Boy goes off to Vietnam. Boy is brainwashed to be an assassin when the right commands are sent. Boy is sent to murder girl's father, girl gets in the way and is killed. Boy is deprogrammed, kills his handlers, and then himself, without ever knowing that he had killed the girl he loved.
... Just ouch.
And this was Frank Sinatra film, sans Rat Pack. Oy.
Yes, they get their own category. Why? Because you generally don't expect comic books to have Romeo and Juliet syndrome, where everything goes bad. Unless the girlfriend is murdered because the writer has no idea what to do with her.
Boy meets girl. Boy is frozen under the ice for decades --JUST AFTER finally making a date with her.
This doesn't help when you get to part two. Girl is still alive when he comes back. Girl has Alzheimer's... damn that was heartbreaking.
Stop right there, and keep reading. I see you reaching for the comments section to complain. Yes. this is a film where the boy and girl don't end up together, even if you hated the film. And it's also sort of hard when you realize that not only does she die trying to protect him, he doesn't even remember her doing it.
The Dark Knight
Talk about your train wrecks. Boy meets girl, boy loses parents. Boy dresses up like giant bat. Girl finds a nice guy. Boy decides that the nice guy means he doesn't HAVE to dress up like a giant bat. Girl is blown up by killer clown. Boy thinks she would have waited for him, even though she was going to run off with the nice guy.
Amazing Spider Man 2
I haven't seen this one yet, mostly because I know what happens. I was never really a fan of Gwen Stacy in the comics, but Emma Stone made me like her. I was rooting for them. And then she gets dropped off of a clock tower. Really? Couldn't have waited until film #3?
These are films and setups where you look at them and go ... "Was that a romance?"
The Dain Curse
Okay, this one is screwed up.
A Dashiell Hammett book made into a film, The Dain Curse centers around a rich girl who is hip deep in problems: there's a simple murder, to start with, and then a cult (and a murder), then another murder, and a bombing, AND she's got a major drug problem. Our main character is a PI hired by the family, who is dragged down the rabbit hole.
I"m not even sure if this one even counts, really. If there's really a romantic connection between the two, or what.
10 year old becomes an adult Tom Hanks. Meets adult woman. At the end of the film, he becomes a 10 year old again.
..... This one just makes my head hurt.
Count of Monte Cristo
Boy meets girl. Boy is thrown in jail. Boy comes back for revenge and finds that one of his targets married the girl. Boy destroys all of them. Girl informs boy that burning all of his bridges on a quest for revenge isn't cute or endearing, and leaves.
This one is questionable because the original love story isn't the focus of the film, or the novel -- it's the revenge. So does it count? No idea.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
.... I won't even touch this one.
Zorba the Greek
Again, the love story here is secondary, and perhaps even tertiary. Boy is setting up a business. Boy meets other boy. Both boys get girls. Boy #1 loses girl because a DIFFERENT boy killed himself because she wouldn't love him, and his family murders her. Boy #2 loses girl to disease. Business falls apart in epic failure.
I'm .... not even sure where to start. So I won't.