A year or so ago I did a Phenomenal 5 list focused on movie romances. Today we are again looking at romances but this time with a twist. These are five movie relationships known more for their fire and volatility than love and kisses. It didn’t take long for a big number to come to mind so I certainly wouldn’t call this the definitive list. Still, there is no denying that these five movie romances are not only volatile but also phenomenal.
# 5 – “War of the Roses”
In the 1989 Danny DeVito directed “War of the Roses” everything starts reasonably well. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner meet in college, fall in love, and eventually marry. Oh but how quickly it turns into one of the most outrageous and darkest black comedies of its decade. Their relationship sours, their marriage crumbles, and the Roses bring new meaning to “ugly divorce”.
#4 – “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”
The marriage between Paul Newman’s Brick and Elizabeth Taylor’s Maggie seemed destined for trouble. It becomes abundantly clear as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” moves forward, slowly shedding light on their feelings toward each other and on destructive secrets from their pasts. Alcoholism, deception, dysfunction – all factors that influence this stormy, bitter relationship between two deeply flawed people.
#3 – “Kalifornia”
Adding a much different flavor to the list is “Kalifornia”, a twisted road thriller featuring a particularly tempestuous relationship between the violent, aggressive Early (Brad Pitt) and the simple, naive Adele (Juliette Lewis). The abuse we witness ranges from subtle and manipulative to fiercely physical. Incredibly the film makes the couple fascinating, even sweet on occasions. Perhaps that’s what makes the abusive side of their relationship even more disturbing.
#2 – “A Streetcar Named Desire”
A second Tennessee Williams adaptation makes the list but with a twist. It’s impossible to consider one specific relationship in “Streetcar” without factoring in the three main players – Stanley, Stella, and Blanche. The depression and dysfunction of these three characters are so intrinsically intertwined and manifests itself through various degrees of mental and physical abuse. Sure, this may be a cheat, but the volatility of this three-headed relationship is too profound to exclude.
#1 – “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Relentlessly nasty, toxic, and brutal. Those are just a few adjectives which perfectly describe 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. Perhaps no film has presented a more hateful, venomous relationship than the one shared between George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor). As the film moves forward we get more alcohol, more insults, and more pain until these two severely damaged people simply have nothing left.
So there are my five volatile movie romances. What do you think of my picks? See something I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below.