It’s often said that our perception of an ideal relationship comes from observing other couples. For most of us, that’s our parents, sure, but also the couples we see onscreen. Fortunately, the great science fiction and fantasy movies offered me some great examples to learn from:
Leia and Han: Attraction Is No Exact Science
In The Empire Strikes Back, we get to see one of science fiction’s most famous pairings unfold. It’s such a classic that it seems inevitable to us now. Back in 1980, it was hardly a given, though. By all accounts, it should have never have been Han. He’s aloof, vain, and quick to act, where Leia is more cautious, considerate, organized, and above all, doesn’t suffer foolishness.
And yet, they fall head over heels for each other. Because, surprise surprise, love is more than a personality quiz. It’s messy and weird and chemical in a way that makes little sense at first. But it forces you to look closer at a person, and can reveal things about them you never would have guessed. Han has a very soft and warm vulnerable side he’s afraid to expose. Leia can be frivolous and does care what other people think of her. They’re a match in ways more than skin deep.
Wall-E and Eve: Challenge Each Other To Be Better
Speaking of odd couples, Wall-E and Eve’s adorable robot romance never fails to enchant. There’s something to like about each of them when we first meet them. Wall-E is caring and inquisitive, and Eve is both quick-thinking and loyal. On the other hand, they’ve got flaws. Wall-E in his cowardice and naïveté, Eve in her cold indifference to other beings.
But what’s important is that they learn from each other and they’re inspired by each other. Wall-E adapts to new and frightening dangers to save the plant, Eve, and human society. Eve becomes more empathetic and is able to thereby be a better protector. They see what their robo-crush is better at, they adapt, they exterminate- er, and they become better partners for one another.
Jack Burton and Gracie Law: Don’t Compromise Yourself Or Your Goals
When, in Big Trouble in Little China, ol’ Jack Burton finds himself thrust into the company of Gracie Law, sparks fly. Jack’s an egotistical muscle-head trucker who doesn’t like to be tied down. Gracie’s a busybody lawyer who selflessly and happily injects herself into other peoples’ troubles. They come to realize they’re attracted to one another pretty quickly, but the fact annoys them. (At one point Jack denies it to Gracie’s friend Margo. She fires back with “Oh yeah, what do I know? She’s not even your type- all brains!” His only response? A childish snort.)
But they don’t change to fit each other. Instead, they come to appreciate each others’ strengths, and the gifts their different experiences have granted each other. At the end of the movie, Jack wants to get back on the road, while Gracie would have him hang around San Francisco or take her on as a partner. Jack’s not ready for that. And she’s not ready to chase after him. And they both know that, and they’re okay with that. They wouldn’t try to change each other. It’s only a matter of time until The Pork Chop Express rolls back into San Francisco.
Arwen and Aragorn: Your Relationship Is Only Between The Two Of You
Lord of the Rings brings us our first dedicated, preexisting romance on this list. Arwen and Aragorn have been entranced with each other for years by the time the story begins. But they’re prevented from being with each other due to their obligations to their family. In particular, Arwen’s father Elrond wants her to join him in the Grey Havens where they can live immortal. His insistence that there is nothing left for her in Middle-Earth almost takes her away from Aragorn forever.
But of course, Arwen realizes that she would rather live a generation with him Aragorn than an eternity apart. And it’s her decision, not her father’s, not anyone else’s to make. Well-meaning advice from friends and family can be helpful, but in the end, you and your partner should make the decisions that you want to.
Seth Brundle and Veronica Quaife: A Willingness To Sacrifice
The Fly, a story of a horrifying and disgusting scientific accident, may not appear at the surface to be a story about love, but it most definitely is. Reporter Vernoica Quaife bears witness to the development of teleportation pods by genius Seth Brundle, but as she documents his attempts to perfect the device, they fall in love. They support each other as they aspire to something greater, and eventually, Seth is able to transmit organic life through the telepods. But of course, he sends himself through with a housefly by accident.
Seth degenerates as his mutated DNA tries to reconcile human and fly, leaving Veronica to watch the man she loves die in the most horrifying way possible. But she stays by him, tries her best to comfort him in his time of need. It’s incredibly difficult, but she makes the sacrifice because true love means staying by your partner in good times and bad. And in the end, she is able to ease his pain in a way only she can. (But of course, it’s a super gross way.)
Who are some of your favorite geeky couples and what kind of lessons of love can you learn from them? Let us know in the comment section below.
Feature Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney