You can learn some of life’s greatest lessons from films. Watching movie characters navigate different types of relationships gives you a glimpse of human connection at varying levels. Whether you crave the loving affection of a romantic relationship or miss the warmth of a familial bond, you’re bound to relate in more ways than one.
From Titanic’s Jack and Rose to the Queen and Princess of Genovia, here are the different kinds of relationships as portrayed by your favourite movie characters.
1. Romantic Relationships
When you’re madly in love, sometimes you do crazy things that make you feel like it’s you against the world. No film captures this feeling of complete love and abandon better than Bonnie and Clyde. The couple’s burning passion for one another fuelled their escapades, even if it meant the risk of dying for each other.
Speaking of undying love, Titanic makes you believe in finding romance amid the most turbulent waters. The paths of a young socialite and poor artist cross aboard the ill-fated steamship. Their friendship then blossoms into one of those types of relationships that will make your heart go on.
2. Platonic Relationships
You’ll have many platonic relationships in a wide range of settings. You’ll develop friendships with a coworker, a fellow regular at the gym, or a family member.
You can also develop a platonic relationship with someone you meet at a hotel on a trip to a foreign land. For Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), such was the case. Lost In Translation takes you on a travelogue-like journey through a strangely beautiful Tokyo backdrop where two friends find respite in meaningful connection.
3. Casual Relationships
Clinical psychologist Dr Janet Brito explains a casual type of relationship: “It typically involves two peers who agree to have casual sex with each other for pleasure purposes but have agreed that the relationship won’t involve any romantic relations or eventual progressions into a full-on relationship.”
You can observe this dynamic in the rom-com film Friends with Benefits. Here, Dylan (Justin Timberlake) and Jamie (Mila Kunis) find themselves in a complicated friendship with feelings thrown into the mix. As depicted in the movie, defining this relationship can get tricky, as each party might eventually develop different expectations.
4. Polyamorous Relationships
Most people are familiar with a monogamous type of relationship. But for others, it’s not the only option. In Vicky Cristina Barcelona, friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) embark on a summer adventure in Spain, unaware that they’ll meet Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), a seductive painter. The film unravels into a love triangle turned square when his former lover (Penélope Cruz) enters the picture.
There’s still some stigma attached to polyamorous relationships in many cultures. However, research from the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy reports that around 21% to 22% of adults will be involved in some type of open relationship at some point.
5. Familial Relationships
Family members can be a source of joy or anxiety at any stage of your life. For instance, meeting your partner’s family can be one of the most exciting – and stressful – times in a relationship. Here’s one consolation: not all fathers-in-law are as challenging as Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) from Meet the Parents. The comedy about familial relationships gone wrong is a work of fiction, but it’s funny because it’s relatable.
Familial relationships are never perfect. They may push you too hard to the point of surrender, but they also always look out for your best interests. So, if your loved one suggests areas of improvement, receive them with open arms. Embrace opportunities to improve, whether upskilling or getting a head-to-toe makeover.
In Princess Diaries, Mia (Anne Hathaway) undergoes a holistic transformation with the guidance of her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews). Despite her initial reluctance, Mia eventually gains an upgrade in her appearance and forges a stronger bond with her grandmother.
You, too, can achieve a smile makeover like Princess Mia’s and navigate relationships with more confidence and grace. But no need for traditional braces! Ask your doctor about ClearCorrect dental aligners, a comfortable solution to treating misaligned teeth and ensuring a winning smile.
As you journey through life, you’ll encounter diverse types of relationships. Some are trickier than others, while some bonds are worth keeping forever. Understanding these differences will help you identify which relationships are worth investing in. So, choose the company you’ll keep wisely. With some luck, you’ll find friends (or lovers) you won’t be able to live without.
Birditt, K. S., Newton, N. J., Cranford, J. A., & Ryan, L. H. (2015). Stress and Negative Relationship Quality among Older Couples: Implications for Blood Pressure. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 71(5), 775–785.
Haupert, M., Gesselman, A. N., Moors, A. C., Fisher, H., & Garcia, J. R. (2016). Prevalence of experiences with consensual nonmonogamous relationships: findings from two national samples of single Americans. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 43(5), 424–440.
Howard, M. (2022, June 29). Types of relationships & how to define yours, according to experts. Bustle.