I mentioned one of my favorite movie couples, Melvin and Carole from As Good as It Gets, in my last Heartwarming post and it got me thinking. Melvin is an OCD misanthrope author and Carole is a waitress and single mother struggling to support and care for a son who suffers from anxiety. Given the issues that consumed their lives, it seemed unlikely either could find love, yet they found it nonetheless. How did it happen? Many love stories seem to feature people with so much going for them- he’s rich, she’s beautiful, oh- and he’s also gorgeous too… of course… yet we are expected to root for this seemingly perfect couple to find the last piece- love- to complete their pristine lives. Now I don’t begrudge such fortunate people a chance at happiness. Romance is infinite and should be possible for everyone. Yet, I can’t help but fall a little more in love with couples that aren’t perfect, yet are perfect for each other, like Melvin and Carole. Here are a few more such couples that have captured my heart.
Last January, I heard a lot of buzz about a movie and book titled Silver Linings Playbook. The author, Matthew Quick and screenplay adaptor and director David O. Russell, wrote an unexpected love story that moved me and millions of others. In the tale, Pat Solitano, a man with bipolar disorder, moves home with his parents after his release from a psychiatric hospital. He’s obsessed with winning back his estranged wife. In order to impress her, he joins Tiffany Maxwell, a recent widow who struggles with an addiction, in a plan that will also help Tiffany achieve her goal of dancing competitively. Despite the obstacles, these two, fragile souls, connect in a deeply moving, powerful way. I cried at the beautiful ending when each realized that though they might not be perfect, they were perfect together.
Another quirky couple I adore is from an older, smaller movie that is worth checking out: Benny and Joon. Johnny Depp stars in it (that alone is worth a viewing J) as an eccentric, illiterate young man named Sam who’s addicted to cinema and impersonates silent film comics such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Joon, an intelligent, schizophrenic young woman, lives with her protective older brother, Benny. When a bet is lost and Sam moves in with them, the positive difference he makes on Joon doesn’t escape Benny’s watchful eye. Joon, in turn, teaches Sam to read. For the first time, they no longer feel like outsiders because together, they’ve found acceptance and love.
Physical health issues can sometimes be an obstacle to love, yet that is far from the case in John Green’s incredible novel, The Fault in Our Stars. Like my upcoming Harlequin Heartwarming, Wish Me Tomorrow- out September, 2013- the characters in this novel deal with cancer. Hazel is an avid reader and loner with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer stabilized by experimental treatment. When she meets Augustus, an Osteosarcoma survivor whose right leg has been amputated, she falls hard for his wit and self-confidence. At last, she’s lured out of her home to play video games, go to parks, and even travel to Amsterdam where Augustus uses his ‘Make-A-Wish’ to help her meet her favorite author. Though Hazel’s lungs don’t work without assistance, and Augustus can no longer play basketball (not that he cares) and is at risk for remission, together they are unstoppable. They don’t see the imperfections and neither do we. This couple is perfect together and ultimately that is all that matters in fiction and in life.
I cannot end this post without a quick nod to one of my favorite movie franchises of all time: Shrek. Through the years I’d grown used to beautiful, wasp-waisted princesses falling for buff, handsome princes. Then Dreamworks took an unexpected turn from the traditional fairytale romance format and gave us a gruff, reclusive ogre named, Shrek. Far from good-looking or adored, he’d become an outcast for his fearsome appearance and reputation. Despite the loneliness, Shrek had grown used to his solitary life until events make his path cross with a seemingly flawless princess named Fiona. His feelings for her develop once he realizes that she isn’t perfect and is, in fact, an ogre like him. He quickly convinces her that the curse that transforms her into this creature at night is actually a blessing and the two, imperfect characters find perfect love with each other.
I would love to hear your choices for favorite unconventional romances/couples. Share your thoughts in the comments section below and be entered to win my giveaway of Margaret Daley's Heartwarming novel CIMARRON REFUGE, an autographed bookmark of my upcoming Young Adult romance, CAMP BOYFRIEND, and friendship bracelets, one for you and one to share with the friend that is perfect for you! The winner will be announced on this blog post tomorrow as well as on www.facebook.com/JKRockwriters . Thank you so much for stopping by J