The subject of forbidden love intrigues moviegoers because it may provide both dramatic tension and lighthearted entertainment. When it comes to passion, who doesn’t enjoy breaching taboos and bucking societal norms?
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List of the best examples of prohibited affection and clandestine love, where the stakes are high and a box of Kleenex are required, is shown below.
Please note that, save from West Side Story, all of the Romeo and Juliet adaptations and other Shakespearean works (including 1998’s Shakespeare in Love) have been purposely left off of this list.
Despite the fact that Shakespeare was a virtuoso at exploring forbidden love, we’ve opted to ignore him in order to make place for other ill-fated romances.
1. Little Children (2006)
Little Children, a film adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s 2004 novel, is directed by Todd Field, who approaches the subject of human desire and affliction with a refreshing lack of trepidation. Brad Adamson and Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson) are both married to other people, yet they have a passionate affair.
Peripheral characters include Ronnie (Jackie Earle Haley), a sex offender pedophile, and obsessed ex-cop Larry (Noah Emmerich) in what the LA Times called “one of the few films…that examines the baffling combination… that characterizes middle-class Gen X parenting, and finds sheer, white-knuckled terror at its core.”.
2. Heading South (2005)
Three middle-aged white women, played by Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young, and Louise Portal, travel to Haiti for sexual encounters with young men in the late 1970s in Québécois director Laurent Cantet’s horrific tale.
With a dexterity akin to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s, Heading South doesn’t shy away from its controversial concept, and with calm and grace it unravels a political inequity.
3. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
In 1965 on the imaginary New England island of New Penzance, Wes Anderson tells a sweet coming-of-age story about forbidden love. Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman), both 12 years old, are running away.
Forcing their way out of Camp Ivanhoe despite the desires of nearly every adult in their guarded existence. While their ad hoc survivalist skills, the two are unable to outwit their different pursuers despite being introverted, clever, and utterly devoid of cunning.
Despite its bleak subject matter, Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is a charming fable that is oddly off-kilter and distinctive in the nicest way. Even if the relationship is doomed from the start, young love is rarely as sunny and carefree. What a treat.
4. Out of Sight (1998)
Steven Soderbergh’s late 1990s humorous crime comedy doubles as a passionate romance, based on the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. It would be the first of many films between director and starring man George Clooney.
When Jack Foley (George Clooney) and Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez) are forced to share a vehicle trunk after a brave and idiotic escape from a bank, they find themselves smitten.
Out of Sight is a must-see film because to Soderbergh’s slick filmmaking, which is full of amusing gimmicks—flashbacks, flash forwards, freeze frames, etc.—and the undeniable connection between the attractive protagonists and supporting cast.
5. Tess (1979)
Roman Polanski’s film adaptation of Tess of the d’Ubervilles, based on Thomas Hardy’s famous 1892 novel of destined love, is precise and insightful.
A country girl born of aristocracy who lost her kid as the result of rape, Nasstassja Kinski portrays Tess, a woman who later meets and falls in love with Angel (Peter Firth). During their first dance as husband and wife, Tess opens up about her troubled history, only to have Angel reject her.
Kinski’s star power is nearly blinding at this point in the story. In spite of the film’s pessimism and certain doom, Tess remains a towering figure in the audience’s hearts and minds.
“It is a brilliantly realized historical piece that surrounds Tess with the attitudes of her time—attitudes that explain how confined her behavior must be, and how society regards her true human feelings as improper,” observed Roger Ebert in his rave review. I really enjoyed this movie.”
6. The Name of the Rose (1986)
This fascinating medieval mystery is based on Umberto Eco’s debut novel and directed by Jean-Jacque Annaud from a puritanical Benedictine abbey. “The Name of the Rose,” starring Sean Connery as a Franciscan friar named William of Baskerville and Christian Slater as his student Adso of Melk, appears to be a detective story at first glance.
Adso’s love for a peasant girl, played by Valentina Vargas, is the main star of the film, even though there is a fun mystery to be solved and subverted. Adso’s faith is tested as their prohibited tryst reveals his fleshly sins, a deep and resonant tragedy, and his agony and desire are apparent, pitiful, and eventually crushing.
It was largely ignored when it was first released. Rose-tinted and ready for a second look, the Name of the Rose has arrived.
7. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
This subversive comedy-drama centers on titular social misfit Lars (Ryan Gosling) and his platonic but intensely sexual relationship with Bianca, for which screenwriter Nancy Oliver was nominated for an Academy Award.
Moreover, Bianca is an anatomically perfect sexual doll, and Lars and the Real Girl’s amiable approach to the salacious premise is astounding. Even though it has an almost John Waters-like apriorism, director Craig Gillespie manages to give the audience an elegant rather than horrific experience.
Like in a fairy tale, Gosling’s man-child is decent at heart, despite his delusions, and the people around him care about him and accept him. The fact that Gillespie manages to express the exuberance and foreboding we’d anticipate from Frank Capra is also strange, but it truly speaks something considering the premise and the supposition.
8. The English Patient (1996)
Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s 1992 Can-Lit classic The English Patient is an epic, Academy Award-winning epic. The English Patient is mostly a love story about a WWII pilot named Lazlo de Almásy who was left scarred and maimed during the conflict (Ralph Fiennes).
In North Africa, an amnesiac rescued from the wreckage of a biplane is nearing the end of his life. Lazlo tells his story to a Québécois nurse, Hana (Juliette Binoche), about his love for Katharine Clifton, a married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas).
While evoking David Lean’s grandiose epic style, the picture also conveys the poetry of Ondaatje’s text, creating an air of mystique, sexuality, and creative attraction around the whole affair.