Harold and Maude
The Film: Harold and Maude (1971)
The Inappropriate: Harold is a disillusioned attention-seeker whose relationship with his mother is poised on the verge of destructively oedipal. Maude is a rebellious OAP. About 60 years divide them when they bed each other. Wrong.
How They Make It Work: In Maude, Harold discovers a human being at the other end of life’s spectrum. She’s bursting with vitality and passion. He's not.
Vitally, the flick smashes out pre-conceptions of youth and old age, convincing us that this is actually a very appropriate couple, despite its initial appearance. It works.
Victor and Emily
The Film: Corpse Bride (2005)
The Inappropriate: ‘Til death do us part. Or... not.
When engaged rich boy Victor wanders into the woods for some alone time, he slips his fiancée’s ring onto a tree root that turns out to be the finger of a dead girl. Before either can say “I don't”, they’re married. Sort of. Shudder.
How They Make It Work: Taking pity on Emily, Victor avenges her death. In the process, he frees himself from her, and winds up happily ever after with true love Victoria.
Dan and Alex
The Film: Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Inappropriate: Adultery, plain and simple.
Dan is already married when he and Alex hook up, meaning he’s betraying those most sacred of vows.
How They Make It Work: They really don’t.
Dan gets his due when Alex turns out to be a demented bunny boiler (here, for the first time, literally) who will do anything to cleave him from his wife.
She wants the white picket fence, he just wants her gone. It ends bloodily.
Nina and George
The Film: The Object Of My Affection (1998)
The Inappropriate: Nina and George have a lot in common. Unfortunately, the main thing is that they both like men. Spanner officially in the works.
Nina falls in love with her gay roomie. Meanwhile, he’s confused about his feelings for her. Are they really just friends?
How They Make It Work: When Nina becomes pregnant by her overbearing ex-boyfriend, she wants George to raise the child with her.
Eventually they realise that ain’t really an option. We phoned them, and they've confirmed that they remain close friends.
Ariel and Eric
The Film: The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Inappropriate: When Ariel spies the man of her dreams aboard his mighty ship, she falls head over fin in love with him. Get that? Fin? Yeah, she’s a mermaid. He’s a man. And never the twixt shall meet.
How They Make It Work: It’s a fairytale, so it all ends happily ever after, with Ariel shedding her fins for her prince.
Unless you’re a resolute feminist. In which case you’ll probably find the ease with which Ariel gives up her family, friends and life for a man difficult to stomach.
Jack and Wendy
The Film: The Shining (1980)
The Inappropriate: Jack is a recovering alcoholic, and there are hints that his marriage to Wendy has hit a few roadbumps over the years.
The biggest bump comes when he tries to kill her during their stay at the Overlook Hotel.
How They Make It Work: He tries to chop her up. She bashes him over the head and locks him in a supplies room. He breaks out and chases her through a maze, but the cold gets him and he freezes to death. In short: they don’t make it work.
King Kong and Ann Darrow
The Films: King Kong (1933), King Kong (2005)
The Inappropriate: Size matters. Especially if a giant ape is going, well, apeshit over you.
King Kong takes a liking to Ann Darrow when he happens upon her in the jungles of his home. Naturally, he wants her all for himself, and a strange relationship develops between the two.
How They Make It Work: Darrow takes pity on the jungle king (juggling for his amusement in the ’05 version). Sadly, Kong is gunned down when he breaks lose in New York. Ape-palling.
Luke and Leia
The Film: Star Wars (1977)
The Inappropriate: Freud would have a field day with these two.
Upon their initial meeting, Luke immediately falls for Princess Leia’s ballsy charms. He doesn’t know that the bun-donning beauty is really his long-lost twin.
In retrospect, it’s pretty gross. There’s that awkward moment in A New Hope where Leia plants a kiss on her brother “for luck”, then smooches him again in Empire to stir Han’s jealousy.
How They Make It Work: Have no fear, the flirty pecking is as far as it goes. Luke soon learns the truth, and Leia realises that she's loved Han all along.
Chucky and Tiffany
The Film: Bride Of Chucky (1998)
The Inappropriate: They’re dolls, for crying out loud!
So desperate is Chucky for his very own plastic playmate that he kills his former girlfriend and transfers her soul into the body of a wannabe Barbie. Cue lots of inappropriate touching and some very creepy fornicating that pre-dates Team America ’s puppet sex by six years.
How They Make It Work: Despite attempting to play the dutiful wife, Tiffany just ain’t built that way. Inevitably, the two serial killers end up crispy crittered and inanimate once more.
Lon and Mathilda
The Film: Léon (1994)
The Inappropriate: The relationship that these two share is an odd one.
Blanching at a father-daughter dynamic, their mutual love and respect exists somewhere in an uncomfortable realm that deems it acceptable for Léon to train young Mathilda in gun warfare while also letting her get drunk (in the film’s extended version).
How They Make It Work: It does work in a way for a while. But, in narrative, subtextual terms, Léon is punished for his killer ways by meeting his maker.