Kenny Spurrell and Tim Giorlando ride bikes to mimic Oliver and Elio from “Call Me by Your Name.” The film industry has shown more nontraditional relationships in recent years.  ILLUSTRATED AND PHOTO BY KAT PROCACCI

Historically, on-screen romance hasn’t always represented real life. But in recent years, movies and TV shows have portrayed relationships that have broken social stereotypes, becoming a bit more realistic. Well, in some cases.    

“Call Me by Your Name” (2017)

“Call Me by Your Name” is a romantic coming-of-age and coming out story between 17-year-old Elio, played by Timothée Chalamet, and 24-year-old Oliver, played by Armie Hammer. Elio is spending the summer of 1983 at his family’s villa in Lombardy, Italy when his father takes on Oliver as an intern. Oliver is also living at the villa with the family, and Elio doesn’t like Oliver very much at first. However, sexual tension grows between the two protagonists over time. They play off their relationship as just a friendship, scared to come out to the family. At the end of the summer, Oliver leaves, still intent on suppressing his sexuality. But, Elio’s father caught on and encouraged him to be his true self. Elio and Oliver may have not ended up together, but that summer still changed their lives.

Mike Anderson and Brittney Dietz pose as Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones.” ILLUSTRATED BY CAMRON WANG, PHOTO BY KAT PROCACCI

“Game of Thrones” (2011-2019)


“You know nothing Jon Snow.” While Jon Snow’s first love interest, Ygritte, said this, it turns out to be true in his future relationships. Jon later gets tangled in a romance with Daeynerys Targaryan, the “Mother of Dragons,” who, little did he know, is his aunt. The incest in this award-winning television show is no secret, being that two of the main characters are fraternal twins in a love affair. While fans did not necessarily get behind Cersei and Jaime Lannister sleeping together, it was hard not to root for Jon and Daenerys. In true “Game of Thrones Fashion,” their love story ends with Jon killing Daenerys for the greater good after she burnt Westeros to the ground. To say they broke relationship stereotypes is an understatement.

“Lars and the Real Girl” (2007)

At first glance, “Lars and the Real Girl” might seem more than bizarre. Ryan Gosling plays Lars, an extremely shy, socially awkward man who begins a delusional relationship with a life-size plastic sex doll he purchased off the internet. However, don’t let this unconventional relationship deter you; Lars does not use the doll for sex, but as a way to connect with and love someone. His psychologist advises his family and the town to go along with his delusion and accept the doll “Bianca” as his girlfriend. Over time the community grows to see Bianca as more than a doll, and as someone they too love. This movie is one of the most heartwarming and deeply insightful portrayals of loneliness, love and empathy.

Anya Marquardt and Maria Lynders reenact a scene from “Silver Linings Playbook,” portraying Tiffany and Pat. KAT PROCACCI/THE STATESMAN

“Silver Linings Playbook” (2012)


“Silver Linings Playbook” may follow a conventional romance trope where a boy loses a girl, tries to win her back and ends up falling for someone else, but the film itself is far from an ordinary love story. The movie earned praise for destigmatizing and normalizing discussion about mental health and how relationships with family and partners can be affected from it. Bradley Cooper, playing Patrick Solitano, is being treated for bipolar disorder while Jennifer Lawrence, as Tiffany Maxwell, has depressive episodes and suffered from a sex addiction after her husband died. Many movies use mental illness as a plot device for other characters to learn from or solve, but this movie shows mental illness as it is and how it interacts when two characters fall in love.

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet star as Joel and Clementine, an emotionally distant man and an unstable, free-spirited woman, in this sci-fi film about the end of a two-year relationship. After an unpleasant breakup, Clementine erased Joel and their relationship from her memory. When Joel finds out, he goes to do the same but while unconscious, he realizes he does not want to get rid of his memories of Clementine. He spends the film trying to preserve his memories of Clementine and resisting the procedure by hiding in his brain. At the end, Joel and Clementine meet for the “first time” again, unaware of who they are to each other. Their attraction to each other remains, but then they receive the tapes of them going through the procedure. Despite their flaws, they decide to give it a try again. This is a story about overcoming differences for love.

Jeremy Portnoy poses as Theodore from “Her” while looking at a ChatGPT-written love letter. KAT PROCACCI/THE STATESMAN

“Her” (2013)

In today’s world, technology is becoming increasingly intertwined with our lives and emotions. With ChatGPT’s rising popularity, more concerns are being raised regarding whether artificial intelligence will ever reach a sentient level, meaning it can perceive or feel things as a human would. The 2007 film “Her” follows an unconventional romance where Theo, damaged after his marriage falls apart, falls in love with “Samantha,” his computer’s artificial intelligence operating system. Samantha, while filing data on Theo, learns what it’s like to be human, while Theo gets lost further into the world of technology. His love for Samantha is an eerie portrayal of a future where humans choose machines over connections with other people. 



Kat Procacci (she/hers) is a senior Journalism major with minors in Film and Political Science. She is currently one of the managing editors for The Statesman and has been working for them for three years. Her focus is multimedia, and she was the multimedia editor her junior year.


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