To quote chart-topping poet Haddaway at his philosophical best, ‘what is love?’
It’s a question and a half, and we don’t pretend to have a definitive answer.
What we do know, though, is that when it comes to big-screen couples, some of the ones we love the most don’t exactly appear in traditional date movies.
So, join us as we reveal our favourite movie odd couples.
Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Whatever Tarantino fans expected from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, we’re fairly certain it wasn’t a bromance for the ages.
But in no small measure, that's certainly what we got throughout QT's Oscar-winning ode to Tinseltown.
Through histrionic career meltdowns, whirlwind European weddings and several brushes with the murderous Manson family, emotionally vulnerable TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and eternally grounded driver/stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are the Yin and Yang of a truly classic bro couple.
Whether you’re one of life’s dependable rocks or a rolling ocean of feels, Rick and Cliff are proof that everyone’s complementary other half is out there somewhere.
Ellen Ripley and the Xenomorph in the Alien saga
As most people know from even a brief mental glance at their relationship history, not every intense relationship is one to cherish.
And what’s true of the average human/human couple is quadruply so when your go-to partner has acid for blood and thinks the height of romance is incubating their horrifically fatal offspring in your chest cavity.
And yet, through the four original Alien films, former Nostromo warrant officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and H.R. Giger’s powerfully fugly xenomorph find it impossible to leave one another be.
To be fair, with the exception of the DNA-splicing Alien Resurrection, they’re exclusively a hate-hate couple but, nevertheless, we missed Ripley and the alien’s legendary sparring in the prequels Prometheus and Alien Covenant.
Chuck Noland and Wilson in Castaway
Have you ever been in a relationship where you feel like you’re talking to yourself half the time?
That’s a disappointing trait in a human partner but, as shipwrecked Fed Ex troubleshooter Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) discovers, having a completely unresponsive partner to bounce ideas off (and simply, well, bounce) can save your sanity and your life.
Wilson – a Wilson Sporting Goods volleyball with a bloody handprint for a face in case you’ve never seen the film – rapidly becomes the perfect survival companion, there for Chuck throughout his entire four-year ordeal on the island.
And, while – spoilers! – Wilson eventually floats off into the sunset, we like to think he drifted, bounced and rolled his way back to Chuck eventually.
John and Daisy in John Wick
As doomed couples go, Romeo and Juliet are fine, but if you really want to cathartically cry your eyes out of their sockets to a love too perfect, too sublime to last, look no further than John Wick the assassin and Daisy the Beagle puppy.
Adorbs Daisy is a posthumous gift of hope from Wick’s wife Helen after she succumbs to terminal illness, and it’s fair to say that at first he’s in no mood for puppy love.
But, Daisy being a good girl (a very good girl), Wick bonds with her in a heartbeat.
We won’t spell out what happens next but let’s just say that a lot of Russian gangsters end up regretting coming between Keanu Reeves, his dog, and a lifetime of belly rubs.
Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal
Full disclosure – the relationship between FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) and cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is ever so slightly dysfunctional. And yet, their on-screen chemistry is undeniable.
They’re both smart and driven – him to murder and eat people in inventive ways, her to stop him murdering and eating people in inventive ways – and they respect one another as opponents.
In fact, once free and with every reason to hunt Starling down, Lecter calls to let her know she’s got a free pass (“I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world’s more interesting with you in it”).
So what if Clarice and Hannibal don’t display healthy relationship goals – they’re a fascinating big-screen twosome and we love to see them go toe to toe.
Scrat and Acorn in the Ice Age films
Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca (1942), Jack and Ally in A Star is Born (2018), Elizabeth and Mr Darcy (2005) – Cinema is awash with couples we root for in the face of life’s trials and tribulations.
But is there any love purer or fought for with greater passion than sabre-tooth squirrel Scrat’s for his beloved and surprisingly elusive acorn?
Through five feature-length Ice Age films and four short films, Scrat has endured mammoth stomping (thanks, Manny), glacial smushing, avalanches, lightning strikes, piranha attacks and extraterrestrial abduction while pursuing his forever love.
Not only that but his acorn love is so great that it’s inadvertently been the catalyst for global catastrophes and massive continental drifts. Now that’s a next-level commitment to a relationship.
Olaf and the Summer in Frozen
Snowman Olaf’s infatuation with summer is so pure, innocent and heartfelt that reality (with its unhelpfully spoil-sporty facts) doesn’t stand a chance.
And if that’s not a perfect metaphor for some less-than-stellar human to human relationships we don’t know what is.
And yet, despite our GCSE knowledge of what happens to solid water when it gets warm, we can’t help but get swept up by Olaf’s optimism and imagined joy at experiencing beach holidays, summer breezes and flower-filled meadows.
You know what? We could all use a little more wide-eyed optimism in our lives so, Olaf, buddy, we salute you (with a mop and bucket at the ready, just in case).
Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Star Wars saga
They bicker like old marrieds, frequently disagree on the best course of action and – we assume – continually fall out over which of them is clogging up the Millennium Falcon’s shower drain with all that auburn hair, but Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his co-pilot for life, Chewbacca the Wookiee, are the quintessential big-screen couple.
Their banter – Han’s one-liners and Chewie’s distinctive howls and roars – is priceless, they practically read one another’s minds in a crisis (and there’s always a crisis), and through thick and thin they have one another’s backs as they cross the galaxy and the Skywalker saga together.
Complete and unceasing mutual respect and loyalty – not even Han and Leia managed that.