Miscommunication, blindly jeering, harshly misjudging each other, and steering romance out the window the moment they meet are signs of an impending romance. These stories all have a common thread: a fog of animosity that dissipates to give way to true love.
The lovers’ haters trope is widely loved for its witty banter, snarky comebacks, and the couple’s searing chemistry. While exceptionally entertaining, the trope can be a serious disaster if not executed correctly. While the novels in print set incredibly high standards with their fake dating stories and fake marriages, these adaptations don’t always make it to the big screen. Those that do are littered with goofy characters, ghastly storylines, and forced chemistry, but there are a few masterpieces that blow others out of the water.
“The Hate Game” (2021)
After the merger of their publishing houses, Lucy Hutton (Lucy Hale) and Joshua Templeman (Austin Stowell) are forced to work together as executive assistants to the CEOs of their respective companies. Their seething rivalry culminates when they are put against each other for the same promotion. Wanting to succeed professionally and quit her crummy job, Lucy decides to go into war mode to defeat Joshua. But when an innocent elevator ride heats up, Lucy reflects on their relationship.
Based on Sally Thorne novel of the same name, The Hate Game is one of the best book-movie adaptations of all time. The film is a great watch for the holiday season, and the chemistry between the two stars ripples with possibility.
“The Proposal” (2009)
Andre Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) hates his boss Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), because of how terribly she treats her employees, especially Andrew himself. When Margaret learns that her visa will soon expire and that she will have to return to Canada if she does not find a solution, she convinces Andrew to marry her. They travel to Alaska to meet his family and get married, but shocking realizations hit them, leading to the obvious (but expected) happily ever after.
The comedy is perfect and makes you want to roll up in blankets and stay there watching forever. While Bullock’s films hold their record for being extremely hilarious and wholesome, Proposal is one of the most incredibly written and performed films of all time.
“Pride and Prejudice” (2005)
Next Jane Austenclassic novel, Pride and Prejudice presents Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley), the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen), a wealthy aristocratic landowner. They both possess too much “pride and prejudice” since they first met and refuse to acknowledge their feelings and chemistry, which leads to a coveted happiness forever.
While countless adaptations of the original foes to lovers have been made since its publication in 1813, only the 2005 adaptation adequately captures their conflict and banter, making it a favorite among fans of the classic.
‘Sweet Home Alabama’ (2002)
Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry the man of her dreams, but her childhood sweetheart, Jake (Josh Lucas), is still her official husband. She decides to have him sign the divorce papers and returns to her hometown. Sparks fly when their longstanding contempt for each other fades, and what’s left is the love they can’t let go.
Sweet Home Alabama is one of Witherspoon’s best films, and it captures her character like a second skin. Although Josh and Reese’s chemistry is already fantastic, what sets the film apart is that they’re already married and rekindling the love they thought they had lost.
Dear Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and his ex-brother-in-law Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd) are sworn enemies. He thinks she’s “a superficial space cadet” and she thinks he’s a brown-nosed profiteer who should go “torture another family”. They aren’t too fierce but have a huge sibling rivalry with no room for support. As the film progresses, it becomes apparent to everyone how “ignorant” they are. But when Josh stands up for Cher, they give in to their feelings to give their whirlwind romance a chance.
As romance trumps Cher’s decision for the iconic makeover, the chemistry reverberates throughout the film, leading to a sweet ending. Without surprise, clueless was a highlight of Rudd’s career and one of Silverstone’s finest films.
“You’ve Got Mail” (1998)
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) is the owner of a small special bookstore. When Joe Fox (tom hank) opens a mega bookstore around the corner, she’s nearly run out of business. Their feud continues until one day Joe realizes that Kathleen is his best friend online, the confidante he’s always trusted. The realization helps him see her in a fresher light, and ultimately, he earns her.
A classic case of the love triangle for two, You’ve got mail is one of the best movies from haters to lovers trope.
’10 Things I Hate About You’ (1999)
Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wants to date Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), but to surpass his father, he needs his older sister, Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles), to start dating too. Cameron pays Patrick Verona (health book) to output Kat. After a bit of crawling, Kat agrees to go out with Patrick and lets her guard down, only to have her heart broken when the truth comes out. After all this time, Patrick is completely in love with her and makes it his mission to win her back, making everyone swoon.
Heath Ledger’s performance is phenomenal. 10 things i hate about you is such a classic teen movie that we tend to forget it’s loosely based on william shakespeareit’s classic, Tame the shrew.
‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987)
Johnny’s Castle (patrick swayze) and Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Gray) are unique examples of a great enemy-to-lover dynamic. While Baby is a rich daddy’s daughter and has a princess-like lifestyle, Johnny is an employee famous for her smooth moves and tends to hang out with the toughest crowd. They hate each other at first sight, but their relationship deteriorates further when they are forced to practice together for a dance competition. Over time, as they really get to know each other, they realize they have a deeper connection that roots deeper than their fluid movements. Sparks fly as they brush past each other, literally and figuratively.
The movie is a classic, and even those who haven’t watched it know some of its iconic behind-the-scenes facts. A sequel starring Jennifer is in development at Lionsgate, and while the great-fired Patrick Swayze isn’t in the cast, he will be deeply missed.
“How to lose a guy in 10 days” (2003)
At the start of the film, Andy Anderson (Kate Hudson) and Benjamin Berry (Matthew McConaughey) only see each other as attractive targets for the next steps in their respective careers. She is tasked with making him “wish he was dead” and he must make her fall in love with him. All their efforts fail when true love takes the wheel. When the truth comes out, hate replaces grief. They get lost near the end, but just long enough to know they never want to get lost again.
With the pair trying to get it wrong, the film is a fun ride, and the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey is great.
Lorette Castorini (dear) is engaged to Ronny’s brother, but she feels they have no connection or spark. His mother, however, finds it appropriate and tells him it’s a good thing because when you marry someone you love, “he drives you crazy”. Things get crazy when Loretta realizes it’s actually Ronny (Nicholas Cage) which drives her crazy. Despite their love-hate relationship, they have an undeniable chemistry. At the end of the film, they solve the problems and prove that love can be crazy, stupid, but beautiful.
The film was one of Nicolas Cage’s finest works, and his accolades reflect that. Although unconventional, the love story makes you swoon on its own.
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