The same rules and common courtesies that might dictate human interactions in the real world don’t apply when it comes to rom-coms and other love-filled movies. What is creepy, predator behavior IRL becomes romantic when done by Hugh Grant on the big screen. In fact, these 17 romantic movie “heroes” who actually sexually harassed the heroines in their films prove that it’s a disturbing trend in the romance genre. Not only do movies about love make devotion seem all-important, they also tend to romanticize toxic, possessive, and frankly scary behavior.
First things first: Romantic movie heroes very rarely actually assault the objects of their affection. These are not protagonists guilty of violent assault, nor are their intentions necessarily to harass their female counterparts. These 17 romantic movie heroes are almost all acting out of love, but that just makes their sexual harassment even more appalling. Movies have a way of disguising sexual harassment as romantic, like when Edward Cullen sneaks into Bella’s room to watch her sleep at night in Twilight. Young viewers watching might think it’s sweet how desperate he is to be close to her. After all, who doesn’t want to believe in a love so strong that it transcends reasonable human boundaries? But the truth is, these romantic movie “heroes” all actually partake in forms of sexual harassment.
Noah — ‘The Notebook’
Noah might be the best romantic hero of the new millennium, and yet even he stepped into creepy harassment territory when he threatened to kill himself if Allie didn’t go out with him. A bold and charming move to some, but to others a manipulative and worrying act of crazy.
Benjamin Braddock — ‘The Graduate’
On Benjamin Braddock’s first date with Elaine, he takes her to a burlesque club and watches as she is brought to tears by the entire situation. And when she runs out crying, he insists on continuing their date. Not only does he completely disregard her feelings from the start, he later whisks her away from her wedding despite having nothing to offer her. His love isn’t romantic, it’s possessive.
Edward — ‘Twilight’
Edward Cullen is a deadly vampire who sneaks into a teenage girl’s bedroom at night to watch her sleep and stalks her around town. None of this is romantic — it’s downright terrifying.
Mark — ‘Love Actually’
There are a few extra creepy and alarming things to point out about Mark from Love Actually. First, he’s a total stalker, obsessive to the point of delusion. Second, if you think about that wedding video he had that was just shots of Juliet, the only conclusion to be made is that he edited his footage. Let me be clear: Mark went through his entire wedding footage and put together a two-minute video comprised only of lingering shots of Juliet to, one assumes, keep around for his personal collection.
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