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Seattle Cinema Survey : Love Triangles

Hello all and thanks for joining us once more for the Seattle Cinema Survey.

In this week’s rundown of me passing along questions about the world of movies to the area’s critics, bloggers and writers, on the eve of Bridget Jones’s Baby, I asked; What’s your favorite love triangle in film history?

For myself, the answer has to be the troubled trio of the magnificent James L. Brooks film Broadcast News. At the heart of it is Holly Hunter’s Jane; the finest brain for the world of modern (aka the 80s) journalism. A person with the highest of standards for her work, that same intensity has led to a love-life that is often abysmal. She is loved by her best friend and longtime collaborator Aaron (a never better, or sweatier, Albert Brooks). Their connection is tight and confusing. Then the handsome devil arrives in the form of William Hurt’s Tom, an aspiring reporter with innate likability and a distinct lack of polish.

The movie is funny and heartbreaking in equal measures, with the pinnacle coming after Aaron’s grandest televisual failure leads to a host of unspoken feelings rushing out with passion, sincerity and fury.

Mike Ward of Should I See It @ShouldISeeIt
Hands down the first cinematic love triangle that comes to mind is the one germinating between Luisa, Julio, and Tenoch in Alfonso Cuaron’s still incredible 2002 drama Y Tu Mamá También.

Luisa (Maribel Verdú) is a married woman, flirted with by two high school boys (Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal), just graduated, at a wedding on the eve of their summer. The boys invite her to join them on a road trip to a beach resort and she dismisses them. However, soon she gets blindsided by a series of events (some known to the audience, some not revealed initially…) and on a whim, with seemingly nothing to lose, Luisa joins the boys for a road trip to a place called “Heaven’s Mouth.”

Cuarón’s film pushes past the tropes of being just a “road trip” movie and gives us three deeply compelling characters, lost and confused with what comes next for each of them. Sex, drugs, it’s all there for the taking. But as they get to know one another, and each find out more about themselves, brilliant narration segments keep things in perspective. This is a movie pushing boundaries and comfort levels every step of the way. It is raw, honest, uncomfortable, and beautiful all at once. And at its heart are two boys, older than they want to be, and a woman, clinging to youth she never realized she still had.

Tim Hall of The People’s Critic @peoplescrtic
There are so many non Twilight movies to choose from. My pick is Nola (Scarlett Johansson) Chris (Jonathan Rys Meyers), and Chloe (Emily Mortimer) in 2005’s Match Point.

Chris stumbling into a wealthy family and falling for his brother-in-law’s ex is creepy enough. What’s even creepier is the lengths he goes to maintain his marriage during his fling.

I’ve seen Scarlett Johansson, so I totally get why Chris would gamble his entire life for a few moments with her. His ability to put that mask back on and go home was insane. One of the great things about Match Point is how they slowly turn Chris from a lovable fool into a crazed, adulterous maniac.

Matt Oakes of Silver Screen Riot @SSRdotcom
Alfonso Cuaron has been changing the cinematic landscape since the turn of the century and for all his technical achievements (OG longshot reigning champ) the Mexican director has never been steamier than in his lauded 2001 feature, Y Tu Mama Tambien. Within, two teenage boys – Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal – take a cross country road trip accompanied by a luscious older women (Maribel Verdú) who’s just recently been scorned by her husband. The film charters an exploration of sensuality and sexuality that erupts into one of the most meaningful and sexiest parables on maturation to ever grace the screens. The sex was hot but the relationships – and subsequent performances – behind the sexual debauchery felt organic and lived in.

Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing I See @BrentMMcKnight
Hokey love triangles are a staple of every wannabe young adult dystopian franchise, but they don’t always have to be sappy, overwrought, and desperately melodramatic. Rick, Ilsa, and Victor in Casablanca is one of the greats of all time. Y Tu Mama Tambien and its core romantic threesome may well still be Alfonso Cuaraon’s best movie. Then there’s Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, and mighty stop-motion gorilla in King Kong. Hell, even most of Star Wars features a love triangle, at least until we learn two of them are siblings and shit gets awkward.

Casablanca is probably the greatest cinematic love triangle, and if not the most effective use of the trope, at least one of the top few. Not to mention the most famous. But as far as favorites go, I really, really enjoy the one at the center of Fight Club. Three people, one of whom is totally made up and only exists in Edward Norton’s head, it doesn’t get much more twisted than that.

Brian Taibl of Brian the Movie Guy @MovieGuyBrian

You say ‘movie love triangle’ and the first few runner-ups for me are the zany and saccharine-sweet Roxanne, the cinematically trailblazing Chasing Amy, the pugilistically puzzling Fight Club and the classically kinky The Graduate – all great films!

But nothing, for me, beats the chemistry-rich duality of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – where a battle for hearts, minds and money brews between petty Freddie Benson, suave Laurence Jameson (aka James Nedenvedden, aka Laurence Fells, etc) and the naïve soap queen, Janet Colgate.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a measured, crafty, witty, cynical, goofy and downright hilarious comedy classic – a movie that falls squarely in the arena of ‘they don’t make ‘em like this anymore’. And because everybody is playing a role, perhaps love hexagon is a more apt description…

I’ll take the cork off my fork if I’m the only one who’s tossed this comedy masterpiece in to the mix…

Jason Roestel @filmbastard

This one was easy. We could call it a love rectangle if we include the one ring, but the triangle between Frodo, Sam, and Gollum was one fraught with joy, passion, and heartbreak. Gollum ultimately loses the war for Frodo, but gains the grace of the ring for a few seconds before burning to death with it in his grubby little hands. Sam and Frodo do end up working out the kinks in their relationship after their spat on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol, but only for a few years. Sam eventually ends up in the arms of a bar Hobbit named Rosie Cotton, while Frodo moves on to commit gradual suicide on the Elven shores of The Grey Havens. Love in Middle Earth is a risky prospect no matter how you cut it.

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