Feb 11, 2020

Whether or not you’re in a relationship heading into Valentine’s Day, there’s no doubt there are movie couples that serve as a standard for what you want in your own relationships. After all, who hasn’t enjoyed a good ol’ sappy flick just to get in the mood?

What makes this list different is that it isn’t just going to focus on romantic couples. Whoever said love had to be purely romantic? You’ll be seeing a couple of platonic pairings here, too, which go out of their way to prove that love has never been, is not and will never be just a one-dimensional feeling. 

Jesse and Celine, “Before…” trilogy

If there was ever any movie couple that restored my faith in romance, chemistry—and fine, even destiny, it’s Jesse and Celine. This is a couple that met on a train in their early 20s, fell in love over the course of spending an entire day together in Vienna, went their separate ways in Paris and didn’t even save each other’s numbers before agreeing to meet again in six months. It took nine years for them to reconnect, all because Celine read Jesse’s book, which channeled their dalliance into a full-blown romantic novel, leading her to meet him at the last stop of his book tour. And by the time “Before Midnight” had come around, Jesse had left his ex-wife, with whom his marriage was falling apart, then married Celine, had twins and found themselves struggling to rekindle their romance in their 40s. 

Yes, a lot of the elements in their story are rooted in the ideal. I still long for the day I get to travel on a long-haul flight or train ride and find a Celine I could enjoy talking to. But their relationship has always felt real because it wasn’t grounded on grand displays of affection or an epic battle to win the other over. They were just two people who got along very well and had the most interesting conversations, however mundane or intimate. And as a guy who was trying to find the spark of romance in his life again in his early 20s, Jesse and Celine gave me that and so much more.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear, “Toy Story” franchise

Whoever said love was just a one-dimensional thing?

Woody and Buzz started off as adversaries vying for Andy’s affection, but by the end of “Toy Story,” they were in lockstep, realizing that they had much more in common than they thought. Through the franchise, Woody and Buzz’s bond took them on all sorts of adventures in the name of keeping their family of toys together for the sake of Andy’s happiness. They had several close calls in the second and third “Toy Story” editions, proving that they were willing to put it all on the line for each other and for Andy.

“Toy Story 3” would have been the perfect sendoff for this iconic duo, but having “Toy Story 4” as an epilogue really hammered home the point that all good things come to an end. After all, as we learned in “The Good Place’s” series finale, if you have to spend forever in paradise, it’ll lose its luster and eventually become a punishment. Woody and Buzz eventually had to let each other go so that they could have their own adventures and find their new sense of happiness. Dammit, Toy Story, thanks for making me tear up again.

Popoy and Basha, “One More Chance” and “A Second Chance”

An entire generation (and then some) grew up to the raw emotions that sprung from Popoy and Basha’s breakup. Quotable lines continue to be memorized and screencaps and subtitles turned into memes for this film that remains a go-to for anyone with a freshly broken heart. Meeting your ex’s new S.O.? “Not so nice to meet you, pare.” Trying to reason with your ex? “Putangina naman, ganyan ka ba katigas?!” Need to go on a monologue to explain why you have to even go through all this heartbreak?

“Baka kaya tayo iniiwan ng mga taong mahal natin kasi baka merong bagong darating na mas okay. Na mas mamahalin tayo, ‘yung taong hindi tayo sasaktan at paaasahin. ‘Yung nag-iisang taong magtatama ng mali sa buhay natin.”


Thankfully, Popoy and Basha actually got back together and even got married. But just like Jesse and Celine, just because they got their happily ever after, it doesn’t mean everything was coming up roses. Popoy was underachieving and feeling emasculated, while Basha had begun to feel that she’d sacrificed so much of herself for the sake of keeping their marriage alive. Much like the plot in “One More Chance,” this is the type of shit that real people in real relationships actually deal with. Through all the pain and pleasure Popoy and Basha gave us, it’s the raw honesty that has always stood out and made them iconic.

Toothless and Hiccup, “How To Train Your Dragon” franchise

There’s no stronger bond between a boy and his dog, except in Berk, apparently, when we meet Hiccup and Toothless. What makes this pair timeless is how these two shouldn’t even have found each other. In “How To Train Your Dragon,” the civilization in Berk hated dragons and Hiccup and his friends were taught to kill them. But Hiccup learned to see past it and connected with Toothless, who ultimately became his best friend.

Yes, these two went through too many ups and downs—not the least of which included Toothless killing Hiccup’s father while under the influence of Drago and his Bewilderbeast in “How To Train Your Dragon 2.” Brainwashed or not, it takes a hell of a bond to move forward from that traumatic experience, but Hiccup and Toothless do. 

By the third installment, Hiccup and his family and friends realize that their world just isn’t ready for humans and dragons to co-exist. That leads to a whole new adventure where Toothless ultimately finds his own mate—much as Hiccup and his childhood friend Astrid eventually married—and has to move with the Light Fury to the Hidden World, where the dragons can live peacefully. Seeing Hiccup and Toothless have to part was every bit as painful as Andy dropping his toys off to Bonnie in “Toy Story 3” or even Woody and Buzz saying goodbye in “Toy Story 4.” But what these pairs all learned was that if you truly love someone, it might mean having to let them go. 

Noah and Allie, “The Notebook”

Putting out a list like this without this couple would be a crime. Theirs was a love story ripped straight out of a telenovela: boy from the lower class meets upper-class girl, summer fling ensues, girl’s parents forbid them from continuing their relationship because your socio-economic status dictates who you should date, and then they’re torn apart by World War II. But Noah doesn’t give up, even when Allie’s mother intercepted all of his letters for her, going out of his way to buy and refurbish the house he promised to buy for her. Despite being engaged, Allie finds her way to said house and reunites with Noah, ultimately picking their relationship where they left off, with a little help from her mother, who confesses to getting in the way in the years prior.

The beautiful sadness kicks in towards the end when it’s revealed that the elderly couple at the start of the film is actually Noah and Allie, with the latter suffering from dementia. Noah was fulfilling another promise—this time one he made during the early stages of Allie’s dementia, that he would read their journals to her every day to help her remember their story. 

When she finally does remember, she immediately forgets and has to be sedated, and then Noah suffers a heart attack not long afterward. But I guess it’s worth it when you realize that they find their way back to each other in the end and die with their hands clasped together. Man, this was tear-jerking in 2004 and it isn’t any less so in 2020.


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TAGS: a second chance Bea Alonzo How To Train Your Dragon john loyd cruz movies One More Chance pop culture the notebook toy story Valentines Day