f there’s one thing the cinema can do, it’s make an impression on you – and one thing that’s they’ve done constantly is make marriage seem like a sick-twisted game. Some couples do it for fun, and some do it because they’re incompatible. It’s a bit crazy when you think of it because if they’re irreconcilable why get married in the first place? Hence the title… (click on the links for thoughts on the films)
Rhett: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!
Rhett and Scarlet from Gone with the Wind (1939)
Of course they’d make the list…they made the other one too. What makes them smarter than the others it that at least they ended their marriage. They realised that this thing was heading nowhere. I still find Clark Gable a bit too audacious at times (am I the only one getting the Clooney vibe…whom I am not fond of) but the paring with the brash Scarlet works lovely even if they end up tearing their heads off in the end.
Reason #5 – don’t get married [The wife will be lusting for another man and the husband just will not give a damn.]
Reason #5 – get married [The wife will never go hungry again…but still the husband doesn’t give a damn…yikes]
Brick: How in hell on earth can you imagine you're gonna have a child with a man who can't stand you?
Brick and Maggie (the Cat) from Cat on A Hot Tin Roof (1958)
It’s a bit too different from the play, but I still love it so. I suppose that Elizabeth Taylor is the only one able to completely embody the iconic Maggie the Cat (I often wonder what Catherine Zeta Jones could do with the role). It’s a bit annoying that they pair her clad in a sensation white dress with Paul Newman and they don’t…you know, get it on. But, of course, that’s the entire conflict of the play.
Reason #4 – don’t get married [The husband will withhold sex and the wife will hate your in-laws.]
Reason #4 – get married [Maybe the husband will look like Paul Newman and maybe, just maybe, the wife be hot like Lizze, you can dream.]
Eleanor: I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice.
Henry and Eleanor from The Lion in Winter (1968)
Really, they’re twisted. They move from whispering sweet nothing importants in each others’ ears to pulling out all the stops to make the other cringe. Just when you think they do love each other they turn around and are spitting venom. It’s all very confusing…and then they’re children too, self destructive but oh so lovely to watch…
Reason #3 – don’t get married [The children will hate the parents, the wife will try to conquer her husband’s territory – he’ll jail her and he will pick up with his son’s fiancée and threaten to annul his marriage.]
Reason #3 – get married [The wife will look good even when she’s near sixty, and they both will have a knack for brilliant line readings.]
Carolyn: Oh, you don't complain? Then please, excuse me, I must be psychotic, then! If you don't complain, what is this?
Lester and Carolyn from American Beauty (1999)
Hmmm, they’re just all around toxic. It’s so hard to imagine when they’ve ever had better days. She’s just too neurotic and he’s just too…well, he’s just not interested. It’s a pity, though. Their scenes together are so lovely.
Reason #2 – don’t get married [The child will feel alienated and pick up with dope fiend, the husband will smash plates and lust after teens and the wife will hate him and have an affair.]
Reason #2 – get married [“I will sell this house today”, well that’s what the wife thinks and thus husband will look good naked, or so he hopes.]
Martha: If you existed I'd divorce you.
George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
How could they not be on the list? They’re so twisted and the reason they’re at the top of the list is because they seem to enjoy it so much. It’s like all this violence is some twisted bit of foreplay that they cannot do without out, and it is so brilliant (and brilliant I mean scary and by scary I mean excellent) that I cannot look away.
Reason #1 – don’t get married [They both will be drunks and he especially will despise his father in law.]
Reason #1 – get married [Did you see this movie…? The upside is you die
Take your pick. Which spousal argument is your favourite? My favourite is #3, the most dastardly is #1.