Today: May 28, 2024

Love Triangles On Film

Love triangles are the stuff of Hollywood legend, with many a classic film basing its premise on the agonising choice between two very different lovers. The wonderfully romantic BROOKLYN perfectly portrays the dilemma of choosing between two futures, with standout performances from the three young leads (Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson). To celebrate its release on Blu-ray and DVD on the 29th Feb, we’re taking a look at some of the other greatest love triangles on film…

Brooklyn (2015)
Based on the award-winning novel by Colm Tôibín and transformed into a BAFTA and Academy Award nominated screenplay by Nick Hornby, Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn, where she has the opportunity for work, for a future – and love, in the form of Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen). When a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland, she finds herself drawn back into the life she left behind- including the possibility of a budding romance with local bachelor, Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). As a secret threatens to reveal itself, Eilis has to confront a terrible dilemma – a heart-breaking choice between two men and two countries.

The Hunger Games Series (2012-2015)
This hit franchise based on Suzanne Collin’s bestselling YA novels stars Jennifer Lawrence as protagonist Katniss Everdeen, alongside Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. Hemsworth plays Gale, Katniss’ childhood friend, while Hutcherson takes the role of Peeta Mellark, her fellow competitor in the Games. Throughout the competition and the subsequent rebellion, Peeta and Gale vie for her affections. Hemsworth is arguably the more brooding individual, plagued with insecurities as he struggles to reconcile his feelings for Katniss with his doubts that Katniss and Peeta’s ‘fake relationship’ for the cameras really is fake- but Hutcherson must be commended for his sensitive portrayal of the traumatised, selfless Peeta, determined to do anything for the woman he loves.

Love Rosie (2015)
Lily Collins and Sam Claflin take the lead in this charming adaptation of Celia Aherne’s novel Where Rainbows End. Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were five, so they couldn’t possibly be right for one another… or could they? One awkward incident at an 18th birthday and countless missed opportunities sends them both on completely different paths. Plus, while battling with/denying their feelings for one another, they also have to contend with their own partners at different point in their lives – including Sally (Tamsin Egerton), Bethany (Suki Waterhouse) and Greg (Christian Cooke).

Last Night (2010)
This little-known ensemble piece, directed by Massy Tadjedin and starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes and Guillaume Canet, offers a slow-burning and understated study on temptation. Joanna (Knightley) and Michael Reed (Worthington) are seven years into a happy, stable marriage when he is sent on a business trip with a colleague he is fighting an attraction to. That same evening, Joanna runs into an old flame and spends the evening considering how things might have been…

Closer (2004)
Based on Patrick Maber’s play, this drama directed by Mike Nichols is more of a ‘love quadrant’ than triangle, and featured standout performances from its four leads – Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. Offering a painfully brutal take on infidelity and betrayal, the film features one particularly memorable scene involving an internet chat-room and a case of seriously mistaken identity.

The Notebook (2004)
Set in the 1930’s, this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ weepy romance stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. When wealthy seventeen year-old Allie Hamilton (McAdams) spends summer vacation in Seabrook, she meets local worker Noah Calhoun (Gosling) at a carnival and they soon fall in love. When Allie’s parents, disapproving of the match, whisk her away to New York, Noah writes every day for a year- blissfully unaware that every letter is being intercepted by Allie’s mother. Three years later, the United States joins the World War II and Allie takes a job as an army nurse- where she meets injured soldier Lon Hammond (James Marsden). After the war, they begin courting and a proposal soon follows. However, when Allie accidentally sees a photo of Noah in the newspaper, she finds herself in turmoil, and is forced to make a choice between her first love and her new commitment.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
The adaptation of Helen Fielding’s bestseller stars Renee Zellweger as everyone’s favourite singleton, along with Colin Firth and Hugh Grant as her two very different suitors. A reinterpretation of Pride And Prejudice, bad boy Daniel Cleaver (Grant) and her ‘true love’ Mark Darcy (Firth), fight it out for the charming, ever-so-slightly disaster prone Bridget- which leads to numerous awkward encounters (and one particularly memorable fistfight).

Titanic (1997)
Catapulting Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio to the A-list, this James Cameron directed epic romantic drama focuses on the ill-fated love affair between young aristocrat Rose DeWitt Bukater (Winslet) and penniless artist Jack Dawson (DiCaprio), as they both embark on RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage. Billy Zane takes the role of Cal Hockley- Rose’s spoilt, violent and sadistic fiancé, who immediately notes the attraction between his fiancé and Jack, and goes to extraordinarily vindictive lengths to keep them apart.

The Age Of Innocence (1993)
Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a wonderfully understated performance as the disgraced Countess Ellen Olenska, in Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s tale of 19th century New York high society. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the young lawyer Newland Archer, who falls in love with the Countess- the only issue being that he’s already engaged to her cousin May Welland (Winona Ryder); and when their affair is finally exposed, it brings into stark relief the hypocrisy of the New York upper classes.

My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
This classic romantic comedy stars Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dermot Mulroney and Rupert Everett and remains one of the funniest ‘love triangle’ set-ups in cinema. Roberts plays a successful food critic who, on finding out the news that her best friend Michael (Mulroney) is engaged, promptly decides she is in love with him and attempts to sabotage his upcoming wedding to Kimmy (Diaz). Despite the advice (and wonderfully dry wit) of her friend George (Everett), she finds herself stooping to outrageous tactics… but is she really in love with him, or just the idea of him?

The Graduate (1967)
Mike Nichols’ comedy-drama is often lauded as one of the greatest films of all time, and features a wickedly seductive performance from Anne Bancroft as the iconic Mrs Robinson. Dustin Hoffman’s turn as Benjamin Braddock is equally brilliant as the smart, discontented graduate who finds himself embroiled in an affair with his father’s business partner’s wife – and ultimately having to decide between her and her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross).

BROOKLYN arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and EST from February 29th, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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