10 Movie Friendships We’re Glad Never Became Romances

Following Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week in February, which encourages everyone to learn more about aromanticism, it is crucial for everyone to understand that a romantic relationship is not necessarily the most important or intimate connection in one’s life.

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This is neither a strange nor new concept, which is why many viewers enjoy portrayals of solid, passionate friendships that never become romantic in nature. Movies from various genres that defy the convention of obligatory romance are lauded for that exact reason. As viewers look forward to seeing more platonic duos on-screen, it is perhaps a good idea to look back at the ten of those movies that spare the viewers a “Geez, not again” moment.

10 Shaun And Katy (Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings)

Katy sitting with Shang-Chi.

Given his tumultuous past, Shaun would have grown up cynical. His long-time friendship with Katy keeps him anchored, allowing him to live a well-adjusted life. Shaun hangs out with Katy’s family regularly, and Katy follows Shaun across the world despite the danger she will face. The physical intimacy they share feels natural, leading to the suspicion that they might become a thing eventually.

It is a relief that the two do not share a kiss at the end of the movie. After all, their chemistry resembles that of a chaotic duo and there is little to no sexual or romantic tension. A romance between them would have felt forced.

9 M And H (Men In Black: International)

There is no shortage of quips and moments in the movie that show what an odd pair Agents M and H are. Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth’s chemistry makes it all the more compelling. In Avengers: Endgame, where the duo also starred, Thor reportedly tries to kiss Valkyrie in a deleted scene.

While many lament the fact that this movie does not live up to its potential, one thing is done right. M and H remain friends and work partners, which makes sense considering their strictly platonic interactions throughout the movie.


8 Greg And Rachel (Me And Earl And the Dying Girl)

Adapted from a YA novel of the same name, the movie was released a year after The Fault in Our Stars. Both movies revolve around a relationship between a boy and a girl affected by a terminal illness, but the similarity ends here.

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Even without lingering touches or longing gazes to instill the will-they-won’t-they tension, Greg and Rachel’s relationship is given the spotlight that is typically reserved for couples. There are even times when the movie teases a romance between the leads. But ultimately, this is a coming-of-age movie about self-love, life, and loss that follows brings depth to the characters in ways that other YA movies do not.

7 Eggsy And Roxy (Kingsman: The Secret Service)

The first installment in the Kingsman series, and the only one that features both characters, focuses more on the action sequences and stylized violence. Even so, given the track records of the spy movie genre, there are many ways to concoct a romantic narrative for Eggsy and Roxy, the only woman in the secret service agency.

Despite their insufficient screen time together, the sense of camaraderie between the two characters is convincing. Eggsy and Roxy’s contrasting temperaments and backgrounds provide so much comedic potential. This is partly why it is a shame to leave their friendship unexplored in the sequel.

6 Cecilia And James (The Invisible Man)

Aldis Hodge, Elisabeth Moss and Storm Reid in The Invisible Man

When Cecilia runs away from her abusive husband, James (her childhood friend), becomes one of the people in her life who offers her warmth. Cecilia is shown to have a good relationship with his daughter Sydney, and the trio resembles a family of three. For a moment, the idea that a romantic subplot between Cecilia and James is not entirely outlandish.

Fortunately, the movie has other plans for Cecilia. The plot centers around her trauma and her resilience. Rather than being saved by her next romantic partner, Cecilia gets herself out of the bind, even when the villain isolates her from everyone else, while James continues to support her as a friend.

5 Diana And Sandy (Identity Thief)

Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief

These two meet under the worst possible circumstance, with one having stolen from the other and getting him into trouble. Over time, however, their antagonistic relationship evolves into that of partners-in-crime. As they run from both the police and criminal entities, Sandy and Diana watch out for each other and eventually bond.

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Their initial dynamic opens doors to an enemies-to-lovers plot. At times, the movie even forces them into awkwardly intimate situations that are quintessentially rom-com. It is a good thing that it never happens, not just because it will be disastrous to Sandy’s marriage, but also because the power of redeeming friendship is a timeless trope that deserves to take center stage more often.

4 Dan And Gretta (Begin Again)

Begin Again

From the movie poster to the tone and music, everything about Begin Again paints a romantic picture. With a star-studded cast and a rom-com premise, it wouldn’t be farfetched to assume that Dan and Gretta will get together after the former’s breakup and the latter’s failed marriage. It appears even more likely when the two are seen sharing several emotionally intimate moments.

Then the movie surprises its viewers by being anything but that. Dan and Gretta embark on a journey of self-healing, form a bond, and grow as individuals. Their connection gives each other a new perspective on life, which becomes the catalyst to help them move on from traumas and failures.

3 Shoya And Shoko (A Silent Voice)

Adapted from a manga series, A Silent Voice explores the friendship between Shoya and Shoko against the backdrop of their uncomfortable past.

Although one of them develops a crush on the other at some point, and the movie seemingly takes on the tone of Shōjo manga with a grand quasi-romantic climax, their relationship stays platonic. After all, these two have a lot to sort out. Having bullied and scarred Shoko in elementary school, Shoya has a redemption arc to complete, while Shoko needs to cultivate some self-love. The movie also tackles a number of heavy subjects. Making it segue into a romance might distract the viewers from what it tries to achieve.

2 Dory And Marlin (Finding Nemo & Finding Dory)

Dory and Marlin hiding from jellyfish on Finding Nemo

Over the course of their adventures, Dory and Marlin have been through countless life-and-death situations together. Dory is a whirlwind to Marlin’s controlled life, making them a perfect example of a dynamic duo (Think Sara and Ava from Legends of Tomorrow). Based on the assumption of “opposites attract”, it is easy to see why they will make an interesting couple.

Regardless, Dory and Marlin behave like friends or even siblings, with Marlin being the anxious mom-friend and Dory the chaotic comic relief. Their relationship is well-written enough. Changing it to something romantic would be unnecessary and disingenuous.

1 Tanner And Brent (G.B.F.)

Brent and Tanner walking down a set of stairs in GFB

Not only is this movie a decent satire on gay best friend stereotypes, but it also avoids the cliche of pairing up two gay characters who have no chemistry. Granted, Tanner and Brent’s friendship is at times fraught with stress and jealousy.

This is precisely why, as much as viewers wish to see more LGBTQ+ romances on screen, a romantic subplot involving Tanner and Brent would be a bad idea. Near the ending, the two nearly kiss, but decide to back down and not pursue a romantic relationship. It is a wise decision. They should absolutely invest in their friendship and learn to be better friends instead.

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