Movies

15 Rom-Coms Where the Main Characters Should've Gone to Therapy Instead

15 Rom-Coms Where the Main Characters Should've Gone to Therapy Instead
Image credit: Legion-Media

Then again, what's a rom-com without some deep-seated issues, right?

While these films might make for great entertainment, their characters are undeniably dealing with some pretty hefty issues - and not always successfully.

1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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Admit it, Patrick Verona (played by the irresistible Heath Ledger) was a classic bad boy with more than his fair share of unresolved trauma. Instead of dealing with his problems, he woos Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) as part of a bet, proving he should have spent more time on a therapist's couch than in a high school stadium singing Franki Valli's Can't Take My Eyes Off You. And let's not even start on Kat Stratford herself – a ball of anger, defiance, and teenage angst. Some cognitive behavioral therapy could have worked wonders for both of them.

2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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The beauty of this movie is that it actually shows the main characters, Pat (Bradley Cooper ) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence ), dealing with their mental health issues, but they could definitely have used more of it. Despite going to therapy, Pat clearly needs more help managing his bipolar disorder, and Tiffany, dealing with depression, could also benefit from more sessions. They think their love can cure each other, but really, it's a Band-Aid solution that overshadows the importance of professional mental health care.

3. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)

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Oh, Bridget! Who could forget her hilarious and relatable pursuit of self-improvement? From counting calories and cigarettes to managing a tumultuous love life, it's clear that Bridget (Renée Zellweger) could benefit from some professional counseling. On top of that, her indecisiveness between Mark Darcy (Colin Firth ) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) seems to hint at underlying attachment and self-esteem issues that could be worked out in therapy.

4. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

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Instead of getting some much-needed therapy after his wife asks for a divorce, Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) seeks advice from a charming playboy Jacob (Ryan Gosling). A quick reminder, it's therapists, not lotharios, who are trained to help us navigate life's biggest heartbreaks. And let's not forget Jacob himself, who hides his loneliness and fear of intimacy behind his casual flings.

5. The Break-Up (2006)

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Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) break up over a silly argument about lemons, but their deeper communication issues are what really needed the limelight. These two couldn't agree on anything, from interior decoration to the way they wanted to live their lives. A good couples counselor might have helped them understand each other's perspectives better, possibly saving their relationship or at least making the break-up less messy.

6. The Proposal (2009)

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Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a high-powered editor who forces her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds ) to marry her to avoid deportation. Some therapy sessions focusing on power dynamics, personal boundaries, and ethical behavior in the workplace might have been useful here. Andrew, for his part, struggles with standing up for himself, a problem that therapy could help him overcome. The film plays their situation for laughs, but underneath the chuckles, there's a lot of emotional baggage to unpack.

7. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

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Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) needs therapy to understand that his manic pixie dream girl, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), does not exist to make his life better. He needs to learn the lesson that other people are not responsible for his happiness. The film cleverly subverts the Rom-Com formula, but Tom's inability to separate his fantasies from reality still points to some deeply-rooted issues that a good therapist might have been able to help him work through.

8. You've Got Mail (1998)

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Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) have an online love story that's filled with deception. Joe knows he's talking to Kathleen but doesn't tell her, allowing her to fall for his online persona while she hates him in real life. A bit of therapy might have helped Joe confront his fear of authenticity and his habit of manipulation. And for Kathleen, who struggles with the fear of change and loss, therapy might have helped her transition her business and personal life more smoothly.

9. Wedding Crashers (2005)

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John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) have a strange hobby: crashing weddings to seduce women. Beyond the obvious ethical problems, their actions suggest deeper issues about commitment, loneliness, and respect for others that could be explored in therapy. John, in particular, seems to be searching for a real connection, hinting at a profound loneliness that crashing weddings just isn't going to fix.

10. Just Go with It (2011)

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This Rom-Com features Danny (Adam Sandler) lying about being in an unhappy marriage to get sympathy and attract women. Sounds like a case for a therapist, right? Danny needs to learn honesty, trust, and how to form a real relationship without dishonesty. Also, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), who agrees to participate in the lies, could benefit from some therapy about setting boundaries and avoiding enabling behavior.

11. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

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Andie (Kate Hudson) and Ben (Matthew McConaughey) play mind games with each other throughout this film, each trying to achieve their own objective without considering the other's feelings. This complete disregard for honesty and transparency could have been better managed by some therapeutic intervention. Perhaps a good couple's therapist could have taught them about open communication and healthy ways to resolve conflicts.

12. Hitch (2005)

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Alex Hitch Hitchens (Will Smith ) makes a living as a professional date doctor, yet he himself is terrified of falling in love due to a past heartbreak. A few therapy sessions might have helped Hitch address his fear of vulnerability and rejection, which were clearly hindering him from pursuing a meaningful relationship with Sara (Eva Mendes). Plus, his clients could have benefited more from therapy rather than the manipulative strategies Hitch was offering.

13. Knocked Up (2007)

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The relationship between Ben (Seth Rogen ) and Alison (Katherine Heigl) was far from perfect. After a one-night stand, they try to make things work because of an unplanned pregnancy, but their communication skills are severely lacking. Some professional help could have been great to deal with the massive life changes they were about to face and to learn how to co-parent effectively, even if their romantic relationship didn't work out.

14. Trainwreck (2015)

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Amy (Amy Schumer) lives a carefree, commitment-free life until she meets Aaron (Bill Hader). She is clearly dealing with some deep-seated fears of intimacy and commitment, possibly stemming from her parents' failed relationship. A therapist might have helped Amy to unpack these issues, build healthier relationships, and break the cycle of self-sabotage that she seems to be stuck in.

15. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

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Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) can't seem to decide between her high school sweetheart, Jake (Josh Lucas), and her New York beau, Andrew (Patrick Dempsey). The emotional turmoil and indecisiveness suggest Melanie could use a therapy session or two to understand her own feelings and desires better. And Jake, still harboring feelings after all these years, might also benefit from some professional help to cope with his unresolved feelings and find closure.