The picture-perfect idea of romance is instilled in many of us at a young age when we are exposed to fairy tales and Disney movies. We typically think of fluffy ball gowns and knights in shining armor, but as time goes on, Disney has slowly but surely gotten better at representing more complex relationships.
The following are a few of my favorite Disney couples:
Naveen & Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”)
First of all, Tiana has an incredible work ethic, which is not only the source of her successful career, but also the reason for Naveen’s immense character growth. She doesn’t fawn over the prince like her friend Charlotte does, but falls for him at his lowest — free from all his grandeur. Humbling him, Tiana teaches Naveen how to fend for himself, and in turn, he shows her how to live a little.
The final scene, in which they build Tiana’s place together, brings me so much joy; the seemingly impossible is attainable, after all. Despite Naveen’s heritage, nothing is given to them for free. Their relationship and business both require a lot of effort — a realistic and refreshing message coming from a Disney princess movie.
Flynn (Eugene) & Rapunzel (“Tangled”)
Flynn and Rapunzel, along with their companions Maximus and Pascal, carry a special place in my heart. They both have their own inherently different dreams, but by the end of the movie, they let go of those dreams for a better, shared one: a life together.
Even though Flynn is the one who shows Rapunzel the world outside her tower, she inspires him to abandon his macho facade and lean into vulnerability. This leads to the startling confession that Flynn is actually named Eugene, and his backstory is a bit different than what he presents. The two of them share plenty of enchanting moments together, from their song at The Snuggly Duckling to the kingdom dance and lantern festival.
Though Mother Gothel attempts to break Rapunzel’s trust in Eugene, Rapunzel maintains that he would never betray her. Finally, Eugene performs the ultimate sacrifice, cutting off Rapunzel’s hair and thereby sacrificing his life to ensure her freedom.
Kristoff & Anna (“Frozen”)
To say I’m obsessed with these two would be a massive understatement. As a “Frozen” fanatic, I recall the anguish I felt when Anna first chose Hans over the lovable ice harvester raised by trolls.
Kristoff isn’t afraid to let Anna know that he wholeheartedly agrees with Elsa — marrying a man without knowing his last name is crazy. Anna eventually learns more about Kristoff, charmed by his family’s endearing, but brutally honest performance of “Fixer Upper.” When he finds out that Anna can only be healed by true love, Kristoff whisks her to Hans, no questions asked. Not reaching Anna on time would be humiliating for many men, but he doesn’t let that affect his ego — all Kristoff cares about is her safety.
Their relationship is adorable and continues in “Frozen 2,” in which Kristoff fumbles with his proposal amidst their game of charades. Despite being “Lost in the Woods,” he stands by Anna no matter what, and that is something to be greatly admired. Likewise, Anna is fully supportive of Kristoff’s passions, which lie outside those of a conventional prince.
Linguini & Colette (“Ratatouille”)
Diverging from the Disney princess movies, Linguini and Colette from “Ratatouille” make a great match. Though their romance isn’t the central focus of the movie, Colette’s faith in Linguini plays a major role in his rise at the restaurant, as well as in his relationship with Remy.
Colette is the opposite of gangly and concerningly clumsy Linguini. His measly bike has nothing on her sleek motorcycle. Colette keeps Linguini from being fired on his first day and showers him with tough love when giving him cooking lessons. As the only female chef at the restaurant, she asserts her dominance and may seem off-putting, but Colette stands by Gusteau’s idea that anyone can cook. In turn, Linguini softens her heart and in a brief, but sweet moment, teaches her to roller-skate.