Add these underrated movie bestie pairs to your next movie night plan

Movie friendships are the best, aren’t they? It’s always such a fun, unifying experience to watch a TV show or movie that just gets it when it comes to besties. There are certain movies that have stood the test of time within my friend group because we can’t get enough of what we feel like are the fictional representations of ourselves and our friendships. And then there are those that people don’t automatically think of when you’re pondering classic on-screen friend twosomes that deserve just as much love. We all love Thelma and Louise and Bridesmaids, but we’re just as pumped about some of the lower profile cinema besties. That’s why we’re some of the best (and all too often underrated) friendships in cinema.

Maggie and Peggy, Runaway Bride

I personally think that Runaway Bride is incredibly underrated. Generally I think it gets a bad rap because it was critically underwhelming compared to Richard Gere and Julia Roberts’ first collaboration (the beloved Pretty Woman). But if nothing else, this movie does friendship right. Julia Roberts and Joan Cusack should just hang out together always, because they’re perfect. I’d almost go as far as saying that the movie is actually about their BFF-ness. Cusack’s character Peggy roots for, consoles, and encourages Roberts’ character Maggie every single step of the way, even when she’s at her craziest. You just have to get your ducks in a row! 

My favorite scene includes a very vulnerable Maggie apologizing to Peggy for being routinely flirtatious with Peggy’s husband, Cory. They all grew up together, so their relationship is a bit of a triangle. It’s a very sad, real, lovely scene. We’re all a bit screwed up and it’s the people that stick around anyway that make it all worthwhile. Peggy and Maggie’s friendship roots go way, way deep, and getting to see that is a beautiful thing.

Gerry and Julius, Remember the Titans

Though the movie in its entirety is wonderful, I have to give the major props here to Ryan Hurst and Wood Harris for bringing the bromance of Gerry and Julius to life on screen. I think they changed my life. Their friendship initially confuses and even alienates other friends and family members in the midst of horrific segregation and racism, but sparks the team-wide bond that begins to change them all from the inside out. When Gerry’s in the hospital and the nurse won’t let Julius inside to see him because “only kin’s allowed in here”, Gerry forcefully responds, “Alice, are you blind? Don’t you see the family resemblance? That’s my brother.” Cue the tears.

Emma and Liv, Bride Wars

This movie is very silly for the most part, but there are some important pieces to it. It’s a revved up tale of two girls that are inseparable from childhood, but something rather monumental gets in the way of their bestie bliss: their weddings. In short, they both get engaged and are vying for one single spot at their long-desired venue of choice. The bridezillas come in the form of the feisty Liv (Kate Hudson) and the sweet Emma (Anne Hathaway). Sure, it’s ridiculous, but I simply see it as a comically exaggerated version of what best friendship really looks like. I’m most definitely an Emma, and my best friends have mostly been Livs. It’s an often chaotic but legitimately fantastic balance of personalities.

What makes this movie work for me are the moments of sincerity. The jealousy and hurt that begins the whole wedding debacle is something we’ve all experienced in some form or another. My favorite part is when Liv is crying beside her husband-to-be, after Emma rather sneakily arranges for Liv’s hair stylist to dye her hair blue. Liv sniffs, I’m mad at her, too. She went for the hair. Girlfriends don’t do that.” But she then goes on to add, “It’s not just about the hair. I’m mad because maybe she’s right.” 

Best friendships (and all important relationships) contain very complex emotions. I love this scene because it’s a peek inside that intense vulnerability that exists when you’re at odds with someone you know and love very well. (And they totally make up at the end.)

Janey and Lynne, Girls Just Want to Have Fun

This ’80s flick has mega girl power. Janey (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Lynne (Helen Hunt) have the kind of best friendship that we all dream about. Janey is an army brat that is thrilled when her family moves to Chicago, the home of her favorite TV show, Dance TV. She meets the edgy Lynne at their Catholic school and they immediately click over their shared dance interest. They balance each other out with their good girl/rebel ratio and challenge each other to do everything it takes to accomplish their dream of making it on Dance TV. It’s how all great movies should begin, no?

I love this pair because they are spunky, passionate, and adorable. They have each other’s backs and are never jealous or cruel. They genuinely want the other to succeed.

Sara and Becky, A Little Princess

I recently read the original A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a wonderful book, but I have to admit that the movie is where my heart lies. I grew up watching little Sara Crewe and her beautiful little attic neighbor Becky, both prisoners in the dungeon Miss Minchin creates for them. What drew me to this friendship as a little girl, and continues to draw me now, is the mutual respect and comfort that they are able to give each other. They are young girls of very different backgrounds, but are kindred spirits nonetheless. Even in the deepest depths of their fatigue and despair, Sara’s imagination and Becky’s sincerity bring hope and love to their dark attic rooms. This movie brings all the feels, and through it all, they become sisters for life.

Kate and Angie, Baby Mama

Speaking of opposites attracting, this movie. Okay, so this pair isn’t necessarily underrated, but I had to add it. Because Amy Poehler and Tina Fey just win all of the things. They are the best on-and-off-screen besties ever made. I included this movie in the list because there are always things we can learn from people that are different from us. I love that Kate (Tina Fey) is able to loosen up and let go and find the good in others, and that Angie (Amy Poehler) is able to find value in herself, claiming what she truly wants in life and finding purpose in a brighter future. Through their forced time together and their vastly different goals and personalities, they are able to sharpen one another in a way that strengthens and unifies them.

Betty and Giselle, Mona Lisa Smile

If you haven’t seen this movie, do so now. It takes place at an all girls school in the 1950s, so the options for friendship duos are plentiful, but I decided to focus on the frenemy pairing of Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst) and Giselle Levy (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Their relationship is tumultuous from the get-go. While they tend to run in the same friend circles at school, their “friendship” typically consists of insults and cold shoulders. Betty is the conservative do-gooder from a wealthy family; she marries young and is the perfect housewife. Giselle, on the other hand, is known more for her boldness.

There are a dozen reasons why I adore this movie, one of them being a pretty powerful scene in which Betty berates Giselle for sleeping around. The scene escalates until finally Giselle just goes over to Betty and throws her arms around her while Betty struggles and cries. Betty breaks down and confesses that her husband doesn’t love her, and that she’s lonely and heartbroken. It’s so real and always makes me cry. I’m not sure I would have had Giselle’s strength to show love and physical affection to someone who was being so intentionally cruel, but her actions broke down that barrier between them and was immediately healing to them both. Their friendship thus becomes one of the most victorious strands of the movie’s narrative.

Sigh. I could go on and on! Excuse me while I have a bestie movie marathon.

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[Images via The Runaway Bride and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun]

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