Pride and Prejudice 2005, Elixabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy face off in a ballroom. Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfayden
(Focus Features)

These Are the 10 Movies Enemies-to-Lovers Fans Can’t Miss

Who can resist a good enemies-to-lovers plot? It’s one of the most beloved tropes within the romance genre, pitting two people against each other at the beginning who we know are perfect for one another, they just can’t see it yet. So, which movies do this the best? Let’s take a look.

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1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

"Pride and Prejudice" where Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen touch their heads together tenderly with their eyes closed.
(Focus Features)

Perhaps one of the most classic and famous examples of this is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a story that has been told again and again, recycled over and over, giving us multiple Pride and Prejudice adaptions including such takes on the story as Pride Prejudice and Zombies and Bride and Prejudice. Though some factors may change, the core of the story says the same: The strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet meets the haughty Mr. Darcy, the two rub each other up the wrong way, she loathes him, he is attracted to her, they butt heads, they say mean things to one another and then eventually realize they are perfect for one another and that all they had to do was put aside their, wait for it, pride and prejudice. It is the perfect enemies-to-lovers story.

2. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Image of Heath Ledger as Patrick and Julia Stiles as Kat in a scene from '10 Things I Hate About You.' They are both white teenagers sitting on steps staring into each others' eyes. Patrick has wavy, chin-length brown hair and is wearing a black tank top. His hair's pulled back into a short pony tail and there is green paint in his hairline. Kat has wavy blonde hair pulled up into a ponytail, and has various colors of paint in her hair. She's wearing a red shirt.
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

10 Things I Hate About You’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew brings us to modern-day America, where poor Bianca Stratford’s dating life is put on hold thanks to her older sister Kat Stratford. Kat has vowed to eschew all men, and Bianca can’t date until her older sister does. When an admirer of Bianca’s hears about this, he sends in school recluse/bad-boy Patrick Verona to woo Kat. The two circle one another, each trying to outwit the other, but eventually realize that, if they were to let their guard down, there is something between them.

3. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Belle singing on a ladder on a book shelf in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Tale as old as time … rich, cursed prince takes a smart, kind woman prisoner and she eventually falls in love with him. Okay, okay, we know Beauty and the Beast is more than that! Belle sacrifices herself for her father and stays with the Beast, whom she resents for obvious reasons. The two are both hot-tempered, neither willing to back down at first, but as the Beast starts to soften, so too does Belle. They eventually get to know one another and fall in love for who they are on the inside, and not just based on outward appearance.

4. Palm Springs (2020)

Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti
(Hulu)

One of the more underrated romance films of the last five years is Palm Springs, a unique take on the Groundhog Day premise. While at a wedding, Sarah finds herself drawn into a vortex that traps her on the same day forever, but she isn’t alone. The very man, Nyles, who drew her to the vortex is stuck there with her, living the same day over and over. Initially, the two get along, but when she discovers he’s been lying to her, their friendship turns to hatred and they avoid one another. Sarah is more determined than ever to leave, and Nyles has to decide what he is going to do: remain in the loop or risk everything to be with Sarah.

5. Runaway Bride (1999)

In Runaway Bride, when journalist Ike Graham writes a very unflattering article about Maggie Carpenter and her failed marriage attempts, a furious Maggie contacts the newspaper and has Ike fired. His only hope of getting his job back is writing a new in-depth article about Maggie, who is currently preparing for her fourth marriage attempt. Ike follows Maggie around, and the two butt heads constantly, bickering and arguing, but eventually Ike comes to realize there is a deeper reason for Maggie not getting married, and having spent so much time with her, he also begins to develop feelings. It’s a classic ’90s rom-com that shows that to love someone, you first need to know yourself—or at least how you like your eggs.

6. Avatar (2009)

The Sully family arrive at the Metkayina village in Avatar: The Way of Water
(20th Century Studios)

Pocahontas in space,” Avatar, was James Cameron’s love letter to both the environment and the cinema. Along with fantastic visuals and amazing action sequences, the film featured a great enemies-to-lovers arc in the form of human Jake Sully and Na’vi princess Neytiri. She is wary of humans and their presence on her planet, for good reason, and treats Jake with contempt at first, angry that she has to babysit him while he explores Pandora remotely through a Na’vi avatar body. Eventually, Jake falls in love with his life on the planet and his Na’vi body, as well as with Neytiri, who comes to reciprocate his feelings.

7. Fire Island (2022)

Another take on the Pride and Prejudice story is the recent LGBTQ+ friendly film Fire Island. When a group of friends (the substitute Bennett family), which includes Noah (Lizzie Bennet) and Howie (Jane Bennet), head to Fire Island, they meet Charlie (Mr. Bingley) and his wealthy friends, which includes Will (Mr. Darcy). After making a bit of a scene at Charlie’s party, Noah overhears Will critiquing him and his friends and vows to hate him, but a lot can change in a week.

8. It Happened One Night (1934)

In It Happened One Night, when spoiled heiress, Ellen “Ellie” Andrews, runs away to be with her fortune-hunting husband, she boards a Greyhound to go be with him and meets newspaper reporter Peter Warne. He says that if she allows him to write an exclusive about her, he will help her find her husband. Though she initially is disdainful of Peter, Ellie soon falls in love as the two make their way across country together. You may have stumbled across the black and white video of the woman using her leg to hitchhike and, well, it originates from this film and has been copied many times over since then!

9. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

From lovers to an apathetic married couple, to enemies, and then back to lovers, Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s relationship sure does go through the wringer. The two are active agents working for contract-killing firms, but the kicker is they both think the other has a regular job. One day, their work paths cross when they are assigned the same target, but after discovering the truth, the two try very hard to kill one another, and it’s very sexy to watch, as it brings the spark back and more secrets are revealed.

10. Elemental (2023)

One much-overlooked animated film from Disney/Pixar was 2023’s Elemental. At its heart, the film is a love letter to immigrants, but it also contains an opposites-attract love story. It follows the characters of fire element Ember and water element Wade, focusing on the former as she prepares to take over her family business, only to have Wade interrupt her plans. The two try to solve the situation together, but Ember is adamant that fire and water do not mix and continues to push Wade away. Wade, however, is in awe of Ember and how brightly she burns, and does everything he can to make her happy. Only Ember can decide if she is willing to take the risk and find out what happiness is on her own terms.


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Author
Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.