10 Movies Starring Interracial Couples That Prove More Diversity In Hollywood Is Always A Good Idea
The number of interracial couples is growing rapidly in the United States — over eight percent of marriages today are between two people of different races, compared to four percent in 1960. And if we included the happy couples out there that haven’t gotten hitched, the statistic would surely be much greater. It’s more common than ever to see two people holding hands on the street who are ethnically different. My boyfriend and I are just one of countless examples, as are my parents, who have been married since 1980, back when racial slurs and offensive comments were dished out to interracial partners on the regular. That’s not to say our society isn’t completely void of discrimination now, but there is certainly less stigma around couples of mixed race.
I’d like to say that Hollywood has reflected this growth in America’s dating life, but, sadly, it’s still a rarity to see an interracial couple in the movies, or even on TV (remember the Cheerios commercial that sparked controversy?). We have some catching up to do! When I finally do see two lovers from different ethnic backgrounds in the media, I get a bit excited. I guess it’s just the hopeless romantic in me who believes that true love cuts across all social and cultural constructs.
Here are my top 10 picks for charming movies starring people of different ethnicities.
Will Smith and Eva Mendes are totally adorable in this romcom about a guy whose career is to help men find companionship through a foolproof formula but — surprise! — learns that there’s a lot more to love than a set of rules. After a Benadryl scare and a tumble into the Hudson River, he tosses his pride to the wayside and they live happily ever after.
Who doesn't love this movie? After Julia Stiles' mother passes away, she transfers schools, and falls head over heels for Sean Patrick Thomas (who wouldn't?!). Their relationship isn't exactly easy when some race relations come into play, but they make it through — and she gets into Juilliard's dance program.
Matthew Perry, like most romcom male leads, is an architect from New York City. He has a one-night stand in Vegas with free-spirited photographer Salma Hayek, which results in unexpected pregnancy. They get married, thinking it’s the right move, but drama with their families ensues and they divorce the night their daughter is born. (Don't worry — there's a happy ending.)
OK, so this film didn’t exactly receive high critical acclaim (in fact, it was nominated for Worst Movie in 1992), but dysfunctional stuff aside, the passionate relationship between the characters of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner never fails to elicit emotion. I just thought they’d stayed together after he took a bullet for her.
Will Smith is at it again, this time with Margot Robbie, the bombshell from The Wolf Of Wall Street. They’re both conartists who fall for each other and get themselves into a heap of trouble. He begs for her life and they make it out of the scuffle together — only after he gets shot in the chest and survives.
6. Guess Who
Bernie Mac, rest his soul, plays the hilarious father of Zoe Saldana, who brings home her boyfriend Ashton Kutcher for the first time. You couldn’t help but do that half cringe, half laugh thing when Mac thought the black cab driver was his daughter’s beau. In the end, he decides to give his blessing after seeing how much they truly love each other.
There’s a lot of romance to wade through in this one, but my favorite couple was English Colin Firth and Portugese Lucia Moniz, who fell in love even though they didn't speak the same languages. But let's not forget Kiera Knightley and Chiwotel Ejiofor, whose marriage was rock solid enough for her to turn down the sweetest gesture known to womankind.
Jennifer Lopez’s somewhat neurotic antics are lovable enough to steal the attention of Matthew McConaughey, the groom of the biggest wedding of her career. They flirt and make cute M&M jokes to each other (“I only eat the brown ones”), and he breaks up, gracefully, with his fiancé seconds before the ceremony in order to sweep Lopez off her feet in a crowded park.
Paul Rudd is Rashida Jones’ quirky, sensitive fiancé who, in an attempt to find some groomsmen, accidentally makes out with another dude and comes home smelling like an ashtray. (She takes it well, though.) Jason Segel is the wacky friend who almost ruins the engagement party but is still given the best man title. Also, don’t forget the lovable “I’m slappin’ the bass!” scene.
10. Away We Go
Six months into their pregnancy, Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski visit various friends and family who have children, and find out they’re all unhappy and a bit crazy — remember the stroller incident? They go on a search to find a home where they can happily raise their child, and the result is a truly moving, funny, and poignant film.
Images: Focus Features; Giphy