The knowledge that characters are going to eventually end up together (a tenet of all romance films and books), makes their meet cutes one of my favourite things to watch. The tension. The dismissal. The indifference. All will look foolish or endearing once the final credits roll. Here are my top 5 movie meet cutes and the romance books that match them.
1. Coming to America
The meet cute: Akeem, a wealthy prince from the fictional country of Zamunda, is smitten when he first sees Lisa at a charity function. Disguised as a working class man, Akeem sets out to woo her. Lisa is friendly, but she isn’t interested mostly because she’s already seeing someone.
Why I love this meet cute: Akeem is so eager and clumsy when he introduces himself to Lisa. It’s a departure from the put together, confident prince the audience is introduced to several scenes before. I love when heroes who get away with doing the bare minimum have to actually put in effort to court their love interests.
A similar meet cute in a book: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole also has a prince in disguise and is full of funny cultural misunderstandings between the hero and heroine.
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
The meet cute: The awkward heroine, Toula, is immediately drawn to the hero, Ian, when he walks into her family’s restaurant. She believes he’s completely out of her league and stumbles through their first interaction where he’s calm, cool, and collected.
Why I love this meet cute: I’m a sucker for “ugly ducking” stories. I treasure my awkward, shy, and/or clumsy heroines because I enjoy seeing them come into their own and acknowledge their lure. Toula counts herself out, but it’s not over until it’s over.
A similar meet cute in a book: Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean has a wallflower and a rake finding out that opposites do attract! But of course only after some angst, resistance, and denial.
3. The Wedding Planner
The meet cute: While crossing the street, career woman, Mary, is saved from a wayward moving dumpster by Steve, a paediatrician.
Why I love this meet cute: High-stakes make a story engaging and worthwhile, and I appreciate when they are raised from the start. Mary and Steve are going through their predictable lives and it takes the interference of fate/cupid/whoever the hell is running this thing to make them rethink things.
A similar meet cute in a book: I personally don’t mind the “damsel in distress” archetype as long as the heroine has characteristics other than “helpless,” but Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey shakes things up by having the heroine save the hero.
4. The Shop Around the Corner
The meet cute: Alfred is a top salesman at a store where the heroine, Klara, comes in looking for a job. Their initial interaction is pleasant and professional but devolves when Klara gets the job by selling a product that Alfred thought unsaleable. This begins their professional rivalry.
Why I love this meet cute: Klara and Alfred are both competitive and stubborn. They are so adament about their dislike for one another, but the dramatic irony is they are unknowingly falling in love with each through letters they anonymously send.
A similar meet cute in a book: Blend by Georgia Beers has two heroines who butt heads over the management of a wine bar. And their long held dislike for each other doesn’t help the situation.
5. Ever After
The meet cute: Danielle and Prince Henry technically meet twice. The first time she mistakes Henry for a thief and hurls apples at him. The second time, he mistakes her for a nobility as she attempts to purchase a fellow servant’s freedom.
Why I love this meet cute: I get the sense that the people around Danielle and Henry can’t keep up with them. But when they meet each other they’re able to wield their wit and challenge one another intellectually.
A similar meet cute in a book: Tempest by Beverly Jenkins has it all: witty banter, an outspoken heroine, and mistaken identity.