Meet Cute is a way to introduce two characters and set up their burgeoning relationship quickly. A meet-cute is a typical scene in romantic films where the love interests first meet. The usual approach to these scenes is comedic and/or romantic, like awkward misunderstandings, love at first sight, or slapstick comedy. In most cases, the two characters feel either a mutual attraction, aversion, or combination of both. On television, a relationship can develop more naturally over many episodes. In contrast, a movie has to get its couple set up right away to fit within 2 hours. Due to time constraints, it’s often used in films, particularly Romantic Comedy.
The term “meet-cute” originated in 1938 Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife. While shopping for pajamas, Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper meet, and it turns into a delightfully cute conversation, hence the name.
Meet-cutes can be either awkward or sexy. Perhaps everything flies off the tracks, but it should be a reasonably lighthearted moment. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for something conventional as a screenwriter.
There are several ways to write your meet-cute, and before starting to write, you need to understand the different types of meet-cutes that can exist. To determine which one is best for your script, you need to consider your characters and how they would react to meeting a potential romantic interest. So let’s examine how these films do each of these meet-cutes well and what you can learn from each one.
Types of Meet Cutes
A meet-cute is considered Pull/Pull when the chemistry is abundant when two characters meet. It can be one of the more unconventional meet cute examples, but let’s look at Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) meeting Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) for the first time in the film Her(2013).
Image Source: The Cut
The leads make each other laugh throughout their first interaction. From the first question, Theodore is anti-social, but he seems at ease with Samantha. He is impressed with artificial intelligence, and we see a different side of him come to the surface.
One problem screenwriters often encounter with this type of meet-cute is typically no underlying tension. Both characters (or computer programs) like each other, so what moves the plot forward?
In this example, it’s the fact that Samantha is an AI program. So naturally, Theodore’s thoughts aren’t to pursue a romantic relationship with his software. But, even when he does, it presents challenges.
This scene is sweet, but it keeps the audience guessing next. Is this man going to get into a relationship with Siri? That’s what keeps the audience interested, and the plot is engaging.
Do not worry about conflict when using the push/push type of meet-cute. As opposed to the two characters falling in love automatically, they are disinterested or even outright hate each other at first. For this meet-cute example, let us look at one of the most famous push/push scenes in the film When Harry Met Sally.
Image Source: Shat The Movies Podcast
Harry and Sally share a car ride to New York City in the scene. They only know each other because Harry is dating one of Sally’s friends, and they banter about Sally’s career aspirations, which Harry ignores, as well as the concept of death. They have radically opposed ideologies, creating tension and leaving the audience wondering how they will ever end up together.
As the film proceeds, we see Harry and Sally meet at various points in their adulthood. They grow and mature. Although they can’t live together for different circumstances initially, their friendship grows. They become friends, which slowly turns into a romantic relationship.
The meet-cute pictures them as immature college students, and we see them mature into functional adults capable of an actual relationship. Think of how your characters would get along with your meet-cute ideas as you brainstorm. For example, what would make two people fall in love if they have opposing ideologies?
So far, we’ve discussed how you can compose a meet-cute when the two characters share mutual feelings. However, it inherently engages conflict when you decide to make one character smitten and the other repulsed. So, let us consider one of the best romantic scenes from the movie The Notebook.
Image source: Prime Video
The scene is an excellent example of the classic push/pull, ignoring the problematic nature of threatening to hurt yourself if a girl doesn’t go out with you. Noah falls in love with Allie instantly. However, she is on a date at the fair with another man.
Noah has to think creatively to get her to go out with him, so he hangs from one of the bars, and he threatens to let go if she doesn’t say, “Yes.” Now Allie has her time to shine when she pulls his pants down, showing she has a sense of humor.
The scene shows how you can take advantage of a push/pull meet-cute. Noah has an obstacle, and he has to overcome it. It will be the priority in man as Noah works to keep Allie from a wealthy background. This meet-cute lets the audience know exactly how far Noah will go to keep Allie in his life.
The neutral/nervous meet is cute for writers who want to get creative. In this meet-cute example, the protagonist is nervous about meeting the object of his or her affection while the other person is hard to get a read on. An ideal illustration of this is when Toula meets Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Image Source: Thrillist
This has all the good points of a great neutral/nervous meet-cute. Toula begins the meeting by awkwardly staring at Ian. Ultimately when she goes up to talk to Ian, she stumbles over her words, and now, Toula can’t even look him in the eyes.
Ian laughs at Toula’s awkwardness, and while he may be charmed, it is clear he sees no romantic prospects with her. They meet later after Toula undergoes a makeover when the romance begins. However, it all started with one awkward encounter, which is often the case with real-life pairs.
When choosing the right type of meet-cute for your movie, you need to remember what would work best for your characters. For example, if your protagonist is an introvert, neutral/nervous might be the right pick. Use these cute instances as your guide, but remember to make yours stand out so that the audience desires to meet their one true love in the same way after watching your film.
Meet Cute Videos
Above all, meeting a person is the most crucial part of the story. It usually happens in act one, pushing the story into action. Once the couple meets, you can recreate the idea of “will they” or “won’t they.” You can also make them look like adventures to make these stories so fun.
This is where people can make the location of a character, and you can use it to make these people meet as well. Stuff like this is so essential in movies and TV shows.
In your writing, the couple’s meeting is also a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Can they meet in a unique way that will leave producers and actors dying to do this project? If you can come up with a meet-cute of such type, you don’t need to look back.