2015 was the year of the platonic hug. Many movies that would have ended with a scene of the heroes kissing instead featured them simply hugging. And it worked. Seeing Ethan Hunt and Ilsa Faust share a hug before parting ways was oddly more affecting than if they had made out. On the flip side seeing Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, whose character’s names I’ve forgotten, make out in Jurassic World helped to cement the feeling that the movie was a throwback instead of something fresh and new.
Today is National Hugging Day, so in the spirit of such an occasion, here are our five favourite movie hugs.
*Potential SPOILERS for each entry
Bob Harris and Charlotte – Lost in Translation
The movie that introduced the world to Scarlett Johansson and re-introduced us to Bill Murray, dramatic actor, Lost in Translation is responsible for some great things. It is also responsible for one of the great hug endings in cinema. After a whirlwind romance that has been strictly platonic, Bob Harris, the aging movie star, bids farewell to Charlotte, the college graduate and gets in a car for the airport. On the way though he sees her again and gets out of the car. He catches up to her and they face each other for a long beat as though about to kiss before he pulls her in for a hug. The clutch on to each other and he whispers something in her ear before they have a brief kiss and part ways. It is a beautifully simple, quiet moment in a movie full of those. It’s the perfect end for these two lost characters to part ways.
Finn and Poe Dameron – Star Wars The Force Awakens
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
This is the hug that launched a thousand fanfics. Toward the end of the movie, Finn and Poe have both arrived at the rebel base convinced the other is dead. Finn walks along the airfield as the pilots are disembarking their X-Wing and sees a familiar face, one of only the few friendly faces he knows since defecting from The First Order. The music swells as the two men see each other, then they break into a run and hug as though their lives depended on it. Who knows that the future of this relationship is in the franchise, but if the producers listen to the audience and want to do something truly radical, then this hug should be the start of a beautiful relationship between these two.
Sean and Will – Good Will Hunting
This one will probably be the most divisive on this list as Good Will Hunting is not a movie that has aged well. Re-watching it now and it is mostly wall to wall cheese and broad Boston accents. The big scene, the big emotional pay off, is when, during one of their many therapy sessions, the two men discuss the abuse they received at the hands of their fathers/foster fathers. Will talks about the beatings he used to receive until Sean begins to repeat that it’s not Will’s fault. Will pushes away at first and then the walls come tumbling down and he falls into Sean’s arms weeping. It is either a big emotional climax or shameless manipulation, but either way, it is a powerful scene and a fantastic showcase of the late Robin Williams’ Oscar winning performance, as he is incredibly warm and shows restraint.
Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar – Brokeback Mountain
There is a scene late in Brokeback Mountain in which the two lovers are talking and going their separate ways. During the talk, Ennis has a flashback to how things were for the two men on Brokeback Mountain. He thinks about a time when he was staring into their campfire and Jack hugged him from behind saying, “You’re sleeping on your feet like a horse” before softly humming against his lover’s back. It is a beautiful, delicate scene that simply shows the love between the two men without need for theatrics. The scene is maybe a minute long, and every second of it is better than the entire 112 minutes of Crash, the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain.
Kane and unnamed Facehugger – Alien
Sometimes a super tight, can’t let the other person go hug isn’t because of love or devotion, it’s about impregnating them with an alien larvae that will burst through their chest and run rampant on a spaceship, killing off the motley crew one by one. This is the situation that happens when Kane, executive officer of the Nostromo, follows up on a distress beacon and finds himself in the hull of a large, abandoned spacecraft. Except it isn’t abandoned, as he discovers when he enters a chamber full of eggs. One of the eggs opens and the creature within attaches itself in an unbreakable embrace upon unfortunate Kane’s face, which allows it to plant an egg in his stomach and the rest is history. It’s one of the most iconic hugs in cinema and also the one you would least wish to receive. The image of the Facehugger is an enduring one for fans of sci-fi and horror alike.
So on National Hug Day, find someone you want to hug, whether it be family, friends, lovers, or those dudes on the street with the Free Hugs sign. Remember though, try to make it more of a Finn and Poe and less of a Kane and Facehugger; people find the latter a little weird and uncomfortable.
Featured Image: Focus Features