Tales of Unrequited Love

Our latest discussion on the podcast has got me thinking about the troubles of love. In fact, I’ve been dwelling on it since I re-watched a beloved film that speaks keenly about the subject, Last Night. Together with finishing the series Pushing Daisies, such thoughts brought me to a particular form of love, the one they say it’s the purest: unrequited love.
Indeed to love someone knowing the feeling is not mutual is as selfless as it gets, but charity in the affairs of the heart does not provide a happy ending. Though inherently sad, tales of unrequited love can be quite a beautiful thing when in the hands of a sensitive and perceptive author. Some focus on the pain, while others try to find something positive for the ones swooning in the background to hold on to, but the best (and most heartbreaking ones) always drag on for years, fuelled by the hope of having the feeling returned.
When I think of this, three women always come to mind.

As far as tv shows go, Ted takes the prize for the most unfortunate love affairs (the mother better hurry up now), but the most endearing story of rejection I’ve ever seen, is the one of the ever lasting love of Olive Snook for her magical pie maker, Ned. 
It’s the love that inspired me to write this valentine’s day post, because never had I seen a show that so completely devotes a great part of itself to a character that is not even a third of a love triangle. She’s outside looking into a strange relationship that she doesn’t fully comprehend (the girl is back from the dead, they don’t touch, what’s up with that), whilst staying friends with both Ned and Charlotte ‘Chuck’ Charles (God’s intended for the pie maker).
However, apart from a couple of scenes, this is not a sad story. Olive is a tiny firecracker that loves life, joyfully works everyday at the Pie Hole, and is always eager to solve a mystery. She’s funny, compassionate, kind, and like most victims of unrequited love, hopeful. For two seasons she keeps believing that Ned’s heart might turn around, that one day he might look at her and be overwhelmed with the passion that was always inside him. A simple touch or smile, the mere suggestion from his part that there’s some truth to her dreams, and she’s once again dragged into a turmoil of daydreams and love songs.
But perhaps the best part of this imagined love affair comes when she is faced with reality. There’s tears and anger towards Ned and herself, but quickly there’s the calmness of realising that with acceptance of the truth comes the possibility of moving on. She might love him forever at some level, but that’s okay, because now she is free to see that love as something to remember with fondness.

If one could still hope that Olive and Ned had something more than friendship between them, in Charley’s case there’s simply no chance, for George is a playing a whole different game. They’ve been friends for a long time, supporting each other through the troubles of their personals lives, sharing the pain of Charley’s divorce and the recent passing of George’s lover, Jim.
When he needs her, she’s there, but her fragile position has stirred deep feelings towards him, feelings she knows can never be returned, even though she still imagines and shares the hopes of a life with George. Maybe these arise from a moment of loneliness and confusion, perpetuated by the eccentric mind and self-centred world in which she lives in, but they are there, and in a key scene she decides to act on them, as if unaware of their utopian nature.
It’s a sad tale, but there can be great beauty in sadness and fragility, and Moore embraces just that.

Lastly, we have Fiona – an old friend of Charles, who not only has been in love with for years, but also has to go through the pain of watching fall in love and ultimately marry someone else, not even suspecting the feelings she has for him. Perhaps she hid them too well, sensing that he didn’t feel the same, but that doesn’t diminish the suffering; in fact, like a silent cry, it only increases it. 

I’ve always loved Kristin Scott Thomas’s performance here, for being so subtle and nuanced. I find myself rooting for her, begging Charles to see her, really see her. But just like she can’t simply stop loving him, he can’t start loving her. And that’s the sad truth to every tale of the sort.
still in the making: Donna and Harvey, from the series Suits. Does he love her? Will they end up together? One can only guess. But no need to speculate about Donna’s feelings, because those are as clear as day, no matter what she says. Meanwhile he running towards that other gal, oh well. 

when it comes to unrequited love, what tales come to your mind?


  1. Nikhat Zahra
    February 14, 2014 / 5:16 PM

    Aww love this post. I still root for KST, I don’t care if Grant chose McDowell.

    I can only think of Jon Cryer from Pretty in Pink atm. What a sad twist that was. Oh oh and Gordo from Lizzie Maguire. HE WAS PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • February 14, 2014 / 5:22 PM

      It’s one of my favourite films but I’m always so pissed at Charles in the end!

      Never seen Pretty in Pink, but ohh Gordo! You’re right, he was so cute. I miss those Lizzie Maguire times.

  2. February 14, 2014 / 5:51 PM

    At the moment, I find myself suffering from the same affliction. It is NOT an ideal situation to be in and every day I wish things were different. This post touched my heart and made me think deep thoughts that should have stayed dormant. Now I`m a mess again (thanks lol) …

    Four Weddings and A Funeral is one of my absolute favourite films and Fiona is my favourite character. Perhaps I like her best because I relate to her the most. I still think that her and Charles should have ended up together, instead of him marrying the drab American.

    • February 14, 2014 / 8:04 PM

      Oh I’m right there with you Vanessa, I know the feeling. I guess that’s why I love Fiona as well, and why Olive was the reason I sprinted through Pushing Daisies. And ultimately why I wrote this post for Valentine’s Day!

      If you haven’t seen the show Pushing Daisies, I suggest you do it, it’s like a kind of cinematic therapy. Just ignore the happy couple and focus on Olive. Plus it only has like 20 episodes or so!

  3. Mettel Ray
    February 15, 2014 / 1:00 PM

    Lovely and yet sad. I totally agree that Olivie really didn’t cry over it, she loved him, yes, but she didn’t fall into the big black whole of despair and just.. kept on loving him in that happy-go-lucky kind of way.

    • February 15, 2014 / 1:21 PM

      It is, bittersweet right. Olive was the sweetest, really.

  4. February 16, 2014 / 5:34 AM

    Great post! Pushing Daisies is one of my favorite shows, and as much as I love Charlotte and Ned, Olive’s infatuation is super super sweet. Your description of both their characters is so spot-on – I. can’t. even. 🙂

    • February 16, 2014 / 3:36 PM

      thank you katy! it really was so endearing how much she loved him. I loved when she sang, it was so funny, too.

  5. February 16, 2014 / 6:40 PM

    Great post! Charley and George came to mind for me too. Your description is spot on.

    • February 16, 2014 / 6:57 PM

      Their story is so sad, but so beautiful at the same time… It’s a great film.

  6. ruth
    February 17, 2014 / 4:41 AM

    Hello Sofia! Thanks for visiting my blog, now we’ve discovered each other 😀 Awesome idea for a V-day list. I love that you included Charles and Fiona, I actually dedicated a post for that unrequited love story.

    I kind of think Roman Holiday is about unrequited love, though it’s from external forces outside of the two people involved, as both Joe & Princess Ann both love each other.

    • February 17, 2014 / 12:39 PM

      True, it’s not quite unrequited but I actually thought about them as well. Oh I’m so glad, thanks for stopping by Ruth!

  7. The Vern
    February 23, 2014 / 11:20 PM

    I could emphasize with the character of Fiona from Four Weddings(Never saw, dont plan to). There was a girl that I loved , but she never saw me that way, and I had to watch her marry my best friend. Things are cool now between us, but it was kind of hurtful. Good post

    • March 1, 2014 / 5:18 PM

      Thanks Vern. I can emphasize with her too, and it is painful to be in such a situation, even looking back.

  8. March 1, 2014 / 2:38 PM

    You just HAD to bring up Donna and Harvey, didn’t you? 😀 Lovely post, Sofia! I still haven’t seen A Single Man, but I can’t wait to…

    • March 1, 2014 / 5:28 PM

      Yes I did!! That Scottie affair won’t do for me, no no. I liked Zoe though, so that would be cool.

  9. Josh
    April 17, 2014 / 12:25 AM

    I haven’t seen Pushing Daisies, but I love the Charley/George and Fiona/Charles picks. They’re just so devastating.

    • April 17, 2014 / 10:04 AM

      they are, but Pushing Daisies is exactly the opposite! Charley and Fiona should learn from Snook how to accept unrequited love, it would make everything a bit easier.

Leave a Reply