I watched part of Gigi tonight and was as disturbed by it as I was the first time I saw it as a kid. I won’t put a spoiler here so feel free to skip ahead if you don’t want to know how the movie ends…
Gaston (Louis Jourdan) has agreed to take Gigi, who is presumably about 16-17 and from a family of courtesans, as his mistress. He instead decides to marry her. It is a happy ending, presumably, but personally I found it… ewww, for several reasons.
1- Though the movie is G-rated and not at all explicit, the subtext is that her family (Grandma Hermione Gingold, unseen mother and Great Aunt) has basically, ala Memoirs of a Geisha or Pretty Baby, sold her virginity to her friend Gaston. (The relationship is to be physically consummated after a evening of wining and dining, though they never use the term.)
2- Gaston has been a friend of this girl since she was a precocious little girl, bouncing her on his knee and bringing her candy and toys and the like, and now he’s going to sex her up… ewwwww. “Thank heaven for little girls” indeed, you Frenchy perv! That’d be like Alice suddenly getting fresh with Peter Brady after his voice changes, or Daddy Warbucks trying to cop a feel on Annie at her Coming Out Party. Sicko sicko.
Another that comes to mind for me is a not particularly successful 1989 comedy Chances Are in which Robert Downey Jr., ala The Graduate, has sex with his girlfriend’s mother (Cybill Shepherd [see “unsuccessful, reasons for”]) because she and he suddenly realize that he’s the reincarnation of her dead husband (who died when she was pregnant with their daughter). That’s not the disturbing part, however- that comes when, at the end of the movie, he marries her daughter, with his mother-in-law/former wife’s full blessing and permission, which means that spiritually at least he’s married his daughter. It’s not quite incest, but it’s definitely getting really really close.
Then there’s Housesitter from 1992, in which Steve Martin is a newly single architect (jilted by his fiancee) who has a one night stand with Goldie Hawn, who proceeds to move into his vacant house, tell everybody she’s his new wife, and he goes along with the charade to win his fiancee back but, as you know he will from the poster, he falls in love with Goldie and they end up together. Cute light romance, except… SHE’S A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR! The entire relationship is based on lies- she’s got a major problem that he needs to deal with. She’s mental!
So what are some movie romances that weren’t supposed to be disturbing but you found so?