15 Romantic Comedies In Which The Leads Are Gaslighting Their Love Interests

Psychological manipulation in romantic comedies has been happening since Shakespeare had Petrucio browbeat Katherina into marrying him in The Taming of the Shrew. Even though none of us are wearing neck ruffles anymore, audiences are still enthralled by romantic comedy tropes that should have been put to bed after the 16th century. Normies love watching beautiful people fall in love on screen, and that’s fine, but there are some low key dark af romcoms out there that put forth the idea that you don’t have to be intelligent, or even nice to snag the object of your desire – you just have to be manipulative.

You would think that gaslighting in romcoms only happens when men want to trick the object of their affection into taking off their giant glasses and go to prom with them, but female romantic comedy leads are just as guilty of gaslighting in movies as their male counterparts. Romantic comedies of the late-20th century are especially guilty of characters gaslighting one another in order to manipulate them into all kind of petty schemes. The plots of films in '80s grown-up movies like Overboard and millennial teen romps like She’s All That feel like they would operate better as Eli Roth directed torture-porn features, but for some reason they were presented as romantic comedies for the whole family to enjoy. If you learned everything you know about love from these psychologically destructive romantic comedies, then you may need to rethink everything you know about relationships.