The term Stockholm Syndrome was first coined in 1973 regarding a failed bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. After a six-day siege, the hostages defended their captors after being released and refused to testify against them. The robber claimed that by being enclosed together for so long, it strengthened their relationship because they had nothing else to do but get to know each other.
Although the original incident wasn't romantic, it inspired numerous films about women being won over by their kidnapper. Movies of this genre tend to either promote the idea of a woman seeing the good in a wrongly-persecuted man, or they imply that any man can coerce a woman into loving them if they are given enough time.
The most commonly-quoted instance in film is probably Beauty and the Beast, but this has heavily contested, with even Emma Watson speaking at length about why she feels Belle wasn’t a victim. Belle was not kept prisoner, and only altered her opinion about the Beast when he changed his ways. Sufferers of Stockholm Syndrome are more characterised by modifying their views to match the original ideas of the kidnapper.
There is no denying that the concept makes for interesting storylines and character development, so let’s take a look at 10 of the best examples of when the kidnapper got the girl (warning - spoilers).
10. In Time (2011)
Justin Timberlake's Will and Amanda Seyfried's Sylvia make a beautiful and compelling couple in this exciting futuristic and original take on the Robin Hood story set in 2169. The concept makes you re-evaluate what is important in life and how precious your time actually is.
Humans have been genetically engineered to stop aging on their 25th birthday, when a one-year countdown begins. When it reaches zero, the person dies instantly. Extra time can be transferred between people, or bought in time capsules, meaning the rich can live forever and the poor die young.
Will rescues a man who has 116 years on his clock but is tired of living, so he gives Will his time and throws himself off a bridge. Arrested under suspicion of murder, Will has almost all his time confiscated by police. Desperate to increase his life-expectancy, he kidnaps Sylvia, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, hoping to ransom her to buy more time.
Sylvia is already on the fence about the situation, saying she 'closes her eyes' when asked how can she live with herself watching people die next to her. When her father refuses to pay the ransom this only serves to push her definitively onto Will's side. She decides to stay with him and help end the corrupt system. They rob her father’s time banks, giving time capsules to the poor, aiming to give everyone enough time to live a normal life.