Love can’t always conquer all.
There’s nothing I like more than throwing on a good movie and watching a couple fall in love. Some love stories are so powerful that they stay with you for the rest of your life.
But not all couples are created equal. Some couples will have you rolling your eyes or even yelling at your TV. So let’s go back and figure out which couples make me believe in love and which are just overrated:
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy overcome their faults to find love in Pride and Prejudice.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are one of the greatest couples of all time. Darcy overcomes his pride and Elizabeth her prejudice as they realize that first impressions aren’t everything. Sometimes love isn’t discovered at first sight — it’s built over time, smoldering for years until you look down and realize your heart is ablaze.
But Katniss and Peeta never capture my heart in The Hunger Games.
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Katniss and Peeta might be beloved by most Hunger Games fans, but they’re actually a disappointment to me. Katniss has a defiant feistiness about her that pairs so well with Gale. Pretending to love Peeta in the games leads to her eventually falling for him. She may think his bright, gentle nature is what she needs (bleh), but Gale’s sexy, nonconformist vibe makes way more sense for her. Some fans blame Gale for Prim’s death, but that was 100% on Coin, and I don’t think it’s fair to hold it against him.
Jack and Rose from Titanic will forever be remembered as an iconic cinematic couple.
20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection
No list of epic movie couples would be complete without the Dawsons. Jack’s free spirit and Rose’s fire make for one of the greatest love stories of my childhood. That moment when her hand hits the car window? Sexiest shot in cinematic history. And during the controversial scene where Jack realizes the door’s buoyancy can only handle one person, he nods and smiles to himself. Even though he knows he’ll die, he’s just happy Rose will live. Now that’s love.
But Nick and Rachel just don’t do it for me in Crazy Rich Asians.
Sanja Bucko / Warner Bros / courtesy Everett Collection
Yes, Nick is gorgeous, but he doesn’t open up enough to prepare Rachel for meeting his family. I can’t believe he just takes her to Singapore without warning her about Eleanor! I totally understand if he didn’t mention his family’s wealth and status initially because he wanted someone to fall in love with the real him, but it’s beyond disrespectful to toss her to the wolves like that. And when his ex has that dead fish put in Rachel’s bed?! He doesn’t do enough to protect her from the harassment and bullying she faces. Yes, she’s eventually able to win everyone important over on her own, but she shouldn’t have to.
Hannah and Jacob are truly couples goals in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
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Their chemistry is off the charts, they poke fun at dating stereotypes, and they can be silly and real with each other. Every time I rewatch this rom-com, I’m struck by how natural and believable their relationship feels. Sure, Jacob is a bit of a dick in the beginning of the movie, but he sets all that aside when he finds the love of his life because he knows she’s the one for him.
But Nate from The Devil Wears Prada is a terrible boyfriend and doesn’t deserve to get back with Andy.
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Nate is just weighing Andy down. He’s constantly putting down his girlfriend’s ambition. When a work function takes place on the night of his birthday party, he’s a passive aggressive sulk. Plus, when she meets him to apologize, he’s rude and condescending. This movie is damn near perfect except for the ending. I wish Andy just cinched the new job without running back to this tool.
Jamal and Latika’s connection is so strong that no obstacle is insurmountable in Slumdog Millionaire.
Fox Searchlight / courtesy Everett Collection
Jamal and Latika are friends as little kids, and horrible circumstances tear them apart for years. But they never forget each other. They fight their way past gangsters, betrayals, and even systemic oppression to fall back into one another’s arms. Their love is as inspiring as it gets.
But Cher and Josh from Clueless are ex-stepsiblings, and that’s just gross.
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Josh and Cher are ex-stepsiblings. So what if their parents divorce? It still rubs me the wrong way that these two end up together. There are over seven billion people in the world, and you have to pick your ex-stepsibling? Yuck.
Adèle and Emma make my heart full in Blue Is The Warmest Color.
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This coming-of-age tale is intimate, raw, and certainly not afraid of a good sex scene. Adèle embarks on a journey of burgeoning sexuality with Emma, and it’s a privilege to peek into their tender ups and downs. Though the constant infidelity is a bit much, I find myself rooting for the couple anyway and fondly remembering them like old friends. I’d love a sequel where they’ve matured enough to approach their relationship with fresh eyes and open hearts.
But Dionne and Murray are the definition of a toxic relationship in Clueless.
The other famous couple from Clueless, Dionne and Murray are just no good together. It’s implied that Murray cheats on Dionne since she finds another woman’s hair in his car. This is ironic because he’s OBSESSED with making sure that she’s not unfaithful to him. He also refers to her as “bitch” and “woman” when she repeatedly asks him to stop. Dionne, you can do so much better!
Rick and Evie’s romance totally steals the show in the Mummy movies.
Universal / courtesy Everett Collection
(FYI: In this house, we only acknowledge the first two Mummy movies). Despite all the action, this couple makes me completely forget about the plot. Imhotep who? All I care about is Rick and Evie. Watching them fall in love during the first movie is such a treat. Those electrifying gazes! That banter! The unmatched chemistry! And throughout the sequel, their love burns just as strong! Truly a top-tier movie couple.
But Pat and Tiffany just need to focus on themselves in Silver Linings Playbook.
Weinstein Company / courtesy Everett Collection
Between the two of them, Pat and Tiffany have a lot on their plates: leaving a mental health facility, a restraining order, and coming to grips with the ending of their previous relationships. That’s a lot to unpack in two hours. Plus, Pat jumps straight from Nikki to Tiffany without allowing himself time to heal. Though they are certainly cute together, Pat and Tiffany could do with more alone time to work on themselves.
Vivian and Edward complement each other perfectly in Pretty Woman.
Many people just remember Edward riding in with his white limo and assume it’s another knight-saving-the-damsel tale. But Vivian actually saves Edward, too. It’s because of her influence that he begins to treat people with compassion and starts feeling good about himself. In the final scene, Edward asks what happens after the man climbs the tower to rescue the lady. Vivian says, “She rescues him right back.” Though they’re from different classes, their love is equalizing in the end.
But Sandy and Danny completely change themselves in Grease, and that’s messed up.
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The music, the dancing, the ’50s outfits — Grease has it all. But the movie is completely ruined at the end when Sandy arrives at the carnival dressed like a greaser. Not only are her outfit, hairstyle, and makeup different, but her bad girl attitude makes her feel like a whole new person. And Danny is wearing a letterman in track in an obvious attempt to appeal to Sandy. If they fell in love with each other while being themselves, why should they both change to keep the relationship going?
Kaz shows Noni how to live her truth in Beyond The Lights.
Suzanne Tenner/Relativity Media / courtesy Everett Collection
Noni is a struggling superstar when she meets Kaz. After a lifetime of being shaped by the music industry’s expectations of women, Noni unlearns everything she was taught about beauty and self-acceptance. Kaz leads her down a path of healing and liberation. The couple realizes that self-worth should only come from within, and it’s a beautiful journey to watch.
But Peter and Lara Jean are not a good match in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.
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Peter and Lara Jean pretend to date — a recipe for disaster if I’ve ever heard one — until they actually fall in love. However, Peter still has feelings for his ex for much of the movie. And in the sequel, Lara Jean spends most of the film imagining a relationship with another guy. These two are obviously not perfect for each other. Either they’re not mature enough to know what they want, or they don’t appreciate what they have.
Jenna and Matt share a truly fairytale romance in13 Going on 30.
Columbia / courtesy Everett Collection
Watching Jenna and Matt fall in love as adults is so funny and sweet. Even though he’s kinda reluctant to let her back into his life – and who could blame him when she apparently treated him like crap? – they fall right back into it. From the “Thriller” dance to the Razzles scene, they’re totes adorbs.
But Christian acts like Ana is his property in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Chuck Zlotnick/Focus Features / courtesy Everett Collection
Christian is the definition of controlling. He’s jealous and possessive to the point that their relationship is clearly toxic. The uneven power dynamic and reinforcement of traditional gender roles are horrifying. Aside from the sex scenes, I don’t get why these movies are so popular. Love is supposed to be about partnership, not ownership.
T’Challa and Nakia are easily my favorite couple in the MCU.
Marvel / Disney
T’Challa and Nakia share this deep desire to help others, but they differ on the best way to approach it. I love that independently of each other, they’re both total badasses with their own dreams, but when the couple comes together, they’re vulnerable and lean on each other for support. And at the end of the movie, when he asks her to “please stay” — my heart! He’s the king; he could easily order her to. Instead, he gives her the option, respecting her autonomy and choices. We love to see it!
But Noah and Allie are honestly a bit much in The Notebook.
New Line / courtesy Everett Collection
By now, we all know how problematic it is that Noah hangs from a ferris wheel and endangers himself as a way to bully Allie into agreeing to a date — while she’s already on a date with another dude! Then years later, Allie cheats on her fiancé to rekindle her love with Noah. Poor Lon! He did nothing but love her. While I do think Noah and Allie deserve each other, I no longer think it’s the romantic love story we were led to believe it is.
Patrick and Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You are probably my favorite couple from any Shakespeare adaptation.
Buena Vista Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection
Sure, Patrick doesn’t start out with the best intentions, but he falls head over heels for Kat and is the only one who can melt her ice queen exterior. I love the little things about this couple, like how he really listens to her. She says she wants to start a band, so he surprises her with a guitar at the end of the movie. And the scene where she reads her homework assignment, and it’s all about him?? I’m not crying, you’re crying.
But Buttercup doesn’t deserve Westley in The Princess Bride.
20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection
At the beginning of the movie, Buttercup enjoys nothing more than tormenting Westley. She won’t even call him by his name! She just calls him Farm Boy and orders him around. It’s not until she realizes she loves him that she’s kind to him. But the way you treat the people who serve you is what truly reflects your character, and Buttercup’s behavior reveals that she’s not as sweet as she looks. Then throughout the movie, she always needs him to save her. Girl, get it together!
Janie and Tea Cake teach their town the meaning of love in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
After two unfulfilled marriages, Janie finally discovers passion in the handsome charismatic Tea Cake. Their whirlwind romance is an exploration in sensuality and spontaneity. They share more love in their short time together than many experience in a lifetime.
But Mia and Sebastian’s relationship in La La Land isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Dale Robinette / Summit Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection
Despite Mia and Sebastian separating to pursue their careers, many fans consider their relationship one for the ages. But once you look past the film’s fun dance numbers and colorful costumes, the couple really isn’t that glamorous. After Mia’s audition, he imagines a future where he stays to work on his jazz club, and she becomes a famous actor in Paris. There’s no talk of attempting long distance or waiting for each other. There’s no fight at all! He immediately gives up on their love, and that’s not a love story worth remembering.
Ennis and Jack are star-crossed lovers who deserve so much more in Brokeback Mountain.
Focus Films/Courtesy Everett Collection
Jack and Ennis find love during the ’60s in Wyoming, a cruel time and place for the LGBTQ+ community. The men struggle to reconcile their desires with society’s expectations and end up tragically losing that battle. In a different age, this story might have had a happier ending. Nevertheless, their inability to quit each other and their queer subversion of the male cowboy stereotype make them winners in my eyes.
But Harry and Ginny have no chemistry whatsoever in the Harry Potter series.
Warner Bros /Courtesy Everett Collection
I will never understand why these two are paired together. It feels too forced and convenient. Plus, the love scenes in the movies are so awkward they actually make me look away because I’m so embarrassed for them. I would have preferred Harry end up with someone who genuinely understands him like Luna Lovegood.
Did we miss any of your favorite movie couples? Let us know in the comments below!
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