11 Best Recurring On-screen Couples
There are few certainties in the glorious world of film. One is that Julie Andrews is a saint and another is that white people love to repeatedly co-star as love interests. To celebrate the release of the trailer for Joy, which reunites (does reunite really apply here since they seemingly do not exist in films independently?) Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, alternatively known as Blaw, BJ or Cola.
- Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks
They starred in three films in the 90s, and while all three add to their legacy, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail cemented these two as the greatest on-screen couple of all time. Meg Ryan was coming off When Harry Met Sally and made the wise upgrade from Billy Crystal to Tom Hanks, who was just entering what would be the prime of his career. They didn’t share much screen time but that’s what made the time they did have on screen so special. Their relationships were a form of relatable escapism, something we could imagine happening but certainly not to us. It’s one of the great cinematic tragedies of our time that Hanks and Ryan didn’t star in another three movies in the 2000s.
- Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
Despite the huge set pieces, score, and legendary box office numbers, the chemistry of the two Titanic leads never gets drowned out (hehe) by all the spectacle. After Rose refused to put in any real effort into balancing on the raft and basically sentenced Jack to death, it is unsurprising that their marriage was a little rocky nearly a decade later in Revolutionary Road. Reuniting the DiCaprio and Winslet fulfilled the fantasy of Titanic fans until they realized the romance wasn’t quite the same this time around. But hey, less death overall. Reuniting the two under a very different pretence solidified Leo and Kate as one of the best on-screen couples ever.
- Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke
It turns out conversation is most sexy before a sunrise, before a sunset, or even just before midnight, and especially when it’s spread out across a decade. Oh, Richard Linklater, you terrifying commitment addict, thanks for everything.
- Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey
They co-starred in nine movies together. They had a 25-year affair in real life. A legendary couple on and off screen. It helps their chemistry legacy that Adam’s Rib and Pat and Mike were ahead of their time.
- Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
They quietly created an on-screen romance for the ages in Silver Linings Playbook and then played love interests again in Serena. Serena was a big miss, but Cooper and Lawrence are reunited again in the upcoming, Joy, David O. Russel’s latest, and the trailer looks promising. If it works, they could reach Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan levels of greatness, and there would still be enough time in this decade for another project. If it doesn’t, David O. Russel will likely disappear and they will always have Silver Linings.
- Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
While filming Cleopatra, their first of many films together, their first on screen kiss lasted so long that the director had to interject to say cut, and the two kept kissing anyway. Off screen, they were on and off for years through a turbulent and highly publicized relationship and on screen it admittedly didn’t always work. However, when both were healthy and in quality films, their chemistry was palpable.
- Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter
It is debatable who loves Tim Burton more but it is clear that these two are magic on screen. They’ve been weird, dark and in love in Sweeney Todd and Corpse Bride and also shared the screen in a whole bunch of Burton’s films, including Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The best next step would be a traditional rom-com. Now that would be creepy.
- Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway
Love and Other Drugs and Brokeback Mountain are extremely different films featuring equally different relationships, but the pair are relentlessly captivating. Their failing marriage in Brokeback was central to the success of the film. Their performances, but perhaps more so their chemistry, elevated Love and Other Drugs from mediocrity to an emotionally well-balanced dramedy. It’s always refreshing to see Oscar calibre performances in the rom-com genre, even if the film is tonally a bit confused.
- Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann
With the whole Apatow-Mann-Rudd relationship, these two are kind of like a brighter, but still dark, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. They played the same couple in two movies and while that may seem easier, expanding on the relationship from Knocked Up in This is 40 was very well done. However you feel about This is 40 (you should feel like it was slightly overlong but great), Mann and Rudd have an indisputable chemistry between them and Mann’s real-life children on screen. A couple arguing over whose TV favourite show is more stupid is a couple that stays together. “What Don Draper has gone through beats whatever Jack is running from on some fucking island.” – Pete
- Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
OK, so Gangster Squad was terrible with the exception of the reliably entertaining and over-the-top Sean Penn. It’s a huge waste of about 100 talented actors but somehow the chemistry between Gosling and Stone shines through. That can likely be attributed to an overflow from Crazy, Stupid Love because there was just too much chemistry for one film. Hopefully, these two will share the screen again and realize their potential as a truly great on-screen pairing.
- Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett
In Babel, Pitt and Blanchett powerfully portray a couple traveling in an effort to mix their marriage and in doing so leave their children behind with a really unwise nanny and open themselves up to a series of unfortunate events. In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button we again believe these two love and care about each other, which has got to be tough when the love of your life is turning into a baby.