Let’s be honest, folks. It was a rather sh*t year for love. Well, love in the romantic sense. The year’s box office is top heavy with bloated action franchises and frustratingly familiar sequels. The highest grossing “romantic comedy” of the year, in fact, features a love relationship that’s wholly tangential to the central plot. And while mainstream love suffered, independents didn’t fare much better. Blue Valentine, Like Crazy and even Drive painted love in a dismal light. But that doesn’t mean love wasn’t in the air. Au contraire. It was just, you know, less conventionally executed. So here are the best on-screen couples of 2011, the folks with the strongest emotional connection and melt your face off chemistry. I think you know where this is going.
James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender: X-Men: First Class: Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? You can tease me all you like about my (TOTALLY WARRANTED) Fassbender thing, but if you’ve seen this flick, you know I only speak the truth here.
Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling: Crazy, Stupid, Love: In theory, the thrust of this film is Carrell’s desire to get back together with his wife (a rather bland Julianne Moore). But why he would want to trade his time with the Gosling for her is a mystery.
Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer: Beginners: Sweetness personified. These two left sticky, honey drenched fingerprints all over me. And I didn’t mind one bit.
Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight In Paris: Okay, this is my one concession to romantic love. Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard be damned, the Fitzgeralds stole this one right out from under them.
Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph—Bridesmaids: Yes, yes, I’ll agree Chris O’Dowd was darling in this film and his love relationship with Wiig was endearing as all hell. But, it wasn’t the point. The relationship we really cared about was the one between two best friends.
Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis: The Help I love Emma Stone a heap ton, and Jessica Chastain even more, but the bond between these woman was untouchable.
Seth Rogen and JGL: 50/50: There is a really sweet, romantic plot line at the heart of this film. In fact, I’d call Anna Kendrick and JGL my favorite romantic pairing of the year. However, the chemistry, affection and connection between Rogen and JGL is undeniable. Really one of the best films of the whole year.
David Tennant And That Bottle of Midori: Fright Night: I’m really at a loss as to why more of you didn’t see this flick. DAVID TENNANT IN LEATHER PANTS, Y’ALL. His slurred asides made the film so much more enjoyable. May he and his ever-present bottle of Midori find true happiness together.
Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.: Sherlock Holmes If we’re being honest with ourselves, I think we have to admit that the first Ritchie Holmes film was a convoluted mess. What made it work, and what pulls us back for more, is the sparkle and spar between Law and RDJ as Watson and Holmes. Don’t believe me? Check out the video below.