Top 10 Most Realistic Movie Couples
VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin
WRITTEN BY: Kim Mabee
You might see some of yourself in the most realistic movie couples. Our countdown includes "Someone Great," "Marriage Story," "500 Days of Summer," and more!
Top 10 Movie Realistic Movie Couples
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Realistic Movie Couples.
For this list, we’ll be looking at romantic couples in films whose relationship is similar to those we’d see in real life. Because we’ll be discussing key plot points in these movies, a spoiler alert is in order.
If we missed any of your favorite realistic movie duos, let us know in the comments.
#10: Eva & Albert
“Enough Said” (2013)
In James Gandolfini’s second-to-last film, we see him play Albert alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as Eva. The pair play two single parents who start dating after being introduced at a party. As their relationship blossoms, so does Eva’s friendship with Marianne, who turns out to be Albert’s ex-wife. As this odd circumstance continues throughout the film, Eva struggles to cope with juggling these two relationships. Eva and Albert’s complicated romance is a genuine portrayal of two middle-aged people trying to find love and connections while balancing their kids’ lives, their friendships, and their careers.
#9: Jenny Young & Nate Davis
“Someone Great” (2019)
This Netflix film is full of romantic relationships. Some are just starting off, some are on the rocks, and some are coming to an end. But, it’s the main character Jenny’s relationship with her boyfriend of nearly a decade, Nate, that stands out as the most true to life. After Nate breaks up with her, Jenny feels lost. Near the end of the film, she decides to go to the spot where she first met him to reminisce one last time in hopes that he will join her there. This helps her to realize it is truly over, and she finds she’s able to move on with the help of her friends - who are trying to navigate their own love lives.
#8: Kumail Nanjiani & Emily Gardner
“The Big Sick” (2017)
In an attempt to avoid an arranged marriage, Kumail decides to go in the other direction by hooking up with Emily. Though their initial relationship is short-lived, soon they’re brought back together after she ends up in a coma. Kumail’s feelings for Emily grow as he bonds with her and her family during her illness, but after Emily’s health improves, she doesn’t immediately take him back. Despite all of the turbulence of their relationship, it does have a happy ending. Written by Kumail Nanjiani and his real life wife, this movie is based on their relationship leading up to their marriage a decade before the film’s release. If that doesn’t show that this movie relationship is realistic, we don’t know what does!
#7: Charlie & Nicole Barber
“Marriage Story” (2019)
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to talk about realistic relationships without talking about divorce. One of the most genuine depictions of this difficult process is by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in “Marriage Story.” In this film, Driver and Johansson play Charlie and Nicole Barber, who try to do the best they can to stay civil throughout their separation for the good of their son, despite rising pressures from their respective lawyers. We see emotional performances from both of the leads, and their relationship shows that even though two people don’t want to be together any more, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still qualities that they love about one another.
#6: Celeste Martin & Jesse Abrams
“Celeste & Jesse Forever” (2012)
If a romantic comedy has Andy Samberg and Rashida Jones at the helm, it is pretty much a guarantee that it will be a great film. In this 2012 flick, Samberg and Jones play the titular Celeste and Jesse. Their relationship is the classic case of young, fleeting love, as these two high school sweethearts turn into exes. Despite the feelings that Jesse still has for Celeste, who just wants to be friends, they remain amicable even while going through a divorce. The situation quickly flip flops, as Jesse moves on to someone new while Celeste struggles to find closure. But, after seeing that Jesse is content with his new life, she knows that it’s time for her to move on as well.
#5: Mia Dolan & Sebastian Wilder
“La La Land” (2016)
In this colorful, musical film set in Tinsel Town, we meet Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as Mia and Seb. Stone and Gosling are always stellar when they appear on-screen together, and this film is no exception. Mia, a struggling actress, and Sebastian, an aspiring Jazz musician, coincidentally run into each other several times. They discover that they’re equally passionate about their respective crafts, and bond over learning about each other’s art. Like most relationships, theirs seems idealistic at the start, but it takes a turn as they both try to follow their career paths. In the end, although they don’t end up together, it’s evident that there is still a lot of love and respect between Mia and Sebastian.
#4: Anna Gardner & Jacob Helm
“Like Crazy” (2011)
Anna and Jacob’s relationship is a turbulent one to say the least. While Anna, originally from the United Kingdom, is attending school in Los Angeles, she falls for Jacob, and one thing after another causes strife in their blossoming relationship. After Anna returns home, she struggles to return to the States, and the distance causes problems. This time apart helps them to realize their true feelings for each other, and they decide to get married. But they still have to combat the fact that they are living on different continents. This painful portrayal of a long distance relationship hits close to home for any couple that has gone through it.
#3: Dean Pereira & Cindy Heller
“Blue Valentine” (2010)
In this romantic film, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play Dean and Cindy. Their courtship starts out innocently enough, but as the film hops between flashbacks from when they first got together to their married life years later, we see their relationship unravel. An unplanned pregnancy, an unhappy marriage, and alcoholism are just a few of the countless problems this duo faces, ultimately leading to them going their separate ways. We all like to watch romantic films that show a couple living happily ever after, but unfortunately stories like Dean and Cindy’s are often the ones that are the most authentic.
#2: Tom Hansen & Summer Finn
“500 Days of Summer” (2009)
To be fair, this film warns you right off the bat that it is a story of boy meets girl, but it is not a love story. Tom and Summer’s relationship is a chronicle of will-they’s or won’t-they’s, with Tom’s strong feelings not always shared by Summer. Throughout their 500 days together, they ultimately end up with outcomes that are opposite from what they initially wanted. Tom, a head-in-the-clouds romantic, ends up focusing on his career while Summer, who never really believed in love, ends up engaged. This film shows that sometimes relationships have a purpose bigger than just ending up together, because these two learned hard lessons that shaped who they are.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Margot & Lou, “Take This Waltz” (2011)
After Five Years Together, This Married Couple Re-Examines Their Relationship
Katie Morosky & Hubbell Gardiner, “The Way We Were” (1973)
A Couple Tries to Overcome Their Different Perspectives on Life
Gary Grobowski & Brooke Meyers, “The Break-Up” (2006)
An Argument Leads to a Tumultuous Battle for Their Home
#1: Jesse & Celine
“Before Sunrise” (1995)
Celine and Jesse’s decades long relationship through three films starts in the mid-90’s with this flawless romantic movie. After meeting in Vienna, the pair decides to spend the night exploring the city before they go their separate ways in the morning. As the sunrise approaches, the two promise to meet up again. The authentic connection between the two of them is relatable to couples who are in love, and those whose partners have helped them discover more about themselves. This touching story is made even more heartfelt by the fact that the director wrote it after having a similar experience with a woman in Philadelphia, only to learn later that the woman died shortly before the film’s release.