When the chemistry is right
Who's saying what
And last year I sent myself a message in the small paper's Messages Of Love section:
However, since I'm turning over a new leaf in 2012, I thought this would be a great time to celebrate some of the better examples of on-screen chemistry.
Because if I'm going to sit through another Valentine's Day alone, at least I can watch these and see what love can really be like oh god hold me I'm so lonely.
Jodie Foster & Matthew McConaughey in Contact
There are many things to love about Robert Zemeckis' excellent feminist sci-fi fantasy of 1997, but chief among its many riches is the effortless chemistry between Jodie Foster as scientist Ellie Arroway and Matthew McConaughey as theologian Palmer Joss. I don't think McConaughey ever bettered his performance here, actually, and Foster is wonderful as the prickly but lovable Arroway. Plus, unlike most people in Hollywood, when they're seen having a post-coital chat in bed, they're both naked. LIKE WHAT HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE.
Donald Sutherland & Julie Christie in Don't Look Now
I know the sex scene in Nic Roeg's loopy adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's book is widely accepted as one of the best, or at least most realistic, and debate continues to rage about whether or not it was "real" sex, but one thing's for sure: Sutherland and Christie's on-screen relationship has a realness about it that is quite striking.
Keira Knightley & Matthew McFadyen in Pride & Prejudice
Pride & Prejudice is, for me, like the Highlander: there can be only one (adaptation), and Joe Wright's beautiful 2005 version succeeded because of the outstanding chemistry between Knightley's spirited Elizabeth and McFadyen's inwardly-passionate Darcy. Don't even TALK to me about the BBC production.
Meryl Streep & Alec Baldwin in It's Complicated
Confession: a friend and I used to go to the latest big-ticket rom-coms in order to laugh at them, not with them. So it was that we went to see It's Complicated, and boy didn't we come away laughing on the other sides of our faces - it's one of the best, raunchiest sex farces of recent memory, and Baldwin and Streep are magic together. "Home, sweet home."
Simon Callow & John Hannah in Four Weddings & A Funeral
One of the reasons I still love Four Weddings is the wonderfully naturalistic depiction of a gay relationship, at the time (1994, and still to this day, arguably) rather unusual in a mainstream rom-com. Callow's Gareth and John Hannah's Matthew (one of his first roles) interactions are the highlight of the film. Unfortunately YouTube does not hold much hope for those who want to see Gareth and Matthew together, but there's always room for the scene I have chosen, in which Matthew reads W. H. Auden's Funeral Blues to memorialise his dearly departed. It is, I believe it is universally accepted, what we call a career-making performance.
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