10 Onscreen Couples Who Had No Chemistry No Matter How Hard They Tried
Hollywood has presented us with many legendary onscreen romances like the ones between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind, Jack and Rose from Titanic, Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and many more. But not all actors are capable of emoting truly strong feelings and making us believe that they love their on-screen partner with all their heart. And there are several reasons for this: actors could hate each other in real life, they might not consider their partners attractive enough, or they might simply be bad at acting.
No matter what, the lack of “chemistry” between the main characters can spoil the overall impression of a flick. We at Bright Side studied the opinions of viewers and critics and picked out the least convincing on-screen couples.
Anna and Alexei (Anna Karenina, 2012)
Cinema critics outline that Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were noticeably missing passion in the movie. Their feelings were supposed to be so intense that they would “heat up” everyone around them (audience and cast included), but that didn’t happen. For example, movie critic Peter Howell cited a scene from the ball when Karenina and Vronsky are dancing and the people surrounding them freeze for no apparent reason.
Some viewers also didn’t keep quiet and delivered a harsh verdict to these lovers, “I have never seen a worse meeting depicting love at first sight. How can he be looking so indifferently at her? And Keira’s look is as indifferent as his.”
Daisy and Jay (The Great Gatsby, 2013)
Elegant Leonardo DiCaprio and sophisticated Carey Mulligan look good together. But in the movie, this couple doesn’t have even a single common memorable scene that we would want to watch a thousand times over (the way we did with DiCaprio and Kate Winslet).
Trinity and Neo (The Matrix, 1999–2003)
No matter how innovative and philosophical the Wachowskis’ movies are, the love stories in them are pretty weak. No affection can be seen between Reeves and Moss and many fans have noticed this. There has even been a hot discussion on Matrix-themed forums. One viewer wrote, “Am I the only one who didn’t see any chemistry between Neo and Trinity? I was really surprised when she said she loved him. They didn’t confide in each other, they didn’t even act like friends.” And the commenters answered, “They looked more like brother and sister.” And “Neo had more chemistry with Morpheus.”
Mary Jane and Peter (Spider-Man, 2002–2007)
Parker and Watson’s love story is one of the strongest and most beautiful in comics in general. These 2 go through many obstacles to be together. But Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst couldn’t transmit those deep and complicated emotions in the movie trilogy about Spider-Man. The actors look flat together. They look more like good friends. The only scene that turned out to be sincere is when Peter is hanging upside down and kisses Mary Jane, but they lack other memorable moments.
Some fans believe that the version of Spider-man with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as a couple turned out to be much better. Peter and Gwen Stacy look more harmonious. Perhaps their screen “chemistry” was due to the fact that Emma and Andrew were in a close relationship at the moment of filming.
Owen and Claire (Jurassic World, 2015)
Despite the fact that the characters played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard did not get along initially, in the end, they fell in love and became a couple. But the movie creators failed to convince the viewers of this. One Reddit user noted, “That kiss could not have been more awkward and wooden.”
Aquaman and Mera (Aquaman, 2018)
Many people were left dissatisfied with this DC movie. The critic for Forbes magazine even named 5 reasons for his disappointment in this film. One of them is the absence of sincere feelings between the main characters, “I wanted some chemistry between Mera and Aquaman, but even the underwater CGI kiss lacked conviction.” Viewers also wrote that looking at the coupling of Jason Momoa and Amber Heard was more boring than watching paint dry.
Carl and Allison (Yes Man, 2008)
Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel looked nice together, but it wasn’t enough to believe that their characters were truly in love with each other. One Reddit user said, “When it came to intimate stare-downs, you just get the feeling that both of them want to leave the room as soon as the camera stopped rolling.”
Katniss and Peeta (The Hunger Games, 2012–2015)
Despite the fact that the movie starred talented actors (Jennifer Lawrence alone is super-outstanding), for some reason they failed to show any onscreen chemistry. In one magazine, the author of the column shared her attitude toward the Peeta-Katniss coupling in the following way, “Sorry, but there’s zero romantic chemistry between the leads. Katniss looks at him more like a lost puppy than a potential lover.”
Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 2010)
One Reddit user asked a pretty reasonable question that many fans of this magical story actually had, “Just me or the Harry and Hermione dance sequence had more chemistry than all the Hermione and Ron scenes combined?” Would you agree that Rupert Grint had way more chemistry with the girl who played Lavender Brown than with Miss Granger?
Daenerys and Jon (Game of Thrones, 2011–2019)
One of Game of Thrones fans decided to prove that Jon Snow and Daenerys look flat together in the final seasons and wrote a long post about it. He offers to compare the relationship between Snow and The Mother of Dragons with how intense the spark was between Ygritte and Jon.
Of course, the fact that Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) fell in love with each other on set played a big role here. Viewers wrote that it’s hard to overcome the “chemistry” between Harington and Leslie especially when you know that it was real. At the same time, the actor felt a brotherly love for Emilia Clarke. When they were rehearsing the first kiss of Jon and Daenerys, he grimaced his face — that’s how unusual the thought of kissing his old friend was for him.
What couples would you add to this list?