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From 'will-they-won't-they' to 'enemies to lovers': Our favorite movie couples

From classic romances to modern love stories, here are some of cinema's most unforgettable pairs. – Photo by Franky Tan

Whether you dread or adore Valentine's Day, now might be the time to either revisit a classic rom-com, crafted to make you feel all warm inside or a moving drama guaranteed to rip your heart out. 

Regardless of which genre is calling to you on this special day, I think we can all agree that certain on-screen couples have seriously heightened our expectations when it comes to romance. Here are just four favorite films that live rent-free in the mind of every movie lover. 

Joel and Clementine — "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" 

Few love stories have touched audiences so deeply as that of Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet). Their story will make you want to bawl your eyes out, eat your feelings and question the meaning of your existence, all while Googling trips to the beautiful beaches of Montauk. 

Despite their love story taking place in a fantasy world where the option of a mind-erasing surgery exists, Joel and Clementine's relationship is unequivocally earnest and real. Their relationship encapsulates love and heartbreak in the rawest form. 

The duo is made up of two seemingly ordinary people, each with their own set of problems and traumas that both drive them toward one another and eventually tear them apart. Everyone has imagined being able to forget a past lover, but when faced with the option of quite literally doing so, Joel and Clementine's feelings for one another are truly put to the test. 

"Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" projects a couple's memories on the big screen and asks the question: Could you really ever forget someone you loved? Joel and Clementine give viewers all the honest aspects of a relationship — the good, the bad and the complicated. 

As we watch them fall in love with each other through a series of vignettes, we're captivated by the love and passion between them until our tears hit the pillow.  

Mia and Sebastian — "La La Land"

Lights, camera, action! Dramatic would be an accurate depiction of the story of actress Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and pianist Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) as their paths intertwine in the middle of Los Angeles. 

Romantic movies that feature Gosling as the lead are always a hit, but it's difficult to think of a more swoon-worthy couple than when he's paired with Stone here. That's not to say that the movie's incredible costume design doesn't also add to their allure. 

Both incredibly stubborn and driven, Mia and Sebastian paint a picture of the hardships in ambitious relationships. Undoubtedly head over heels for each other, their hearts take the reins from their heads until they're faced with the consequences of their lifelong career aspirations. 

Their compatibility and undying desire seep into every scene — the synchrony of their movements, the mellifluous harmony of their voices and mountains of care beneath their intentions.  

No film other than "La La Land" can leave viewers with such a strong feeling of heartbroken contentment — and no one other than Mia and Sebastian makes tap dancing look so effortless. 

Harry and Sally — "When Harry Met Sally" 

No romance movie list is complete without a mention of the timeless classic "When Harry Met Sally."

Easily one of the greatest examples of the friends-to-lovers trope, Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) indulge us with a sense of youthful comedy and clever banter, making them undoubtedly perfect for each other. The only problem is everybody seems to know it except for the two of them. 

Best friends by a series of pure coincidences, Harry and Sally perfectly resemble the cliché of clueless crushes, each refusing to admit feelings for the other despite every sign pointing them in each other's direction. Whether they date other people or deny the chemistry between them, all paths lead Harry back to Sally and Sally back to Harry.

As the two write off the idea of intimacy shortly after their first interaction, it is hilarious to witness the lengths they both go to to prove the "platonic" state of their friendship. 

If you're looking for a movie with a grand romantic gesture, this one has a moment you'll remember for the rest of your life and have you waiting for the moment you meet your own Harry or Sally. 

Elio and Oliver — "Call Me By Your Name" 

Here's another gut-wrenching tearjerker — if you've seen the fireplace scene, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

A coming-of-age romance set in Northern Italy, "Call Me By Your Name" picks the perfect location for a glorious summer fling. Viewers take a deep dive into Elio Perlman's (Timothée Chalamet) world as he meets Oliver (Armie Hammer) and is instantly perplexed by his feelings for the man. 

The complicated relationship between Elio and Oliver leaves us with a series of "will-they-won’t-they" questions as the plot picks up. We witness the bike rides, stolen glances and discrete touches — we can feel the butterflies fluttering in our stomachs.

Their love is the epitome of a romance behind closed doors, both tragic in the reality of their burdening secret and breathtaking in the beauty of their shared intimate moments. 

Painfully yet remarkably honest, the film unpacks the harsh truth about first loves in a cinematic masterpiece. While unfortunate circumstances imply that their relationship may not be everlasting, it's safe to assume that their love will be.

Regardless of what your favorite fictional couple is, it's important to remember that it's just that — fictional. While these characters ignite our imaginations and stir our emotions, real love lies in the tangible connections we foster in our own lives.

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