The Love Actually Couples Ranked

The ‘Love Actually’ Couples, Ranked

Is it actually love or an absolute mess?



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The Love Actually Couples Ranked

Whenever “Christmas is all around,” Love Actually is back on TV and in the zeitgeist. The 2003 holiday rom-com has become a Christmas classic for its interwoven plotlines and multitude of romances. Yet, the many relationships of Love Actually become increasingly controversial as years pass. Sometimes it seems like no one can agree on which couples are bad and which are good. We rank the ten main couples from Love Actually and why.

10. Harry and Mia

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

The worst couple in Love Actually is not exactly a “couple” in the traditional sense. Really, it’s a couple of people who do a very bad thing. Mia (Heike Makatsch) pretty confidently and outrageously pursues her boss, Harry (Alan Rickman). In turn, Harry buys Mia an expensive piece of jewelry that ultimately destroys his marriage. Some very toxic behavior, paired with derailing your wife’s life on Christmas Eve, is plenty to make you the worst couple in most romantic comedies.

9. Colin and the American Girls

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

One of the weirder and more loveless storylines in a movie about love is Colin (Kris Marshall) and the five women he meets in the United States on his trip there with the simple goal of finding hot women who won’t be offended by his lack of tact and will simply want to have sex with him. When Colin becomes fed up with his bad luck with women in the UK, he heads to the US where he’s heard the women are more likely to have sex with you. This couple or, rather, group is low on the list, because it’s not romantic or oriented toward “love” so much as sex and weird ego-stroking. Nevertheless, in the end, it seems as though the parties all end up happy, and happy endings are always welcome in rom-coms.

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8. Harry and Karen

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

Since Harry already managed to make it into the most hated couple with his mistress, it’s no surprise that his relationship with his wife is also pretty low on the list. Harry has what seems to be an okay relationship with his down-to-earth, funny, and beautiful wife, Karen (Emma Thompson) It’s noted that he’s not attentive enough, but still, they seem to have a nice family and life. Nevertheless, Harry throws all of this away in what appears to be an act of somewhat baffled confusion rather than love. Though the story leads to heartbreak and ends with ambiguous unhappiness, there’s a reason this relationship isn’t last on the list. This storyline’s realness stands out. The portrayal of Harry and Karen’s dynamic is realistically painful. And, Karen’s scene after finding out about her husband’s affair paired with Joni Mitchel’s Both Sides Now is a heart wrenching, realistic, and relatable portrayal of getting through betrayal.

7. Juliet and Mark

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Mark (Andrew Lincoln) have become the poster children (no pun intended) for Love Actually. Mainly, that still of Mark showing Juliet the poster that says “To Me You Are Perfect” has become synonymous with this movie. And, sure – who doesn’t want to read those words written for them against a soundtrack of “Silent Night?” It’s a lovely scene without the context. Unfortunately, there is context, and that context isn’t so good. For many people, having your best friend and your new spouse kiss on the street outside of your house would mean the loss of two of the most important people in your life. And, there’s no promise that this isn’t the case for Juliet’s husband, Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The final scene implies that Peter never finds out that his best friend and wife lied to him and kissed behind his back. And, while there’s an implication that Juliet doesn’t reciprocate Mark’s feelings, she still kisses him, which doesn’t bode well for her and Peter’s relationship. Mark saying “enough now” while walking away after the interaction doesn’t exactly make up for the interaction itself. They may be the poster children for Love Actually, but Juliet and Mark suck, actually.

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6. Sarah and Karl

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

Sarah (Laura Linney) and Karl’s (Rodrigo Santoro) relationship feels like a true tragedy amongst love stories. And, in many ways, it is. They have a mutual crush, and when it finally comes time to get together after years of semi-secret pining, Sarah can’t bring herself to reject her brother, Michael’s (Michael Fitzgerald) calls from his mental care facility. This stops Sarah and Karl’s romantic evening in its tracks. The movie’s angle seems to be that if Sarah would live her life and not be beholden to her brother’s wants, she’d have the life she fantasizes about. Yet, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Sarah is Michael’s primary family member and caretaker. She explains this to Karl, and yet, Karl considers the whole interaction nothing more than a buzzkill. Seeing that he could’ve just comforted Sarah and stayed to hang out, it seems more like Karl’s fault that this romance doesn’t work out. Ultimately, “love” doesn’t just mean sex and it doesn’t just mean a romantic relationship. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and it always requires at least a little selflessness. In that way, Sarah’s love story with Karl isn’t the best, but her love story with Michael is a great one.



5. John and Judy

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) represent the idea of a sweet and innocent love story blossoming in an extremely uninnocent setting. Even so, this love story’s sweetness and persevering romance makes it work and leaves viewers rooting for this unorthodox couple.

4. Jamie and Aurélia

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

These two lovers are star-crossed from the moment they meet thanks to a pretty large language barrier. When Jamie (Colin Firth) realizes that he loves Aurélia (Lucia Moniz) in spite of the fact that they’ve never spoken to each other in a language they can both understand, he attends classes to learn Portuguese and then flies to France to propose to her and tell her he loves her in her language. She reciprocates in broken English that is equally as grammatically incorrect as Jamie’s Portuguese. She agrees to marry him and says she learned English “just in cases.” There’s clearly enough of a mutual attraction there to not only learn another language, but also to decide marriage is the answer. It does beg the question: you two can finally understand each other – why not go on a date? Or, even just have a conversation for the first time! But, a proposal adds to the romance, and it’s hard not to root for them. Improbable? Yes. Very possibly more lust than love? Also, yes. Still cute? Yes, again.

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3. Billy Mack and Joe

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) and Joe (Gregor Fisher) are one of the more unorthodox couples, and the conclusion to their storyline comes as a bit of a surprise. In a movie about love, it’s refreshing to see a storyline all about platonic love. And, it’s good to see an outrageous character not unrealistically soften or change his ways for a love interest, but to lean into who he is and the people in his life who’ve made him that way.

2. David and Natalie

The Love Actually Couples Ranked

David (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) are kind of like Love Actually’s protagonist couple. While it does seem weird for an adult man who is also the Prime Minister to be so attracted to someone immediately upon meeting her that he has to move her out of his department to focus, they still manage to be a romantic couple in the end. David is Love Actually’s narrator, and his feelings for Natalie are real and mutual, so these two manage to be the most wonderfully rom-commy couple this movie has to offer.

1. Sam and Joanna (and Daniel)

This storyline is most likely to tug at your heartstrings. The story between Sam (Thomas Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) is sweet and would elicit an “aww” even from Scrooge himself. But, the real love story here is how Joanna brings together Sam and his stepdad, Daniel (Liam Neeson) A stepfather and stepson love story isn’t the most common, nor is adapting to tragedy, but this storyline wraps that all up and ties it in a happy bow. This little family unit ties up perfectly in the end and shows all the kinds of love Love Actually can offer.


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