*Warning* If you haven’t seen the film Love Actually, I don’t recommend reading the following, as it’s full of spoilers. And while we’re on the subject, why haven’t you seen it yet? It was released in 2003! Please go watch it. Posthaste.
Dear Love Actually,
It’s Christmastime once again, and this year I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I love you. I really do. To be honest, I love you all year round, but especially during this time of year. Whenever I’m feeling sad or cynical about the world or about love, watching you always reminds me of the good in people, and how beautiful life can be.
Your writer and director, Richard Curtis, is a bloody genius. But I’m sure you already know that. He’s behind some of my other favourite films of all time, but he especially did a brilliant job on you. He filled you with so many characters and moments that are so memorable and beloved, it’s easy to lose count of them all. I recently asked some of my friends (who also love you, by the way) to share their favourite memories of you with me. This is what they said.
Crystal loves the scene when Jamie and his Portuguese housekeeper are having a conversation, each in their own native language, and neither of them comprehends what the other person is saying.
Emily loves the surprise rendition of All You Need Is Love during Peter and Juliet’s wedding, when David and Natalie are kissing backstage at the Christmas concert and the curtain goes up, and when little Sam runs through the airport after his first love, Joanna.
Jonathan loves the moment when the Prime Minister, David, finally tells off the President of the United States.
Shanna loves John and Judy, the timid porn stand-ins who shyly flirt with each other whilst enacting illicit scenes, and when Billy Mack realises that his manager, Joe, is the real love of his life, and they spend Christmas together rather than partying it up, rock star-style. She also loves the funeral for Daniel’s wife/Sam’s mum. Although she’s never actually on-screen (other than in photographs), she’s her own character, and the love, tenderness, and humour associated with her, Daniel, and Sam (and later, their evolving father/son dynamic) is just beautiful to watch.
Brooke loves when Jamie goes after Aurélia to tell her he loves her, and then proposes to her in broken Portuguese in front of her family as well as the patrons and staff at the restaurant where she works.
Shaw loves watching David dance to Jump (for My Love) by the Pointer Sisters inside 10 Downing Street when he thinks he’s alone, and the powerful, raw emotion of the scene when Karen is by herself in her bedroom listening to Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, trying to process how her husband has betrayed her. Her pain is palpable, and the performance by Emma Thompson is stunning.
As for me? Well, I love when Sarah asks Karl to excuse her for a moment after they finally kiss, and she slips around the corner in her flat and silently does her happy girl dance. And my most favourite part of all: when Mark shows up with those heartbreaking, romantic signs to tell Juliet how he really feels about her.
Can you feel how loved you are, Love Actually? Can you? I surely hope so.
In closing, thank you. Thank you for being one of those rare films that I can watch again and again at various times in my life, never growing tired of you. Thank you for the laughter through tears. Thank you for getting Christmas Is All Around, All I Want for Christmas Is You, and God Only Knows stuck in my head for days on end after I watch you.
Most of all, thank you for giving me hope. You see, despite my proclivity for sarcasm, I’m really a sap and hopeless romantic at heart. And I’m quite sure it will seem ridiculous to some that a rom-com of all things could actually give someone hope, but I don’t really care what anyone else thinks. You do that, and so much more. You illustrate so beautifully the ebbs and flows of life; our losses and triumphs as human beings, our sadness and our joy, our weaknesses as well as our strengths. Most importantly, you remind us that love truly conquers all. Sometimes, in the midst of this crazy world we live in, it’s easy to forget.
I’ll leave you now with the profound words of your Prime Minister, David. Um, not Mr Cameron, but rather, the one charmingly played by Hugh Grant:
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there—fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends… If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”
Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas. Mine will be happier because of you. And thank you again. You’re lovely.
Much Love (of course) and Affection Always,