Love Actually is a movie must at Christmas. Richard Curtis’ schmaltzy romantic comedy is possible one of the best of British with a bunch of different stories inter-looping with one another showing the best of kindness and love. While it is a little rough around the edges, with some stories not quite as special or put together as others, it is still an enjoyable fare. It will reach into your centre and make you feel warm as hearts are moulded together and love reigns over everything else. With a whole host of British favourites coming together to share their Christmas joy (and sorrow) with the rest of the world. It will definitely thaw you this winter.
Now, there are plenty of Musical Moments in Love Actually that you could dive in and pick up for your pleasure. There is Hugh Grant shuffling across the false floors of Number 9 to the Pointer Sisters “Jump,” and there is the first time that we see the girl that Sam has been in love with throughout the whole film with “All I Want For Christmas.” There is the wedding (and yes, that’s Chiwetel Ejiofor with Keira Knightly,) which sees Andrew Lincoln surprise his best friends with a complete brass brand singing “All You Need Is Love,” and there is Bill Nighy grinding his way to a Christmas version of “Love Is All Around You.”
Many of these delightful moments that fill you with marvellous amounts of joy. They are soul cradling, wrapping their loving arms around you and cradling you with glee. Yes, the care and tenderness is plentiful here.
So I’ve gone for none of that and picked the most beautiful yet heart breaking musical moment in Love Actually.
Here’s the scene. Karen played by the sublime Emma Thompson has found a gold necklace in her husband Harry’s coat pocket (Harry is played by the equally great Alan Rickman.) Quite rightly so, Karen believes that the gift is for her and is delighted that her husband who seemingly has no romantic bone in his body, has been so thoughtful. When it comes to opening the present, she is taken aback when the gold necklace (which was shaped as a heart,) isn’t there. Instead, she holds in her hand a Joni Mitchell CD which would have been great had she not spotted the necklace beforehand. Keeping it together, she excuses herself and pops the CD on, weeping silently to herself.
Much of this iconic scene is down to the terribly terrific acting by Thompson. It isn’t over done but the pain and anguish she feels is apparent in the quiver of a voice and the false smile she has to strain out. But most importantly, the crying. There is no bawling or screaming, and it definitely isn’t in front of the children or her husband. She removes herself and lets the tears fall despite herself. Timed perfectly to Joni Mitchell’s sultry voice and the sad echoing song “Both Sides Now.” It’s heart wrenching because you know she is breaking and hurting but she has to keep on going with the show, pretending she is ok.
Poignant as the lyrics of Mitchell’s tune ring true to the moment, this is by far the best scene in Love Actually. And a sad story that is rivalled only by Sarah’s (Laura Linley’s) one. Tearful and terribly British, it is a well done and masterpiece of a scene.