Love Actually has become a staple in my Christmas movie selection. It’s never been one that the husband has appreciated (he’s not a fan of “soppy”) but for me it’s become as much of a classic as Miracle on 34th Street or The Santa Clause. But it is a film I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with. It’s great if you’re channeling Scrooge or need a little cry, but I doubt that’s the top of everyone’s Christmas list?
The main reason for being torn is the Harry and Karen story. It has never really sat well with me. Perhaps because I always had a hunch that he really was “Bad Harry” or maybe because it just didn’t feel like Christmas to be see a mother upset and having to put on a brave face for the kids (my childhood was clearly far too cheery). Though I think the main reason for my frustration is that, sadly, the most believable story line of the film is the saddest.
Which brings me to my next question, why in rom-coms are the couples always doomed from the start? Admittedly I’m still in the first year of marriage, but the Mr and I have been together coming up to 10 years now and I’d like Hollywood to support my belief that things will only get better. Not that we’ve reached a point where we’re so mundane that we need killing off in the script.
Yes, romance is different. He hasn’t run from door to door singing Christmas carols just so he can kiss me under the mistletoe. And perhaps he has yet to chase me through customs at the airport just to say something nice. Oh and, unfortunately, a few Christmas’ ago when he proposed to me he didn’t have to learn a new language.
That said, he did shave my legs last weekend when I found that my pregnant belly had grown so large I could no longer manage. He does carry my suitcase and walk on the traffic side of the pavement. He crawls around on the floor painting skirting which I’m just “too pregnant” to tackle – even though it’s me that complains about the yellowing gloss. He lets me order takeaway when I’m too tired to do anything else – even though he’s trying to eat well. He rubs my fat, swollen feet and will always put me a brew on. And he’ll still come up to bed with me, rather than sit watching TV alone, when I need to collapse at 9pm. I realize it’s not quite the same as turning up on someone’s doorstep to play them Christmas carols and declare your love, but for me it’s romantic.
It’s probably the fact that he’s so good to me as a husband, that I set the bar so high for Hollywood husbands. So, every time I watch Karen excitedly rip open the Christmas gift from her “Bad Harry” I desperately wish that he’ll have changed his mind and somehow she’ll find that lovely necklace under the wrapping paper instead of that stupid CD. Unfortunately, every time I am disappointed. Every time I press play I root for Alan Rickman not to be drawn in by slutty secretary, Mia, yet every time he defies me.
Today I find myself even more disappointed about their story after reading that Love Actually script editor, Emma Freud, has revealed the true extent of Harry’s indiscretion in a Twitter Q&A. And unfortunately it sounds like he gave Mia a bit more than just a pretty necklace… As if the sad story wasn’t sad enough she also revealed that “they stay together but home isn’t as happy as it once was”. Talk about going from bad to worse.
For me, the sad reality that the most miserable story line in the film is the most realistic – and for some possibly the most relatable – is the spoiler for this film. I’m still waiting for a Hollywood blockbuster featuring a happy, loved up couple who make it through the Christmas season drama free and live happily ever after… That’s all I want for Christmas anyway!