In Their Own League Advent Calendar: 4. Love, Actually

By Morgan Roberts

Love is actually all around. Or is it? Because if there’s anything I remember from Richard Curtis’ 2003 holiday film, “Love Actually” is that men are garbage.

“Love Actually” is an ensemble film with intertwining storylines which meet at various points.  But there is one particular storyline that has haunted me more than the Ghost of Christmases Yet to Come: Harry, Karen, and Mia.  That’s right!  You’ve seen the many memes of a crying Emma Thompson and you know the pain it brings.

In the film, Harry (Alan Rickman) is married to Karen (Thompson).  They have two children, one who is going to star as the lobster in the Christmas nativity play.  On the surface, they seem happy.  But Harry, for some odd reason, has wandering eyes.  It is hard to believe that anyone would stray from the gorgeous, funny, incredible Karen (again, Academy Award winner Emma Thomspon) but there’s a certain award-winning director who might give us some insight into that insanity. But I digress.

Harry has an assistant Mia (Heike Makatsch) who endlessly flirts with him.  He likes it and flirts back.  So, because it’s Christmas and Harry chooses lust over love, he buys that office tart a necklace.  But the plot thickens.  Karen finds the secret necklace.  Unbeknownst to her, the necklace isn’t hers.  So, on the day, THE DAY, of the children’s play, everyone opens a present.  Karen chooses what she thinks is a kind, thoughtful gift from her husband.  What she opens instead is a Joni Mitchell CD.  Knowing her husband gave a fancy necklace to another woman, Karen steals herself away from her family.

That when we get the heartbreaking and iconic scene of Dame Emma Thompson crying as she listens to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”  After her moment of grief, knowing her life has changed, she pulls herself together to go watch her child’s weird holiday play.

This single storyline from a Christmas film is why I don’t trust men.

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