The 2003 film, Love Actually, is revived each holiday season for good reason. The all-star ensemble includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson appearing in connected stories about love in London which all begin 5 weeks before Christmas and climax on Christmas Eve. The irresistible cast become your love guides in funny, sad and delightfully far-fetched ways.
What is the secret of the film’s enduring charm?
It lies in this premise: if you can’t speak from your heart during Christmas, when can you? This notion frees you to take action on your loving impulses as if mistletoe is dangling from your halo during the final five weeks of the year.
Watching the film’s opening story is more poignant this year, since Liam Neeson plays a grieving widower who buries his wife whom he adored and raises her son, his stepson, alone. This sadly parallels his tragic loss of his beloved wife, Natasha Richardson, as he and their two sons endure the first holiday season without her.
Love Actually shares some secrets of grieving lost love while learning to see and celebrate the love that’s left. This love lesson is an inspiration for all mere mortals in the audience.
The film offers many light-hearted love lessons. A young waiter who can’t get a date senses he’s on the wrong continent to become a sex god. So he flies to Wisconsin and meets sexy young women who love his British accent and manly charms. When he returns to London with a girlfriend for him and one for his closest friend, he illustrates a love lesson that I often tell my online community: What you see will be, when you take right action.
Bill Nighy plays an aging rock star who revives his stale career with a sappy remake of an old love song which he turns into a holiday hit. The love lesson? People appreciate his jaded honesty and sweet truths about love in the song lyrics that launched rebirth of his career.
Ever intriguing Emma Thompson plays a devoted wife and mother who realizes her husband has betrayed her because his Christmas gift to her pales in comparison to the gold heart necklace she’d thought he bought for her. As she excuses herself from family gift exchange to go have a private sob over her husband’s lost love, her heartbreak is a wake-up call for couples in stale relationships.
Straying from a dutiful and dull connection illustrates the need for couples to save some of their best energy and enthusiasm for each other instead of giving it all away to children or co-workers.
Laura Linney also devotes her focus on her ill brother instead of making room for an intimate relationship with a co-worker who could be a wonderful love match.
Love at work is further explored as Hugh Grant plays a bachelor prime minister who is attracted to a young woman on his staff because she brings joy and mischief to his serious world. He resists his feelings for her until she justifies expressing her feelings for him because it’s Christmas. As they each move out of their comfort zone for love, a delightful romance is their reward.
Why save these love lesson for the holidays? Give yourself permission to speak and act from your heart everyday, so you are free to love and be loved in a happy relationship throughout the year.
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