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Written by Victoria Joss
‘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. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.’
Love Actually begins with this iconic quote, spoken by Hugh Grant and set to real life scenes from Heathrow Airport of people greeting others from flights. The quote sets the uplifting tone of the movie, reminding the audience that love is not always a grand gesture and it is not always convenient, but it is always possible. It relates the film to the current state of affairs, as we enter am age where ‘hatred and greed’ seems prevalent in greedy politicians, terrorism and gun crime. However, showing the scenes of love that cheer up David in his storyline creates a personal feel of looking through another’s perspective, and the audience instantly becomes one of the characters in the movie. Most of all, the quote promotes that we cannot escape from pain in our lives, but we can always be reminded of the blessings in our lives if we only ‘look for it’, rather than focusing wholly on the bad. The quote ends by incorporating the title ‘Love Actually’, to act as a constant reminder that this feeling of wellbeing will encapsulate the whole film.
[in English] 'It's my favorite time of day, driving you.'
[in Portuguese] 'It's the saddest part of my day, leaving you.'
Jamie and Aurelia’s relationship is restricted to hand signals and facial expressions, as they are separated by a language barrier. This quote therefore shows how similar they are, and how each reciprocate the same feelings of loss upon leaving each other. In using languages that only the audience can see through subtitles, it creates a dramatic irony where the audience is privy to their feelings, but each other are not. This quote also presents an important theme, finding love in the most unexpected of places. Even though Jamie is only completing a menial task, driving Aurelia home, it is special to him as it is time spent in her company. The audience thus feels empathy for the couple when Aurelia announces she is sad every day to be leaving Jamie, as it foreshadows Jamie’s eventual return to England at Christmas, where he will have to leave Aurelia indefinitely. Finally, this quote is important as a reminder that love is not always convenient to timing, location, or nationality; yet, it is a feeling worth making the effort for.
‘But you know the thing about romance is that people only get together right at the very end.’
Spoken by Sam, a young boy who is wise beyond his years, this quote refers to common knowledge of romances, but also makes a self-conscious pun at the fact he is in a typical romance film, where the people do only get together at the end. Firstly, this quote presents the naïve assumptions of romance that Sam still has a young child, fed by the world of books and films such as ‘Titanic’. He believes there is a set structure to romance, and a perfect time for the couples to unite. Whilst this is true of many of the couples in ‘Love Actually’, Curtis actually rebukes this in a different storyline, Sarah and Karl’s. Despite multiple efforts, they never seem to find the right time or place to cement their love for each other. Therefore, it suggests a surprisingly sad resolution that mimics reality: Sam’s notions about love are not always right. Even in a romantic comedy, there is a couple who do not end up together.
'Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?'
'Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool!'
'Yes, but you've also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish, too!'
Karen speaks this quote at her children’s Christmas Nativity play, when a necklace prompts her to finally find out about Harry’s affair, that the audience has been watching play out for the whole film. It is particularly poignant in this setting, as Karen is obviously a caring Mother, and wants this evening to be about her children. Yet, her emotions allow her only to save face during the nativity, and she cannot help but confront her husband afterwards. Karen is not a typical outraged, scorned wife. She approaches the subject with the heartbreak of confusion; Harry may have slept with Mia, or there is the possibility that emotions are involved as well. Karen presents her options to Harry as she is not only heartbroken that he has forced her to make that decision, but wants him to understand her grief. Harry’s response suggests to the audience that he is not a purposefully immoral man, but that he needs perspective handed to him on a plate to understand when he has pushed it too far.
'But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at Christmas you tell the truth - To me, you are perfect - And my wasted heart will love you - Until you look like this' *shows pictures of mummies*
This quote is not spoken, but written, by Mark on boards to proclaim his love to Juliet. In writing his feelings on a paper, it not only captivates Juliet’s attention, but it means he is not saying the words out loud and being overtly unfaithful to his best friend. It is especially sweet as Mark announces he is ‘without hope or agenda’, suggesting that he must tell Juliet his feelings not because he wishes them to be returned, but as a way of starting afresh. In telling her his feelings and accepting her marriage to Peter, Mark can begin his life in being both honest and kinder towards Juliet. Mark’s words also contribute to the heart-warming ending. Whilst he does not finish the film as part of a couple, he has found happiness at Christmas because of a self-revelation, only partly to do with another.
Billy Mack: ‘Christmas is a time for people with someone they love in their lives.’
As a movie based around the lead-up to Christmas, this quote from Billy Mack highlights the issues of those who have no one and are lonely in the Yuletide. It suggests the pressures of love at Christmas. As many choose to spend time with their families, friends, and loved ones, it can be incredibly difficult for those who have none of these. However, it also suggests that Billy is searching for the wrong kind of love in his life. He seeks fame, attention, and the praise of young girls at fashionable parties. Through looking for this kind of love and firstly receiving none of it, he believes he is without love. However, once he does receive it, he realizes it is wholly superficial and that he always had love in his life, from his manager, Joe. This suggests again that we all can find love, if only we look to where we do not expect it.
‘Tell me, exactly, how long is it you’ve been working here?’
‘Two years, seven months, three days, and I suppose what, two hours?’
‘And how long have you been in love with Karl, our enigmatic chief designer?’
‘Um, two years, seven months, three days, and, I suppose, an hour and thirty minutes’
The first impression of Sarah is in her workplace, when she is pulled in to the office by her boss, Harry. This quote illustrates the inconvenience of love, especially when one falls in love at sight, and has no control over the feelings. It is also one of the storylines that is set in a workplace, questioning the propriety and obvious crossing of boundaries when involved with a person you also work with. As this is a romantic comedy, the situation is noted by her boss and suggested as common knowledge, almost mocking Sarah’s feelings. The quote also implies an important point to love: the anxiety that comes with proclaiming it, as Sarah obviously feels after almost three years of loving Karl. It is therefore suggested that love is not enough to bring two people together, and that sometimes an intervention is needed.
When she first mentioned what's about to happen, I said, "Over my dead body." And she said, "No, Daniel, over mine...
This is one of the few truly sad quotes of the movie, spoken by Daniel at the brief view of his wife’s funeral we see. It presents his wife as wise, and accepting of her death, whilst still sad that her husband and child have to continue in the world without her. It is a particularly sad scene to begin the film with, therefore the small joke of ‘No, Daniel, over mine’ continues with the atmosphere of warmth, whilst still acting as a reminder of the pain that comes when love is taken away from someone. This quote also sets up Daniel as a caring individual, as a Father that throughout the movie will support Sam in finding love, as he had with his late wife. This quote especially draws on the prominent theme of loss, and suggests that one cannot love without the possibility of pain.
[gift wrapping a gold necklace]
'Let me just pop it in the box. There.'
'Look, can we be quite quick?'
'Certainly sir. Ready in the flashiest of flashes!'
This quote is iconic of one of the more humorous scenes in ‘Love Actually’, when Rufus takes an exceedingly long time to wrap the gift that Harry has bought for Mia, a girl at his office. After Harry agrees to have it gift-wrapped, the extensive measures such as rose petals and a cinnamon stick that Rufus goes to, encourages the audience to spur on Karen’s return to catch him in the act. As this is coupled with Harry’s extremely middle class attitude, remaining polite even when stressed, it offers a sense of humor and relief to an otherwise dangerously immoral storyline of infidelity. If Rufus’ role in the movie is considered, this quote can also have another meaning. Rufus is like an angel, helping others to achieve their romances, such as Sam getting through airport security to say goodbye to Joanna. Perhaps then, Rufus is purposefully stalling to allow Karen to catch Harry. Whilst he has still been unfaithful, at this point it is not physical, and it’s discovery may not have been as detrimental to their marriage. Therefore, whilst this quote symbolizes Curtis’ humor in the script, it could also have changed Karen and Harry’s storyline immensely if she had only returned earlier.
‘I’m on s**g highway, heading west!’
This quote from Colin, a young man searching for a young attractive woman, is especially important as the only more casual storyline. As an extremely average looking man, his optimism at finding a woman who likes the look of him is a running joke throughout the entire movie. Through proclaiming to his friend that he is on ‘s**g highway’, it is further humor that Colin believes the issue is location, and not his looks or personality. It is comments like this that prompt the audience to laugh, and then swallow this laugh further on in the movie when Colin discovers many attractive American women. Whilst not extremely profound, this quote is important in presenting that the goals of some of the characters are not only love.
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