::OBLIGATORY SPOILER ALERT: DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE, BUT PLAN TO. OK??? SHEESH...::
There, my duty's done. If you read on, don't bitch at me about the spoilers.
I know, I know—Love, Actually is such a fun flick that the words "dark romance" don't exactly leap to mind when you think about it. But beneath the smiles and hugs lies gloom, in rather a few of the tales told by this freakin' fantastic ensemble. Today, I'll examine three of them. (DISCLAIMER: I adore this movie. That doesn't mean I don't see the darkness in it, or that I can't have any problems with how some stuff went down.)
The dark romance of:
Sam (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster) ~ Sam and his stepfather Daniel have lost the woman who brought them together, Joanna (who was mother to the former and wife to the latter). I choked up with every scene of theirs, maybe 'cause I'm a mother and I can't bear the idea of a child losing his mom. Anyway, poor Joanna passes away and her fellas have to carry on, somehow. Daniel's clearly deeply affected by his loss. Sam seems to be equally so, so much that Daniel begins to worry. Thinking the boy's in really bad shape, Daniel confronts him, only to discover that, yeah, Sam misses his mum, but it's a new gal who's got him all down about life. OK, I understand; he's a kid and he needs some comfort and this chickie-poo is really cute. I geddit. But it's kind of cold, in my opinion, that it's his as-yet-unrequited-interest in a girl that's got him being all antisocial and depressed and whatnot. I mean, sure, I think it's adorbz when Sam utters that famous line, "Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love." I heart that line. I want him to get the girl, for shizzle. I just think they should've showed us more of his mourning for his mum. Anyway, as has been said, there's no cure for an old love like a new love. That's a bit harsh, but it's Christmas, and at Christmas, you tell the truth. Which brings me to the dark romance of...
Mark (played by Andrew Lincoln) ~ You may best know him as Rick, the noble leader of a group of zombie apocalypse survivors in AMC series, The Walking Dead. But in Love, Actually, his character was hopelessly in love with his BFF's new bride. He plays things like he just doesn't care for her as a person, but the viewer kinda knows there's something behind his behavior which points to the very opposite. Then the bride, Juliet, discovers his secret tendre for her and buggers off, all upset and shocked-like. What follows that is the super-sweet declaration of love Mark makes to her via placards, acknowledging only what his feelings have been and without any expectation of reciprocation. Bless him. That was incredibly brave of him, and perhaps, having unburdened himself, he can rest easy, even though nothing comes of it. Of course, burdens don't just disappear. Who's carrying it now, if not Juliet? What we don't get to see is how she lives with this knowledge, after her initial response of a chaste kiss to Mark's cheek. How are things between the three of them afterward? Does Mark stop aching for love of her? Can she simply forget what he's divulged? Does she feel any sort of guilt or responsibility for his feelings for her? Is there, perhaps, some reason unknown to the viewer why she should? Does she ever tell her husband, Peter, what went down? Folks, it is my feeling that, sometimes, Love keeps shit to itself, for the sake of the loved one(s), you know? And finally, what (to me) is one of the darkest romances of the bunch...
Harry (played by Alan Rickman) ~ Oh, Harry. What were ya thinkin', ya goofball? So, Harry's a Big Boss and a married man with kids, all of whom he loves. Then his new, skanky secretary messes with him, coming onto him and hinting very heavily about what she wants from him for Christmas. (And it ain't cookies 'n' milk, neither.) I think Harry's sort of swayed by her interest in him, not so much pursuing as being pursued. But it seems he's beginning to return her interest when he goes to buy her a pretty bauble (the wrapping of which was a charmingly funny scene, brilliantly executed by one of my faves, Mr. Bean. Uh, I mean, Rowan Atkinson.) Unfortunately, Harry's missus, who's had an uneasy feeling about him, busts him and it all goes to hell. As far as we know, Harry never even slept with the skanky secretary, but the damage to his marriage has been done. Now, whomever authored the Wikipedia page for this movie says that, during the epilogue scene, when folks coming off a plane are being greeted by their loved ones, Harry and wife Karen reunite in such a way as to suggest they've gotten over their "relationship crisis." I say that whomever wrote that must've been high. Their intimacy sacrificed on the altar of lust, a deep freeze separates them. Karen can barely look at Harry and, from Harry's expression, he's well aware that he really screwed the pooch (without even having actually screwed her). And it's not just Karen whom he's hurt, but also his children, as there's no way in hell they can't pick up the weirdness between their parents. I'd love to know whether Harry and Karen were ever able to heal the wound in their marriage. I hope so.
What do y'all think? Was Sam maybe just a wee bit too ready to move on? Should Mark have kept his yap shut? Did Harry and Karen sort things out? Inquiring minds, etc., etc.