Posted in Separation / Divorce

It’s Not Love, Actually

I was going to write this over Christmas but due to a busy run up to the big day, didn’t actually have the time. It’s suitable now as 2016 is following on from the themes of the fifth anniversary of the breakdown of my marriage. It’s also homage and in remembrance of Alan Rickman who died recently. This is about his character in the film Love Actually.

There are many things that bother me about this feel good film. Firstly, the creepiness that Andrew Lincoln’s character has a massive crush on his best friend’s wife. The second problem is that in her words “you never talk to me, you don’t even like me.” STALKER ALERT!

It’s not that Jamie’s (Colin Firth) girlfriend is cheating on him – with Jamie’s brother.

It’s not even that Liam Neeson’s character is expected to “man up” in face of his wife’s death with a cold and heartless “no woman will want to sleep with you again if you keep crying”. He’s just lost his wife FFS, and at a much younger age than they expected. Christmas is a few weeks away and he’s about to have his first as a single father with his wife’s body barely warm in the grave.

No, I reserve my biggest criticism for Harry’s story (played by Alan Rickman) and his almost affair with the young temptress Mia.

As somebody who has been in the same position as Harry’s wife Karen (played by Emma Thompson) I have absolutely no sympathy for Harry. What I do see though, and something that many people who have not been in that position do not seem to grasp, is how easily Mia gets away with her part in the almost-affair. People like Mia care very little for the destruction she/they leave behind. She ends up with an expensive necklace and not much else. In the end, that’s probably all she wanted anyway.

Let me reiterate that what Harry did was wrong. He should have continued to refuse her advances. He should have been colder with her, and blunt about how it won’t ever happen. He should have, at the 11th hour, done the right thing and given the necklace to his wife.

Harry was flattered by the attentions of a younger woman and in the end, he let his libido get the better of him. The thought of a quick fuck with a younger woman in a moment of madness, jeopardised his marriage. His risk was greater than hers and in the aftermath, he suffered all the consequences he deserved. We never find out whether their marriage survived as it’s left on a knife edge at the end of the film.

But what of the consequences for Mia? Nobody pointed the finger at her – at least not from what we saw. Nobody told her to stay away from married men. Nobody told her to find a man her own age and one who is unattached – there were plenty of single men in her office but she dismisses them when challenged.

My situation was similar to theirs. “He” suffered no consequences. “He”, like Mia, was able to walk away in the aftermath. “He” simply got away with his part of the destruction he left behind. The main tragedy of the film is that Harry was prepared to throw away his marriage for an immature woman who didn’t actually care about him, didn’t actually fancy him and probably wasn’t going to sleep with him anyway. The second tragedy is that Mia would be free to do the same again to the next sucker.




I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

3 thoughts on “It’s Not Love, Actually

  1. Dude! I love this post and I am so glad you mention the character Harry (RIP Alan). No matter how many times I watch, Love Actually, I tear up during the scene when Harry’s wife Karen (love Emma Thompson!) realizes she didn’t get the necklace, that pretty young thing that works for her husband did. Ugh! My stomach tightens just thinking about it. Every. Damn. Time. I watch that scene I get a lump in my throat, my eyes tear up and my heart aches for Karen (Harry’s wife).

    As someone who lost a marriage due to an affair, I have a zero tolerance policy for this, (pardon my French) shit. You are so spot on about how Harry should have shut that bitch down the minute she began putting the moves on him with her teases and taunts. I also agree that Mia doesn’t give a rat’s fuzzy arse about Harry, all she’s interested in is the challenge: *Can I get him to do what I want.* Bitch tease.

    Meanwhile there’s Sarah (Laura Linney) who is madly in love with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) and yet due to her brother’s illness (and him being all the family she’s got), she can’t live her life, it is as if her life is in a holding pattern, solely living for her brother. Flash forward 30+ years and we will find her a spinster. Sad.

    But yeah, back to your point. We never find out what happens when Karen asks Harry, “What would you do? Would you cut and run or would you stay?”

    We also never find out what becomes of Mia, I mean, if Karen and Harry stay together, if it were me, I’d make Harry dismiss her… honestly. I wouldn’t want him working around that temptress. THEN AGAIN…. What is it about Harry and their marriage that would make him consider cheating? I am a firm believer in ‘You cannot steal what does not want to be stolen’ so clearly Harry is unhappy? Bored? What? Either way, Harry never gave Karen a chance to “fix” what’s wrong in their marriage. If he’s bored and finds their life too complacent well then say something man! Speak up! Tell your wife so the two of you can work on it.

    In closing, even now it amazes me how my Ex and his Affair Partner/Now his wife get to ride off into the sunset, building a new life while I was left behind in the wake of his destruction.

    Seems completely and utterly unfair.

    1. I don’t think we ever got the sense that their marriage was unhappy. The good thing about this part of the storyline is the insistence that people don’t only cheat because they are unhappy. Sure, people do, but that’s not the only reason. Nobody deserves to be cheated on of course,

  2. I agree. As far fetched a set of plots as it is, I do life love actually. And I agree and Alan and Mia. Yes Mia is amazing to look at, still doesn’t give her the right to keep advancing. Or him the right to pursue her of course

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