Love Actually is one of those films that people either love or hate. I’m in the love camp, despite its self-loathing body issues. I love that it explores multiple facets of love (not just the romantic kind). I love the shmoppiness of the stories that do have a happy ending. Hell, I love that not every ending is happy, because the experience of love isn’t always pleasant. Bearing that in mind, one scene in particular gets a lot of flack. The Andrew Lincoln scene. You know which one I’m talking about: wherein Lincoln’s Mark professes his love to Keira Knightly’s Juliet via cue cards while her husband – his best friend – is upstairs watching television. Here’s the thing: I don’t find it creepy in the least. And in a fashion typical to me, I’m going to tell you why.
|Something tells me I’ll catch hell for this.|
Criticism #1: The cue cards are a bad idea; he should just talk to her.
Rebuttal: Are you kidding me? This is a guy that doesn’t do words well. When Juliet first realizes the implication of his wedding day video earlier in the film, she stammers out, “But you never talk to me. You always talk to Peter. You don’t like me.” In reply, Mark tells her, “I hope it’s useful. Don’t show it around too much. Needs a bit of editing. Look, I’ve got to get to a… lunch. Early lunch. You can just show yourself out… It’s a self preservation thing, you see.” This is muttered, and he immediately leaves without a jacket into the cold December air. This guy is so terrified of saying what he feels that he’d rather brave the cold than stay in the same room with the woman he loves and have an honest conversation about his feelings for her. What better way to express himself than through the written word? Clearly, he fails when left to his own verbal devices. Writing something down and presenting it to her makes sure that he doesn’t stammer and lose track. He gets to speak his piece without having to actually speak. How many of you out there are introverted? Congratulations: you are all too familiar with the problems associated with attempting to have a conversation of that magnitude in the face of being horrifically shy.
|Cue cards: for people that verbally communicate not good.|
Let’s face it as well: even if you’re not introverted, speaking frankly with a sensitive subject (like telling someone who is in a relationship that you love them) is pretty daunting. He knows it’s a losing battle. It’s tough to admit it out loud. If you’re going to subject yourself to that, you have to do what’s right for you. Sometimes, that’s not speaking. And that’s okay.
Rebuttal: This one is just stupid. Really, at what point was he trying to actively win her? This is the entire text of his speech: “Say it’s carol singers. With any luck, by next year I’ll be going out with one of these girls… [pictures of super models] 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… [picture of mummified corpse] Merry Christmas.” Let’s break that one down, shall we? What part of “without hope or agenda” seems difficult to interpret? He states that he hopes to be dating someone else this time next year, that he wants to be honest, and that he loves her, and knows that he doesn’t have a chance. Pretty clear cut if you ask me.
Rebuttal: For anyone that’s had to get over someone, this is a catharsis you may not have had the chance to achieve. Unless if you’re some strange creature that’s always gotten every person you’ve ever crushed on, we can all relate to rejection. Even worse, some of you may have had the completely dreadful experience of saying those three magic words to someone and knowing that there is not a shot in hell that you will hear them back, let alone get a return of the feeling itself. That’s a special kind of hell right there. Now, bearing that in mind, realize this: Mark is living that hell. Is his method of moving on unconventional? Yes. However, this is part of how he’s making peace with unrequited love. He knows that he needs to get over Juliet; he wants to move forward because he sees that it’s going nowhere and needs to end. This is how he’s coping. Words fail him; he knows that he can’t get the girl; he knows that this needs to end. Most people in his situation lack a key piece, whether it’s the maturity to know when the game is lost or the presence of the person you’re trying to get over. That he walked in with maturity while trying to help himself heal says a lot about this guy, but it does not scream creepy.
|In the end, no words needed.|