Some movies are not that great in its entirety, they are, in fact, just average. And the multi-starrer Love Actually would have been just that save for that one Emma Thompson scene where she cries after realising that Alan Rickman’s character has been cheating on her.
Over the years, this single sequence has become one of the most defining moments of a relationship (or the breakdown of one) in pop culture. And for good reason.
The always fantastic Emma Thompson, who is more known for her comedic skills than she is for her dramatic performances, wowed one and all when she brought to life with incredible sensitivity and braveness the response of a woman whose trust has been broken irrevocably.
The sequence is almost four minutes long, where we see the former happy couple of Emma and Alan with their kids getting ready to open their Christmas gifts. As Alan fishes out Emma’s present, she hopes it is the golden necklace which she had seen her husband buying in the shop earlier. However, reality hits hard when the present turns out to be a Joni Mitchell CD instead. “To continue your emotional education,” the husband says as he sees her unravel the gift wrapping. Tears have already started stinging her eyes from holding them in for too long and soon enough we see Emma’s character make an excuse to rush out of the room.
Sequence of note | Taxi Driver | Tamasha | La La Land | Swades | 96: Trisha tells a story | Rang De Basanti’s ‘Koi Future Nai’ | Inglourious Basterds’ strudel scene | Delhi 6’s Dil Gira Dafatan | The eerie conversation from Get Out
This part alone was heartbreaking enough, but what happens next wrings it further (if such a thing were possible). After her little meltdown in the bedroom, Emma wipes her tears and puts on a smile to continue the festive revelries. Because she is a wife, and also a mother. She cannot let her children down. She cannot let them see her in this disastrous state and so she goes into the living room, half dead.
Love Actually is currently streaming on Netflix.