' ' Cinema Romantico: The End Of Love Actually: Romantic or Realist?

Friday, November 26, 2010

The End Of Love Actually: Romantic or Realist?

I am a man of tradition, and upon moving to Chicago a new tradition has emerged wherein at the conclusion of the Thanksgiving feast with my dear friends here in the Windy City we all gather together to indulge in Richard Curtis's sprawling 2003 romantic comedy "Love Actually" and get soused (although last night I think I was the only who got soused, but never mind....). I dig this tradition. A lot.  I will miss it when it's gone.  I have written before about the film but what happened last night intrigued me, particularly because I am an unabashed romantic who emits righteous anger when viewers attempt to heap realism onto films in places where it surely does not belong.

The situation is this: young Sam (Thomas Sangster) has fallen head over heels in love with his classmate, an American girl named Joanna (Olivia Olson). At the film's conclusion, after the big talent show at the local school, Joanna is set to board a plane bound stateside at Heathrow Airport. Sam's way cool dad (Liam Neeson) then gives his son an impassioned speech and then Sam gets that way cool line - "Let's go get the s--- kicked out of us by love" - and they race to the airport, as someone must in all romantic comedies, so Sam can declare his love to Joanna. Except that when they arrive Joanna and her family have already been through check-in and are on their way to the gate and since this is Post-9/11 there is no way airport security is letting a little kid with no ticket through.

-"Not even to let the boy say goodbye to the love of his life?"

All seems lost. But then, heroically, Mr. Bean magically appears to distract airport security and allow Sam to "make a run for it", which he does, spectacularly, evading his pursuers and-

At this point, my friend Matt says "You know, he could have just sent her a text message." Well, this, of course, infuriated me. "Text message?!" I hollered. "YOU DON'T TEXT THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE!" And then a few of my other friends, inevitably, pointed out how young Sam probably would have been thrown in the clink and how Joanna delayed the entire flight by running all the way back through the airport just to give Sam a kiss on the cheek and on and on and on and I'm just sipping my Sierra Celebration, stewing. (I also had to restrain from getting into a verbal spat with my friend Cindy earlier when she had the nerve to question the quality of "Titanic" when footage from it in "Love Actually" is glimpsed. And all this probably sounds like I didn't have a good time last night, but I did. Honest!)

"Sometimes even he doesn't know how he stands it
But he's the next to the last true romantic"
- Josh Ritter

Is this the world we live in now? A world where it's acceptable to text the love of your life rather than run through the airport, as is traditional, being chased by security, to say farewell? A world where we ignore the hero getting the first kiss from the heroine because we're focused on a flight getting delayed? If I had been on Joanna's flight and she explained herself and why she caused the delay, I would have applauded her. I would have bought her an apple juice. We need more flights getting delayed this holiday season because men are illegally dashing through airports to say goodbye to the loves of their life. WWIII is about to start, damn it, so let's make love while we still can. 

We get enough realism from the news, right?  If I have one wish this Christmas it's that people stop wishing so often for realism at the movies.


Castor said...

I would text you my comment but I don't have your number ;)

Nick Prigge said...

Well played, sir.

Castor said...

I'm not a big fan of Love Actually, it was too much sugar, too much corn, too much cheese, just too much!!

Nick Prigge said...

Those are valid points, I admit, but then I kinda like a corn and the cheese of "Love Actually" just tasted soooooo good.