Monday, March 15, 2004

Love, Actually

Finally, they made a movie about love: Love, Actually. I’m writing because of what the movie did to me. This opinion might not be shared by everyone, though, so just take what I write with a huge grain of salt. I’m coming from a rather extended period of desolation. My recent retreats did not quite refresh me the way they used to (aside: this is because of what I’m going through and not because of the retreats ha). My last visit to the spa for a Swedish massage did not relax me. My latest haircut did not ease my burdens. The list goes on. I was in this unusual state when I saw this movie last night. Hence, I might have been in the best condition to appreciate it.

The point of the movie “Love, Actually” is so simple, and yet in its very simplicity, we have often taken it for granted. The makers of the movie said that Love, Actually, is all around us, if we but take the time to see. Watching the movie was like eating from a box of Godiva chocolates. I didn’t want the movie to end. From the collective sigh in the SM Megamall crowd I joined, it seemed I was not alone in having trouble detaching from the delightful gift of a movie that was “Love, Actually”.

Just out of habit, I always seek the romantic angle in movies. From Terminator to The Secret Garden, no matter what the classification of the film is, my silver lining is always the happiness of the hearts of the characters. For this movie tagged as the “ultimate romantic comedy”, I was not disappointed. From the opening scene up to the closing credits, the movie deliberately reminded its audience to focus on love. The realism and pessimism that the world has developed especially on matters of the heart had no room in this movie. Of course there were several “worldly” characters like the singer who made a huge comeback by saying all the wrong things during interviews, the employee who tempted her boss into having an extramarital affair with her, and many others. Like all movies, discernment is needed here because not all of the things the characters did should be emulated.

There were, however, priceless scenes that should not be missed. One boy asks, “Is there anything worse than the excruciating agony of being in-love?” The person he is talking to, along with the movie audience, cannot help but agree. There was one particular dance number by Britain’s Prime Minister that made the movie worth my P60! :) I appreciated it that the actors wore little makeup. Eyebags bulged. Wrinkles showed. They portrayed real people. It reminded me of the play “Memorandum”, (naks! Pakisabi sa theatre group) which emphasized that there is “beauty in the ordinary”. The movie was not just about romantic love, but showed love for family, friends, officemates, bosses, employees, brothers, and children. I think the most notable dramatic performance was by Emma Thompson. Rowan Atkinson, Mr. Bean himself, was exquisitely funny in one scene.

It showed me that no matter how high the walls we put up against feelings, love would seep through the cracks somehow and we’d just discover that we are in love. This is very dangerous of course, but for at least two hours I saw the beauty rather than the danger of falling in love. I saw that because of love, one could learn a foreign language in a week. In the name of love, one could learn to play a new instrument, and to play it well. For the love of one’s children, one could contain one’s heartbreak and still make life work.

The movie tugged at my heartstrings and succeeded in making me pause just to see the love around me. I watched it with my mother. Underneath the complications of our relationship, there was so much love there. But the highlight of my day was the tight hug of my nephew in the early afternoon. He actually wasn’t hugging me; he was forcing me to sit still so that I could see how the bad guy in his Teen Titans online game turned into a friend after being beaten into a pulp. After watching the movie last night, the memory I preserved was that my beloved Miko gave me one tight, unforgettable hug. As the character I had a crush on said, “It’s enough. For now.”

Give yourselves a relaxing break and watch that movie now. It works even through walls of cynicism, I’m telling you. I agree what I read about the movie, that every person who sees it would be able to fully relate with one character or with one storyline. Please watch it from the very beginning. Enjoy! :)

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