2003’s “Love Actually” is a heartwarming romantic comedy revolving around many British characters of various social and economic groups during the holidays. With how wide of a net it casts romantically, it has something for everyone to slightly relate to. The movie follows roughly nine subplots all seamlessly intertwined with one another without barging in, but for the sake of understanding the importance of comedy, the plots to follow are between Harry and Karen.
Harry, played by Alan Rickman, is a high ranking director of a design agency and happily married to Karen, played by Emma Thompson. Karen stays at home to look after their children while Harry works in the office. A new secretary named Mia (played by Heike Makatsch) is hired at the office, and immediately begins to show attention to Harry. Throughout this plot, Harry grows increasingly more fond of Mia and begins to have an affair with her, despite having a wife and children. His wife catches on during Christmas where she expected to receive a necklace that she found in Harry’s jacket, but instead receives a CD. She soon finds out about the affair, but decides to think of her kids and stay with Harry. The reason why this plot is so significant is because it uses comedy to normalize familial trauma and difficulties. By using comedy, Love Actually, removes the stigma from the conversation of divorce and infidelity. It starts a conversation by not putting the conflict between Harry and Karen in a dark depressive tone, but instead a comedically tragic one. Comedy, in general, but specifically in this case, is necessary for society because it helps us process and eventually accept pain. While this comedy isn’t necessarily trying to make us laugh, it does take a slightly lighter tone to the sometimes heartbreaking truths of reality.