If you haven’t seen it, Love Actually is a collection of different kinds of love stories loosely woven together into one movie. It’s one of my favorites, one of the required movies I must see every holiday season.
This triangle isn’t a sweeping epic plotline, just one little vignette, and its simplicity is part of what makes it so perfect.
Peter and Juliet are newlyweds, as ecstatic as newlyweds should be, their wedding serving as one of the opening scenes tying many of the characters and their stories together.
He responds honestly in the negative but turns down the opportunity to talk about what’s really making him miserable.
When Peter and Juliet get back from their honeymoon, Juliet goes to talk to Mark, to see if she can smooth over some of the frostiness he’s always had toward her, thinking Peter’s life will be easier if his wife and best friend can manage to get along.
What she finds is a lovingly assembled montage of nothing but shots of her. It’s painfully romantic. And inescapably creepy. Rarely does anything so perfectly strike the balance between the two.
As Juliet struggles to process this and reconcile it with his usual aloofness, he explains, “It’s a self-preservation thing,” and walks out.
How does this one resolve?
Mark comes over to Peter and Juliet’s on Christmas Eve, pretends to be a chorus of carol singers so he can speak to her privately at the door, and confesses his love via a series of poster boards. In his words, “without hope or agenda.”
That’s all there is to their story. No back and forth, no fighting, no debate. Just love, bubbling up in the most hopeless and inconvenient place. It’s painful and beautiful and sweet and sad. And then it’s time to move on.
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