*Warning* This post contains spoilers about Love Actually, so if you haven't seen it, go watch it right away (great movie!) and then come back to read this.
And now the post...
Sometimes, I'm hit in the face with the reason why I became a romance novelist, rather than choosing to pursue any other genre. This happened yesterday when I watched Love Actually for the second time. The first time I watched it, there were no subtitles for the portugese so I had to guess what Jamie and Aurelia were saying - believing me, the subtitles were way funnier than what I came up with.
But that's not the couple in the movie that this post is about. Nor is it about the guy who goes off to Milwaukee and has his fantasies fulfilled, or about the two stand-in's who fall in love (though they were incredibly sweet).
The couple that most affected me were Sara and Karl (Laura Linney and Rodrigo Santaro), because not only were they such finely nuanced characters (Karl wasn't just a hunk but one with heart), they didn't get their happy ending. I kept hoping the ending would change, that they would get together, but of course that didn't happen.
I had the same reaction, to a lesser extent, to the story involving Andrew (the guy in love with his best friend's wife) and the one with Emma Thompson (whose husband has the beginnings of an affair). They were all so sad and I desperately wanted to make it alright, to give them their happy endings, too. Unless they make a sequel, that's not going to happen, so I'll just have to rewrite the script in my head.
What interested me when I listened to the director's commentary was that during testing of the film, a majority of the audience had the same reaction to Sara and Karl. They, too, wanted happiness for these two, to the point of begging the director/writer to add in another scene to make it better.
When it comes down to the human heart, it appears that us romance novelists and readers aren't the only hopeless romantics out there, which is a wonderful thing. Maybe love actually is all around us, and if we believe hard enough, we can imagine a future in which Sara and Karl get their happy ever after. After all, that's what imaginations are for.