Saturday, December 24, 2011

Films About Writers: Love Actually

I could not find a film that showed a writer writing a Christmas-themed story for my December entry. Also, I am not a Charles Dickens fan, so I wasn’t going to touch A Christmas Carol. (Besides, TheTop10films does a lovely job of listing the best film versions). Luckily for me, my favorite Christmas film, Love Actually, features a writer as one of the many characters. Colin Firth plays Jaime Bennett, a crime novelist who discovers that his girlfriend is cheating on him four weeks before Christmas. He goes to a cottage to write his latest novel to escape his misery.

I always found it interesting that he uses a typewriter instead of a computer to write since this film takes place in the present. Perhaps, he feels that writing with a typewriter matches the rustic scenery. Then again, maybe when he dreamt of being a writer, he had this romantic notion of a serious writer writing on typewriter. Or maybe writing takes longer with a typewriter, so he can stay focused on writing instead of his loneliness. However, he is not alone. He has a Portuguese housekeeper who he can only communicate with using gestures since Aurelia does not understand English and he does not speak Portuguese.

Yet, it is his writing that brings them together. He is writing outside and she switches out his mug. The papers underneath the mug fly out into the lake. When she starts chasing after them, he tries to convince her to leave them alone because he feels that his writing is not important or spectacular. He may feel that way due to his general state of low self-esteem caused by his girlfriend’s infidelity. Then again, perhaps he has a self-deprecating view of his writing like so many writers do in the beginning of the writing stage. However, when he sees that she is going to jump into the lake to retrieve the pages, he goes after her. When they return to the cottage, she asks him about his writing.

Unfortunately the scene is not available for embedding, but here’s the link: Jaime and Aurelia - Sweet Scene

People are naturally curious to know why writers write the subjects that they chose. Yet, we do not know why Jaime chooses to write crime novels. Perhaps, he liked reading crime novels and decided he wanted to write his own. It may be a superfluous detail, but I find myself sometimes wondering about those details. Although the main message of his segment is love as universal language, I think it shows how writing can help form a bond between people.