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Emma Thompson Reveals The Real-Life Inspiration Behind That Crushing 'Love Actually' Scene

By Kristy Puchko | Film | March 1, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Film | March 1, 2018 |

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Most of our readers know that despite our politics and snark, our core mission is as a fan site for Richard Curtis’s divisive holiday rom-com Love Actually. And despite Courtney’s obsessive dedication to discovering every nook and cranny of this ensemble romp, there was apparently something that was missed. Emma Thompson has revealed the real-life inspiration that fueled her heartbreaking scene, where she cries alone in her bedroom, listening to Joni Mitchell.

“That scene where my character is standing by the bed crying is so well known because it’s something everyone’s been through,” Thompson said at a fundraiser for the Tricycle Theatre in North West London on Sunday. She went on to explain that for her, that heartbreak came at the hands of her former husband Kenneth Branagh. Once a celebrated celebrity couple, her recurring co-star split with her in 1994, after Branagh began an affair with Helena Bonham Carter on the set of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

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The Telegraph reports, Thompson confessed, “I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn’t meant for me. Well, it wasn’t exactly that, but we’ve all been through it.”

She added, “I’ve had so much bloody practice at crying in a bedroom, then having to go out and be cheerful, gathering up the pieces of my heart and putting them in a drawer.”

Look. Even those who loathe Love Actually can’t deny the power of that damn scene. And now we know why. This was more than a performance. Thompson was giving us a piece of her broken heart, turning her pain into art, allowing it to become universal and connect to all of us who needed a moment to break, before forcing ourselves back together and getting on with it.

Well done, Emma.

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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