Library of Cultural References

  • Library: Cultural References in Films

Love, Actually


Wendy writes:
Just thought I would pass along another incident of Joni's music in 'fiction'. In the film, Love Actually, Emma Thompson's character Karen is given a Joni box-set and has an emotional breakdown while listening to it.
Joniing in late, Evenstar sez:
I'm guessing this may well have been discussed while I was on sabbatical, if so apologies for the repetition.
I saw the DVD of Love, Actually last night which was mostly quite dire apart from the Joni stuff.
Emma Thompson's character is shown being derided by her husband (who is on the brink of an office affair) for still listening to JM and her characters says "I love her, and true love lasts a life time".
Later on in the movie Thompson's character is expecting/hoping to get a necklace she has aleady seen from her husband for Christmas (which he has actually given to his mistress) - the package turns out to be a copy of Both Sides Now.
There is a good moment where her character is going through the emotional impact of this on her alone while listening to the BSN version of BSN, it fits the moment very well and seems to encompass her pain and longing.
Anyways, sorry if this came up already.
And KYNW adds:
Joni is mentioned in the romantic comedy Love Actually by husband and wife Harry (played by Alan Rickman) and Karen (played by Emma Thompson).
While wrapping Christmas presents, River plays in the background sparking this dialogue:
Harry: What is this we're listening to?
Karen: Joni Mitchell.
Harry: I can't believe you still listen to Joni Mitchell.
Karen: I love her. And true love lasts a lifetime. Joni Mitchell is the woman who taught your cold English wife how to feel.
Harry: Did she? Oh, that's good. I must write her sometime and say thanks.
Later in the film, Karen opens a Christmas present from Harry, expecting a gold necklace and finds a CD of Both Sides Now which Harry says is meant "to continue your emotional education." This is followed by a moving scene of Karen in their bedroom listening to Both Sides Nowand crying at the realization that her husband gave the necklace to another woman.

Watch Clip Here

And Victoria chimes in with:
The film Love, Actually features Emma Thompson's marriage to Alan Rickman breaking up to the tune of Joni Mitchell's more recent arrangement of Both Sides Now (2002).
From Norway, Per writes:
Joni plays an important role in one scene in last year's (2003) British film "Love Actually." Wife Emma Thompson can't miss that husband Alan Rickman makes a purchase of a beautiful piece of jewelry at Christmas-time, and that he has it wrapped in a neat flat 5 x 6" box. Unwrapping on Christmas Eve, she gets her wish fulfilled - the new CD by her favourite artist: Joni's new Both Sides Now album. We then see Thompson in solitude, crying bitterly, realising husband intended the most special gift for another someone special. She then returns to the party seemingly composed, but emotions stil in havoc. Joni's singing Both Sides Now in her rusty voice, with the beautiful bass, sax and strings accompaniment augmenting Thompson's great performance in this scene. "You really don't know Love at all - - - -"
I'll have to add that for me, it was a true high to hear this song from the great sound system of the cinema.
Thanks also to Karl-Heinz Schäfer in Hamburg; Les Ross in London; Sue; and Anouk.

(Contributed by Everyone!)


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