Love Actually ... is about compassion

I rented the movie Love Actually this weekend. It illuminates and showcases the many different forms that love can take. The extended title of this film is "love actually is all around". And love is many things. But the ingredient of love I want to talk about here is compassion, a subject I've touched on before.

The Love Actually DVD contains extra scenes that didn't make it into the film. One of them is a brief scene about a couple in a third-world country. The husband is a farmer, and his crops are all dead, his livelihood in shambles. But, as the director describes it, "his life is fine because his wife loves him." The scene shows the husband standing, overlooking his dead crops, when his wife approaches him:

Wife: Come on. There's nothing more you can do today.
Husband: I feel I've let you down.
Wife: Don't be stupid. As long as I can see a grin on that ugly face of yours, everything's fine with me.
Husband (laughing): We'll have to leave.
Wife (as they walk back to their modest home): If we have to, we have to ... Where do you think we should go? I hear Paris is very nice this time of year.

The wife had many choices in how to react to her husband's failure. But she chose that one.

There's a similar example in God, Sex & Apple Pie, a movie about old friends getting together for a weekend vacation. One story is of a married couple, Tim and Bobbi. Tim is a stockbroker and did insider trading 2 years prior. A phone call reveals Tim is about to be found out, and after years of deceiving Bobbi, he finally admits to her with embarrassment what he had done. In a scene where Tim is contemplating suicide, Bobbi approaches and reacts for the first time to all that she has recently learned. Her reaction is not one of disgust. It is not one of anger. Or even disappointment. It is one of concern over what Tim is going through right now. Her brief show of support, backed up by a foundation of love, has an amazing, uplifting effect on his spirit, his will, and his burden of shame.

These are both stories that illustrate a powerful level of compassion, and are powerfully beautiful.

Posted: Sun - June 6, 2004 at 12:20 PM