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Without Alan Rickman These "Love Actually" Scenes Wouldn't Have Been As Heartbreaking

His ability to make us hate Harry made us feel Karen's pain even more.

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Because it leads to two moments in the movie that are so powerfully real, they still make people cry even a decade after the film's release.

The first is this spectacularly heartbreaking moment.

Universal Pictures

Emma Thompson stands alone in the bedroom after discovering her husband has probably had an affair, with tears uncontrollably rolling down her face. Anyone who's experienced the agony of betrayal will know just how subtle, poignant, and painfully accurate this scene is.

Universal Pictures

At the end of the movie we see Emma Thompson confronting Alan Rickman about his affair. His response is to tell her he's "so in the wrong" and has been a "classic fool". But his genuine look of apology and Emma Thompson's cracking voice as she delivers the next line makes you genuinely sad for her character again.

And part of the reason why this storyline is so powerful is the off-screen chemistry between Alan and Emma.

Universal Pictures

His ability to portray a man who flirts and then sleeps with his female employee, dances with her in front of his wife, then buys his mistress expensive jewellery and his spouse a goddamn CD for Christmas is impressive.

But he offered more to this role than just the standard adulterer we see in movies all the time. His real skill was in doing all the above while seeming cold, unaffectionate, and unfeeling towards his wife – the same wife who had clearly devoted herself to him and her family. It is this, combined with his skill at delivering body-shaming comments and displaying a total lack of interest in her and their family, that elevated their scenes beyond rom-com territory. And it was this portrayal of real life that made their storyline so relatable.

As a result of him being so magnificent in this role, you come to genuinely hate the character and what he did to Emma's character. Without that, we wouldn't believe in her despair half as much.