12 Days of Christmas Family Special – Mistletoe

Posted on: December 9th, 2019


Picture the scene. It’s a dark Sunday afternoon in mid-December. I am modelling my fleece pyjamas and purple ‘hairy’ socks, in anticipation of the main event (yes, readers, it’s a glamorous life I lead). Several bowls of carefully selected snacks sit to my right (does anyone else have a penchant for anti-social onion ring crisps, or it just me?) Two black cats languish to my left. Now I am ready.

It’s time to get my annual Love Actually fix.

Some people might think I’m a jaded cynic – how could a divorce lawyer possibly enjoy a two hour, saccharine rom-com? Well I DO. I relish it. Andrew Lincoln boldly declaring his love for Keira Knightley by the medium of placard (pre-WhatsApp era) makes my heart glow.

Do you remember that other famous scene in Love Actually? The one where the lovely Emma Thompson delights at the beautiful necklace she thinks her husband has bought her for Christmas, only to discover that she is not the intended recipient? In the agonising aftermath, she sobs in her bedroom; then, in an act of stoic resilience, plasters on a smile on the way to her children’s school play. This, in my view, is one of her finest on-screen moments.

And as the saying goes, life imitates art; Thompson’s marriage to Kenneth Branagh reportedly broke down as a result of his affair with the wild-haired actress Helena Bonham-Carter. Even the rich and famous aren’t immune to heartbreak.

Recent statistics suggest that one in five people admit to having at least one affair, Brits being most likely to commit infidelity with a work colleague (a la Alan Rickman at that ill-fated office Christmas party). Approximately one in ten petitioners cite ‘adultery’ as the reason for their divorce.

During the film, Thompson so accurately depicts the crushing sense of betrayal caused by her husband’s unfaithfulness. Her trust is broken. We don’t get a clear sense of where the couple end up (although the directors seem to suggest that the pair patch up their relationship for the sake of the children).

In real life, it might not be possible to ‘make another go of it’. Sometimes the wounds caused by adultery can cut deep, meaning a separation or divorce is necessary in order for both parties to move on, in a new direction.

At Coffin Mew our friendly, non-judgemental family lawyers understand that divorce can take an emotional toll. We are sensitive of our clients’ needs. We listen carefully. We explain things clearly. We have their best interests at the heart of our advice.

Why does Love Actually remain ever popular, some 16 years after its release? I’ll tell you why. Most of us have, at some point during the course of a lifetime, felt the joy of love, the anguish of grief, the bitter pain of heartbreak. These are human conditions.

If you would like further guidance or if you have any questions, please contact Marie Stock, Senior Associate Family Lawyer.