Sometimes, what makes us fall in love with a car is the memories made in them. In Britain’s best-loved Christmas film Love Actually, the modest interior of a 1992 Saab 900 XS sets the scene for romance. In the first of our fortnightly series Movie Matchmaking, highlighting cars that play iconic parts in films, we pull open the Christmas cracker that plays perennially; that’s right, Love Actually is all around…
“Like the people we fall in love with, the cars we adore aren’t always the fastest or flashiest but their imperfections make them all the more endearing.”
In 2003, Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral) assembled the most foppishly charming cast imaginable, clad them in ungainly woollen knitwear, penned a script full of stammering declarations of passion, threw in a papier-mâché octopus for good measure, and the archetypal British festive film was born. (Lo! Rejoice!)
If you’re one of the minority who can’t quote the entire script (“Eight is a lot of legs, David”), the plot follows a dozen interwoven love stories over the run-up to Christmas. Tales of relationships, reconciliations and realisations share a motif of characters searching for the right thing to say — often “I love you”.
“The Saab 900 reflects what Aurelia loves about Jamie: it’s comfortable like his cosy collection of knitted polo-neck jumpers and cardigans, dependable, and demure.”
One subplot that captured our hearts was of Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz). Jamie has moved to France to work on his novel after his partner leaves him for his brother (Merry Christmas!) and Aurelia is introduced to him as his new housekeeper — she is Portuguese and cannot speak a word of English. After Jamie’s failed cringe-worthy attempts at communication, they settle for sitting in his Saab 900 in snug silence for the daily ritual of driving Aurelia home.
The drive confines the two in an intimate space where the inevitable happens: they fall in love.