Love Actually Plotlines Ranked By Sadness

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Sarah and Karl

This one is the quintessential Love Actually heartbreaker, because not only does it hit all the bullseyes on the depressing dart board of life, but because these characters are so good and pure and do not deserve this fate. Sarah and Karl work for aforementioned monster, Harry, and it turns out that Sarah is in love with and has been in love with Karl since approx. 3 minutes after she met him. And despite her hesitancy to make moves, he’s pretty flirty toward her, too. At the company Christmas party, they dance together and it’s very sweet and I just want them to be happy dammit! But Sarah’s downfall, as ever, is her responsibility to her mentally ill brother, who calls her day and night in need of comfort and reassurance, and whom Sarah cannot bring herself to put anyone or anything else above.

There are a few moments where it almost all goes right. Karl comes to Sarah’s apartment, where they start some hook-up action…which is promptly interrupted by yet another phone call. And the heartbreaking thing isn’t that Karl is mad or dismissive; it’s actually that he understands, and that she visibly struggles to contend with one reality in which she has someone loving and supporting her, and the other in which she’s the one responsible for giving all of herself. In the end, she chooses the latter, and in the last horribly gut-wrenching Sarah scene, we see her visiting her brother in the hospital on Christmas. Her loneliness is almost palpable, and we know she’ll never allow herself to have a happy ending as long as she holds true to her selfless commitment to her brother. Merry Christmas, life is bleak!!!!!!!