Love, Actually may be a polarizing and cringe-inducing movie when viewed in 2018, but one moment inarguably holds up: the opening scene that shows touching, real reunions in Heathrow Airport’s arrivals hall. In fact, it was watching such emotional moments that reportedly inspired writer-director Richard Curtis to come up with the movie in the first place.
The “coming home” premise features prominently in a new short film from Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). And while it’s easy to make the natural connection to Love, Actually, the theme is undeniably touching and likely strengthened by the setup—the anticipation of loved ones coming home—and the ad’s questions that ponder the impact of travel.
Using a mix of actors and real people—and shot over a week at Kastrup International Airport in Copenhagen by photographer Peter Funch and filmmaker Jeppe Rønde—“The Arrivals” is easy to follow and features a wide array of passengers, from different walks of life.
A further plus to that ad is that the copy supports the visuals well, and we’re not forced to overthink about the characters’ backstories—with a voiceover that deftly captures these moments and the fact that travel can be a transformative endeavor. A particularly good stretch galvanizes the essence of the idea: “Sometimes the journey is life-changing. Sometimes we changed the world. But, most times, the world changes us.”
An interesting insight helps move the concept along as well. According to a survey from the airline, 61 percent of people think that traveling gives insight into new cultures and brings new ideas to one’s personal life.
“Travel changes us, and when it changes us, we change the world,” says Annelie Nässén, SAS evp of sales and marketing.
While the film may not have the same emotional punch of WestJet’s legendary 2013 “Christmas Miracle” campaign, it holds its own and is one of those tissue-grabbers that you’ll want to watch again and again (just like, let’s face it, a certain often-maligned but oddly comforting romantic comedy).
Speaking of which, here’s a look back at the opening scene of 2003’s Love, Actually: