The legendary star played Karen in the romantic comedy, which has become a true British classic. Returning to huge popularity every Christmas, it’s surely one of the best-known movies in Thompson’s repertoire. One especially memorable scene sees Karen breaking down in tears when she realises her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) has purchased jewellery for another woman.
It’s a scene that is so powerful, even Kit Harington described it as his favourite piece of film acting ever.
Now, speaking to BBC Radio 1 amid promotion for her new venture Late Night, Thompson said: “It’s because everybody’s been through something like it.”
But there’s a big reason why it’s so affecting: it’s not the fact that Karen is upset, it’s the fact that she’s trying to hide it.
“What really gets to [viewers] is the fact that she has to get herself together.
“It’s not the fact that she’s upset, that’s ten a penny.
“It’s the fact that she has to pull herself together – and that’s Richard’s [Curtis] writing.
“You’ve got to carry on and be normal; especially for your children.”
Late Night, meanwhile, sees her pairing up with Mindy Kaling to play a US chatshow host.
The movie has fared well with critics: it has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has scored 72 on Metacritic.
It struggled at the UK box office, however: achieving just £425,742 in its opening weekend, falling far short of the Top 5.
Thompson also stars in Men In Black International, which is out this weekend.
In that comedy, she appears alongside Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth and Liam Neeson.