Why It's Okay to Actually Love 'Love, Actually'
Because if you look for it, you'll find... that there's actually nothing wrong with watching this movie as a part of your annual holiday tradition.
While it's gotten its fair share of flak over the years, I'm going to go ahead and argue that Love, Actually has taken its place at the heights of rom-com gold since it was released in 2003, and rightfully so.
No question, the film has become as ubiquitously holiday-esque as steaming apple cider, hot cocoa with marshmallows, the pungently pine-y scent of evergreen Christmas trees and yes, even obnoxious holiday jingles. Don't even get me started about Mariah Carey in a Santa hat, please.
From the beginning the movie undoubtedly calls into question the existence of real love. Though many have pointed out its cynical nature as an active deterrent from its reigning supreme among other feel good holiday movies (some even going so far as to call it "the least romantic film of all time" – and on the eve of its 10-year anniversary, no less!), let's agree to disagree here.
After all, haters gonna hate. It's what to they do. But for me, the film's cynicism is refreshing, and only serves to make it come across more real. For that reason and more, I've got a sneaky feeling that you'll find... that it's okay to actually love Love, Actually.
We can relate – some of us a little too well.
With such an abundance of storylines, we find ourselves at once overwhelmed and also intrigued by the relatability of many of these characters.
For instance, we can all agree on the fact that Keira Knightley's character Juliet is the actual worst. (Ugh. No way she ever deserved Mark. Plus, she totally led him on – even until just days after she got married! But before I digress...)
Tell me, though, who among us hasn't at one point in our lives fallen for someone who is the ACTUAL WORST?
Or maybe that elephant in the room, unrequited love, is the real culprit here.
Even though it's cheesy, it's so cute you can't help but love it anyway.
What did you expect? It is a holiday movie, after all.
And because you're never too young to love.
Of course not. No, Liam Neeson, you're WRONG.
It's absolutely HILARIOUS.
And also because Hugh Grant is a surprisingly good dancer. Who knew?
Not to mention, the whole idea of him holding down a kinda sorta important political position like British Prime Minister is both preposterous and entertaining.
We finally found out what happened between Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman's characters.
And we're still just as fascinated to know what happened in this fictional rocky marriage as we were 12 years ago. (Also, the fact that Love, Actually was released 12 years ago?! Unreal.)
Also, Alan Rickman's character is almost even worse than Keira Knightley's.
One thing is for sure, it's a v. close tie, but the truth is we're going to hope against hope that Alan Rickman is not anything like this character in real life. Because if so he knows nothing.
...and we'd much rather continue picturing him as Professor Snape anyway.
It's refreshingly real.
As we singletons float adrift in a sea of sappy happily-ever-after lovefests, sadly skulking beneath sprigs of mistletoe, we turn to Love, Actually as the end-all, be-all of our lonely state of affairs – only to realize, maybe we really aren't so alone after all.
Let's talk about about the relationship between drug-addled pop star Billy Mack and his manager, Joe, for one. Or how about the idea of newly widowed single father Daniel finally getting over his late wife and moving on with his life in a healthy, positive, hopeful way? Or his positively adorable son Sam (who would later go on to star in none other than the best HBO show EVER, Game of Thrones) for whom falling in love is basically akin to suffering an existential mid-childhood crisis?
The truth is that love is scary and it doesn't always work out. The point this film is trying to make is, thankfully, not that; and while other holiday movies may try and fail, this one does succeed in making us feel just a tiny bit better about all that.
But just because love doesn't always work out, doesn't mean you shouldn't tell the people you care about that you do.
All the time. Whenever you can, but most especially during the holidays.
And because deep down, maybe you're not so cynical after all.
...or at all, really. You big softie, you!