It’s no secret that I am the #1 Christmas fan. (Well, #2, right behind Kris Kringle.) I go all in on the holly and jolly every year, listening to Christmas music on Nov. 1, overdecorating both my apartment and office space, and of course consuming all Christmas-related pop culture I can get my hands on. But for some reason, I never got around to seeing many people’s all-time favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually, until a year ago. I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long, especially since it has so many people I like in it. All I know is that last Christmas season, I saw it in my Netflix queue, and decided to finally see what all the fuss was about.
And I hated it.
Seriously, this is the movie so many people have been raving about for years? This?? Now, maybe my expectations had been raised too much having not seen it for all this time, or maybe I was already jaded from seeing similar yet horrible films Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. (Remember those?) But I could not stand this movie at all. Let’s get into some reasons why.
First off, we have to recognize that this is somehow a world where Hugh Grant is Prime Minister of England. I’m all for watching Hugh Grant at his Hugh Grant-iest (I’m an unashamed lover of Music and Lyrics), but this seemed a step too far. His performance wasn’t actually all that bad, but his storyline was atrocious. He falls for one of his assistants, who, people like to state whenever they can, is a big fat cow. Just so obese. Nevermind that she’s like a size 8 at most, she is just the fattiest of the fat and nobody can understand why Prime Minister Hugh Grant likes her so much. At least PM Hugh Grant thinks this is absurd (as does President Billy Bob Thornton, who would also like some of that chunky thigh), and they make out behind a children’s play at the end. So romantic.
Then we have Keira Knightley, who gets married to Chiwetel Ejiofor. (This movie must be some sort of hazing ritual before you can get an Oscar.) Chiwetel’s schlubby best friend is also in love with Keira, because duh, who isn’t. The best friend is in charge of videotaping the wedding, but really just makes it a series of close-up shots of Keira. Instead of getting pissed and finding this creepy like any normal person, Keira is flattered. Then comes that iconic scene where the best friend stands outside Keira’s door and confesses his love through signage. Before I saw this I thought this scene was about single people. Silly me, it’s about potential adultery and stabbing your best friend in the back. So romantic.
Martin Freeman’s whole storyline is that he is a porn star that likes having fake sex with his costar, and they decide they might like to have real sex outside of the studio. So romantic.
Colin Firth goes to France for some reason and falls for his Portuguese maid who can’t speak English. It’s all supposed to be very sexy, but instead comes off a bit creepy to me (like all the men’s actions in this movie). Like, what if she’s actually just complaining about you ordering her about this whole time? Way to misinterpret, dude. Then we have that whole part where he goes to her village to track her down, and the girl’s father actually tries to pay Colin Firth to take the fat sister instead. Like, what? Fat Sister is the only sensible one in this movie though, as she explains to her family, “Father is about to sell Aurelia as a slave to this Englishman.” That’s right, this storyline is about human trafficking. So romantic.
Liam Neeson’s wife has just died (like IRL, and it made me very uncomfortable), and his precocious son, who has deep existential thoughts about love, has fallen for a girl in his class that has the same name as his dead mother. Yeeeep. Liam encourages his son to play the drums for her instead of talking to her, and when that doesn’t totally work Liam then encourages his son to run after her last-minute at the airport like a 1980s movie cliche. SO romantic.
Emma Thompson, who I guess is BFF with Liam Neeson (this is actually never explained), is going through a crisis of her own. Her husband, Alan Rickman, is a cheating monster. I actually didn’t hate this storyline as much. Emma Thompson can do no wrong, and that crying scene did get to me a little. It was the one time during the movie I felt an emotion that wasn’t anger or incredulity. So romantic.
Bill Nighy is also in this movie and sings Christmas songs and drinks. So romantic.
Laura Linney has the hots for one of her coworkers, Karl, but also has a sick brother she has to take care of. This is apparently a HUGE dilemma for her. That’s because Karl is a huge douche who doesn’t have time for chicks with sick brothers. So romantic.
Oh, I almost forgot about the ginger catering dude! I’m so sorry. So yes, this guy, who wears shirts that say “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” is confused why he isn’t getting any in England. He decides to go to America to get some, and finds three willing hotties at the first bar he steps into. So romantic.
Anyway, yeah, the stories all connect in some way, though I’m hard pressed to remember how. Everyone in this movie is a creep, the women say a total of like 200 words the whole film, and it’s slightly racist. I hated it.
I’m sorry if you are a fan of Love Actually. I hope we can still be friends. Hopefully you also like Elf, White Christmas, or A Christmas Story and we can watch those together someday.