Thanksgiving is over, and that means two things: leftovers and articles about how you may not be aware that Love Actually is a very problematic bad movie will start grooving their way into your Facebook feed like a Hugh Grant dance montage.
Love Actually, if you were unaware of both holiday movies and internet think pieces, is a 2003 holiday romantic comedy starring an ensemble of British heavyweights that loosely connects several different narrative threads about love. It’s uneven and silly, and some of the love stories feel more like creepy tales of how your grandparents met (“I followed her to her bus stop and proposed every day for a year and she finally said yes, god bless her!”) than anything approaching an appropriate 21st century love story and falalalala la who fucking cares?
A cast of A Listers and somehow this kid steals the whole movie.
Love Actually has a place in my heart as a piece of pop culture that I just want to turn down the ‘giving a shit dial’ on and enjoy. I do my best to be a strong ally and a good feminist and this is a dumb and trivial hill to die on, but I just want to watch this stupid movie, you know?
My sister-in-law loves this movie. She is one of my favorite people. The first time I saw it was sitting down and watching it with her and we spent the rest of the holiday yelling “Here comes Colin, and he’s got a big knnnnnob!” and watching my mom sigh and roll her eyes because Donna Starr doesn’t want to hear about British penises at Christmas.
My wife and I watch this movie every December and we spend weeks walking around singing Bill Nighy’s dumb Christmas song and making up our own words to it. It’s the best. We’ll then sort of glaze over Alan Rickman’s grossness. “Ugh stop being gross,” we’ll say with the full adult understanding that he is gross, and then watch Rowan Atkinson brilliantly spend ten minutes on gift wrapping a present with sprigs of holly.
This Christmas, I’ll call my brother’s family and we’ll laugh about Colin’s knob. We will do this with a full adult understanding that the part where Rick from The Walking Dead being all creepy in love with Princess Amidala’s decoy is super creepy and disturbing and weird. I know that we understand it because when that part of the movie happens we go ‘ugh this guy is so creepy’ and then we get back to watching Bill Nighy chew scenery like he hadn’t eaten in weeks.
Bill Nighy is the fucking best.
This is a stupid movie. It’s not the best script. It’s also not the worst, because the movie Because I Said So exists. There are some extremely dumb scenes, but there is also a scene where the Prime Minister’s chauffeur sings “Good King Wenceslas” and I will always laugh at it like a dumb clapping baby that just saw the color green for the first time and felt it was delightful.
It’s also a movie that I’m not going to give up liking and watching because of anything socially problematic in it. That’s probably me waving a male privilege flag where I pick and choose where my line gets drawn, but my wife and sister-in-law will be laughing right along with me, and the idea they aren’t Delta Force level ass-kicking women is a dumb and incorrect idea. Yes, some of my best friends are women and they like this movie. I have played the ‘best friends’ card and I’ve played it for Love Actually because who really thinks that this movie is worth dissecting in the name of social progress?
This stupid harmless movie isn’t going to create a generation of gross men that think the best way to pursue women is with signs and carols on cassettes. That’s mostly John Cusack’s fault.
He’s one of the good ones, you see.
Also it’s fun to pretend that this movie takes places after Taken 3 and Liam Neeson’s character has tried to start a new life.