This story was not what I expected.
Spoilers, but the movie’s been out 10 years so I think we’re past the statute of limitations on spoilers.
I had never really given Love, Actually much of a thought. I saw the previews when it came out, thought “wow, that has a lot of people in it” and promptly forgot about it. But when I started playing derby it seemed like every girl on the team was obsessed with it. I kept hearing about how it was a modern Christmas classic. About how the stories were so amazing.
This past weekend I finally got around to watching it. And my response? It was an OK movie. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. I usually am a sucker for a chick flick. Bring on the tissues and the ice cream. But Love, Actually just didn’t do it for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I had such high expectations or it just wasn’t my thing.
When I heard this was a “romantic comedy” I thought it was a comedy in the “this is going to be really funny” sense. Not in the literature “people end up happy” sense, so I didn’t really sit down to watch it in the right frame of mind. As Claire says in her Christmas movie countdown Love, Actually is “human rather than fairy tale.” But I prefer fairy tales. I’m not a fan of “real” stories (which is also why I couldn’t get into another of Claire’s favorites, On the Road). I want grand gestures (so I did love the Hugh Grant story from Love, Actually). I want escapism. And Love, Actually just doesn’t give me that.
There were some stories of Love, Actually I did really enjoy. Billy Mack and Joe was my absolute favorite. Daniel and Sam’s story was adorable and sweet. John and Judy were funny and quirky. As I said before, David and Natalie had the over the top gestures that I love so much.
The best character in the movie.
I was most disappointed in was the story of Juliet, Peter, and Mark. It’s the iconic scene in the movie, the one that blows up my Pinterest page this time of year. I was really excited to see what led to this point, and it wasn’t what I expected. It was Peter’s best friend declaring his love for Peter’s wife. I was disappointed. Plus, Alan Rickman plays a guy who thinks about cheating on his wife. Which makes me not like Alan Rickman’s character. And I love Alan Rickman. His characters should be loyal. Always. (Really, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much if it were a different character.)
One last thing that bothered me about the movie. It’s full of big name British actors, but no Gary Oldman?! He’s in everything, and I was disappointed that he didn’t make an appearance. Although we did get Mr. Bean, which almost makes up for it.
Why wasn’t I good enough for your move Curtis?
Overall, while not a bad movie, I just don’t understand how Love, Actually has gotten this reputation as the ultimate modern Christmas movie. I’ll give it another shot next year, when my expectations aren’t so high and I know more of what to expect going in. Now though, I’m going to go watch Elf and Die Hard (where I at least expect Alan Rickman to be a bad guy).