Love Actually is All Around at Christmas
I believe that everyone has a favourite Christmas film and if there is ever a year in which to watch yours, it is 2020.
As much as the season of Christmas is one that should be defined by speech, there is always room for a Christmas film. When the Turkey ends and you feel as though your stomach can take no more you head for the sofa and rest your weary head. This is something that I am looking forward to this Christmas, sitting down after the feast to watch Love Actually with my fiancée.
The choice of film is something that is entirely subjective and something that I imagine most people would have an opinion on. Whether it is Home Alone, Die Hard, A Nightmare Before Christmas, or some other variant, we all have a film which we love to watch during the festive period.
Love Actually is my choice of film, as it embodies everything about the season that I love. It places first and foremost the stories of ‘ordinary people’. It has an amazing cast who personify these stories in a myriad of different ways, and who does so with a smile on their faces. It is one for this year and so it is one tradition that I will not leave behind.
Are There Alternatives?
Of course there are alternatives. As human beings, we are surrounded by a world of possibility. We have choices. Whether to leave our houses and turn left or right, we have choices.
The chief of these alternative choices for is Home Alone. The epitome of 90’s Christmas films starring Macaulay Culkin is a classic, with a child left alone during the holidays. His family leaves him in the house as they fly off for Christmas. Rather than panic he gets supplies and defends the house from burglars. It is a tongue in cheek experience and one that still today can put a smile on my face.
Home Alone is a great trip down memory lane and one in which I enjoy watching back. It is a film that completely epitomises Christmas, but it is not my favourite, as it’s sole focus is comedy. What I want from my Christmas film is something that makes me smile and think, whilst showcasing the best parts of humanity.
The other alternative contender for me is Die Hard. It is a Christmas film, despite the name, but it is a little too action-packed to be considered a relaxed adventure for the festive season.
Why is it Better Than All the Others?
It has multiple story threads, each of which takes on a theme that surrounds Christmas, whilst also connecting people to what is truly important, that being the ones they love. Christmas is a time for sharing and all of these stories focus on family in different ways. From the broken family to the one dealing with loss and one that includes a best friend in love with his wife.
These stories don’t paint the characters in the greatest light but they are realistic. We as humans are flawed and the storyline in which the family is dealing with loss shows the love a Step Dad can still offer to his son. The son in question is by marriage but he treats him like his own and helps him find love. This example is just one of many that brings a smile to my face. Showcasing humanity’s decency as well as it is realism.
It is this blend of always seeing the good and being happy with what you have is what I like most about the film. Home Alone is cute. It is a great film for those who are younger and those who are more grown-up but Love Actually is the hard-hitting realism mixed with a positive spin that I was looking for.
My Favourite Story
The one that always makes me smile is the one that involves Andrew Lincoln. He plays the role of a Best Man who is in love with his Best Friend’s bride. It is something that he keeps to himself. He instead views her at a distance with what is perceived to be disdain. It is not and it is his way to cope with the situation.
The bride eventually corners him and realises the truth through the viewing of her wedding video. It is focused on her and through this realises the absolute truth, that he is in love with her but could never say anything. He never says anything because he could not lose his friend and it is this loyalty that I admire the most here.
Andrew Lincoln pays a visit to the bride and conveys how he feels using silent boards, which display his thoughts. The husband never sees, and he can share his feelings overtly before walking away. Above his feelings, he places his loyalty to his friend. This is what Christmas is about, telling the truth and caring for those in your life. It is something that we can all admire, and admire I do.
What do the Critics Say?
The critics, as they are with everything that can be criticised, polarising, with the least flattering that I found stating the following…
‘…it was confirmed to me that a considerable number of people not only consider Love Actually a classic, but go so far as to watch the movie annually as a holiday tradition.
Which is — and please believe that I am being as diplomatic as I can — utterly insane.’
Love Actually Is the Least Romantic Film of All Time, The Atlantic
The most positive that I found was from IMDB.com…
‘Love Actually is movie that helps you see how life redefines itself.
Common and extraordinary lives are mixed together with such good taste that you tend to believe that you were probably wrong the last time you were angry because of someone else doings.
The cast gave us outstanding performances by Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson and characters (the rock star and his manager are just persons to love!).’
Love Actually, IMDB.com
The film seems to be heralded by the everyday reviewer such as myself and hated by critics. I am not entirely sure why but as most of those who will be reading this article will be from the everyday reviewer audience. With this in mind, I suggest that you ignore the critics. The everyday view is the one that the film is a classic Christmas comedy, to be watched each year and the one that I agree with.
A Final Thought
Love Actually is a classic film in my opinion. It is one that brings a smile to my face each year in which I watch it. It exposes the flaws of society whilst also showcasing the best parts of that what we call love.
Love Actually is not one for the critics but for the everyday viewer such as myself, it is one to herald. The stories showcased within are easy to reflect with and sympathise to. Love is not always straightforward. Often times it goes beyond romance and moves into that which we care for.
As a Christmas film, it makes you smile, think and feel grateful for what you have. It is the quintessential Christmas film and one in which I can wholeheartedly recommend. It will be the only film that I watch over the festive week. It is one that never ceases to entertain and one that I will continue watching each year.