Love Actually is literally the worst film of all time
The men are all creeps and nobody has a good time
How do you know it’s Christmas? Easy. It’s minus two in London today, sandwiches start getting more festive (they all include cranberries and turkey) and at some point in the next few weeks you’ll sit down for your yearly traditional showing of Love Actually.
I’m here to tell you not to do that.
I know I know, it seems like a particularly unfestive or hateful thing to say, but hear me out, I’ve recently discovered that Love Actually is fucking shit, and I’m as upset as you about it. It starts off really well. Here we are in the arrivals bit of Heathrow airport. Here are some slow motion shots of people running into the arms of their loved ones while Hugh Grant talks about 9/11 in his warm Werthers Original voice. Listen to his deep dulcet tones and be transported back to the last time you arrived home for Christmas, the last time you ran into the arms of someone you loved in an airport. By now you should be crying. I was crying.
This is the best of Love Actually, the bits that make you ugly cry and cling to the person you’re watching it with and eat a full box of Quality Street. The only good bits of the film are complete emotional blackmail. And while you might be able to stomach this in any other year, you cannot stomach it in 2016.
Too much has happened.
Oh, think you’re gonna enjoy the scene where the Prime Minister stands up to the leering, creepy, bullying American President, do you? OK. Watch this through the lens of 2016 and tell me you don’t feel deeply uncomfortable, that you’re not just waiting for a deleted scene where Billy Bob Thornton lunges forward and grabs Martine McCutcheon by the pussy.
2016 has ruined the good bits of Love Actually for everyone. Do not watch it. Do not celebrate when Britain stands up to America, because the next four yearly watches you’ll have of this film will come between wall to wall bollockings of us and every other country by Donald Trump. Do not watch it to revel in the hatred you have for Alan Rickman, the other good bit of the film, the bit where you can shout at the screen “she’s your wife you bastard she loves you and you want to chance your arm with this Olive Oil looking basic bitch from your office”. Think you can enjoy hating Alan Rickman? No, you heartless fucker, you can’t. Alan Rickman is dead. You’re hating on dead Snape. 2016 has ruined this for you too.
I’m gonna be honest though, watching Love Actually through the smeared and jaded lens of 2016 isn’t even the worst thing about it. The worst thing about it is how unrealistic and ridiculous any of the enjoyable storylines are. All of the women in Love Actually – any of the ones with any character or substance at least – they all get fucked over for the flimsiest of reasons.
Oh, like music and cardigans and your children and saying funny things, Emma Thompson? Well now your life is ruined. Care for your disabled brother Laura Linney? Tough, this basic human decency means now you can’t shag Karl, the only fit guy in your office, the one who weirdly, your actual boss convinced you to shag on work time without the slightest fear of HR reprisal.
You can slap the same negative stereotypes on any of the paint-by-numbers women in Love Actually. Natalie: fat. American girls: sluts. Aurelia: the love of someone’s life based on the time they jumped into a lake in their pants and not hampered at all by the fact they haven’t ever had a conversation. Mia: bitch from hell. Joanna: dead (the mum one).
Even if you want to comfort yourself with the idea that the two most likeable women in the whole film, Karen and Sarah, get a happy ending eventually, you can’t do that. Richard Curtis’ wife Emma confirmed on Twitter that they both have tragic endings – Sarah never gets with Karl, and Karen stays with philandering Harry to the detriment of her own happiness.
The men of Love Actually, funnily enough, don’t come out half as bad, despite the fact that watching it back you realise they are LITERALLY CREEPS. If you’d never lived in the real actual world and only inhabited the fairytale alternate reality that is Love Actually London, maybe you’d think it was sweet and romantic that your new husband’s best mate recorded your face in extreme close up for your wedding and then never spoke to you and then showed up on your door with pictures of dead bodies. Maybe you would. In the real world, you would call the police???
Maybe in Love Actually world it would be incredibly romantic to ditch your family on Christmas Eve to go buy a woman from a small Portuguese village, managing to find the time to make a joke on the way about how fat and unloveable her sister is, and bring her back to England with you as your property because fuck it, she didn’t need a life, you’ll sort out the whole getting to know each other thing later on. In the real world you would call the police???
Maybe in Love Actually world it’s totally legit to give up on a relationship at the first sign of trouble – especially if that trouble comes in the form of caring for another human being like oh my god your brother is disabled disgusting – but in the real world everyone would just think you are, in the words of Colin Frissell, a big knob.
Christmas this year is a poignant occasion, a happy holiday to celebrate the end of a wholly horrible year. To do that properly, make sure that your festive season is as happy as possible. Spend too much. Eat and drink too much. Be generally merry.
Do not, under any fucking circumstances, watch Love Actually.