10 Years of Love Actually

I cannot believe that it has been ten years since Love Actually graced the big screen. My first thought when I heard this was that I was getting old. My second thought was how I was barely at the legal drinking age when it came out, which is sad, because I feel alcohol can be a necessity when it comes to this movie and how you are feeling when you watch it. So this little movie has been around for ten years, and I have probably watched it at least that many times if not ridiculous amounts more.

The movie is not specifically about Christmas, but it does take place during the holiday season. It has become a tradition to watch it every holiday and just maybe more if the mood strikes me. If this isn’t a film jingling out evenly time songs about the winter festivities, then what is the movie about? It is about love, actually. Pun sooo intended.

For those who have not seen this film, I will apologize about spoiling anything. It is not my focus to do this, but it will probably happen. In my defense, we are celebrating the decade run of this film, so it’s been around. I say this knowing that there are still quite a few of you that have not seen Love Actually. Hopefully by the end of this little rant, you will give it a chance. Let it be known, as fun loving and sweet as this movie can be, it is not for younger audiences, a fact that is quickly highlighted in the first ten minutes. Do not let the little ones watch this. There is strong language and nudity that is not exactly alluded to in the trailers. You have been warned.

This film is a British film, and although it is spoken in a language that we Americans may be able to understand, it is very much a foreign film. It is chocked full with an amazing cast of England’s best and brightest that is only ever in question by the fact that they chose Hugh Grant to play the role of the prime minister, and not Mr. Grant’s casting in general. There may just be a general distaste for politics in the movie altogether when our president is played by Billy Bob Thorton. Both excellent actors, just not who would be pictured running two of the most powerful nations in the world. Being that the movie is British and full of British actors, then you should be warned that the British humor shows up quite a lot as well. I have been told that it can be an acquired taste, so it has been presented for you to do as you wish with. Now on to the fun stuff.

The main theme is love, which is told in a series of smaller vignettes that intertwine between one another severely or loosely as we jump back and forth between them. The important aspects are highlighted within each of these small stories and they are not always the fun side of love. The basics include familial love, puppy love, attraction, growth, lust, friendship, unrequited, loss, and mourning.

As many times as I have watched this movie, I have grown with it. I understand certain aspects more now having gone through them then I did ten years ago. There are still certain feelings that have held true for certain stories every time I watch it. I may have identified with one character or another over several viewings, but I seem to still be closer to the character of Sarah.

Sarah’s story is that she has a crush on her coworker, which is fantastic for her later on when he reciprocates these feelings, unfortunately that’s not why I identify with her, though the man is quite the catch. What makes her story so important is her love for her very mentally sick brother. He is in a home, but calls her at all hours of the day and night. She not only deeply cares for her brother, but feels solely responsible for him. As much as I try to convince myself that I would choose differently based on the logic that nothing will change the situation of her brother if she decides to go from constantly sacrificing herself for her brother’s every need to supporting him fully with his needs but also balancing it with her own, the decision to not choose family is very understandably tough.

There is a scene where Sarah is driven home after a holiday office party by her crush. He had asked her to dance at this party, which is the first real sign of any kind of mutual feelings by him for Sarah. He, as gentlemen do, walks her to the door, and after some adorable awkwardness they share a kiss. This is the moment where all the hopeless romantics cheer, because the supposed impossible, according to Sarah, happened. Because the fine man crush enjoyed himself so much, he happens to invite himself to stay, a suggestion that Sarah is all too ready to agree with. She asks for a minute and does a happy dance out of sight which I did mentally with her. Then comes the part that makes me turn the volume of my potty mouth up to the highest levels.

Eventually Sarah starts to engage in activities that I honestly cannot blame her for one bit, but before anything more serious can take place, her phone rings. Her brother is having a delusion and is frantically seeking her counsel. She quickly calms him down and ends the call, apologizing to her bed fellow. The festivities have only just begun to recover from her delay when the phone rings again. It is the third and final time that the phone rings that gets me riled up as she removes herself completely from the situation with either stupidity or amazing willpower to focus and attend to her brother. I tend to lean towards stupidity as I cuss her out for a good two minutes, neighbors be damned.

I say this, but honestly, I love and adore my family. My closest friends are my family also. I may put them before myself too much at times, but I am a very mothering person. I feel that it is my job to take care of them, whether it actually is or not. That being said, as much as I cuss out poor Sarah for choosing her brother in that moment, I can’t help but wonder if I would choose any differently if it was me. We tend to be harsher on those we see ourselves in.

The other character I tend to relate to is Natalie. She is fresh in what she is doing even though it is clear she hasn’t exactly figured out what that is. My favorite part about her is her personality. She is honest, genuine, and a bit quirky. This may challenge her professionalism as it did in her first meeting with her boss the prime minister, but I love her more for that. I am a bit quirky myself, so I like this girl. She has a bit of a filthy mouth, which I am known for as well, so that is also a bonus for her. One of my favorite parts of this whole film is towards the end when is coming down the staircase to join her family in leaving, and she questions the room, children included, asking, “Where the f@#$ is my f@#$ing coat?” I remember texting one of my best friends immediately after this telling her that we needed to move to England, because we would probably be more appreciated there. She is adorable and real and for some weird reason considered the chubby one. I didn’t get that, and neither did the prime minister. She was young and so was I when I first watch it, so I have always connected with her.

There are many other people to follow, enjoy, or even become disappointed with throughout the progress of the movie. It is a rollercoaster of a film and it does not apologize for it. I have personally fell out laughing, screamed out it in horror, teared up or cried depending on the exact mood, or just radiated with happiness throughout the entire viewing of Love Actually. It has been a wonderful ten years of viewing this film yearly, and still manages to remain fresh. Happy anniversary and thank you for entering my life.