Why I hate Love Actually
Feelgood festive movies don’t come much bigger than Love Actually which was released 15 years ago this month - but it’s not to everyone’s taste
Quite how I managed to negotiate the last 15 years of my life without seeing Love Actually has caused my colleagues major dismay and intrigue. To satisfy them I finally sat down and watched this festive ‘classic’ this week and I can happily report I haven’t missed much.
The characters in the film’s pre-social media London landscape have the depth of a birdbath and such is the chopping and changing of the plot we never really get to know them.
We take them at face value yet are clearly supposed to invest some of our emotions in their will they/won’t they storylines. It reminded me of the vacuous Made In Chelsea. A load of well-to-do Londoners looking for some action. I couldn’t care about that either.
I hated Andrew Lincoln’s character for being so sappy and the cheating Alan Rickman too. Keira Knightley and Liam Neeson are really wooden and Martine McCutcheon and Martin Freeman seem totally out of place. The only time I laughed was when Rowan Atkinson wrapped that Christmas present and that was only a brief chuckle.
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I guess the appeal of this Richard Curtis film is the era it’s set in, an era of borrowing CDs, camcorders, tiny televisions and where the barking ringtone from a Nokia 3310 can be a real passion killer.
Nowadays everyone has a smartphone and love would no longer lay lingering in an unread Christmas card. Thankfully Andrew Lincoln wouldn’t need to go to the bother of making all those placards.
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I also think the timing of the film in a post 9/11 world is a factor in its success coming out just two years after the September 11 attacks which are mentioned in the opening monlogue - although when Liam Neeson’s stepson busts through airport security at the end I was kind of hoping that he may have been shot.
Setting it in the lead up to Christmas has given it some festive feelgood kudos but the festivities don’t add anything to the film, they just give the sort of people that count down ‘sleeps til Christmas’ and buy gluhwein in Waitrose an excuse to watch this middle-of-the-road schmaltz at the end of each year.
And don’t think I don’t have a heart. I do like soppy movies. I love Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally. Bridesmaids too. Rom coms with humour that actually take you on a bit of a journey.
When you think that a film like Sideways was released only a few months later - an off beat rom com with great characters that you develop feelings for - you realise how bland and mainstream this film about love actually is.