The other night, after pole fitness class (and cocktails and Mexican food with the sis because, y'know, balance!), I settled down on the fella's sofa with a bottle of chenin blanc, and was utterly delighted to discover that Love Actually was on the telly.
Love Actually is one of my favourite films. I have always had an unashamed love of rom-coms, and I've been a massive Richard Curtis fan since Four Weddings & A Funeral, and ever since I saw Love Actually at the cinema back in 2003/2004, I've never got tired of watching it.
But, every bloody year, the "why Love Actually is shit" lists appear and, while I might agree with a few of the points (nothing is perfect, after all!), it annoys me how it seems to be considered cooler to hate it than love it. Don't get me wrong, I don't particularly give a crap about whether I'm cool or not, I'm going to love the film no matter what anyone says. But I love it and it kinda feels a bit like when people attack the film, they're attacking me, because it's just a film that I get.
So why do you love it? I hear you ask. (Okay, I'm hearing things, as there's no-one else in this room as I type. But I've got to start somewhere, right?) For me, Love Actually is the perfect rom-com and here's why . . .
The multitude of characters and storylines makes a refreshing change from a film focussed on just a few main characters. Let's face it, the characters aren't all going to appeal to everyone, so I like the fact that it jumps between the different stories and we get to know lots of different people. And if there is someone you don't like . . . you don't have to put up with them for long!
Some of the relationships in each of the storylines are just lovely. Take the bond between Daniel and Sam, a stepfather and stepson who have just lost the link bonding them together, Daniel's wife and Sam's mother. I love their little storyline, with them both trying to get over her death, while Sam falls in love for the first time. Okay, yes, he's a little overdramatic about the whole falling in love thing . . . but I'm pretty sure I can remember feeling that ridiculously OTT about a crush back when I was that age too. It feels real. (Daniel ending up with Claudia Schiffer at the end . . . maybe not so realistic.)
I want to punch Harry for his flirtation with the allegedly attractive Mia (and don't even get me started on his office conversations with Laura Linney's character Sarah, which I'm fairly sure would end with a trip to HR were they to take place between a boss and his employee in real life) but my heart broke for his wife Karen as she broke down in secret upon discovering the truth then pasted on a smile for the sake of everyone else. I've never been a massive Emma Thomson fan (sorry) but I think she is one of the standout performances in this film.
And, speaking of standouts, let's not forget Billy Mack, the jaded faded rockstar played by Bill Nighy who is releasing a Christmas version of "Love Is All Around". What a legend. Every one of his on-screen moments is brilliant!
I love that nearly everyone gets a happy ending. (Sorry, should really have had a spoiler alert for this entire post.) I wish Sarah and Karl could have got a happy ending (he could have been a bit more understanding of her situation to be fair!), rather than delusional Colin who found he actually WAS attractive to all American women as he said all along. (What am eejit.) I like the unlikely but sweet pairing of the Prime minister with Martine McCutcheon. And the fact that the creepy President of United States is brilliantly played by Billy Bob.
I love Jamie and Aurelia's storyline and the fact they learned each other's languages "just in cases". And the naked couple who found love. And Andrew Lincoln secretly pining over his best friend's girl. (Andy, darlin', you can pine over me anytime.)
I love the fact that love IS actually all around in the film. Just like they say at the beginning of the film.
And, on top of everything else, it really is one of the most perfect Christmas films. And has helped me feel a wee bit more Christmassy this year. So when it comes to Love Actually, I will NEVER BE joining the hate camp.
How about you?