Movie Monday: Why Love Actually is the Best Christmas Movie

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

David (Hugh Grant), Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually is a 2003 British romantic comedy set during the course of the weeks leading up to Christmas, and my absolute favorite Christmas movie of all time. I might be watching it for the 200th time while I’m writing this ;). It is a very popular film, people might have at least heard of it even if they haven’t seen it, but I think that while the topic that surrounds it is that it is just a typical Christmas romance movie, it is so much more than that. This will be vague, because I don’t want to spoil the film completely if you have not seen it.



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The movie follows different characters who are each going through their own convoluted lives and their own experiences with love. All of the stories merge on Christmas day and they each find solace in their own way. There are an array of topics that this film deals with, from losing the person you love, to that one person cheating on you.

Each person goes through a lot, the Holidays are already challenging enough already, and adding all of that additional pressure on them is bound to cause some issues. On Christmas Day, it all comes together and falls apart for them. Since the Holidays are always filled with that extra pressure that everything needs to be perfect in everyone’s life, it also adds to how some of the characters were behaving. It all works out, in their own ways, it works out.

I think that the most valuable lesson that we can learn from this film is that just because you are in love, doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to work out. Having a crush on someone for a long time doesn’t give you any sort of entitlement over them. It is okay to feel sad over the fact that something you wanted will not result in what you wanted, but you can’t dwell over it, you need to move on. We see that in this film, despite the heartbreak the characters feel, they know it’s for the best and they don’t force themselves upon each other. This movie also breaks with a lot of the stereotypes that can be seen in other romance movies, like how the best friend falls in love with his best friend’s significant other and instead of him winning her heart and causing her to leave him, he comes to accept that she is happy and that he has to let her go and move on because it is not healthy to be constantly obsessing over someone who has no interest because they are clearly happy with someone else. Not many romance movies do that.

I think that what we can take away from this film is that while love is something that is beautiful, it is also something that can be harmful. You have to know when to take a step back when that love causes you to make some decisions that will not be good for either one. You have to learn when to take a step back, and that is something that the characters in this movie learn. They all learn in their own ways lessons about love, they make mature decisions about it.

Of course, no movie is perfect and there are still some details that could have been handled better, but there are some valuable lessons about love to be learned in this movie. Feel free to check it out if you want to, but remember that it's not really family-friendly.