Love Actually is a perfect movie, probably one of the three best ever made. I’m not fucking around. I love that movie more than I love my innumerable illegitimate children, and if we’re having casual sex around this time of year and you do not consent to watching this movie with me at least three times, lady, we are quits. Love Actually was here long before we started making out in the basement of Café Saint-Ex, and it’ll be here long after you’re gone.
But you have to be able to look at something critically in order to truly love it, just like all those voters in Alabama are doing right now re: Roy Moore and their faith. A perfect movie can still have flaws, in fact they’re part of what makes it perfect. But some scenes are just beyond the pale, and deserve our scorn. Let’s poke fun at some of the more ridiculous scenes, if for no other reason than so we can more fully appreciate this holiday classic.
1. Aurelia Jumps Into The Lake To Save Colin Firth’s Shitty Novel
These two have one of the cuter stories in the movie, but I’m calling bullshit. No one’s jumping into a lake in December, and it’s clearly cold there because he’s wearing a sweater. Also, this movie came out in 2003, not 1993. How fucking dumb do you have to be to type the only copy of your manuscript on a manual typewriter? I guess if it gets you in the hot Portuguese lady’s pants after you caught your wife fucking your brother, it’s worth it.
2. Billy Declares His Love For His Manager
Bill Nighy is pretty much the best thing about this movie, but I always hate this scene because it seems like they missed the mark in terms of tone. I get it, Billy Mack is a cynical, opportunistic idiot who doesn’t care about anyone other than himself, and this is the character’s turnaround moment. But the “haha what no I’m not gay” tension feels out of place, and inviting him to “get pissed and watch porn” kind of comes out of nowhere. Clearly the people who made this movie don’t have a selfish bone in their collective body, so they struggled to create such a character.
3. Colin Fucks The Four Americans
Look, I like good jokes that shit on my country as much as the next person, but some subtlety is required. This scene starts out strong, with some good jokes (realizing that there’s no accent on “table” is particularly funny to me). But then they get to the whole “we only have one bed and we can’t even afford pajamas” thing, and that’s why it gets silly. It would have worked if maybe he’d woken up on an airplane or something (making it a dream), but they come back around and confirm that, yes, this really happened. It gets bonus points for featuring January Jones back when she still had something resembling a personality, though.
I know what happens and I still want to punch the TV every time I see this scene. Sarah’s just trying to break herself off a piece of some hot Karl man ass, and her brother in the mental institution or whatever keeps calling. That’s how you know it’s a fictional movie, because in real life there is literally nothing that would stop a woman from fucking Karl.
5. Billy Bob Thornton Tries To Fuck Natalie
Psshh, like we’d ever elect such a scumbag to be the freakin’ president, right guys?!? Totally unrealistic!
6. Liam Neeson Meets Claudia Schiffer And Doesn’t Kill Her
This was fine at the time, but knowing him as we know him now, can we really believe that Liam Neeson could encounter a European person and not shoot them and/or break their arm in several places? It’s just who he is. In general, Liam Neeson puts way too much effort into his acting throughout the movie, and I approve of it.
7. Yeah, That Fucking Scene
You know the one, the most famous scene in the movie. Whatshisface shows up with cue cards to tell Keira Knightley, who in real life I am married to, that he loves her. As if she didn’t figure that out in the earlier scene when she found out that he only filmed her when he shot their wedding, because Mark is pretty clearly a fucking stalker.
The reaction to this scene has kind of had a life cycle. At first, no one gave it a second thought. It was some combination of cute and sad—Mark’s unrequited love remains unrequited, but at least he got it off his chest. And he got a smooch out of it!
But then, as we kind of got more woke, people started to come around to the idea that actually, this is pretty shitty. Mark’s putting Juliet in an impossible position, and it’s incredibly selfish: he feels better, but she clearly feels like shit. And like, it kind of perpetuates the idea that the only thing coming between you and your beloved is the fact that she didn’t know you were obsessed with her. This movie already doesn’t do the best job of extremely respecting women, and this scene is probably the worst offender.
Personally? I don’t think it’s that bad. I mean, yes it IS bad, or would be bad if someone did this in real life. But to me, that’s kind of the point of the scene. Real people are complicated, and often shitty. Mark has real feelings, like we all do, but because he’s kind of a shitty person he doesn’t know how to appropriately express them, and his actions speak to why he’s single in the first place. This movie works because as absurd as all the storylines are, the characters in them react the way real people probably would. I mean, go through some of your worst Bumble conversations—does a guy doing this (in a time before texting was common, granted) really seem that unrealistic?
Hopefully, this trip down memory lane hasn’t dampened your enjoyment of the movie. Jk, that’s not possible. Join me in watching it 17 times between now and Christmas.