Over the last week, I noticed a tiny trend—a few of my friends had all either watched or were preparing to watch Love Actually. Apart from “marathon-ing” the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings, it was the most popular choice for holiday viewing.
I decided to give this beloved film another viewing. And I let it melt me.
Here are 12 of the many more reasons Love Actually is in a class on its own—far superior to its American knock offs New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.
1—Bill Nighy. He plays washed up rock star Billy Mack whose comeback single “Christmas is All Around” (a rip off of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love is All Around”) peppers the film. He is hilariously honest, has some of the best rude quips, and he’s wonderfully unapologetic.
2—Andrew Lincoln. Before he adopted a Southern accent and became Sherriff Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, the world noticed Andrew Lincoln as Mark, the poster boy for unrequited love—speaking with placards on Christmas to the very taken Juliet (Kiera Knightley).
3—Rodrigo Santoro. Brazil has given the world many awesome things—Capoeira, Carnival, a winning football team and the gorgeous, charming and intelligent Rodrigo Santoro who is holiday feast for the eyes.
4—Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister. He’s clever, down to earth and stood up for himself and great Britain in the face of a cocky and smug American president (Billy Bob Thornton).
5—Rest of the cast. In addition to the mentions in this article, there’s Allan Rickman,
Colin Firth, Chiwetel Eijofor and many other marvellous others.
6—The soundtrack. Cued at just the right moment, so many of the tunes can send off those goose bumps, starting off with a soulful cover of the Beatles’ “Love is All You Need,” Dido’s” I Am What I Am,” “All I Want for Christmas,” Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” and the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” to name but some.
7—The story of Laura Linney’s character Sarah and her brother Michael. As a daughter who had to look after a sick father, I could relate to Sarah rushing to her brother’s side, and to spending Christmases at a hospital bed side.
8—The story of Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his stepson (Sam) who probably understands love more than a few older boys I know: “Let’s get the s**t kicked out of us by love!”
9—London at Christmas. Millennium Bridge, Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, The Marble Arch, Notting Hill, London City Hall, the Tate Museum, Heathrow Airport and more in lit up, Christmas-y glory and then some.
10—The Rowan Atkinson “cameos.” He’s completely funny as the jewellery salesman who promises to finish wrapping up a gift “prontissimo,” in flashiest of flashes, saying it is the work of a moment, it is almost finished, final flourish!
11—Martin Freeman. The Hobbit as you’ve never seen him before.
12—Emma Thomspon ho is amazing as the woman whose heart is breaking but when she turns around to face her kids, she is collected, supportive and cheerful. Hiding away the tears like the best of them.
Happy holidays everyone!