The Flickering Myth writing team count down to Christmas by discussing their favourite festive movies; next up is Robert D. Spake with Love Actually…
It’s been a tradition for a number of years now that I watch Love, Actually every Christmas Eve. It’s not just a film about Christmas, but about love as well, and it’s probably the most feel-good film in existence. It never fails to bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. It sparks with magic and that makes it the perfect Christmas film for me.
With these type of films where there are many different stories happening it can be the case that one or two of them are more interesting than the others. Here though they’re all well-balanced and I like all of them, especially when they interconnect in sometimes major, and sometimes minor, ways. There isn’t a weak link among the stellar cast and every story feels different even though they’re all about the same subject. The laughs are plenty but it is offset with a heavy dose of drama as well.
Every aspect of love is explored; unrequited, infatuation, sacrifice, courage, willful abandon, friendship and more. Not all the stories have happy endings and this is the edge of realism that raises Love, Actually to a level above simple sentimentality. Some of the stories are truly heart-breaking, and they make the heart-warming stories all the sweeter. I think everyone has at least one story that they can identify with and it really has universal appeal.
While the film is primarily about love it is set at Christmas, and although love is the main theme I don’t think it would work as well if it wasn’t set at Christmas. Christmas is as much of a part of the film as love, for it is a time when love and family are at the forefronts of our minds. The year is coming to a close, either we’re thankful for what we have or our minds are playing through the regrets of our lives and thinking about the chances we wished we’d taken. Love, Actually is a representation of everything we have, everything we’ve lost and everything we barely dare to hope for.
It’s the perfect Christmas film because it offers a reflection of what has come before and a bright hope of what could be awaiting us in the New Year.