By Nick Jordan
The Christmas movie market is a saturated one. But one wouldn’t be able to tell that, given that networks tend to play the same ones all of the time. That just goes to show how tough this genre is. As a director, you can’t just throw in some snow and a guy in a red hat and expect a non-stop marathon to be dedicated to whatever you have created. One of the movies that has rightfully earned this treatment is 2003’s Love Actually. Some uncultured honey baked ham may try to tell you that Elf, also from 2003, is the best. And to those people I say GROW UP (Editor’s note: Yes I did write an article about The Rugrats Movie for our previous issue).
1: There’s no Santa
Starting this list off with some pretty bold reasoning. As far as I know, everyone attending this school at this point in their life should know that Santa is not real. And while some of the best Christmas movies include the iconic figure, it can be pretty tiring to see him be trotted out all of the time. It’s refreshing to see the actual meaning of Christmas be given the focus, which is love. Whether it’s learning to love someone for the first time, loving some in spite of class or language barriers, or remembering why you loved someone in the first place
2: There are multiple storylines
Something that a lot of Christmas movies suffer from is being stuck with a limited number of storylines, given it’s based around the holidays, that can get kind of boring and redundant. Love Actually has, like, five different storylines going on that are all interconnected in some way. It’s not as simple as them all being family members but it’s also not so far-fetched that it’s not plausible. If there’s a story you don’t really care in the movie, which honestly I can’t relate to, you can take the time to make yourself some hot cocoa then by the time you come back the characters you do care about are back on screen.
3: The characters
I would say all of the characters in this movie are pretty likeable, save for the flawed character played by the late Alan Rickman though you still can’t help but respect him for his craft. There’s Hugh Grant’s prime minister who was basically the original Justin Trudeau, dancing around to 1980’s Pointer Sisters and standing up to the hostile American president (cough) played by Billy Bob Thornton, Emma Thompson’s Joni Mitchell-loving, scorned wife of Alan Rickman’s unfaithful husband and Bill Nighy’s washed up rockstar who has just enough charm left in him to pull off his comeback.
4: This. Just this.
Image via Cosmopolitan
This costume-clad boy has been an icon for clueless third-wheelers for nearly two decades. Hopefully he’s found someone at this point.
5: The soundtrack/editing
The soundtrack to this movie is a huge part of what makes it so great, and it honestly wouldn’t be the same without it. If you’re a hopeless romantic like myself, all you need is some carefully played strings to be completely sucked in. The airport scene in particular always gets me, seeing young Sam chase after Joanna before she departs back to America (if this movie was made now, I don’t think Sam would have had to worry about her going back) as the orchestra wordlessly narrates his journey. Then at the very end, also at the airport, pictures taken of actual people who were reuniting with family and friends at the time of filming fill the screen while The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” plays. It’s a proper way of wrapping this gift of a movie.
Did I convince you? If not, don’t be surprised if you find me at your door holding stacks of poster paper with these same words written across as a stereo plays “Silent Night” in the background.
Nick Jordan is the Opinion Editor for The Comment.