Love Actually is, without one glimmer of a doubt, my favorite Christmas movie. I own two copies because in 2012 I couldn’t find my first copy and I wanted to watch it on Dec. 20 in case the world ended. My boyfriend at the time asked me if I was sure that’s how I wanted to spend my potentially last night on earth.
I love absolutely everything about it – the intertwining relationships and story lines; the old washed-up rockstar capitalizing on the holiday spirit and taking advantage of the system; English accents; Hugh Grant.
The self-produced eulogy. Joni Mitchell. January Jones playing a flirty Midwestern bar patron. That hit The Calling had that I unabashedly know every word to.
Daniel and Sam. Claudia Schiffer.
The prime minister driving across town to track down the love of his life who’s his (so-called) chubby secretary lady, Natalie. (This is my favorite couple of the whole movie, for the record. I know everyone was dying to know.)
Jamie flying to France to propose to his Portugese housekeeper. The scene in the lake.
The little girls excitedly convincing Hugh Grant and his driver to sing carols.
The modern arrangements of Christmas tunes that I would probably hate normally, but they fit so perfectly in the most perfect Christmas movie ever made.
But every year I can’t decide how I feel about the scene with Juliet and Mark (Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln). Juliet marries Mark’s best friend and he videotapes the whole thing. He’s pretty rude to her, and we learn later it’s because he’s in love with her. He has a real internal battle with the whole situation, and eventually shows up at her door. He coaxes her to tell her husband it’s carol singers, presses play on a tape and holds signs admitting his undying love for his friend’s wife and promises to love her until the end of his days. He says with any luck he’ll be dating a model by next year’s festivities.
Some years I love it. It’s a portrait of what love really is – devotion to someone without a need for reciprocated feelings. It’s simple and beautiful.
Other years it makes me a little angry and then I’m upset that I’m not happy during my favorite Christmas movie. I end up angry because — WHAT?
I thought about it for a minute and realized the reason it makes me angry is because it’s reality.
Maybe not for everyone. But that’s just the kind of shit I would do.
Fall for someone I can’t have and spend my days loving them for no reason, probably distracting myself from a whole bunch of really good options because I’m pining for someone I can’t have.
Oh wait, I do that all the time.
I think I end up angry because in my head when I do these things and daydream there’s always a fairytale ending and I get what I want. I’m used to getting what I want.
But I guess that’s not really life. Or love. Sometimes things don’t work out, sometimes people end up with someone else, sometimes it’s okay to just love someone for the sake of loving someone and just because the world needs a little more love in it.
So, this year at least, I love it. Because sometimes it’s just enough to show a little love. Even if you’re not getting anything back — because the world could use a little more, always.
And maybe one days Mark and I both will learn how to fall for our available options. I’ll make a Christmas wish for you, Mark. Good luck.