I watched Love Actually for the first time and it was a car crash from start to finish
That’s two and a half hours that I’ll never get back
Let me begin by admitting that I went into this journalistic endeavour with low expectations and twenty years of carefully-honed pessimism behind me. I'm not a Christmas film fan. I'm not even a Christmas fan. I suggested this article idea to my editor and then immediately regretting bring up the bloody thing in the first place.
Still, I persevered, and while I'm sorry to spoil the surprise ending to this experiment, I found the whole thing quite shit.
My adverse feelings began, as anticipated, with the opening sequence.
I hadn't really given the title much consideration before this cringe-worthy message popped up. What was it about 2003? The Black Eyed Peas asked Where Is The Love? and this terrible film appeared from the darkness to alleviate everyone's fears: don't worry guys, love actually is all around!!! I'm not buying it now, and I hope to God that fourteen years ago people were just as unamused.
Picture taken, I continued.
Next, I found myself baffled by the number of famous people in this film. You have to understand that at this point, I was unaware that there were going to be approximately sixteen different storylines for me to follow all at once. This thing is star-studded. Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Rowan Atkinson… within the first twenty minutes I'd seen far more of Stacey from Gavin & Stacey than I ever expected.
Maybe on its original release these people weren't as famous as they are now, but I found the constant cycle of famous faces to be beyond distracting.
The only brief reprieves in the vacuous wasteland that is this film are the moments when a wide-eyed little Thomas Brodie-Sangster appears on-screen. I have been vaguely in love with this man since Nowhere Boy, and because he's not a middle-aged, brown-haired white man in Love Actually, I managed to follow his storyline somewhat better than the rest.
Therein lies my main issue with this film.
Not only is it almost impossible to follow all these storylines (especially because, okay, suddenly they're all interconnected and Emma Thompson is the Prime Minister's sister as if that's even slightly believable) but because there are too many for more than a few minutes of screen-time at once, I also just kind of… don't care about any of them?
When Colin Firth got cheated on, I frowned in confusion because I swear they literally introduced his estranged brother two seconds before and then we never see him again. Also, we met his wife for approximately six seconds at the very beginning and again, never see her again. I watched, blank-faced, as Liam Neeson cried at his wife's funeral. Colin, who isn't played by an actor I recognise, might actually be my least favourite character in anything ever… if only I cared that much, or could remember his specific plot.
So while the headline might suggest that I think this film is quite shit (which, undeniably, I do), the true reality is far, far worse: Love Actually is just boring, a miserable excuse for a holiday film, and I genuinely found it harder to follow than Inception, because at least that film only has one plot. The hype around it is completely unjustified, and you all need to gain better taste in Christmas films before you attempt to use them to indoctrinate me into the cult of Christmas-lovers.