Not Love Actually

On my last snowy night in London, with two of us tired and not feeling well, we decided to stay in and watch Christmas movies. Online searches revealed the terrible dearth of decent holiday films, and I can never recall movie titles. But somebody had recently mentioned Love Actually to me, which two of us hadn’t seen, and one had seen long ago. It seemed to be so many people’s holiday favourite, though I’d once read a negative feminist critique. I observed that I enjoy watching movies I hate in any case. So, since it was seasonal and set in London, we overcame every possible obstacle to access it legally.

My dear friends, I can’t tell you how appalled we all were.

This was possibly the worst film I have ever seen. To explain how awful would take thousands more words. Let me just say that my sons agreed that the film should be called Lust Actually. There is so little of love in the film.

But most importantly, in the wake of the #metoo discussions, this film is shocking in its casual portrayal of sexual harassment—for which one of the female characters apologises to her boss (the British PM, no less) who witnesses yet does nothing to protect her from it. In fact, he soon has her removed from her apparently prestigious position serving him tea, since he can’t control his own attraction to her. Yes, gross power imbalances between couples is just fine in this world. These are just two of many more horrible scenes of sexism and creepy or objectifying sexuality presented in this film as supposed examples of love.

We were truly incredulous throughout the film. Do not watch it. Especially do not watch it if you are looking for something with Christmas spirit. Or something with love. Or even something with romance. (Emma Thompson’s performance and character is an exception to my complaints. Nothing else was remotely believable.)

Though one of my sons noted that the pain of watching it together was a bonding experience, I do wish we’d thought of watching Mary Poppins instead.

About susanbriscoe

English teacher, writer
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12 Responses to Not Love Actually

  1. Sorry to hear of such a lousy film and how many we would feel the same way about, but I want to mitigate it with a clip of Mary Poppins I caught the other night and the love that swelled in my heart, not as much when Bert sings the titular chorus, “It’s a jolly holiday with Mary,” but when Mary sings,
    “Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with you, Bert
    Gentlemen like you are few
    Though you’re just a diamond in the rough, Bert
    Underneath, your blood is blue
    You’d never think of pressing your advantage
    Forbearance if the hallmark of your creed
    A lady needn’t fear when you are near
    Your sweet gentility is crystal clear
    Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with you, Bert
    A jolly, jolly holiday with you!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lorrainebriscoe says:

    That is so heartwarming that you enjoyed hating the movie together. Know what you mean about enjoying picking a movie apart. If you want another bonding experience watch “the Mountain between us”. Not along the same lines but enjoyable for being preposterous!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. gwennym says:

    I TRIED to watch Love Actually once. ONCE. I got about 20 minutes in and hit the eject button. I think I donated it back to Goodwill. Simply awful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. shoppers says:

    I love Alan Rickman and he is the perfect cad in that film. My favorite Christmas movie is still Die Hard. 😉 try that for a little Christmas spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott Yetman says:

    Watch Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russel Best technicolor escape with lots of giggles !!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Absolutely can’t stand Love Actually, such a refreshing write-up of the film 😂


  7. I watched it many years ago and disliked it too, but couldn’t articulate why. You have expressed it so well. I could never understand why it was so popular. One of my favourite movies is Yentle with Barbara Streisand.


  8. Tara says:

    Thank you for posting this alternative review of this movie. I’ve always liked it, but now rethinking it because of your very important and valid points I suppose I overlooked. And that – my own oversight – should be a very good illustration of why these things continue to happen in society.


  9. dourdan says:

    reminds me of a joke
    My sister’s BF was torrenting movies, a girl comes up to him and asks ‘Is your love actually good quality?’

    He pauses for a moment, to try to answer such a philosophical question.

    So she repeats herself. ‘I want to watch the movie ‘Love Actually’, do you have a good quality copy?’



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