Since it was released 12 years ago – YES 12 ACTUAL YEARS – Love Actually has been criticised a lot.
1. Because it's a celebration of all kinds of love, and who doesn't enjoy celebrating people loving one another? Especially at Christmas.
In the opening monologue, Hugh Grant's voiceover details an array of different relationships where love is present: "Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends." And the film goes on to play these relationships out. We see the ridiculously cute father-son dynamic in Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, the husband and wife dynamic between Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, friendship between Bill Nighy and Gregor Fisher, an emerging relationship between Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz, and the tragic brother-sister dynamic between Laura Linney and Michael Fitzgerald. The relationships hit stumbling blocks, some work out and others don't, just as they do in real life.
2. Because Hugh Grant dances.
3. Many of the storylines are unexpected and unpredictable.
Unlike most romantic comedies, many of the storylines are unpredictable. There's Sarah, who doesn't end up with Karl despite being in love with him for years. We never truly know whether Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman's characters manage to repair their relationship after he betrays her. Martin Freeman and Joanna Page's characters meet in various stages of nakedness, and yet still have the most awkward, cute first date. Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz get engaged despite not speaking the same language. Andrew Lincoln doesn't get the girl despite his declaration of love. It's arguably more satisfying than a film that unrealistically wraps up all loose ends and lets every character live happily ever after, because that's not real life.
4. Because these two lines are so simple, but so ridiculously cute.
5. This. Damn. Scene.
6. And this exchange between Karen and Harry later in the film is heartbreaking.
7. Because Laura Linney's character's storyline may be sad, but it's the most real.
8. Because there's a spectacular array of turtlenecks.
9. Because it features one of the best airport chases of all time.
10. Because the real-life scenes from the airport in the film's opening and closing sequences are perfect.
11. Because this scene is everything.
Critics of this film always cite this scene as the worst part of the movie, saying that the plotline is creepy and that Andrew Lincoln's character is a terrible person for being in love with his friend's wife.
So, let's shut down this crap once and for all, shall we?
Because yes, he may be a bad friend, but his aim is never to "get the girl". If you read the damn words on the cards you'll see he comes "without hope or agenda". And, as he walks away, he says these spine-tingling words: "Enough. Enough now." It proves that the whole declaration was never about stealing his friend's wife – or even expecting her to return the feelings – but to express his feelings in order to move on. And, for anyone who has had to accept that they're in love with someone that will never be able to love them back, it rings so true. It's both heartwarming and deeply sad.