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For Everyone Who's Actually Still In Love With "Love Actually"

Let's shut down the criticism once and for all.

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Since it was released 12 years ago – YES 12 ACTUAL YEARS – Love Actually has been criticised a lot.

Universal Pictures

It's been widely criticised for many reasons including, but not limited to, sexism, body-shaming, and cheesiness, and don't even get me started on the scene of Andrew Lincoln with those cards.

But some of us accept its flaws and love it anyway. And we shouldn't be ashamed.

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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.

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.

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Critics of this storyline complain that Colin Firth's character falls in love with Lúcia Moniz despite her not speaking English. But what's endearing about this relationship is that the two characters are just instinctively drawn to each other. And, the chemistry between people is something that can't be forced, and is often more powerful than words.

5. This. Damn. Scene.

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For anyone who's had their heartbroken, been betrayed, or let down by someone they love, this scene is so painfully accurate. Not only is it amazingly acted, but it also doesn't play into the traditional ~happy ending~ narrative of romantic comedies. Sometimes relationships leave you broken, and sometimes after being hurt there isn't a resolution. You sob, then you take a deep breath and put on a happy face and try to get on with your life. This scene is so real and so relatable, it's probably capable of bringing you to tears every time.

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Karen makes several references to the fact her life is mundane, but also relishes in being a wife and mother. So when she discovers Harry has betrayed her, the only role she has in life is ripped away from her.

Side note: Let's all worship Emma Thompson forever.

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This storyline is universally regarded as deeply sad, with many people still disappointed that Laura Linney's character is perhaps the only character in the film to not find some degree of happiness. Instead, she sacrifices her potential happiness with Karl to be there for her brother. But, as is clear in the opening monologue, not all love is romantic. And familial love can cause us to sacrifice our time, well-being, and happiness for the sake of those closest to us. In a way, Sarah's decision to put her love for her brother above all else is a storyline that is not only necessary, but real.

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9. Because it features one of the best airport chases of all time.

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Because everybody knows that by far the best way to express your love for someone else is a mad dash to the airport to tell them before they catch their flight. And if you disagree, you clearly haven't seen the final episode of Friends.

10. Because the real-life scenes from the airport in the film's opening and closing sequences are perfect.

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If there's anything that'll make you feel warm and fuzzy and Christmassy, it's these scenes. And, what's more, Richard Curtis has revealed that the footage of ordinary people greeting each other at the airport was shot using secret cameras, capturing real-life reactions. And, for anyone who's been reunited with a loved one at the arrivals gate, these scenes are just perfect.

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.

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