Old Lady Movie NightOld Lady Movie Night: "Love, Actually"Anne T. Donahue

Actually. We are ACTUALLY going to watch Love, Actually in the cinematic event I have dreamt about since watching this movie in July of 2004 (it was a sad time). Because why? BECAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS (in my heart, and according to the Santa Claus parade I am attending on Saturday).

Now here is a disclaimer you should read before we carry on: I love this movie. Actually. (Sorry, I’m going to stop with that soon.) So for that very reason it’s a little longer than the other posts, BUT still clocks in at 25 poins. I’M SORRY. I JUST HAVE A LOT TO SAY. And now I’m writing this while listening to Kelly Clarkson so it’s all I can do not to type another 25925285 words about why I’m glad they chose this as the theme.

BUT I MUST STOP. And you must start (reading). So behold! Love, Actually! Christmas Old Lady Movie Night . . . TAKE TWO.

1. PSA: Hey, other movies that try to be like Love, Actually

YOU NEVER WILL BE. YOU WILL NEVER BE IT. I’m sorry, but you can’t recreate the magic. It’s like “fetch.” It’s just never, ever going to catch on. It will never be “awesome” or “radical” or even “neat.” All other movies that are not Love, Actually but try to be like Love, Actually are actually the “fetch” of Love, Actually. Stop trying to make it happen. It already has, and it was glorious, and it stars Hugh Grant (in the movie Love, Actually).

2. AHHH THE BEGINNING IS FLAWLESS

First, Bill Nighy is in a printed silk button-up and is singing an amazing Christmas cover that I would absolutely put on a holiday mix because I am insane. Second, THE MONTAGE. What is the point of making any movie if you’re not going to begin it with a montage? I don’t even care that this montage begins with Liam Neeson BREAKING MY HEART because he misses his wife (I can’t even talk about it or I will collapse emotionally), it switches immediately to Emma Thompson being cooler than all of us, then takes us right to the wedding between the guy from American Gangster and a 17-year-old Keira Knightley (or something). PERFECTION. Though I still don’t know what those guys who are pretending to have sex in movies actually do? Are they blocking?  I’m 27 and I know this movie by heart and I still pretend I know and just call them “the naked guys.”

3. I will say that I object to Keira Knightley’s wedding gown in this movie

She is wearing a cardigan and feathers . . . ? I just don’t understand. Much like I also don’t understand why Laura Linney is in attendance wearing a toque, or how nobody noticed the dudes in the pews holding enormous brass instruments. And while I love this scene with all my heart because I love Love, Actually with all my heart, I do not love that I can TOTALLY TELL THOSE GUYS AREN’T ACTUALLY PLAYING INSTRUMENTS. #BUSTED

4. WHO WOULD CHEAT ON COLIN FIRTH?

WHO. WHO. A maniac, that’s who. Imagine you cheated on Colin Firth? No, because that would be madness. Literal madness.

5. And then we all wept during Liam Neeson’s eulogy

I will be honest in saying that when Natasha Richardson died, I totally thought of this scene and it made me even sadder. So now when I watch this scene, I get even MORE sad, and basically spiral into a black hole of sorrow. LIAM NEESON, I AND THE WESTERN WORLD LOVE YOU. (And I know that you’re probably not reading this, but everyone who IS reading this, please validate me and join in on the “IT’S NOT FAIR THIS IS SO SAD”-fest that I am currently having until . . . )

6. We are introduced to Mia, and it’s like, whaaaat

I mean, I get it: Alan Rickman is one of my top five celebrity crushes. Absolutely. He is handsome and quick and THAT VOICE. (And yes, I LOVED Snape even before we all realized he was THE BIGGEST HERO.) But Mia! My GOD, woman. He is a married person, whose wife is, like I said, cooler than any of us ever will be, and even if she wasn’t, BACK OFF. I think the worst part is also that she knows! She knows and she doesn’t care! She is doing it wrong. Life, sisterhood, respecting people . . . all of it.

7. But I’m pretty sure as much as I love Alan Rickman he totally violated employee conduct code by asking Laura Linney about Carl

I don’t want to be that guy, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had to sign a bunch of human resources stuff about not ever doing this kind of stuff to employees and when I say “that kind of stuff” I mean “comment on their personal lives in any way.” (Not to brag, but I was a manager at a clothing stores at one point in my life.) Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE ALAN RICKMAN. But if this wasn’t Love, Actually and your boss was just like, “So how long have you loved that dude from accounting?” you’d be like, “UM. Hey. Here’s your Christmas present: a law suit.” (#DropsMic)

Also I think of it this way: if Michael Scott did it, what would we do? (Laugh. We would laugh and then say, he is the worst boss.) (I still love you Alan Rickman.)

8. Colin is correct: British accents, you guys

And I hate to say it, but I’m right. I really am, and that scene where he goes to Wisconsin and the three women make him go on about saying words like “bottle” and “table” is a thing I am not proud to have witnessed myself, and perhaps been a part of before the internet existed (a.k.a. the early 2000s when English people would come into one of the stores I worked at, and I would turn into the worst version of myself in the world). So HA, movie director and/or producer who is directly Judy and Jim from the British version of The Office! COLIN IS CORRECT, and I have my terrible memories to prove it!

Also, HEY JANUARY JONES. WE SEE YOU.

9. WHEN LIAM NEESON CRIES WE ALL CRY

This is the storyline I care most about, I think. Actually (see what I did there?), no. BUT Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, you guys. THE BEST FRIENDS ANYONE COULD ASK FOR. I hope she told him everything when Alan Rickman . . . well, I’m not going to spoil anything because . . .

10. SAM (!!!) 

Good lord, I have a few points to make here.

a) The kid who played Sam is legitimately 20-something now, so yes, absolutely I do feel like a literal old person.

b) How does this 11-year-old boy know so much about love and feelings?! Do you know what I thought about when I was 11? …Okay, yeah, no. I totally thought I was in love with either Chris or Steve or Warren, all of who I planned on marrying at some point. But still! I couldn’t articulate it as well. I mostly wrote horrible diary entries like, “Saw Chris today, and he was wearing jeans. Weird.”

c) The way Sam and Liam Neeson talk is everything. All parents should talk to their kids like this. I bet Sam grew up to be a dude who really respected women — not so much airports, but definitely women — and had fantastic relationships, courtesy of the rules taught to him by his mom and Liam Neeson. I also bet Liam Neeson bought the Blu-Ray of Titanic when it came out this year.

11. What’s up with everyone talking about Natalie’s weight?

Right? I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s actually quite tiny, and WHAT IS EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT. “Thighs the size of tree trunks?” “The chubby girl?” HOW. NO. WHAT. I WISH I looked as good as she does in a pencil skirt! Do you know how much tucking in I have to do to look “okay” in a pencil skirt? Do you know how high I have to wear my tights? I HAVE TO WEAR THEM LIKE SPANX. So everyone who ever commented on Natalie’s weight (I’m looking at you, writer’s of this movie), BACK. OFF.

12. Guy from Walking Dead is so bizarre in his handling of feelings

Like, GET THAT ISH UNDER CONTROL. We have ALL been on the awful side of a one-sided feelings situation, and I can promise that zero of us ever shunned the person we liked even if they were the significant other of one of our friends. I’m actually pretty sure that that’s the last thing anyone would do . . . ? What’s the point? Basically, you tell yourself you’re moving on, and then you move on, after, say, weeks of being OVERLY friendly. Never the opposite. Never, “You can’t come over and borrow the video of your wedding.” No WONDER he’s so good at fighting zombies.

13. “Full of dark corners for doing dark deeds”

All I ask is that if you’re trying to seduce anyone, avoid using this phrase. This phrase has actually become a joke phrase with my friends and I because HOW CAN IT NOT BE A JOKE. Mia. I’m not done discussing this at length because you are out of control, BUT I have to move on because Colin Firth is about to be introduced to his housekeeper.

14. I wish I was more into the housekeeper storyline, though

I should be, because Colin Firth and I have been promised to each other, according to me saying it out loud while watching Pride and Prejudice in 1996 with my Nana. But I’m not invested at all! Am I alone here? I feel like I spend my whole time in the movie being super obsessed with Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Sam, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Natalie, and the guy from The Walking Dead. And my heart wants to be with Colin. And it is, 99.9% of the time, but this is that .01% where I’m like, “I just . . . I don’t know.” (Actual quote, by the way.)

15. WHY ARE YOU MAD AT NATALIE, HUGH GRANT

Well let’s just get something out of the way right now: Hugh Grant saying “Hi!” and then “Pathetic!” to himself after he walks past Natalie. HILARIOUS. But do you know what is NOT? Hugh Grant punishing Natalie for the President — aka Billy Bob Thornton — SEXUALLY HARASSING HER. HUGH gets mad at NATALIE? WHAT. No. Nope. I hate that part. But do you know what part I don’t hate? (I’m really getting good at transitioning in this one paragraph that I’m writing.) When Hugh Grant makes that riveting speech that I am TOTALLY DOWN WITH even though I’m Canadian and in real life I really like Barack Obama.

But this movie was made when George Bush was president, so I was very “YEAH! TAKE THAT!” when this part happened.

15. b) And then Hugh Grant dances

And that’s all any of us need to worry about right now. And by “worry” I mean “bask in.”

16. What up, Colin Firth’s typewriter

Duh alert 2k12: I LOVE COLIN FIRTH AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE. But what are you doing with the typewriter, sir? Outside, even! And who writes a book that way? Do you know how writers write, if you are me, and a writer? Well, currently I am on my laptop in bed. And my printer has been out of ink for weeks and nobody cares because who prints stuff? (Okay, well there’s actually things I need to print that I haven’t yet, and I haven’t because ink is expensive. But still.) Also, NO COPIES? Why? WHY HAVE YOU NOT BACKED UP YOUR WORK? COLIN! This is like how I saw an Instagram photo someone took of them MANUALLY writing and saying they were “writing” a screenplay. No. You might as well just have gone outside and not made copies and jumped into a lake. Maybe minus the eels.

17. On a sidenote, imagine you went to your husband’s best friend’s and his wedding video was all of you?

How do you come back from that? Also, shout-out to the VHS tape they just featured in this scene. But on another note, imagine you went to your husband’s friend’s house who you thought hated you and you found that he had not only totally stalked you all wedding, but filmed ONLY you and THEN edited it together in this less-than-one minute montage? And then you looked behind you and he was watching it too? I seriously would assume I was going to die. I’m not even joking, I would assume he was going to kill me now that I knew the truth. I’ve seen Law and Order, man. I know how it works. (I probably also wouldn’t have watched it there, I would have taken it home then showed Peter and then we both would have moved and maybe called the police. I DON’T KNOW. The options are endless.)

But luckily I am wrong. He does not try to kill her, and instead he just sips up his sweater more dramatically than anybody else on earth as Dido plays loudly and leaves her alone in his house . . . ? Whatever, WE’RE STILL IN LOVE I DON’T CARE. #zombies

18. I lied: when Colin Firth says goodbye to Aurelia my heart breaks

What was I thinking? I think I was distracted by them not being Hugh Grant and Natalie. But now! Oh my goodness — THEY ARE IN LOVE. And they don’t know! AH. Okay, I take back everything I said. And now she’s kissed him and he didn’t even kiss back (WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, COLIN FIRTH), and now she’s crying while walking away, and Colin Firth does the ONE THING I know I would do this situation: get in a car accident. Because as cool as I would like to play it, I would forget how to use a motor vehicle after having my heart broken … ish.

18. b) Another point: why is Mia wearing devil’s horns to a Christmas party?

Because she is? Like, HELLO, not only is Alan Rickman married, HIS WIFE IS RIGHT OVER THERE. However, shout-out to “It’s all for you, sir” because that is another classic my friends and I like to drop whenever one of us is grateful for something. (“I made you tea!” – “Thanks!” – “It’s ALL for you, sir.”)

19. We need to talk about the Laura Linney/Carl situation in more than one point, because WOW

a) We have ALL been there. And when I say “there” I mean the equivalent of Laura Linney at the Christmas party when Carl dances with her and we turn into Sally Field: “THEY LIKE ME THEY REALLY LIKE ME!”

b) Also, we have all had the freak-out Laura Linney has when she has to be in the stairs for a few seconds. ALL OF US. (“Okay, that’s . . . done.”)

c) OKAY. But we have not all been there where we CHOOSE TO ANSWER OUR PHONES IN THE MIDDLE OF HOOK-UPS OF DREAMS. Oh boy. See, now this is where I literally have to really sit down and talk about this scene with you guys because otherwise my brain will literally explode and Love, Actually will not have the positive connotations it’s had for almost ten years (oh my god). So first . . .

d) LAURA LINNEY WHY WOULD YOU ANSWER THE PHONE. Boundaries, Laura Linney! Boundaries! What happens when you’re sleeping? Do you not just turn off the phone? What about if you’re in a meeting? What about those minutes when your boss said to turn off your phone? TURN IT OFF. Just for a few minutes. Or an hour, maybe. OR HOWEVER LONG. I can’t even when she chooses to answer it. I can. Not.

e) But Carl, maybe stick around? That’s another thing. Like, obviously Laura Linney needs to SERIOUSLY set some boundaries, but also, if Carl really liked Laura Linney, maybe they could make this work together? Why couldn’t you stick around, Carl? I know it’s red flag central, but it’s not like Laura’s on the phone with her drug dealer — it’s her mentally ill sibling who she takes care of. I’m just saying that sometimes life’s complicated, so what’s up with flying the coop, C-Dawg.

f) Does Laura Linney’s brother have a cell phone? I feel like that’s bizarre considering he’s an in-patient, and most hospitals don’t allow cellphones at all? And if he’s using a pay phone (#vintage) . . . is that a thing?

g) Laura Linney’s ringtone. That’s all.

20. Is Rowan Atkinson’s character supposed to be magic?

How does he totally manage to screw over Alan Rickman while also saving the day when it comes to Sam? Is this explained somewhere? Does everyone like how many questions I’m asking? I JUST HAVE MANY. But this is a real one. IS he a wizard. Because he absolutely winks at Sam like he knows he was in on helping him get to Joanna at the airport. Either way, I am totally using his character to justify laughing so hard at Mr. Bean when I was little (last week).

Other question, unrelated: Does Bill Nighy and his manager love each other in the relationship sense of the word, or they’re family? Because I get confused when he brings a girl back with him from the airport at the end. Yes, I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count, but I still can’t understand it like a human person with a brain.

21. Then Emma Thompson opens a CD and cries and hearts break in every nation

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re ever tempted to hook up with a guy who’s married or attached, watch this scene because this is basically exactly how whoever he’s cheating on would react if she found out. MY. HEART. I think it was Bobby Finger in his write-up of Love, Actually last year (read it — it’s amazing) that hit it on the head by saying that watching Emma Thompson cry is worse than watching anybody else cry in the world. Watching this scene makes me feel like *I* have just realized my husband gave a necklace to another woman, and I’m not even married. SHE IS SO BRAVE. She just gets the family ready and they head out the door. EMMA IT’S OKAY. YOU’RE AMAZING. HE IS JUST THE WORST.

What is not the worst: Colin Firth disappointing his family. (“I HATE Uncle Jamie!”)

22. All I’m going to do is post a photo now

Because there is no way I can possibly describe to you what I am seeing on the screen and feeling in my soul.

NOW. We will ignore the fact that she is his best friend’s wife and that at Christmas you tell the truth, and focus on the fact that . . . how do you come back from this, again? I MEAN, YES. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL AND LOVELY AND THERE ARE NO REAL WORDS. But maybe he could have just said, “Listen. I like you, and I’m sorry that I taped you so closely at your wedding, but I’d like to be friends.” YES IT WOULD BE A LIE, BUT now it’s real life. Then she kisses him! Which then I would feel guilty about if I were her? Or maybe I just have a guilt complex? Either way I would be so confused. I would hate being in this situation. It would be too much. I’d leave, just like before when I thought he was going to kill me.

But more seriously, if you don’t tear up during this part I actually don’t know what we’re going to talk about going forward.

23. Yo, my LIFE is “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

If you watch Community, you know exactly which episode (THE CHRISTMAS ONE!!!!) that quote is from. But more importantly THIS SCENE. Correct, I have run out of points and there’s still a good portion of the movie left, so we are going to let this little ditty take us on a narrative magic carpet ride, where we cover all bases, or as many bases as possible. JOIN ME.

a) This song is my religion. I love it. I love it here, I love it when Mariah Carey sings it, and I love it when Mariah Carey sings it with Justin Bieber on the Christmas album my friend and I listened to all the way to Ottawa last weekend.

b) NATALIE AND HUGH GRANT. What is it about Christmas movies (ex. last year) that makes me turn into Kathy Geiss? “KISS! KISS!”

c) Liam Neeson and Sam, yet again. Seriously, dudes. If you’re reading this and you have kids, encourage them to do awesome things like this. Basically, be a dad like Liam Neeson if you are a gentleman. Not only in this movie, but also like in Taken because what dad SHOULDN’T be  that?

d) Yeah, that’s right, YOU CALL OUT ALAN RICKMAN, EMMA THOMPSON. I was so afraid she wouldn’t the first time I saw this, but NOPE. Emma Thompson is the greatest human being alive. And yes, I know she’s playing a character, but as far as I’m concerned, this is who she is in real life as well. And she poses a great question: WOULD you cut and run? And yes, he DID make a fool out of her and he made the life she lead seem foolish, too! SO, UGH. See, this movie LITERALLY puts it all in perspective, and I don’t think anyone could deliver lines like Emma Thompson can. FOR THE RECORD.

e) Liam Neeson + Claudia Schiffer = is “shipping” a thing? Because I do.

f) My school had only one Christmas pageant, and that was when I was in grade two. Thus, the jealousy that I feel is comparable only to Auriela (sp?)’s sister, who begins screaming at everyone on the street when Colin Firth wants to marry her.

24. Seriously the worst airports, though

Approximately zero amounts of security for reasons none of us will ever understand. But do you know who cares? Not me, who is obsessed with the love story of an 11-year-old boy. YOU RUN, LITTLE BOY. YOU TELL HER YOU LOVE HER. I don’t even know actual adults who’d have the guts to pull a stunt like that. Maybe it’s time we ALL be the Sams (a fictional character but WHO CARES) of our lives.

Although, on a sidenote, I don’t particularly recommend breaking through security ala Natalie at the end to run into the arms of the prime minister, which is probably the fastest way to get tasered or tackled or arrested or something — even if you are his girlfriend.

25. “God Only Knows” is the only song that could’ve worked at the end of this movie

Fun fact: I love this song more than words — especially my own — could possibly describe. But then after I wipe the tears away and re-focus on my own life, and not this fictional one that I am living vicariously through, I think the following: are Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson supposed to be together or separated? She says “home” so I’m confused. Also . . . okay, that’s about it. Everything else is a dream. Even this Kelly Clarkson song that I convinced myself I could sing while driving anywhere circa 2003 – right this very minute.

And THAT, my friend, is what Christmas is all about.

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  1. Every time I watch this film, I change my mind about what Carl does at the end. I think I’m currently on ‘stays with LL and tries to work it out’. Also, I think they deliberately chose a not-fat actress for the fat-girl role because they wanted to make a point about women being judgmental of each other. (Alsoalso, love Martine McCutcheon.)

  2. This is your best work. I laughed, I cried, I agreed with you (I will argue to the grave about that poster-confession scene between Zombie-man and 17-year-old Kiera because it is PERFECTION for many reasons).

    Love actually is all around, Anne.

  3. oh Anne. you have pulled me out of the depths of despair (anne of green gables reference!) and into the light of a thousand loves and i thank you for that. i’m going to go out on a VERY LONG LIMB and say this is one of the best Old Lady Movie Nights you’ve done, if not THE. thank you, thank you. a million times THANK YOU.

  4. GOOD LUCK ON KELLY&MICHAEL I’LL BE WATCHING, OH, YOU”RE UP NEXT!!!

  5. I just watched this movie last night after reading this article!

    My favorite part: watching guy from The Walking Dead a) speak with his normal British accent and b) be all awkward around Keira Knightley.

    And of course, watching the adorable Colin Firth. Terrific movie all around :)

  6. I love this movie so much!I watch it every year and I still have to cry. I even almost started crying while reading this because I remembered all the beautiful scenes…

  7. I think that Colin Firth and Housekeeper’s love story is absolutely perfect! It’s actually definitely my favorite one. Saying the same things just in different languages and then they learn each other’s and he proposes and it’s just all perfect and beautiful and wonderful! AH so many feelings.

  8. i love this movie!! and exactly !!! who would cheat on colin firth?? = D

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  10. Rowan Atkinson’s (Mr. Bean) character is actually supposed to be an angel… which makes complete sense when you think about it, and make him even more awesome and makes the movie just a bit more amazing.

  11. For someone who know is by heart, you’ve apparently never watched the audio commentary. ‘The naked guys’ are supposed to play stand in actors for a movie.

  12. Me encanta :) la descubrí hace poco y es muy buena

  13. Love this movie! According to IMDB, Rowan Atkinson’s character is supposed to be like an angel, or a spirit of Christmas. That probably explains why he was giving Alan Rickman a hard time (because he wasn’t shopping for his wife!), but was helpful to little Sam.

  14. one of my all-time favourite comfort movies. LOVE IT.
    and it has one of my favourite german actors in it, too – heike makatsch. she’s just brilliant

  15. Love this! :)

  16. I can’t figure out if you put it that way on purpose because of Colin Firth’s pronunciation, but in case that wasn’t it, the correct name would be Aurelia!

    And oh my what a fantastic movie.

  17. Ahhh I love this movie so much!!! Seriously, the DVD sits in front of my face on my desk every single day in my dorm room. Thanks for posting this!!

  18. Mr. Bean was originally in the movie more and was the one character that was in every storyline, but they cut most of his scenes out.

  19. I’m not 100% sure why Carl ever wears a shirt in this movie. It’s really unnecessary.

  20. eight is a lot of legs David!

    This is one of my go-to films if I have a bad day. This and Muppet Christmas Carol…

    My problems – the laura linney thing. Could they not just have agreed to go on a date the week after? Don’t think he deserves her with that lack of understanding!

    And at the end – have emma and alan separated?! Or was he just away on a work trip? I need to know!

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