I’ll bet none of you has ever watched Love Actually quite like I did today. While at the dentist. With a pillow and blanket. Getting five fillings. Yes, FIVE. The whole experience made me thankful for three things:
- The blissfully buzzy combination of nitrous oxide and British comedy. (When my dentist told me this visit would be mostly out of pocket, I replied that I’d just think of it as a couple of really expensive margaritas.)
- That Aaron gives Anderson exactly a 50% shot at decent dental genes.
- That drilling in my mouth for 1.5 hours kept my dentist too busy to look up at Love Actually’s brief yet awkward “adult film scenes.” Both Dr. Yang and I narrowly escaped death by embarrassment.
So what makes this movie so great? I found myself thinking in my happy, floaty, compromised state. And it is so great, I would argue – a perfect companion for giftwrapping, slumber parties and extreme dental procedures alike.
It’s not like we’d actually want to be in the shoes of most of the characters (STD-bound, party-in-the-USA Colin? No thanks. Struggling porn stars? Pass. Widowed father, cheated on boyfriend, or cheated on wife? No, no no!)
And it’s not like most of us would even in-real-life condone what are ultimately some of the film’s most endearing moments (kissing your best friend’s wife, hooking up with an x-rated actor, making out with your much younger political assistant). But the magic of this movie is that these moments ARE just that – truly real, truly sweet, truly endearing. Alas – we silently cheer these moments regardless of moral murkiness.
TOP FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM LOVE ACTUALLY:
1) You don’t have to speak the same language to fall in love.
How adorable are Jamie and his Portuguese assistant who jumps into the water to save his manuscript and takes English lessons for him? THAT’S true love.
2) Don’t take yourself too seriously. Even prime ministers need to dance down the stairs to 80s music from time to time.
3) Be real with your kids, and let them be real with you.
Show of hands – who wanted to adopt little red-headed lovelorn Sam the minute he started locking himself in his room with signs like, “Rhythm is my life?” Yep me too. I treasure the relationship he has with his dad as they both navigate life and love after losing their wife/mom.
4) “Life is full of inconveniences and complications.” – Karl to Sarah as sparks finally fly after their office Christmas party, but keep getting interrupted by her brother’s phone calls. Oh, the brother… Oh, the phone calls…
Live anyway. Love anyway. Try again.
5) Tell someone that to you, they are perfect. Preferably the person YOU’RE married to (or at least who’s not married to someone else), but I’ll give the guy a break – he needed to grieve and give up. And that kiss from Keira Knightly after he holds up all the signs? I’d like to think it’s a perfectly platonic friendship, “thank you” kiss. Sounds like the kind of thing that exists in Britain. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. To me, it’s perfect.
**I wrote this in December, 2014 but somehow it got stuffed in a draft folder and never published…. so here it is 18 months later…better late than never!