First Impression of Love Actually: The cast has aged well the film hasn’t

21 mins read

Rating: 3 out of 5.

So I’ve never actually seen Love Actually. I know, I know, 19 years old, hopeless romantic, very much in love with Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and Martin Freeman and never seen it. I know so many people who are utterly obsessed with it and some who hate it with a burning passion. So here we are Christmas Eve on my 19th Christmas with no idea what it’s about or if it’s any good at all.

So I was going to do a running commentary throughout but the first 15 to 20 minutes is just me exclaiming at how attractive the cast is. First Bill Nighy in an awful shirt, then Colin Firth looking so young and cute. Cue the beautiful Emma Thompson and Liam Neesan gracing my screens also.

I was shocked to see a young Kris Marshall (aka Humphry from death in paradise) looking like an absolute child but more shocked to see Martin Freeman and Stacey from Gavin and Stacey gyrating up against a pillar. And to top it all off Kiera Knightley and Hugh Grant rock up next looking like Greek Gods and Goddesses. A very overwhelming start to a christmas film I’m not normally this flustered.

I’m now trying to understand the background to each character, all of a sudden Kiera is getting married, Colin is being cheated on by his wife with his own brother and I now understand that they were body doubles for a film hence the attack on the pillar.

Not best pleased with Humphrey from Death in Paradise stating that American girls are hotter than British ones. I’m currently in the state of trying to work out everyone’s relationships to one another and getting highly confused. This cast is way too big, at one point I thought Craig David was the DJ at the wedding.

Highly excited to see Alan Rickman. I have missed him on my screen. And it looks like he’s going to play the good guy which is exciting, now someone needs to show me Carl. Okay turns out Carl is hot. Oh and now a full fake sex scene my poor brother does not know where to look.

“Get a grip people don’t like sissy’s” that line couldn’t be said in 2020, real men cry Emma Thomson. 

“Alone again” very relatable Colin Firth. Alone and in a turtleneck, we’re like kindred spirits.  

Hugh Grant likes Natalie a lot and definitely wants to have some fun with her. The 2003 eyebrow game does make me laugh though. Natalie’s ex sounds awful as well. How can you fat shame someone so slim? Hugh should definitely have him murdered as soon as possible.

“Don’t buy drugs, become a pop star and get them for free” nice one Bill Nighy

Ok this art exhibition is hella weird but at least Alan Rickman is being nice, the cupid vibes are immaculate. This woman being overtly sexual and flirty with Alan is not appropriate in the workplace!

Did Hugh Grant say he wasn’t attractive? what a lie.

Oh wow Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant are siblings, how iconic. And Emma is married to Alan Rickman, but then why was she flirting with Liam Neesan? How does she know him. Put that aside it’s the famous dancing scene!! I love it!

Why is his housekeeper fat shaming Colin Firth for enjoying his snacks! I would love him chubby or not. Also Colin Firth in another turtleneck, can’t complain. I am complaining about the highly unnecessary slow-mo shots of her stripping to jump into the lake though. The zooming in also made me very uncomfortable. She didn’t need to jump in the lake in the first place, surely she would have understood the pages were already ruined. It was just another excuse for a woman to be half naked.

How are Colin Firth and his housekeeper communicating?? I don’t understand they’re speaking two different languages but having an actual conversation. Are they in love already? ,they haven’t known each other longer than a few days. The looks In the car are cute though very sweet using gazes over language.

Why is he hiding the tape? Is he in love with the husband is that why he doesn’t like Kiera? Oh shit its all of her. Is he in love with her? Some of the shots are a bit too close up, a bit creepy to just film it for himself isn’t it? What about his best mate, the bro code.

I’d be so freaked out how she is so calm I don’t know. I hate the storyline of he’s in love with her but never talks or speaks to her and is rude to her. How can he be in love like that? It sounds more like obsession than love to me.

This is a tune I better Shazam this – ooh here we go ‘With me’ by Dido

WHY IS NATALIE BEING CALLED CHUBBY EW. You can tell this is 2003 with the fat shaming. The super skinny models were the pinnacle of beauty and anyone who weighed more than that was unattractive. This actress can’t be more than a size 8 and they’re acting like she’s fat. It wouldn’t even matter if she was fat that shouldn’t prevent Hugh Grant from fancying her. What is the joke here? 

This child is so dramatic I love it. Ah, no wonder he’s this dramatic he was brought up on Titanic. Okay this is so cute between Neesan and his step son. The original simp. This boy is so cute!! I love him and his quest. Learn that instrument! I can’t wait for this concert.

Not enjoying this part,  Mia stop flirting with Alan Rickman. Why are you dressed like that at the Christmas party! Not the correct theme, it’s Christmas not Halloween. Not sure how she has the audacity to be behaving like this when Emma Thomson is right there. I hate this b*tch. If he cheats on Emma Thomson I swear to God Christmas is cancelled. 

YES CARL GO FOR IT. Carl and Sarah are one of my favourite couples. Slow dance yes please!! I love the slight panic on her face transitioning to a gorgeous smile and now he’s driving her home. Invite him in girl get it. Hope this goes well she looks so pretty please please this works. Omg the passion they’ve both been waiting for this for so long. Okay carl is so hot. Why do I feel like something is going to go wrong.

EMMA THOMSON YOU ARE NOT FAT. Oh no I’m sad, Emma is sad she’s insecure and Alan is a terrible husband not reassuring her, yes Mia is pretty but so is she.

That random and unnecessary shot of Mia in her underwear was not needed. It was a long  second shot of her taking her dress off and that’s it it added nothing. I understand if they wanted to draw a parallel between what Mia looked like at bed (stereotypically sexy and confident) and Emma’s character in a traditional nightdress with insecurities but this could have been achieved without yet another female character stripping we are on our third now.

OMG stop flirting. You disgust me Alan and Mia you disgust me, how is this a feel god film. Both of them are awful, absolutely awful I despise them and want them to die.

Poor Emma doesn’t even expect jewellery anymore. No no no no! She thinks it for her I actually can’t watch. This is going to crush me. Emma you are torturing yourself.

The side plot featuring ‘Colin God of sex’ going to America and instantly having an orgy with three beautiful women is bizarre. I’m really glad these women are being given names and personalities. Oh wait, they’re not.

It’s not the necklace. She was so excited. Emma is so good in this scene, her acting is flawless here. I’m crying now. The way she composes herself for the children breaks my heart she’s pushing so hard. She needs to date Liam Neesan as soon as possible if she doesn’t I will.

I love how Bill Nighy’s storyline is completely separate to everyone else’s. Everyone else’ has this web of being interconnected and relevant and he’s just there being a rockstar trying to get to number One. But i think his manager might be in love with him, I could get behind that.

Back to Kiera. THE ICONIC SCENE. I’ve never seen it properly. I hate this context, stop hitting on your best mates girl! So weird. No stop with this madness. She better not fall for this crap “my wasted heart will love you” like you thought he hated you for months and now this?? I’d be so angry and tell my  husband.

Bill and his manager as Platonic soulmates is beautiful. “Come on let’s get pissed and watch porn.” Another classic line.


Why does her own family call her plumpy? There is no way Natalie doesn’t have some sort of an eating disorder not to be a downer but this poor girl is stunning and everyone around her makes comments on her appearance.

 Ahahah the octopus boy wow i love it. Lobsters and octopuses in the nativity.

All the kids go to the same school. I can’t tell if I love how complex this film is or not with everyone knowing each other but currently watching everyone go into the school makes my heart very full. I can’t wait to find out who Thomas Brodie Sangster’s mysterious girl is.

Emma Thompson back at it again breaking my little heart with that hug for Hugh Grant “you have no idea how much I needed my big brother”. And why is there a whale in the Nativity.

It’s Joanna. She can sing super well. Oh she’s so cool, she’s cooler than me. That fashion has come back in 2020, I’ve definitely seen someone with that outfit and hair. Thomas Brodie Sangster is nailing the drumming also which is brilliant.

My brother reckons the curtains are going to drop to see the Prime Minister and her kissing, I will update if he was correct in just a moment. My brother nailed it with that theory, what a clever boy.

Emma Thompson finally getting her moment is very cathartic. I’ve been waiting for this and fair enough the writing is excellent “Would you stay knowing life will always be a little bit worse”, “you make the life I lead foolish”

Okay I want a Liam Neeson, he’s so beautiful when bursting through those doors. “I never told your mum enough and she was perfect” don’t make me cry!

“LETS GO GET THE SHIT KICKED OUT OF US BY LOVE” Liam Neesan is committed to letting his step son get rejected.

Okay this storyline between Colin Firth and his housekeeper isn’t really working for me. He’s proposing after knowing her less than two weeks and not knowing anything about her. The underdevelopment of the relationship and the language barrier creates a strained power dynamic but hey it’s Christmas

The second daughter has had more character and personality that Kiera Knightley has had in the whole film, “Shut up miss dunkin Donut 2003”

Bill Nighy once again as some weird sexy side plot that feels like a fever dream.

Not sure how I feel about what Colin is about to do like I know that finding out your wife is sleeping with your brother is awful but this is not a coping mechanism. I don’t find this romantic at all. Yes you’re right it does seem insane. People who speak the same language can barely communicate let alone like this. Christmas is not an excuse for madness.

“Go to England you can marry Prince William instead” 

Of course she said yes. Okay I’ve realised this hatred of the plotline might be jealousy I want Colin Firth to kiss me like that. 

Here’s the final scene everyone is at the airport. I don’t quite understand why but we’ll roll with it. Emma Thompson got a new haircut and looks amazing but I can’t tell if she left Alan Rickman or not, I’m hoping she didn’t stay for the children. I can see Humphrey is back with a beautiful woman, hoping he’s learnt her name and the Prime Minister is also looking very happy. Everyone is so happy but what happened to Carl and Sarah? 

First off if you’ve read to the bottom of this credit to you. Summing up my final thoughts that go beyond just how attractive the cast is and how devastating Emma Thompson’ performance was, it hasn’t aged well. The fact that three of the female characters at some point had to strip down to their underwear or further really stood out as being an early 2000s movie. 

I completely understand if it was necessary to the plot but none of these were, it just felt aimless and someone in a boardroom went ‘how can we get more women naked in our Christmas movie’.

The uncomfortableness I felt towards how women were being portrayed only heightened with the fat jokes made throughout the film at Natalie which seemed bizarre in 2020 considering the actress herself was incredibly slim. This is continued by the sheer lack of depth the female characters (Bar Emma Thompson) have.

You can see this with Colin Firth falling for Aurelia based solely on the fact she cleaned for him and stripped to jump in a lake, failing to get to know anything about her. Kiera Knightely’ character didn’t make a single decision throughout the film and came across as something to be competed for.

 It didn’t surprise me to find out Richard Curtis who wrote the film also wrote Briget Jones’ diary in which we are also meant to feel sorry for a lovely slim woman with good friends who has an amazing apartment in London and a high end job. There is an unsettling overlap of this idea of what a 2003 woman should look like and it doesn’t sit well in a more body positive, sex positive 2020. 

Look I didn’t want to get all snowflake generation on this film, it made me smile and cry a bit and I loved some of the storylines. Would I watch Nativity also featuring Martin Freeman over it? Yes, every year.

Love Actually is a decent Christmas film, it’s just harder to view it as a lovely Christmas feel good film when it’s trying to make me feel bad about the type of woman I am. That being said I’m sure it’ll get another viewing based on Emma Thompson’s wonderful performance and my newfound crush on Liam Neeson I just think I might need something a big stronger than a hot chocolate to get through some of the scenes.

Featured Image – BBC

+ posts

Film, Media and Journalism student who writes about things that catch her interest. Instagram @charlsutcliffe

%d bloggers like this: