20 Years On: Why Love Actually Is The Best Christmas Movies Ever

By Pamela Connellan
on 24 December 2023

Most of us have seen Love Actually – it came out in 2003 and anyone who was a well-known English actor at the time was in it – think Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson – you get the idea?  And while it is a bit of a fairy tale for these days 20 years on, it’s still a perfect example of a superb Christmas film – and many would say it’s ‘the best Christmas movie ever.’

Maybe the reason it’s such a great Christmas movie is because it deals with love in all its forms and at the end of the day – isn’t that what everyone’s after when it comes to Christmas? Sure, it’s probably a bit on the cheesy side – and many reviewers have found Love Actually is too much for them – but when it comes down to it, the big message of the film is that this time of year is better when you spend it with people you care about and everyone basically agrees with that – don’t we?

Here are some of the reasons why here at Women Love Tech, we think Love Actually is one of the best Christmas films around:

It’s not all about romantic love

Yes, a lot of the film is about romantic love – the story follows eight couples and how they’re finding their way at Christmas time – but some of the most powerful story lines in the film are about platonic love. For example, there’s Billy Mack (played by Bill Nighy) and his manager, Joe (Gregor Fisher) plus Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his stepson and Sarah (played by Laura Linney) and her ill brother.

These platonic relationships show us how important love is in so many different ways. They show us the way love can be brutal, painful and ultimately, fail. The relationship between Daniel and his stepson, Sam (played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster), is one of one of the most beautiful of the entire movie. In fact, this storyline about Daniel and Sam could be strong enough to carry the entire movie. Sam’s mother has died and Daniel is his stepdad. So we get to see just how little difference there is between a being a stepdad and being a dad and the fact their relationship is more about real friendship and love than anything else.

It’s a bit naughty

While it’s easy to think of this is a family film, it’s important to remember it came out with an R rating and these days, it probably means you need to be over sixteen to watch it. There’s a storyline involving two porn stand-in actors. Although it’s sweet and funny, there’s a lot of nudity and it could be awkward if you’re watching this with your extended family all around you!

It’s hilarious with some stand-out scenes you’ll never forget

Billy Mack’s radio interview has to be up there with the all-time funny moments in film along with Jamie trying to communicate with his cleaning lady and Colin making plans to find love in the States – these are all stand-out scenes which are favourite moments from this classic film!

Hugh Grant playing the British PM and dancing down the stairs is definitely another all-time funny moment. Apparently, Grant didn’t want to do the dance scene and fought against it up until the actual day of shooting. It ended up being one of the massive highlights from the film and Grant went on to be famous for his dance moves for years to come!

And Rowan Atkinson and Alan Rickman spar famously in the scene where Atkinson is wrapping a present for Rickman’s character – Harry. This is classic.

The soundtrack is brilliant

When you have the likes of Joni Mitchell, Kelly Clarkson, Norah Jones, The Beach Boys and a stunning score by Craig Armstrong – this all adds up to a magical soundtrack.

It deals with unrequited love in one of the the most beautiful scenes ever

Andrew Lincoln’s declaration of love to Keira Knightley using placards has to be one of the most poignant moments in the whole film. The fact that it’s set to the tune of Silent Night and finally gives him the closure he needs makes it all the more perfect.

There’s an epic airport scene

Along with everything else, this film has a great airport chase – and this one is perfect as Sam races across Heathrow to tell his classmate how he feels about her.

Colin Firth’s Portuguese proposal is amazing

When Colin Firth’s character, Jamie, proposes to Aurelia (played by Lúcia Moniz), in Portuguese, it’s heart-rending. Aurelia is the Portuguese woman hired as the housekeeper while Jamie has been in France and while it’s beautifully done, the subtitles are funny and make this scene fun to watch. And then when we find out she has learned English for him too…. ah stop, it’s too cute. Go watch this film immediately!

For more from Women Love Tech on what to watch, visit here.

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