WHENEVER I GET GLOOMY WITH THE STATE OF THE WORLD: The never-ending debate over the merits of Love Actually continues. Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, anti:
Love Actually is exceptional in that it is not merely, like so many other entries in the genre, unromantic. Rather, it is emphatically, almost shockingly, anti-romantic.... I think it offers up at least three disturbing lessons about love. First, that love is overwhelmingly a product of physical attraction and requires virtually no verbal communication or intellectual/emotional affinity of any kind. Second, that the principal barrier to consummating a relationship is mustering the nerve to say “I love you”—preferably with some grand gesture—and that once you manage that, you’re basically on the fast track to nuptial bliss. And third, that any actual obstacle to romantic fulfillment, however surmountable, is not worth the effort it would require to overcome.In response, Mother Jones' Ben Dreyfuss:
To be honest, if you're going to compare it to any one film you should probably compare it to Crash, the working title of which I'd like to think was Racism, Actually. If the theme of Crash is "We're all at least a little bit racist deep inside" the theme of Love Actually is "We're all a little crazily romantic deep inside."
Love Actually is, in fact, less a film about love as it is a film about people who think they are in love. Almost all of the stories center around people who either early on, or before the film even begins, figure out they're nuts about someone and then spend the five weeks before Christmas wondering, "What do I do now?" It's a bit like Hamlet but with romantic gestures instead of, you know, death.