In Defense of Love Actually (and I can’t believe I have to write this)

My brother-in-law, Shane, who has had to suffer through my sister and I’s obsession with Love Actually, sent me a link to this article on, in which one Mary Elizabeth Williams proclaims that it is the worst Christmas movie ever.

Her arguments are so poor, however, that I could not just read the article, stew in anger, silently curse her and move on. Oh no. So I now present to you point-counter point, or as I like to call it, “Bitch, please!”

Point: With the exception of Bill Nighy’s witty plotline about an aging pop star’s attempt to secure the coveted Christmas No. 1 hit, every one of the 85 other stories in the movie involves some horrible lesson out of the battle of the sexes playbook. If you were an alien watching “Love, Actually,” you would come to the conclusion that what human British men really, really want are hot chicks who fetch them tea, put up with their dalliances, and don’t speak English.

Bitch, Please: FIRST of all, that is ludicrous. Mark does not love Juliette because she ever brought him tea. And your only mention of THAT story line is a fleeting insult, when to me that is the saddest and truest and not at all the “demoralizing, misogynistic holiday twaddle” you call it. Furthermore, Prime Minister what’s his name is instantly attracted to the British Monica Lewinsky before she ever brings him tea. It’s also part of her fucking job, lady, she’s not doing it to win him over. In fact, it’s part of Aurelia’s job as well. She was HIRED to be Jamie’s housekeeper. And she doesn’t speak English because she fucking lives in Portugal.

Point: Which of the many story lines is most likely to make a reasonable human want to get drunk on lighter fluid? There’s Colin Firth’s – the one about a man who, betrayed by his cheating girlfriend, flees the country and immediately falls for his mug-brandishing Portuguese housekeeper. So pretty! So uncommunicative! And she has hot beverages! See also: the Hugh Grant story line, in which the prime minister falls for the assistant who brings him tea. Seriously, what is with you dudes? Do you not know how to boil water?

Bitch, Please: Were YOU too busy getting drunk on lighter fluid to notice that they WERE trying to communicate? And they only fucking learned each other’s language just in cases. The Hugh Grant story line does not revolve around tea. What’s with this tea argument? It does not hold water. (See what I did there?)

Point: There’s also the Alan Rickman story line, about the married man tempted by the unbelievably predatory secretary, and the heartbroken wife (Emma Thompson) faced with the choice to “stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse.” There’s the Laura Linney one, about the noble woman who can’t be with the man she loves because she has to care for her mentally ill brother. And doesn’t that make an interesting contrast to the Liam Neeson plot, in which a very recent widower is rewarded for his emotional pain by hooking up with Claudia Schiffer. Claudia Schiffer!! There’s also Kris Marshall’s, in which a lonely, goofy-looking Brit flies to America to dazzle the ladies solely on the basis of his Britishness – and immediately scores a pile of insanely hot babes. And yet they call crap like this a “chick flick.” I’ve seen less depressing Michael Haneke movies.

Bitch, Please: I’ll start with Alan Rickman. Mia throws herself at him, legs open, like the predator that you call her. So I do agree with you there. However, I believe the point of that whole plot is that she is, in fact, an aggressive hoe, and he would have just continued on with his dull marriage had she not flung herself at him. It was never about love, and affairs happen and sometimes women instigate them. I don’t know what to tell you. Sometimes people are shitty.

Next – Laura Linney. She actively chooses to not be with Hottie McHot. She could if she wanted to, and she chooses to care for her brother. It was a hard decision, but she made it, and it sucks, and has nothing to do with Liam Neeson and Claudia Schiffer. That was just a joke. Were you not paying attention during his eulogy? Geez, lady, not everything is about the guys coming out on top here. Mark doesn’t. Alan Rickman doesn’t. Hottie McHot doesn’t. And sometimes in life you have to choose family over love, which is why Laura Linney doesn’t, either.

Next – Colin. Um, it’s in the movie because it’s true. We American ladies are suckers for British/Scottish/Australian accents. I’ve always said that part of the movie would be insulting if it were not 1000% true.

Point: You’d be hard-pressed to find another movie – holiday or otherwise – that makes the case so convincingly for how miserable the lives of women truly are, and how all fired up awesome it is to be a man.

Bitch, Please: First of all – Keira Knightly is loved by two hot men. Laura Linney was always miserable. Natalie ends up with the fucking Prime Minster. Second of all: Snow White? Sleeping Beauty? Cinderella? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Taming of the Shrew? All of those movies are way more convincing in your quest to find a movie that makes the case that women’s lives are miserable.

You, ma’am, do not know what you are talking about and the foundation of your argument is based on TEA. And that, actually, is ludicrous. Good day to you.