It’s been 11 years since this movie premiered, and it still shows up on almost every search for “romantic comedies”. I’ve watched it a few times, the first being many many years ago. I loved it. From Hugh Grant’s mildly-confused-all-the-time Prime Minister to Colin Firth’s it-is-painful-for-me-to-speak author. What can I say? A tiny part of my brain stops working when I hear tall British men talk. It’s been a weakness for so long now that both me and the H are resigned to it’s presence in our future.
I was trying to convince the H to watch it with me a while ago. Predictably, he wasn’t too keen on it. Aaaand predictably, we found ourselves on the couch with the movie running a short while later. He tried, he did. But there are a few things a man can’t do for you no matter what, and this was one of them. We had to stop watching. Alone later, I decided to revisit this old love of mine. Only to discover: L.A. has gone the same way in my life as have the Backstreet Boys (I knew all their lyrics at one long-ago-far-away point of my life).
I was more than a little shocked watching it now. A bumbling Prime Minister who falls for his voluptuous housekeeper. A brokenhearted author who falls for his Portuguese housekeeper the exact moment she strips down to jump into a lake to and reveals a tattoo on a dimpled back. They don’t even speak the same language. A young man who has hardly spoken to his best friend’s bride, but is besotted with her. The single office worker, who again has not exchanged one meaningful word with her gorgeous colleague, but everyone (including him) knows of her deep burning love for him. Weirdly enough, the movie is most successful when it toes the line on what will soon become an infidelity, causing the end of a long marriage. This is also the part of the movie that introduced me to Joni Mitchell, and is my the only takeaway from the movie worth anything.
Sometimes, it’s not too much fun to outgrow things we truly liked at an earlier point. When that shift happens, I find myself disliking those things with almost the same fervor as I had while loving them. Which eventually also passes, and turns into a casual indifference. With Love, Actually, it feels like an era has ended. I will never enjoy a romantic comedy again. (Cue for the H to celebrate).