Love, Actually. . . Not

December 25, 2011

I’m back, bitches.

I just finished watching Love, Actually with Liam Neeson and a whole host of other Hollywood A-listers, and not only is this the perfect movie to watch on Christmas Eve, it’s also a pretentious load of Disneyfied fairtytale crap.

Love, Actually has nothing to do with actual love. It’s all about wish-fulfillment fantasizing about an idealized version of love that twistes our friendships, ruins our marriages and makes a mockery of our childhood crushes.

At the root of this movie is not a heartwarming tale of truth about how “love conquers all”. At the root of this movie is a glittering, cynical, hard-edged exploitation of human hope and vanity.

Let’s take a look at the stories involved, one by one. I’m only going to briefly thumbnail sketch the movie plot: a variety of characters’ stories intertwine in wholly contrived ways while they all, in their own way, pursue “true” love. That’s the summary. Here are the gory details.

Harry, the director of an ad agency, cheats on his wife Karen with his younger, sexier secretary Mia. Karen discovers this and has a two minute breakdown, and then goes on with life as usual, because she won’t end the marriage for the sake of the kids. This vignette underscores that who Karen really loves are her kids. This is a bleak, depressing, and wholly realistic commentary on the modern marriage, in which (if kids are present) they often become the focus of the relationship, above and beyond the breakdown of the original partners’ marriage, and in many cases the original couple will “stay together for the kids”, thinking this will be better for the kids (even if, in many cases, it’s actually worse). The difficulty here underscores the insanity of believing that a modern marriage has a better than 50% chance of working when the truth is, it doesn’t.

If you’re still questioning my conclusion here, answer this quick quiz. Which choice is better for a happy family?:

  • Husband and wife unhappy and maybe cheating but stay together for the kids
  • Husband and wife unhappy and maybe cheating but break up (divorce)

If you tried to avoid a third option, “Neither – Happy Marriage”, you’re welcome to try, and please send me a postcard letting me know how well that works out.

Peter marries Juliet, and gradually Juliet realizes that Peter’s best friend Mark is in love with her. But, despite this love, Mark has gone years without speaking to Peter or Juliet about his undying love. So, he decides to sneak over to the house one night, pretend to be a whole chorus of carolers (yeah, right) and show Juliet signs that say, basically, “I love you, but I’ve always been to chicken to tell you, so hopefully I’ll find another girl, but I really am committed to you forever, in my heart.” And Juliet responds by French kissing him. Oh, boy: the moral of the story? If you’re false with your best friend, it’s okay, because the gorgeous girl he just married who you want desperately will probably break you off a little piece for you anyway if you just tell her how you really feel. That way, everybody’s happy. Oh, but you still can’t be honest with your best friend, and you still can’t have your dream girl. Unless you, y’know, kill your best friend. That may be your best bet. She’d probably get turned on by that or something.

New UK Prime Minister David is attracted to office-girl Natalie. When the U.S. President visits and makes a pass at her during a state visit, David is horrified and has Natalie transferred into another department. Later, she admits to him she was momentarily intoxicated by the President’s power and couldn’t help herself, and she really does love him (David). David ends up kissing her backstage at her kid brother’s Christmas play and, of course, the happy couple is outed in front of all the world. The moral of this twisted story: First, use your power to hit on the women in your office. Second, use your power to remove them from your path when it gets too difficult. Third, use your power to chase them down again when they make a inept confession of love (?) to you in a Christmas card. And Fourth, sneak around with them at public functions, imagining nobody will find out. True love really does conquer all. BARF.

Jamie is a writer who got cheated on by his wife with his brother. Shattered, he retires to a French cottage to write, and, romantically, the owner provides him with a fetching Portugese housekeeper, Aurelia, who doesn’t speak a lick of English. Of course, the sparks fly despite the language barrier, and after a tearful goodbye in which the impotent Jamie fails to act even after Aurelia kisses him on the mouth, he mounts a months-long campaign to “win her back”, learning Portugese and traveling to Portugal, contacting her family without her knowledge and actually showing up at her workplace unannounced and uninvited to ask for her hand in marriage. Of course, the rest of her family are portrayed as ignorant 3rd-worlders who banter about a “bride price” as if this was some 15th century arrange marriage. We’ll ignore the blatant racism and elitism for a minute and focus on the fact that, of course, Aurelia has been learning English and “saving herself” for him, on the off chance that he would randomly show up, just like in a storybook romance (“my prince will come.”) — and, of course, he does. Hello, has anyone ever heard of this happening in real life, not in a Disney movie? I didn’t think so. So here’s the Real Life version of this story: inept, impotent Jamie doesn’t have the stones or the follow-through to learn Portugese and fly to Portugal, and so continues his days masturbating to Internet porn or, better yet, marrying some sexless woman who will never measure up to the Portugese minx he lost through inaction. And, of course, Aurelia goes back to Portugal, works as a waitress, and gets picked up by a hunky Italian one night, who proceeds to boff her brains out, giving her the best sex of her life, only to dump her two months later for a richer, prettier girl.

I could go on, but I’d rather not.

Let me instead elucidate the rules of modern relationships, in contradistinction to the propagandist tripe this movie has put out. Instead of letting your mind be polluted with this Hollywood garbage, tell yourself the following: I guarantee the following messages will get you better results.

  1. You will never, ever get a second chance with a girl, so act now.
  2. If you get married there is a better than 50% chance you will get divorced. Know this.
  3. As a man, once you have kids with a women, the kids will become more important than you.
  4. Go after the woman you want, not the woman you think you have a chance with.
  5. Be honest with your male friends about which girls you love (or are crushing on). Be brutally honest. It’s way better than losing the friendship when you seduce her later and she cheats on him, and it’s way, way better than watching your best friend marry and fuck a girl you had a good chance with.
  6. If you are in a relationship with a woman, whether marriage or just dating, there is a good chance she will cheat on you, either with your best friend, your brother, or someone of no consequence. This is not because she’s an evil person: this is because humans are not meant to be sexually monogamous.
  7. You can be tightly devoted to your family, but if your blood relatives become your only social connection, you won’t get laid very much.
  8. Real love isn’t learning languages, traveling across continents, and doing other outlandish and stupid things in an effort to prove to someone you love them very much. Real love is accepting someone for who they are, totally, and letting them be that person, encouraging them to be an ever more perfect actualization of their own highest self — even if that someone is a guy who needs to seduce every third woman he sees. Anything else is selfish and self-serving wish fulfillment.
  9. Don’t date women you work with.
  10. Especially don’t date women who work under you.