10 Years, Actually
by Bobby Finger
Ten years ago this week, A.O. Scott reviewed Love Actually in the New York Times:
The film’s governing idea of love is both shallow and dishonest, and its sweet, chipper demeanor masks a sour cynicism about human emotions that is all the more sleazy for remaining unacknowledged. It has the calloused, leering soul of an early-60’s rat-pack comedy, but without the suave, seductive bravado. The worst kind of cad is the one who thinks he’s really a sensitive guy deep down.
Nice try, Mr. Scott, but Love Actually is a movie overflowing with so much joy that what bubbles over shields it from all criticisms. Rowan Atkinson will catch the harsh words you throw at it, place them in a box, wrap them in ribbon, dump the box in a bag with roses and cinnamon and hand the wonderfully aromatic package back to you with a smile and a wink. There are plenty of things to hate about Love Actually (I once listed many of them on this website), but this week is about the love. It’s about recognizing what makes us look beyond its most irritating characteristics and fall under its spell year after year.
Over the next five days, I will fill you all in on what the movie’s characters have been up to over the past 10 years. Because this isn’t just Love Actually’s 10-year anniversary. This is so much more than Love Actually’s 10-year anniversary.