Love Actually has been one of my favorite movies for years. I have watched it every holiday season for probably 15 years now. My best friend and matron of honor at my wedding read the opening monologue at my wedding ceremony. I can quote the entire movie. And I'm not going to watch it this year. Here's why.
There is a lot of infidelity in Love Actually. The most obvious example is poor Colin Firth coming home to take care of his "sick" live-in girlfriend while she's sleeping with his brother. Things end well for him in the movie but it's a brutal scene. The second is Emma Thompson's storyline. This one hits hard for me as it's that murky, not explicitly physical, cheating that is most definitely not ok. When she confronts her husband and says, "Tell me, if you were in my position, what would you do?... Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if, worst of all, it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing that life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?", it's heartbreaking. And finally there's Mark, played by Andrew Clutterbuck. Mark is the reason I refuse to watch Love Actually this year (along with the obvious other two people who have played a role in this decision). I am officially boycotting Mark and his poster board scene. Mark f*cking sucks.
Hear me out. Mark is a shitty f*cking friend, first of all. He is obsessed with his (allegedly) best friend's wife. He secretly filmed only her during the wedding ceremony, can't put two words together in her presence, and went to his (again, allegedly) best's friends home on Christmas Eve with a message for this man's wife. What if his friend had answered the door? What would you have done with your little posters then, Mark? And then there's Kiera Knightly, who doesn't come out of this smelling like a peach either. She lies to her husband saying that it's carol singers and then runs out of their home to kiss Mark in public BECAUSE HE GAVE HER A COMPLIMENT. And an empty compliment at that. It's is incredibly easy to tell someone, "to me, you are perfect" when you barely know them. You don't live with them, share a bathroom with them, pay bills with them, see them on their worst days - none of it. I can look online and say that to me, Liam Hemsworth is perfect. And he could be a complete asshole. I have no idea. I don't know him. I don't live with him. The IDEA of him is perfect, because it's easy. It's also forbidden (because we are both married, is he married to Miley? What is their situation? It's unclear) and exciting. Kind of like a girlfriend who lives in your phone. You see where I'm going with this.
I find it interesting that for years Mark and his poster board scene have been extolled as this version of what women wish men would do for them. I've seen the poster board used for prom invitations and wedding proposals. The quote is all over Instagram this time of year. From a way zoomed out lens, it's a lovely sentiment. Who doesn't want to be told that someone else sees them as perfect? But when you take a closer look, it's a terrible friend saying a meaningless sentence to a woman who then puts her entire (seemingly happy) marriage at risk because she received an affirmation. I'm not here for it.
I'll watch Love Actually again. Sam and "the octopus costume's taken me months - eight is a lot of legs, David" alone are reason enough for me to revisit it next year. But for now, let me say, without hope or agenda, just because it's Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth, to me, nothing is perfect.