When Love, Actually came out in 2003, I was a fresh-faced 18 year-old who had just wrapped up high school. Seventeen years later, I am now but a
wizened mature 36-year-old who still watches this same movie, every Christmas. I would like to walk you through the various crushes I have had on the men from this movie as a sign of my advancing age.
*There will be so many spoilers in this article. Also, despite some criticisms, I will still continue to watch this movie every single year even though I can basically recite it from heart.
Youth perspective: Back when I was 18, I only thought about physical beauty, which is why Karl, in all his obvious handsomeness, was my teenage choice. All tanned and muscly, dances well to Norah Jones, great. What else could anyone want?
Adult perspective: Oh, I’m sorry, Karl, that the girl you’ve decided to go home with, who has JUST explained she’s the sole guardian of her unwell brother, needs to take a second phone call from her obviously distressed bro? And you’re mad?? And that’s it forever? Karl, you deserve to stay a mid-level graphic designer for the rest of your life.
Sad Colin Firth/I Hate Uncle Jamie
Youth perspective: This is not as good as the famous Colin Firth in the pond scene.
Adult perspective: Obsessed with the fact that Colin’s go-to move after being dumped is to work on his novel in a French cottage, in a selection of baggy knitted jumpers, with only a typewriter. Inspirational. Absolutely bizarre that he goes straight from no communication to marriage proposal with beautiful housekeeper, but points for nailing Portuguese in what, one week? Also great that he didn’t end up firing his love interest because he fancies her, which is more than we can say for…
Prime Minister David Something
Youth perspective: Hahaha, it’s funny when Hugh Grant dances.
Adult perspective: Um…. Sorry, did he professionally demote his assistant because he was attracted to her?? Ooooh, would we call that legal? Natalie being ‘the chubby girl’ is a joke that reaaaaaaaaaally reaches ‘Fat Monica’ levels of not ageing well, upon rewatching.*
*I still have a crush on Hugh Grant, however.
Youth perspective: I feel sad for this old man in his turtleneck jumpers.
Adult perspective: Liam Neeson can GET IT.
Sad friend who loves Keira Knightley
Youth perspective: The standing-outside-the-door-with-cards-that-say-I-Love-You moment is the most romantic thing I have ever seen; I can only hope my future love life is filled with these moments.
Adult perspective: Turns out, many of my Christmases WERE filled with getting confusing messages from disappointing men and it makes absolute incel sense that this idiot would a) think Kate Moss would be a good back-up date for him and b) think that his best friend’s wife would be into him, even though she is married to Chiwetel Ejiofor, a man who looks like the dictionary definition of handsome. Also, that home video is something a serial killer would make. NEXT.
Keira Knightley’s hot husband
Youth perspective: Why does he hate carol singers?
Adult perspective: Would absolutely love to know the backstory of his friendship with Sad Friend (see above) and also would love to know the backstory of how his character met Keira’s character and why she was getting married at 17? In a fluffy, midriff dress?
Youth perspective: SNAPE
Adult perspective: This f—king guy. Hate everything about this storyline, hate that the office girl – who looks like a Cluedo character – is painted as the harlot of the situation when actually he is the married one and she is probably just a 22-year-old idiot. Also hate that despite this, I still find Alan Rickman so attractive that he remains my #1 crush from this movie; in turn I remain eternally disappointed in myself.
P.S. That necklace he gives her is terrible! Long live Joni Mitchell!
Youth perspective: This man is confusingly attractive.
Adult perspective: This man is confusingly attractive.
Colin/And he’s got a big knob
Youth perspective: This guy is kind of a dick
Adult perspective: This guy is upfront about how much of a dick he is, which is a refreshing change from the others who think they are good guys. Colin knows he is trash.
Sex actor/that guy from The Office
Youth perspective: Wow, I always forget about this storyline and boy is it awkward watching this with my parents every Christmas.
Adult perspective: I cannot un-see Jamie Oliver from his face and now I am imagining Jamie Oliver conceiving one of his 19 children!
Love, Actually screens on almost every streaming channel apart from the month of Christmas when, inevitably, it gets pulled down because of some mean-spirited Christmas-screening-rights debacle. Currently it’s on Prime Video, although who knows how long that will last.