Hi! Welcome to part 2 of the Christmas series. So this movie is interesting because it’s one of the most popular modern Christmas movies, and yet….I don’t like much of it. It’s on Netflix so it’s easy to find, and I’ll break down why I don’t like it.
The film follows nine different plot lines in London in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’ll review each individually. (The movie would be better with three or five plots, nine feels quite overstuffed) To be honest, I can’t remember most of the character names, but they’re all A-list actors.
Mark and Juliet- Juliet is marrying Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor pre 12 Years) and his best friend Mark is the videographer. Of course, Mark harbors a secret obsession for Juliet (Kiera Knightly does what she can with the role). Everyone knows the card scene, don’t get me started on how berserk that is. No. Just no. Marriage is a line that you do not cross Mark!!!! Juliet shouldn’t have kissed him, that was hella stupid.
yes Mark, enough of your stalker antics.
Laura Linney plays Sarah, the lovelorn accountant who can’t act on her crush because all her time is taken up with her mentally unstable brother. The one time she brings hot accountant Karl home (hot accountants only exist in movies, wtf?) they’re interrupted by said brother. This is the most tragic to me, because I’ve watched a lot of caregivers around me sacrifice their wants and desires to care for others. SARAH DESERVED BETTER!
Bill Nighy plays a washed up pop star recording and promoting a Christmas remix. The role seems (to me) like a parody of Mick Jagger or other aged rockers, and it’s actually kinda funny. His recording manager Joe serves as his companion and the movie makes a very clear point that they aren’t attracted to each other-fragile masculinity and homophobia anyone?
Colin Firth is a heartbroken novelist who has a weird, non-communicative relationship with his Argentinian housekeeper (this one bugs me so much). Spoiler: after about a month of stunted communication across a language barrier, this loser proposes because…Christmas romance and miracle? I’m a hopeless romantic but there’s this little thing called COMMON SENSE!!!
Liam Neeson plays a widower with a lovelorn 10-year old son (who apparently went on to star in Game of Thrones). This one is less about romance and more about family, which is really sweet. His sister (Emma Thompson) gives this gem: “No one’s gonna wanna shag you if you cry all the time”. Insert fake retching at how outdated and inaccurate this is. MALE VULNERABILITY IS BEAUTIFUL AND HEALTHY!!! End PSA/rant. Also he’s a recent widower….
Hugh Grant plays the prime minister (of course) who falls for his house servant Natalie (clearly this movie was made before #MeToo, with all the romancing of coworkers and subservients). There’s a nice little dig at Bill Clinton in the beginning, and that classic “Jump” dance that everyone loves, but overall this storyline isn’t too deep or grounded in reality. I thought it was very cute a while ago, but as I age the storyline loses its charm.
Colin-oh man, this one is just thrown in there randomly. A server for weddings, he suddenly has the epiphany that he’ll get laid in America because “American girls are easy”. Good lord, I cannot stress how “frat-bro-esque” this is. It’s just nauseating, and of course it works because it’s a movie…
Jack and Judy are stand ins on a movie, and all they’re filming is sex scenes…Martin Freeman is cute in this role, but it’s just so….cringe that I forgot about it.
Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson play Harry and Karen, a married couple in a rough patch. The rough patch is due to Harry’s wandering eye for his slutty receptionist Mia. (I am not against women having fun, but 1) he’s married and 2) her innuendos are so far over the top)
The movie has enough stars for a constellation, but that doesn’t make up for a dated plot and abysmally shallow characters. Also, shoving nine plots into a movie is bound to result in at least half of them falling through the cracks. The writers tried to update and revitalize the story with “Red Nose Day Actually” two years ago, but it felt too short and too similar to the original.