It’s December, aka time to come home at night, crash on the couch, and marathon Christmas movies with a mug of hot chocolate. The number one movie on your list, though, should undoubtedly be the beloved 2003 rom-com Love, Actually, which basically stars every famous British person in existence. Not only is it a movie set around Christmas celebrating all kinds of love, but it’s got plenty of helpful lessons applicable to real life as well:
1. Grand gestures work (for the most part).
Love, Actually is a movie stuffed with grand gestures guaranteed to warm your heart — from the little boy learning to drum to impress his crush at school to Colin Firth poring over Portuguese classes to communicate with the cute housekeeper he’s fallen for. And don’t forget the movie’s most famous scene, when Mark confesses his love to Juliet (Keira Knightley), his best friend’s girl, on Christmas through giant cue cards.
Most of these romantic gestures result in a kiss, if not a declaration of true love (come on, that would NOT be a happy ending if Keira ditched her husband for his best friend) but all of these big moves are appreciated and help the characters reach some sense of resolution, even if it’s not the ideal one.
2. Accents go a long way.
Colin is a somewhat dorky British guy on a quest to get laid. After failing miserably time and time again, he heads to America because he believes he’ll be like a Prince William to them. And he’s right! Never underestimate the power of an accent, people. It turns a 5 into a 7 as soon as they start speaking.
3. Cheaters never prosper.
Emma Thompson is one of the most charming actresses ever, so one storyline is particularly tough to watch, as she realizes her beloved husband (played by goddamn Snape, because OF COURSE) is cheating on her. Snape is totally attracted to his sexy secretary, buying her a beautiful necklace.
Emma Thompson’s character finds the Christmas present, understandably believes it’s for her, and is shocked and devastated on Christmas when the necklace isn’t under the tree. Watching her leave her husband and kids to take the time to compose herself after realizing the truth is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in a movie ever. Cheating always comes to light, guys.
4. Keira Knightley is luminous.
It totally makes sense that this guy is crushing hard on Keira, despite the fact that they’ve barely spoken. Did you see her? Even in that ugly wedding dress, she’s a goddess.
5. Love is actually all around.
The true lesson of Love, Actually is spoken by Prime Minster Hugh Grant when he intones:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
So this holiday season, don’t be afraid to indulge in your sentimental side and celebrate the people you love. Whether they’re a sibling, an old friend, a parent, a crush, a significant other, or what have you: there’s no better time than the holidays to celebrate love.