Robert Morast, Published December 18 2009
Morast: It’s about ‘Love, Actually’Don’t believe the merry hype coming out of every crevice this time of year. There’s plenty to dislike about the winter holiday season.
Off the top of my head: the onslaught of consumerism as an act of affection; the notion that decorating our world in red and green is a good idea; or the fact that New Year’s Eve gives virtually anyone a free pass to act like a caveman with a concussion.
And, of course, there are the crappy Christmas movies that dominate the TV schedule and cineplexes.
Whether it’s a contrived Christmas comedy concept starring Tim Allen, or the exaggerated nostalgia of “classic” films like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” these movies don’t do much more than reinforce some of the season’s most flawed concepts: that money can buy love and that tradition is always right.
Rather than submit to the cultural brainwashing sent our way via the Lifetime network, I’m encouraging everyone to watch only one holiday film this year; “Love, Actually.”
It’s the perfect Christmas film because all it preaches is love.
The message is weaved through intersecting vignettes following people consumed by the idea that during Christmas you’re supposed to be with the people you love – or at least tell them how you feel.
- Through the course of the 2003 British dramedy, a bumbling author played by Colin Firth learns broken Portuguese to tell his housekeeper he loves her.
- An elementary school lad still coping with the death of his mom learns to play the drums so he has a chance to tell a star singer how he feels about her.
- An aging rock star ditches sudden fame and glory to spend Christmas with his manager – his only true friend.
Along the way the film uses the concept of true, unfiltered love as a way to deny what Christmas has become.
The idea of the extravagant gift is tied to the hubris of adulterous desire.
The idea of sharing the season with a disrespectful family because that’s what you’re supposed to do is ignored by the need to be with the person your heart is magnetized to.
And in the end we’re not struck with the glory of getting the ultimate gift or reconnecting the nuclear family structure in time to trim a tree, but the joyous reunions of people meeting their loved ones at the airport – while The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”
It’s all about love. Not the presentation of “perfect” love put on an unreachable pedestal, but the imperfect, honest love we can celebrate all year long – not just in December.
Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast at (701) 241-5518.