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Ten years later, Love, Actually still enchants with serendipity

The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) in Love Actually.

Universal Studios

The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) in Love Actually.

In between my unyielding adoration for football and my absolute devotion to classic tough-guy movies like L.A. Confidential and The Untouchables, lies a man who loves romantic comedies.

Until now, I haven't felt compelled to express my fondness for Julia Roberts' string of heart-tugging tales or how I'm late to work every time I stumble upon a morning broadcast of Jerry Maguire.

Yet the holiday season and a column by The Atlantic's Christopher Orr have driven me to reveal my passion.

Orr recently wrote that Love Actually — the 2003 rom-com that features an all-star cast (I love Martine McCutcheon) enduring the trials and tribulations of relationships during the holiday season — is the least romantic film of all time.

He might as well have slapped me across the face with a white glove.

Orr goes to great lengths to explain how the film does a horrible job of depicting how conventional love develops.

However, it's not about love as much as it's about serendipity: the hand of fate that typically brings good fortune and leads us to conclude everything happens for a reason.

Love Actually shows how serendipity can plant seeds of love or block romance from ever blossoming. Timing is everything.

Orr reasons that the film's love-conquers-all climax is completely divorced from reality, but he's got it wrong. The happy conclusions that make the movie so enjoyable are not the culmination of love, but the beginning of potentially happily-ever-after relationships.

The smart viewer rightfully concludes that the merging of personalities, the further development of romance and the journey beyond initial attraction occur (or not) in the off-screen aftermath.

It's hopeful, and Christmas is all about hope. The movie's Christmas setting and terrific music (Kelly Clarkson's The Trouble With Love gives me chills) are a bow on a carefully crafted package of serendipity.

I love Love Actually.

That's all I'm saying.

Ten years later, Love, Actually still enchants with serendipity 12/21/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 21, 2013 8:38am]
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