Best Valentine’s Day Movie? ‘Love Actually’

The best Valentine’s Day movie is not even about Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is all about reminding us about what love can be at its very best. But any movie that unequivocally holds up romantic love as an ideal is bound to seem cheesy and useless. True love, at its very best, goes through a few trials and tribulations. That’s why “Love Actually,” even though the plot is centered on Christmas and New Year’s, is one of the best movies out there to watch on Valentine’s Day.

“Actually” shows the triumph of love over some difficult circumstances: young love faced with physical separation in the schoolboy who plays the drums to win his sweetheart’s affections, willing love stunted by commitments to family in the woman with the mentally ill brother, and the loving friendship between world-famous musician and his oft-abused and neglected manager.

None of the people in love in this film have it easy; there are physical, emotional, psychological, and even language barriers keeping them all from the fulfillment of themselves in another human being. But the movie reminds us that, at its most powerful, love can and does overcome the most difficult of circumstances.

“Love Actually” accomplishes this with more finesse and intrigue than other attempts at similar movies. Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve” were charming, but hardly as believable or interesting as “Love Actually.” “He’s Just Not That Into You” was slightly more successful but was more about the troubles than the actual triumphs of love. In some of the initial words of the narrator, the message of “Love Actually” ends up being that love actually is all around us. And if ever there was a movie to watch on Valentine’s Day to remind us of that message, it is “Love Actually.”

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