Ten years? Actually?

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the release of the now classic Love, Actually. Yes, I’ll give you a minute to get over the shock of that news. Ten years. Ten. Whole. Years.


We know it’s 2013, and that therefore 2003 was a decade ago, but am I alone in disbelieving this fact? This time 10 years ago I was coming to the end of my first term studying a MA at King’s, back in London after a year’s exile working in a bookshop in Gloucester. My internet was still dial-up; MSN Messenger was my primary form of communication between friends; Tony Blair was still PM; there were still new episodes of Friends, SATC & Dawson’s Creek to be watched… Can it really be a whole ten years ago??

I remember the release of Love, Actually vividly and for good reason. On the night of its world premiere (in London), I was babysitting a toddler in a flat in Muswell Hill, while her whole family (grandmother – my landlady; parents; aunt & uncle) attended the premiere, thanks to a fortuitous social connection. I still remember receiving a phone call that began “Elizabeth, remember I mentioned we might have tickets for the premiere of that new Richard Curtis film?” and wondering if I was about to be offered one of them – but no, I instead landed a lucrative babysitting job. [Angela, my landlady, always called me Elizabeth. I wasn’t in trouble, she just preferred it.]

56 year old Angela and I had a mutual love of one of the film’s stars. Not Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy or even Colin Firth – Alan Rickman. [I have explained before that love of the Rickman crosses several generations.] That night, Angela had her photo taken with the lovely Alan. When she showed it to me there were girly squeals from both of us!

Ten years later, my memories of Love, Actually‘s arrival into the world are bittersweet. Less than five years after I moved out of Angela’s house, she lost her battle with lung cancer. Every year, when I have my annual present wrapping while watching Love, Actually evening, I think of her.

I’m not the only person to have realised that the film is celebrating its entry into double figures – the lovely people at The Hairpin spotted it too, and marked the occasion with a series of stories imagining where the lead characters are now, accompanied by fabulous gifs of pivotal moments in the film.

10YearsSarahTell me this isn’t one of the best scenes? And who hasn’t one of those moments themselves?? 

And where is Sarah? 

“That Valentine’s Day she dined alone. A bottle of wine and five courses to herself. It wasn’t until the second that she realized a man two tables away had the same idea. By the third, she decided she would ask him to join her. By the fourth, she did. By the fifth, she was certain. By dessert, so was he.”

In France the other week, someone shared a story in their sermon about their son who’d insisted on being a dinosaur in his primary school’s nativity plays. Obviously, the line “Eight is a lot of legs, David.” sprung to mind immediately. So, in his honour – and in honour of all parents who are discovering what part their little darlings will be playing this year (is it just me, or has this been all over Facebook in the last week?), here’s the scene that changed our nativity play imaginations forever:

And actually, one last thing. You know what’s fun? Listening to the film’s soundtrack (by which I mean the score, as opposed to the songs – although both All You Need is Love and All I want For Christmas are fabulous) while wondering around the Christmassy streets of London, imagining that I’m living the plot of a Richard Curtis movie. Let me say again, Richard Curtis gave me unrealistic expectations about life! 


  1. Argh – is it too early to watch this yet? (going on to Amazon to see if they have a special 10th anniversary edition)

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