How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) by Gary Raymond @GaryRaymond_ @ParthianBooks @damppebbles #BookReview #damppebblesblogtours

Posted December 3, 2020 by Zoé in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) by Gary Raymond
Published by Parthian Books on June 1, 2021
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 175


“Love Actually dulls the critical senses, making those susceptible to its hallucinogenic powers think they’ve seen a funny, warm-hearted, romantic film about the many complex manifestations of love. Colourful Narcotics. A perfect description of a bafflingly popular film.”

By any reasonable measurement, Love Actually is a bad movie.

There are plenty of bad movies out there, but what gets under Gary Raymond’s skin here is that it seems to have tricked so many people into thinking it’s a good movie.

In this hilarious, scene-by-scene analysis of the Christmas monolith that is Love Actually, Gary Raymond takes us through a suffocating quagmire of badly drawn characters, nonsensical plotlines, and open bigotry, to a climax of ill-conceived schmaltz.

How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) is the definitive case against a terrible movie.

I am going to say it right off the bat, I like Love Actually. When I first saw it, I thought it was cute and I loved how everyone linked and yes it made me laugh and cry. I took it at face value. Over the years, I realised some things weren’t that romantic and cute about this film Andrew Lincoln/ Keira Knightley and Alan Rickman/Emma Thompson, but it is still easy to watch and I still enjoy it.

Then this book came along and I just had to read it because well its a book based on a film! My favourite kind.

This book! It made me laugh, it made me think but it also made me open my eyes and rethink what the frick was happening in that film. I can’t remember the last time I watched this film, it has been years and years but I do want to rewatch it even more so now.

Every scene is scrutinised, but not in a bashing way, although some scenes deserve it, but it a logical way. I didn’t realise how much fat-shaming had been done! Seemingly innocent scenes take on a new meaning with the book. Daniel (Liam Neeson) grieving his wife and Karen (Emma Thompson) telling him to stop crying or he won’t get laid (paraphrasing here) just isn’t funny now, his wife hasn’t even been buried yet! When I watched the film originally, I didn’t even think of that but now, well now I cringe at the thought.

For me, the infamous scene with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson and the whole CD/necklace saga. Yes, Alan Rickman is still completely in the wrong but the authors take on it made me rethink the entire scene in a good way but he is still wrong!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I think every film needs a book like this. It was fascinating to read and I felt I could picture each scene in my head as we dissected it. Every nuance, every word spoken, action taken. I sped through this book because even know we know how the film ends, I didn’t know how the book would end. It was insightful watching the film through another perspective and I took off my rose-tinted glasses to see the film in another light. Amazing what film directors got away with back in the day, with the innuendos, fat-shaming, class shaming, sexual predators. This film wouldn’t have been made in this day, and to be honest, not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I will watch the film again and I will probably enjoy the film again, it is escapism especially if you don’t look for the deeper meanings. I mean Hugh Grant, thank you. I will, however, watch it with fresh eyes and see it how it should be seen, at its rawest and ugliest form. The author hasn’t made me hate the film, yet, but gave me a new appreciation for it. I will, however, always enjoy the Hugh Grant dancing scene.

I applaud Mr Raymond for writing this book, it was witty, insightful and I felt like we were having a conversation whilst reading it. These are the types of conversations I love, discussing movies! Would love to see what film he could rip apart for me next!! As I said earlier, it’s not all bashing. It’s logical, it’s fresh, and it’s fun and it’s well worth the read!

Until next time xxx

Folow the rest of the tour here

Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles for the tour invite and the author for a copy of the book in return for my honest and unbiased review

About Gary Raymond

Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor, and broadcaster. He is presenter of The Review Show for BBC Radio Wales and editor of Wales Arts Review. He is a regular writer on film, music, literature, and theatre, and can often be heard on BBC Radio 3 and 4 as an arts commentator and reviewer. His novels include For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015), The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018), and the upcoming Angels of Cairo (Parthian, 2021).

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7 responses to “How Love Actually Ruined Christmas (or Colourful Narcotics) by Gary Raymond @GaryRaymond_ @ParthianBooks @damppebbles #BookReview #damppebblesblogtours

  1. I’m with Nicki. I watched it once and it was okay, bit I didn’t get why it was on everyone’s favourite Christmas movie list. Nice review Zoe.