3. Love Actually (2003)

Martine McCutcheon, Hugh Grant, and Emma Thompson in Love Actually

Another movie that’s considered a Christmas film without really being anything much to do with Christmas is Love Actually. Like Gremlins, this might seem controversial – particularly as “Christmas is all around us” is repeatedly sung throughout the movie – but there’s a good reason for our humbug stance on the film. It may be set at Christmas, but Christmas isn’t overly important to its story.

Putting aside the predatory behaviors on display in the film, Love Actually is, at heart, a romantic drama/comedy that happens to be set at Christmas. The holiday is used as the reason so many people happen to be coming together in various romantic meet-cute sorts of ways, but ultimately, each of these could be swapped out for any number of replacements. Nativity plays could be generic school plays, Christmas office parties could be swapped out for generic office parties, and the man infatuated with his maid could be… well, that’s just wrong all year round.

The point is, though Christmas is a key part of Love Actually‘s overall feel, it’s got very little to do with its actual story. Without Christmas, every single story in the film could be easily told with less festive substitutes and still remain completely intact, so the holiday is far more in the background than it appears to be. It’s only considered a Christmas movie because it’s set at Christmas, despite the fact that the setting bears no real importance on the story as a whole.