The biggest money mistakes characters make in Love Actually

Billy Nighy in love actually which is a movie with lots of problematic money content but what lessons can we learn this christmas on its 20th anniversary
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

It’s 2022 and you think you’ve read every possible take on Richard Curtis’ 2003 Christmas staple, Love Actually. Currently streaming on Stan and Binge, Love Actually has long been the centre of cultural discourse: Is Love Actually actually bad? Is Love Actually good? Does Love Actually hold up 20 years later? At Mozo, we’re only interested in one thing: the cold, hard cash of it all. 

First we tackled Christmas songs, and now movies. Melding together multiple plotlines and interconnected characters, there are a lot of people spending a lot of money in this romantic flick. So is there anything at all we can learn from the financial chaos going down in this holiday movie?

There’s a laundry list of money mistakes that get made in Love Actually, and a little something we can learn from all of them.

colin love actually kris marshall
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

1. Booking travel on short notice

When Colin decides the reason he isn’t having romantic success is because he isn’t attractive to British girls, he immediately decides to jet off to the USA. Speaking generally, though, that’s a pretty major trip to commit to - and one that we’d recommend researching before you embark on.

While some people have great success with travel booked on a whim, Colin might have been better served by further planning. That said, Colin doesn’t seem too flustered by this when he touches down in Wisconsin, so perhaps he found a great last minute deal or used his credit card rewards points and scored a cheap flight.

Sam Love Actually Thomas Brodie Sangster
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

2. Risking fines 

Speaking of flights, one of Love Actually’s most memorable scenes involves a chase through an airport for a declaration of love. 

While we don’t see any direct consequences for this in the movie, the crossing of airport customs zones without clearance is a federal offence. While Sam is a child and unlikely to face any prosecution, his father is risking some serious fines by not putting a stop to these actions. Airport security is no joke, and the consequences could be even more serious than that. Liam Neeson’s character is encouraging illegal and unsafe behaviour in pursuit of a childhood crush.

Hugh Grant prime minister Love Actually
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

3. Misuse of work funds

No matter your thoughts on Hugh Grant’s foppish prime minister and all of the poorly aged fat jokes in this plotline, I think we can all agree that there is some serious misuse of government money going on in this plotline.

Think it’s romantic or predatory? Regardless, the prime minister probably shouldn’t be using taxpayer money to track down an improperly dismissed employee and attend a local panto with her. He should also probably refrain from using his position to ruin diplomatic relationships with other countries at her behest - no matter how justified it may be!

While leaders of parliament probably get a little more leeway than everyday people, misusing your work vehicles or funds like this could result in some serious consequences - think trouble with the tax office, to say the least.

Alan Rickman Love Actually necklace
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

4. Elaborate gift purchasing

There will be no moralising on the actions of Alan Rickman’s character in Love Actually, but what we can talk about is the disgrace that is his gift buying process. 

We all know that when shopping for Christmas presents, the most important thing is meaning. His gift-shopping is done without thought, and it’s also seriously pricey for such a basic piece (tastes may vary, but here’s my editorialising to say: nearly $700 for that?)

Erratic spending like that without a prior plan can end up with you in hot water, so watch out this silly season.

Colin Firth Love Actually uncle jamie proposal
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

5. International travel for a declaration of love

We’ve already touched on sudden travel, but Colin Firth’s character really takes the cake when he flies from the UK to Portugal to make a grand declaration of love to a woman he’s unable to communicate with.

Going back to the idea of doing your research, perhaps this might be another case for taking some real time to consider the ramifications of your actions. While these two characters get swept up in romance, it’s important to note that your own international marriage proposal may not garner the same response.

Love Actually signs Andrew Lincoln Christmas
Photo credit: StudioCanal/Working Title Films/DNA Films/Universal Pictures

Are there any positive finance messages we can take from Love Actually?

We should give a special shout out to the two stand-in body doubles, John and Judy. With very little screen time, we can also see possibly the only positive money messaging in the movie from their interactions.

These two are just doing their jobs, trying to earn a living (unconventional as it may seem). It’s the holiday season, but they’re working just as hard as they would on any day. They are probably going to take home a nice payslip and have a blast over the holiday season. 

And though I wish deeply that I could rain fire down on the truly creepy plotline that occurs between newlywed Keira Knightley and her husband’s best friend, they appear to keep things mostly under control in the monetary department. That said, a wedding loan may be necessary if you’d like to emulate that extravagant musical performance.

Planning to stay in and stream this holiday season? Figure out which streaming service is right for you, and stay on top of broadband news.