MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews is an opinionated man.
The news personality is known for his frequently brusque tone, booming voice, and hard-line takes on events in the political realm—not so much for his love of romantic comedies.
But love them he does. Well, one romantic comedy in particular.
It's one he's mentioned dozens of times over the years in the kind of glowing, affectionate terms usually reserved for classics such as “It's A Wonderful Life.”
The film is 2003's British/American romantic comedy “Love Actually.”
Like “It's A Wonderful Life,” “Love Actually” is a Christmas-themed film— it's even become a holiday classic to many. But that's where the commonalities with Frank Capra's masterpiece end.
“Love Actually” stars Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister with a secret and forbidden love. At one point in the film, we see Grant dance to The Pointer Sisters.
But Matthews is endearingly in the former camp—and he loves to gush about it.
So just in time for Christmas, The Washington Post's Caitlin Gibson decided to sit down with Matthews and watch it with him.
Before they even start the film, Matthews is getting all mushy and poetic about the movie, which ties nine interweaving and cross-continental tales of romance together, musing:
“[It's about] your willingness to stand up for the people you care about. And in the end, that’s all that really matters. Are you going to stand up for your people or not? Are you going to stand up for somebody you love or not? And if you’re not, what are you worth?”
WaPo isn't the only media entity who recently made note of Matthews' obsession with the film. HBO late-night news satirist John Oliver brought it up on a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight,” and even aired a mash-up of every time Matthews slipped in a reference or a name drop about the film on-air.
Matthews is an unapologetic defender of the film's famously over-the-top sentimentality, saying we need it now more than ever:
“You have to have optimism. How can you care about a country if you’re not a romantic? The people who will save this country — they’re romantics.”
As they watch the film on a laptop in Matthews's office, Matthews gushes to Gibson as the movie—all two hours and fifteen-ish minutes of it—plays, waxing on the romance and the personal politics behind each scene.
That is, until they come to the end, where a 12-year-old boy musters up the bravery to tell the girl he has a crush on how he feels before she boards a plane back home.
Matthews smiles, seemingly fighting back tears of joy, and tells Gibson:
“You’re getting me all misted up here.”
“Love Actually” was written and directed by Richard Curtis and also stars Keira Knightly and Andrew Lincoln (Rick on AMC's “The Walking Dead”).
It currently holds a 63% Fresh critic's rating on movie reviews site Rotten Tomatoes— but audiences gave it a score of 72%.