- Title: Love Actually
- IMDB: link
Written and directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually is a celebration of love. More than that, however, it’s a celebration of movie love. The film is jam-packed with characters, stories, situations, sampling the best romantic comedies have to offer. It’s not a spoof of romcoms, but a celebration of the best movie romances have to offer.
The film focuses on eight couples, each in a different part of their relationship as well as two additional stories which help tie them together: an aging rock star (Bill Nighy) and his manager (Gregor Fisher) attempting to win a holiday contest and jewelry store attendent (Rowan Atkinson) who shows up only when needed.
The various stories include: an aging executive (Alan Rickman) with a wife (Emma Thompson) and family who becomes smitten with his new secretary (Heike Makatsch), the recently elected British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who falls for a much younger member of his household staff (Martine McCutcheon), a father (Liam Neeson) and son (Thomas Sangster) dealing with the death of his mother and the kid’s first crush on one of his classmates (Olivia Olson), a writer (Colin Firth) who retreats to the French countryside after he discovers his lover (Sienna Guillory) is having and affair with his brother and falls head-over-heels for his new Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcia Moniz) with whom he can barely communicate, two co-workers (Laura Linney, Rodrigo Santoro) whose chance at love is stalled by their own shyness towards each other and the demands of her mentally-ill brother (Michael Fitzgerald), a pair (Martin Freeman, Joanna Page) who work as stand-ins for sex scenes become friends and begin a relationship, a newlywed bride (Keira Knightley) who discovers after the wedding the best friend (Andrew Lincoln) of her husband (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is in love with her, and average bloke (Kris Marshall) who leaves England to try and find true love in America.
Whew, did you get all that? Curtis expertly keeps all these stories moving towards big sappy moments of joy we expect from the genre – all of which, almost inexplicably, pay off. The film is a celebration of love in its many different forms and simply a joy to watch.
The DVD and Blu-ray include commentary by Curtis, Grant, Nighy, and Sangster as well as deleted scenes with introductions by Curtis, a featurette on the music used in the film with introductions to each song by Curtis, and the music video for Kelly Clarkson‘s “The Trouble With Love Is.”
Love Actually gives you a feast of romantic comedy with most of the fat of contrivance thrown away. Yes, you’ll get multiple characters racing to declare their love (and even a kid’s play thrown in for good measure), but more often than not these moments illicit smiles instead of groans. Billed as the “ultimate Valentine’s Day movie,” Love Actually is a surprising treat.