Plot: “Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.” (imdb.com)
Director: Richard Curtis
Stars: Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman, Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thornton
Genre: Comedy, Romance
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
That was Hugh Grant’s opening speech in Love Actually. Lovely, isn’t it? The film wasn’t very popular when it first came out back in 2003 but since then, it has become a Christmas classic. It’s sort of a Christmas tradition by now; I make my family watch it with me every Christmas Eve. The film depicts many different kinds of love so I wouldn’t say that it’s one of those soppy lovey-dovey romantic films most of us dislike. Because it is not a love story, but a story about love.
So, let’s try to break down all the storylines (who are all linked in some way). Bear with me. First, we have Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), an old rock star searching for a come-back, and his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher). Together, they promote their song “Christmas is all around” in the hope it’ll become the Christmas #1 single.
Then, there’s Juliet (Keira Knightley), her husband Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln), who is also in love with Juliet. Pretty much everyone has heard of the kinda creepy cue cards scene.
After that, it’s Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall); a young man who, after several attempts to woo various British women without success, decides to go to America and charm the girls there with his “cute, British accent”. Next, we have the newly elected Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), a member of the household staff at 10 Downing Street.
Then, there’s the lovely Karen (Emma Thompson) and her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) who is going through a mid-life crisis, apparently (I mean, who in their right mind would think of leaving Emma Thompson for another woman?!).
There is also Sarah (Laura Linney), an American woman who works for Harry and is desperately in love with her co-worker, Karl (Rodrigo Santoro). Moving on, he have widower Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his adorable step-son, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).
There are also two sweet body doubles for films, John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page). Lastly, we have Jamie the writer (Colin Firth) and a Portuguese girl, Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz). Neither of them speaks the other’s language but that doesn’t stop them from falling in love.
In smaller roles, we have Billy Bob Thornton as the US President and the wonderful Rowan Atkinson as Rufus, a jewellery salesman who makes Alan Rickman’s life difficult. That’s pretty much everyone, I think.
Love Actually makes you feel all kinds of emotions. You might sympathise with certain characters and feel sad or frustrated. You will certainly laugh because there are quite a few really funny scenes. The final scene, with “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys playing in the background, is so perfect it always makes me tear up. I don’t know about you, but this film makes me so happy!
It is one of my all time favourites and every time someone asks me to recommend a few films for them to watch, this one always makes the list. The cast is beyond words, the film itself is absolutely lovely and it’s such a great way to spend 2 hours. 14 years after the release of the film, a 15-minute mini sequel aired on March 24th, 2017 as part of Red Nose Day. So, if you enjoyed the film and haven’t watched the mini sequel yet, please do!
Fun Fact #1: The airport footage of people greeting each other at the beginning and the end of the film is real.
Fun Fact #2: The word “actually” is said 23 times throughout the film.