Director: Richard Curtis
Cast: Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon, Kris Marshall and Rowan Atkinson
Plot: Its Christmas week and Richard Curtis throws us into several stories celebrating the fundamental nature of true love and its different forms.
To fully enjoy Richard Curtis’s Christmas rom-com extravaganza, you have to be prepared for what is coming and that is slush, melodrama and so much romance, the cold-hearted will revolt. However, when you are into the correct frame of mind, Love Actually is one of Richard Curtis’s finest works.
I am not going to bother trying to summarise the plot of Love Actually, because there is far too much to cover. The film jumps through several stories, each covering a different aspect of love. We get the Prime Minister struggling with an office romance and trying to keep it from the press. We have Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson trying to figure out how to keep a tired marriage alive. There is the puppy love nature of having a crush at school. Being in love with your best friend’s girl. Coping with being single at Christmas. And then there is of course love at first sight, which was always going to feature here. You can see why summarising this movie might seem a little daunting; in fact, watching it is a little daunting. There are so many characters to keep track of that watching it just once does not really do it justice. If you have already seen this movie and weren’t too keen on it, give it one more watch. It might just win you back.
Of course, the easy flaw here is the fact that each story really deserves its own movie in its own right. Hardly any of the characters feel like they are done justice. Laura Linney could easily shoulder an entire movie, as she balances between her mentally-ill brother and a potential love interest. That story is great, but it doesn’t really get resolved sufficiently. On the bright side, we get several great moments, more than we would ever expect from a single movie. Liam Neeson at his wife’s funeral is an under-rated moment of acting brilliance. Andrew Lincoln’s meddling best man at an early wedding scene is hilarious to watch. The finale at the Nativity Play ties this film up as the perfect Christmas movie. Again, I really can’t delve into every brilliant scene in this movie, as they are far too many. Another positive side of too many characters is that when you bump into one you do not like, they are never on the screen for too long. Personally, I didn’t get along with Colin Firth, but that was never a problem, because before too long we were back to a character I could relate to.
And again, I find myself swinging back to the ‘melodrama’ side of things and yes, it does kind of become a problem, but very much my opinion of Christmas films, sometimes it is just right. I think that this film holds a very important place in cinema, because it is meant to be painted in broad strokes and show love in the most obvious way possible. This is more than a narrative, it is a celebration of love and Christmas, and for that very reason, I believe this film deserves a chance for your approval.
Final Verdict: Often mimicked, but never beaten Love Actually is one of my favourite Christmas films. Man points be damned!