Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Love Actually...actually pretty good

Love Actually - Richard Curtis - 2003 - 10/10


The movie begins with Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), an old British rock star trying to get back into the game after battling addiction, recording a Christmas song bastardizing one of his earlier hits who's premise was once, "love is all around us" and is now, "Christmas is all around us." John (Martin Freeman) and Just Judy (Joanna Page) fall in love over the course of shooting a pornography movie together. David (Hugh Grant) has just become Prime Minister and immediately falls in love with his catering manager Natalie (Martine McCuthcheon). David's sister Karen (Emma Thompson), is married to Harry (Alan Rickman), who runs a local magazine where he is smitten by his seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch). Harry's editor Sarah (Laura Linney), has been obsessing about the office hunk Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), who likes her as well. Karen's friends both Daniel (Liam Neeson) has just lost his wife and discovered his stepson is in love with a young American girl. Karen's other friend Jamie (Colin Firth), walks in on his girlfriend (Sienna Guillory) and his younger brother (Dan Fredenbergh), forcing him to move to France to continue writing his novel while falling for Aurelia Lucia Moniz), a young Portuguese woman who can't speak English or French. Juliet (Kiera Knightley) has just married Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), without realizing Peter's best friend and best man Mark (Andrew Lincoln) has loved her since they first met. Colin (Kris Marshall) is desperate to have sex and believes American girls will find his British accent sexy, so he hatches a plan to visit Wisconsin. And that's just each character's/story's first scene!


Everyone's favorite British-Romantic-Comedy writer Richard Curtis directs a really good movie here that benefits from featuring a cast of who's-who of British actors. He also works in a pretty good short performance from Rowan Atkinson as well as cameos from Billy Bob Thornton, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth, and Denise Richards. The movie IS the best romance movie (maybe I should say romantic comedy) because it tells too many stories to be bad. Let me explain. Romantic comedies can be good, sometimes bad, but in both realms there are cheesy and corny parts to the movie as well as the predictable progression and finish. "Love Actually" is so good because it doesn't suffer from any of these symptoms - cramming in so many solid stories with great actors means there isn't time for you to dwell on what you think is going to happen next with each story or bemoan the corny way the boy gets the girl back (because those lame scenes don't even make the cut here). All of the stories come from different angles, spanning the whole genre of romantic comedies. You have the coincidence love at first sight for two shy people, the now classic Hugh Grant I'm-to-befuddled-to-tell-you-I-depserately-love-you, the trials of a long marriage and raising two kids, the lust and allure of something dangerous, the cutesy love from affair crush, powerful first love, rebound love, forbidden love, and desperate love. Beginning and ending with Billy Mack's "Love is All Around Us" song is very fitting for a movie that tries so hard to show us that everywhere we look, whether we are searching for it or not, there is love - for someone.


Must see (especially if it's your girl's turn to pick the movie).

If you liked this movie, watch...
...Pride and Prejudice
...About a Boy
...Garden State

1 comment:

bob@saltystix.com said...

The movie is not only a great romantic comedy, but also a great Christmas movie. I actually own it, and have watched it several times, and would recommend it for anybody.

Hugh Grant's speech about not being bullied would make me jump up and cheer, if I was British.

The only question is: Is Billy Bob the greatest US president in movie history?

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