Love Actually – Written & Directed by Richard Curtis

Love Actually poster

So, we know it’s after Christmas however, we wanted to bring you a review of a movie we both love and would recommend watching this lovely holiday if you haven’t already seen it. It’s still December and where I am at least there is still snow on the ground, so just go give it watch.

Chantel will be in purple. 

Caidyn will be in blue.

Have you ever heard of those movies where there are intertwining storylines revolving around a specific holiday? Like Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve? Well, Love Actually did it first and did it far better than either of those movies and it takes place in the 5 weeks leading up to Christmas. It deals with love, loss, cheating, awkward encounters, all of those romantic comedy tropes wrapped up in one and it works so well in this film. It’s what makes this movie my favorite Christmas movie ever.

The characters in this movie range from a prime minister in over his head to a young boy who is in love with his fellow classmate. It has some of Britain’s most recognizable actors, like Hugh Grant and Colin Firth who were two of the biggest heartthrobs in the early to mid-2000s. There’s also the late Alan Rickman and even though he plays a lying, cheating prick, I still like him. Hugh Grant manages to come off as bumbling and awkward despite being…Hugh Grant. Watching him shake his booty all around 10 Downing Street doesn’t help either.

In terms of the females, there is Keira Knightley and Emma Thompson who most people would probably know from Sense and Sensibility or Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter. Even in a romantic comedy, Emma Thompson acts her butt off.

I could go on and on because this movie features so many actors, including Martin Freeman who is known more now for playing Dr. John Watson on Sherlock. If you had any wonder if this movie was rated R, just know they usually cut out his scenes from any TV version.

I think most everyone knows about the cue card scene between Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightley, and even if you haven’t seen the movie it’s a popular thing to make fun of in pop culture because it’s well…a little creepy.

I disagree. It’s super cute. The Fuck? I always thought it was cute! Probably because I’ve always been there, having a huge crush yet they don’t like me. Okay, I’ve been there too but I don’t do this. She’s married and unavailable so why did he tell her?? Because he did his damndest to hide it from her, she found out, and he felt she deserved to know. Plus, it was his way of letting go of her.

Basically, Andrew Lincoln’s best friend marries Keira Knightley and he is standoffish toward her because he loves her. She finds out and then this happens. It’s very weird and creepy, but people seem to find it cute and charming. And I am one of those people. And I am also linking the REAL version so people can make up their mind about it.

Personally, I prefer this version. 

I’ll be honest, there are a few jokes said that wouldn’t be okay to say now. For example, the word transvestite is used, and as this was made in the early 2000s words like that are aging worse and worse. There were also comments about two different women being fat when they weren’t at all. I’m pretty sensitive to those kinds of things so it stood out to me. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie overall.

However, this movie is amazing. I wasn’t expecting much from it when I first saw it, after all, it’s a Christmas romantic comedy, but it’s far better than it sounds.

See, I absolutely adore this movie for everything that it is. I do have some flaws and sometimes that the age of it shows — for one there are no LGBTQIA+ characters in it, which is very unbelievable — but it’s a gorgeous movie.

Apparently, LGBTQIA+ people didn’t exist in 2003. 

As Chantel pointed out, the characters are fantastic. All of them, in their own way, are likable and dislikeable. You hate Alan Rickman’s character, yet you somewhat understand. You want to shake Laura Linney’s character, who has a huge crush, gets the guy, and, well, fumbles. As what happens in many relationships. Yet you empathize with her personal life. You want Emma Thompson’s character, married to Alan Rickman, to wake up and see what’s going on. The list goes on and on for the movie.

And I’m linking the scene we keep talking about, where Emma Thompson’s character finds out her husband has cheated on her. Gorgeous and perfectly acted.

Now, I’m not a romance sort of guy. Nor do I like comedies. This movie literally has everything in it. Including some adult themes. In that case, shield your eyes children. A very young Martin Freeman and Joanna Page work as actors… yet they are stand-ins for other actors during test scenes but only for sex scenes. And all of their scenes involve nudity and simulated sex acts. Which is hilarious to see them bond.

Then, there’s Kris Marshall who plays a character desperate for sex… so he goes to America. Wisconsin to be exact. To pick up hot women who find Brits amazingly attractive.

Besides comedy, there’s the genuine love that Colin Firth’s character goes through, first by catching his wife cheating on him and then falling for a woman who can’t speak English. And then he learns Portuguese to love her. Or Hugh Grant as Prime Minister falling for a woman who works for him. And let’s gloss over the way that can come across as creepy in today’s climate.

You know, I didn’t actually consider this. It would not go over well now, but as we saw she was just as interested in him as he was into her. It was just Billy Bob as POTUS who was creepy af. Yeah, Billy Bob Thornton was totally worse than Hugh Grant. Yes, he was. 

Now, sadness is next. Liam Neeson’s character in this opens with a funeral. His wife died, leaving him with a very young stepson to try to coach through the grieving and properly raise him. Then, his son falls in love and he has to try to help him win the girl of his dreams.

Not to mention that all of the storylines I’ve pointed out converge and intersect. Do you see how it’s an incredible movie?

And now I’m going to ask a tough question for Chantel. Which storyline is your favorite and why? You can choose up to three and I’ll do the same after you.

There are so many storylines that I didn’t even mention them all in my review. My favorite storyline is probably Liam Neeson and his stepson, Sam. I thought them bonding was super cute and they end up close by the time the movie ends. Plus, Sam learning drums so he could play for his crush was totally adorable. The second place for me was Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. They have so much chemistry that I actually thought they were married.

I definitely agree with you about Liam’s and Emma/Alan’s. Those are definitely a top two for me since they show how difficult love is, from the angle of grieving over love, a first love, and also infidelity. But, I also adore Colin Firth’s with him getting over a divorce after his wife cheated on him, then falling for a woman he can’t say a word to.

I agree there, but I wasn’t the most invested in this storyline. I do feel bad for Colin Firth because his wife cheated on him with his brother. That was cold. 

What was your least favorite storyline? Mine is the Kris Marshall storyline which is just gross and creepy in my opinion. It reminded me of those raunchy movies in the early 2000s that I have no interest in. 

Again, I agree with you about Kris Marshall and his aim to get laid. Very much in tune with him being a twenty-something straight, cis-male, but eh. I think the one that felt the most awkward to me, which means it’s not my favorite, is Bill Nighy’s storyline. He’s a down and out rock star trying to make a comeback with a Christmas single that’s based off a very popular song he once had. And I know that I said that there aren’t LGBTQIA+ characters in this movie, but technically this story is… yet it also isn’t.

Let me explain. Bill Nighy’s character has, apparently, fallen in love with his manager. Who he repeatedly insults throughout the movie, calling him fat, undermining his work, thwarting him trying to help Bill’s character make that aforementioned comeback. Then, all of a sudden, he realizes that he loves him. It felt super tacked on and undeveloped. And even though apparently Bill’s character loves him, he still is with women and it was super awkward. That’s probably my least favorite storyline since I can stomach Kris’s, although I don’t find it very compelling.

Kris Marshall’s story just reminded me of American Pie which I wasn’t a fan of, also I don’t want to come off whiny here but just because a butt ugly guy has a British accent doesn’t mean he’s immediately attractive to American women. I mean, he’s got to be attractive, then again we all have our preferences. 

Was Bill Nighy’s character in love with his manager? I just thought he was like, “Oh, I love you mate.” It was more that he realized that his manager was the only person he had in his life and it was showing that not all love was romantic. That was my interpretation of it, but I will agree that his story is a bit awkward. His story isn’t connected to anyone else, but the song is hilarious and his admittance that its shit cracked me up. I took it as a romantic thing and have since I was a kid. Whether it’s romantic or platonic love, it was awkward since it wasn’t shown beforehand one bit. But, I do love the character. Even if he’s connected to no one but Liam Neeson’s son to get him to learn drums.

This movie isn’t perfect, ultimately, but it’s pretty damn good. Again, this is coming from someone who does not like Christmas movies and is pretty meh when it comes to romantic comedies, this movie is both and I love it. I’ll always watch it around Christmas every year and now I have it on Blu-ray so I can watch it every Christmas and be exposed to love and how important it is through these stories. 

3 thoughts on “Love Actually – Written & Directed by Richard Curtis

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