a critiQal film review Love Actually (2003)

Plot: 5 weeks before Christmas we take a peek inside the love lives of 8 British couples: A man (Neeson) still grieving over the loss of his wife and his stepson (Sangster) who is in love; a newly married couple (Knightley and Ejiofor); the newly-elected British Prime Minister (Grant); a high-powered exec (Rickman) his wife (Thompson); a writer (Firth) trying to escape from it all; a pair of body doubles (Freeman and Page); a young woman (Linney) with family issues and a man (Marshall) about to adventure to America.

555 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 46s)
  • ...a holiday-themed tale of the trials and tribulations of love that guys won't actually mind watching with their gals.

I first heard about Love Actually from Reid’s stepmom – she had mentioned that a lot of her friends had said it was a good film. I hadn’t heard much else about the film, so I didn’t give it much thought.

A few weeks later, I happened to spot it on the shelves of our local Blockbuster®, and the good recommendations came to mind, so I decided to give it a shot. Will this be another one of those films that I like and Reid hates, or would we find ourselves both Actually loving it?

Where to start? With such a huge cast of well known actors in Love Actually, where does one begin? Alan Rickman is a good surprise in this film, after seeing him in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and it’s sequels (and apparently many more to come), it was good to see him in a different role. It showcased that he can actually play a role that’s not Snape just as well!

Hugh Grant was his usual self, playing a single man in a powerful position – and falling in love with someone he shouldn’t. Most people like the characters Hugh Grant portrays because he is usually unsure of himself and doesn’t know how to make a decision, but then ends up taking the correct course of action in the end.

Keira Knightley, who most people will remember from her role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), plays a small role in this film as the good newlywed. Her role is so small, her acting skills never really get a chance to shine through. And Liam Neeson, who I remember mostly from the role of Dr. David Marrow in The Haunting (and Reid remembers from the role of Oscar Schindler in the film Schindler’s List (1993)), is mostly there to provide support to his stepson, which he does very well.

Love Actually takes a different approach when it comes to telling it’s story. It’s not just a linear series of events, it’s rather a whole mess of different scenes that don’t really seem to fit together in the beginning, but then finally come together and make sense by the end of the film. In the beginning of the film, most viewers will likely be confused by the film jumping from scene to scene without any sort of tie-in, but as the movie progresses, many will find that this actually was a fitting way to tell this story. With so many different couples involved, it would be hard to try to fit them all together in the beginning. We are introduced right off to most of the main characters, and each has their own story to tell throughout the film, all tying up eventually into the main theme of the film, which (of course) is about the trials and tribulations of love.

All in all, Love Actually makes a lot of sense. You can never predict when you will fall in love (or who it will be to). This is showcased very well by the actors, director, scenes, and dialogue throughout the film. It also ties in neatly with the already-upon-us Christmas time of the year, as the climax of the film takes place on the magical night of Christmas Eve.

So grab some eggnog and your special someone, and sit back and enjoy Love Actually this Christmas season.

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