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Love Actually (Widescreen Edition) (2003)

Art House & International, Comedy, and Drama movie

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A Mishmash of Disconnected Love Story’s That Works (Somewhat)

  • May 3, 2004
  • by
Pros: Superbly acted, lighthearted theme.

Cons: Somewhat disjoined because of the plot; too many sub-plots going on.

The Bottom Line: Love Actually is good clean (well almost) adult fun, a date movie for adults. So round up a date, cuddle on the couch and drink in.

I am an incurable romantic, a voyeur of sorts in the window of love with a weakness for the quixotic interplay between humans; it is unique among God’s creations, this human love, thing. And so it is that I found myself hopeless drawn to Love Actually; not so hopelessly drawn that I would pay $7.00 to see it at my local Cineplex, but drawn enough to rent it from NetFlix (see below for a link to my review of this service).

It was at times hard to pinpoint exactly what Love Actually was trying to covey. The movie is a confusing mishmash of subplots about love—and falling into its clutches—within the main plot all vying for attention. The result is no one subplot received the attention it deserved and the movie didn’t gel for me until half way through when the pieces of the various love puzzle started to fit together like a romance inspired scenic landscape. It was only then that I was able to wrap my mind around the characters and allow my heart to care about what happened to them.

The Plot

As I stated above there is lot going on in this movie; here the are the players, I hope I got them all: The movie takes place in merry ole England and open in London’s Heathrow Airport with Hugh Grant providing the narration about how that airport is the perfect place to find love in bloom. The movie then moves to the wedding of Peter (Chiwetel Ejifor) and Juliet (Kiera Knightly) and third wheel Mark (Andrew Lincoln), Peter’s best friend who always acts stand-offish toward Juliet, and later in the movie we are let in on why. Hugh Grant is the newly elected Prime Minister of Great Britain and as he take possession of No. 10 Downing Street—home of the British Prime Minister—he locks eyes with fetching (young) Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) and a budding romance is born, then dies, but is then born again.

Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is an old washed up rock musician, who cannot hold a tune, trying desperately to make a comeback by turning a well known love song into a Christmas jingle in hopes of snagging the number one spot by Christmas. And oh yes he is also secretly in love with his manager. Jamie (Colin Firth) meanwhile has escaped to France to write his novel after finding his paramour sleeping with his brother. Once there, he hires Portuguese beauty Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) to tend house for him and becomes enamored with her, and she with him, despite the fact that neither can speak the other’s language.

Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a recently widowed. And he is stepfather to 10-year-old Sam (Thomas Sangster) who is in love for the first time with his American classmate who is going back to America. Karen (Emma Thompson) is married to Harry (Alan Rickman) who is flirting with the idea of having an affair with his saucy, sexy secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch). Meanwhile, Sarah (Laura Linney) who works for Harry has been not so secretly in love with co-worker Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) for the past 2.5 years, but has done little to satisfy her needs for reasons that will become apparent half way through the movie.

John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are movie stand-ins slowly getting to know one another as they undress and simulate sex on the set of a movie. Finally, Colin (Kris Marshall) is a waiter who is tired of English women and wants to go to America where he is absolutely sure he can score; you know the English accent and all that; this, despite the fact that Colin is in almost every way imaginable, an obnoxious loser. So there you have it.

Follow Me If You Can

As I stated at the outset, Love Actually is a confusing mishmash of subplots about love—and falling into its clutches—within the main plot all vying for attention. Despite that—and after I finally connected all of the dots and plotted all of the relational lines—I found myself enjoying this English movie. Love Actually is superbly acted; Hugh Grant is once again at center stage doing what he seems to do best: Romantic Comedy. Laura Linney also turns in an outstanding performance as long suffering Sarah, and honorable mention goes to Emma Thomas, who the years have mark with kindness. Thos familiar with the movie Sense and Sensibility will appreciate some of the old cast members from that movie reassembling here.

Because of the flow of the movie, it appears as though most of the cast is relegated to bit parts at most; I for one would have liked to have seen more of Peter and Juliet’s relationship since the movie opened on their wedding. And besides any chance to see more of the striking Kiera Knightly should not be jeered at.

Special kudos go to the producers of this file for portraying the Black characters as more then politically correct backdrops or stereotypes. Instead the Black people in Love Actually, are, gasp, normal, drug free, alcohol free, pimp free. They carry not basketballs, but briefcases, sport not baggy jeans and enough jewelry to stock a small boutique, but normal cloths, and they do normal things!

Final Thoughts

While I was glad I did not journey to the Cineplex to see Love Actually, I did enjoy the movie and felt a twinge of euphoric happiness at the end. Oh, the sound track for this movie is outstanding, so much so that I am going to order it, as soon as I can catch a decent sale.

Love Actually is good clean (well almost) adult fun, a date movie for adults. So round up a date, cuddle on the couch and drink in Love Actually, it will grow on you by the end.

NetFlix.com Review:


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More Love Actually (2003) reviews
review by . July 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie more than succeeds in doing what so many movies try to do: weave together the stories of a number of unlikely characters who run into each other in various ways throughout the film. The stories here are all over the maps - from young to old, to new love to affairs, to family relationships and the death of lovers.. The characters, each well developed and played by a slew of well known established actors, as well as new faces, were distinct and carefully crafted - something that other …
review by . August 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
All kinds of love
   This winning film starts out with the premise that, contrary to popular belief, the world is full of love, not hatred. By watching the lives of 8 different pairs of people in London, England, some of the many different types of love are explored. There's platonic, seen in the relationship of an aging rock star and his manager, and puppy love, as a young boy develops a crush on a classmate. There's unrequited, when Mark's best friend marries the woman he wants for himself, …
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2009
Love Actually is the ultimate romantic comedy, fun quirky, stars Hugh Grant and a slew of British actors. Makes me laugh every time..
review by . October 10, 2007
Pros: Cute, simple, fun, many notable appearances.     Cons: Won't appeal for everyone; advertised incorrectly     The Bottom Line: Got love?     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. When Love Actually first came onto the scene, it was advertised like a romantic comedy; full of funny goodness all the way through.      Mm, sort of.      The movie follows the lives …
review by . August 20, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
For lovers, for losers, for those with unrequited love--there is a relationship here for everyone (and a reminder of all those nasty office wenches who try to steal other people's husbands!). A delightful film, start to finish. (And how could it not be, what with Liam Neeson?)
review by . December 19, 2006
Gosh... where to start, other than to say that I love this movie!    Yeah, it's complicated by a whole raft of story lines, subplots and an incredibly large cast. But it works, with the type of charm that most movies can only hint at. True to it's premise, Love Actually highlights love in so many varied ways that it's difficult to fully appreciate it with only a single viewing. This is a DVD that deserves to be purchased, kept and watched year after year.    If …
review by . June 08, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great cast, good stories, honest laughs     Cons: The Pop-crap song that you can't seem to get out of your head     The Bottom Line: Bored nudity, length, and complex cast probably would keep a lot of viewers from enjoying this one. Personally, I think it's a keeper.     'Love Actually' takes a stellar cast and then opens little windows into the lives of ordinary people showing us the various pursuits, pitfalls, and ideals of Love. …
review by . May 23, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"Love Actually" is not a complex film, nor is it a terribly deep film. Nevertheless, it accomplishes its goal of expressing, in simple (but not simplistic) terms some of the different kinds of love people experience in life. It begins with the message "Love, actually, is all around" and it maintains that course throughout the film.Among the many different types of love the film covers are first love, new love, seasoned love, love on the rocks, frustrated love, unexpressed love, unrequited love, …
review by . November 30, 2003
Pros: cute, hilarious, optimistic, Bill Nighy     Cons: Christmas-oriented (Bah Humbug!), a little sappy     The Bottom Line: All I want for Christmas is Hugh.     Most romantic comedies are boring because they are so simple. The typical rom-com expects viewers to care about the fate of one special couple that gets treated as if they are the only two people in the universe worth worrying about. The most horrifying example of this that I’ve …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #188
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


With no fewer than eight couples vying for our attention,Love Actuallyis like the Boston Marathon of romantic comedies, and everybody wins. Having mastered the genre as the writer ofFour Weddings and a Funeral,Notting Hill, andBridget Jones's Diary, it appears that first-time director Richard Curtis is just like his screenplays: He just wants to be loved, and he'll go to absurdly appealing lengths to win our affection. WithLove Actually, Curtis orchestrates a minor miracle of romantic choreography, guiding a brilliant cast of stars and newcomers as they careen toward love and holiday cheer in London, among them the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who's smitten with his caterer; a widower (Liam Neeson) whose young son nurses the ultimate schoolboy crush; a writer (Colin Firth) who falls for his Portuguese housekeeper; a devoted wife and mother (Emma Thompson) coping with her potentially unfaithful husband (Alan Rickman); and a lovelorn American (Laura Linney) who's desperately attracted to a colleague. There's more--too much more--as Curtis wraps his Christmas gift with enough happy endings to sweeten a dozen other movies. That he pulls it off so entertainingly is undeniably impressive; that he does it so shamelessly suggests that his writing fares better with other, less ingratiating directors.--Jeff Shannon
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DVD Release Date: April 27, 2004
Runtime: 135 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios

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