If you learned everything you knew about love from watching this movie, you
would believe that ďlove actually is all aroundĒ (not coincidentally
the working title of the film), that it involves lots of singing
and dancing, and that it is especially potent during Christmastime.
Itís five weeks until Christmas, and from the Prime Minister
of Britain (Grant) to the littlest of boys (Thomas
Sangster), it seems the love bug has bitten everyone.
Love Actuallyís trailers and posters try to capitalize
on all its big name stars, and that list isnít even close
to the full list of main characters. Writer and director Richard
Curtis must have brainstormed all the love situations
he could think ofóincluding newlyweds, couples
with children, infatuations, the widowedóand
attempted to synthesize them all into one 129-minute film.
The result is a true ensemble piece where over 10 separate
love stories are intertwined and all given more or less equal
The stories work because the characters have very distinct
personalities, though interestingly they are all connected
through mutual acquaintances. Furthermore, aged rock singer
Billy Mackís (Nighy) holiday ditty is played throughout
the movie and connects all the plot twists together.
The list of storylines is a long one. Fluttery Prime Minister
David is sweet on his fiery-tongued assistant Natalie (
McCutcheon). Widower Daniel (Neeson) is helping
his young step-son Samuel ( Sangster) cope with what
he calls the ďagony of being in love.Ē Harry ( Rickman)
is married to Karen ( Thompson), but is enticed by
a younger woman ( Ivana Milicevic) at the office.
Jamie ( Firth) falls for a pretty Portuguese ( Lucia
Moniz) while Sarah (Linney) has a long-time crush
on co-worker Carl ( Rodrigo Santoro), and this is only
the beginning. Thereís even a storyline involving two porn-star
stand-ins, which is even more bizarre than it looks in writing.
Although the movie quickly switches from one scenario to
another like a soap opera, the plot is not too difficult to
follow. The stories donít have time to be deep and are therefore
necessarily superficial, yet the characters are easy to sympathize
with. Either the feeling of love is so universal that we can
relate to the characters without much background information,
or we have been so habituated in cinematic love that we can
instantly understand it when we see it. Whichever it is, it
One of the movieís goals is to be cute, and to achieve this
purpose it has solicited the help of several exceedingly adorable
children. When all these children are gathered together for
a Christmas program at their school, it is cuteness at its
Attempts at being a funny movie are also successful. Especially
memorable is a dance sequence in which the Prime Minister
performs a dance number when he believes no one is around.
Itís amusing because itís hard to fathom a PM boogying down
10 Downing Street. Itís also amusing because, well, itís Hugh
Grant shaking his hips.
Love Actually is set in England, and the cast boasts
more British stars than the Harry Potter franchise.
However, there are some funny moments involving Americans,
such as a guest appearance by Billy Bob Thornton as
the President of the United States. Thereís also an interesting
sequence where Colin (Chris Marshall) takes a trip
to the States to find easy American girls who like British
With so many characters, itís a stretch to believe that everyone
can find a happy ending. But itís Christmas after all, and
according to this movie, anything can happen.