Sunday, December 25, 2011

Love Actually

Merry Christmas! A movie I like to watch at this time of the year is Love Actually, released in 2003 and directed by Richard Curtis (Notting Hill, Bridget Jones). First thing to note is the incredible cast: Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, UK stars Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nighy and Martine McCutcheon, appearances by Billy Bob Thornton, Claudia Schiffer, Denise Richards, January Jones, ShannonElizabeth and Elisha Cuthbert, and even UK presenters Ant and Dec.

Story takes place in London, over the four weeks before Christmas. We follow the lives of several people: the single Prime Minister who has a crush on his assistant, the married boss who I seduced by his secretary, the writer who falls for his cleaning lady in spite of not speaking her language, the spinster who has a chance to find the love of her life, the love triangle, the little boy’s love for one of his classmates, and of course the hilarious performance of Bill Nighy as Billy Mack, an ex rock star looking to come back on the music scene, and his touching version of “Christmas is all around”.  It goes from one to the other and gradually we are able to discern the connections between all these people. 

The film gives a magical view of London around Christmas, which I always felt was a magical place at this time of the year.  We also follow the stories of other characters and the good thing is that it is possible for the viewer to identify with at least one story. The little boy Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is simply adorable, and the chemistry with stepdad played by Liam Neeson shines through the screen.  I regretted the story with Sarah (Laura Linney) and her unfulfilled love for Karl, which left me a bit sad for her. But overall it is funny, subtle, well thought.

Billy Mack: Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!
One scene I love

It’s a magical tale too, and the good thing is that it is a good mix of real life, like the guy in love with his best friend’s wife, and scenes of life you would see only in movies, like Jamie (Colin Firth) falling for someone he has not spoken to but spent time with, for instance.

Sam: But you know, the thing about romance is... people only get together right at the very end.

Daniel: You've seen the films, kiddo. It ain't over 'til it's over.
Also note the very good soundtrack which fits very well with each scene and is lively. Highly recommended.

All in all, and as the title rightly indicates, it’s a message of love, and also that you may be looking for something that’s already in front of you. Friends, family, there’s no need for just one person to feel loved, it is everywhere, anywhere, if one wants to see it.  It does not feature Santa Claus, but I really think this is a perfect Christmas movie. Enjoy!

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