Love Actually Movie Review

I can only presume that the British calendar is so uniquely screwy that it allows for a Christmas movie to open a week after Halloween. Or maybe Love Actually is just in a universe of its own... one in which the prime minister is inaugurated in November and where an adverb can be used to modify a noun.

But a little oddness is forgivable: Directing a movie is a strange place for Richard Curtis, who's written umpteen Brit-friendly movies and TV shows over the years but hasn't directed one, until now.

Little surprise then that Love Actually plays like a Richard Curtis Greatest Hits compilation. The film comprises nine major and barely-connected stories (as near as I can count) revolving around love and the weeks before Christmas. There's a morose singleton (Laura Linney) looking for love from a co-worker [Bridget Jones's Diary]. In the most enchanting vignette, there's the new Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) falling in love with a foul-mouthed servant (Martine McCutcheon) [Notting Hill in reverse]. There's even one wedding and one funeral [Four Weddings And a Funeral]. And there's Rowan Atkinson [Bean, Blackadder, et al.].

And there's more -- much, much more. From a company boss (Alan Rickman) being tempted away from his wife (Emma Thompson) to another guy (Colin Firth) who finds his soulmate in a housekeeper (that's two men falling for maids in one movie!) to a pair of movie set stand-ins who find love under the lights as they coldly play out a sex scene for the cameras. Digesting the rest of the movie would be close to impossible and counter-productive, since it would rob Love Actually of its charm.

Too bad then that Love Actually is so derivative that it ultimately turns into a severe case of déjà vu. You sit there (for over two hours) wondering what movie was she in? and where have I seen this story before? Eventually the answer to both of those questions ends up being some other movie with Hugh Grant in it.

Not that I don't like Hugh. He's a great comic actor and probably the best part of Love Actually -- though Rickman, McCutcheon, and the effervescent Bill Nighy as a faded rock star trying to make a comeback with a cheesy Christmas song all give him a run for his money. The problem is that Curtis has overstuffed this movie with so many storylines that no single star gets a moment to shine. Just when you're getting into Grant's entanglement, you are whisked away to Liam Neeson crying over his dead wife. It's jarring and it's just too much. Love Actually is never hard to follow -- because Curtis doesn't even bother to make these stories connect beyond a few irrelevant coincidences -- but it is hard to really care about three dozen main characters, each with eight minutes of screen time. There's a fair amount of dead weight here, and Curtis could have easily crafted a stronger package by excising the weaker plotlines. (And by the way, you should dash any hope of taking the kids to this holiday film: It's chock-full of nudity and sexual situations.)

Curtis's gags are generally spot-on, particularly after the film finds its footing. A touching finale makes up for some of the earlier dragging, and cameos galore -- at least half a dozen -- will entertain the movie snobs in the audience. Just don't go and spoil it by looking up the credits on the Internet.

Raise your hand if you like pie.


Comments

Ladeebug's picture

Ladeebug

This movie is one of my all time FAVORITES! How can anyone NOT like it ? There is literally nothing about this movie that I don't like. The actors were great and the individual stories were interesting enough to keep you hooked all through the movie from start to finish. In addition, the way the plot intertwined with all the other characters and story lines was simply brilliant!....The character of Carl was so incredibly gorgeous I got aroused just watching him on screen. It's more than just a girl flick, you have to see it, you won't be sorry...

8 years 6 months ago
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CrissieSue's picture

CrissieSue

I LOVE the movie Love Actually. And whether or not an adjective is modifying the verb is totally irrelevant. Anyone who pays attention at the beginning of the movie will hear Hugh Grant's narration that says, "...if you look for it, you will find that love actually is all around." Hence the name of the movie. It doesn't matter if every character is connected. Is this totally necessary to make a movie enjoyable? I think that every aspect of love is covered as much as possible in this delightful movie. The only one I noticed missing was a gay relationship, but I found it in the deleted scenes. It would have been super if that one could have been left in. Anyway, utterly fantastic movie as far as I'm concerned. I have the DVD and watch it every couple of weeks.

8 years 6 months ago
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sonny's picture

sonny

i love 'love actually' so much. know that sometime love is such a game for u, when u fell it will switch back to be a player and u become a game. :)

8 years 4 months ago
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Looby's picture

Looby

I love "love actually" sooooooooooooo much and all i want is another film. is it me or is Thomas Sangster soooooo cute!he looks way younger than he actually is i mean i thought he was 9 and hes 16! Now i no i probably wudnt be able to go out with him if i met him coz im only 12! how unfair!!!!!!! anyway, luv the film want another and need more pics of thomas sangster!

8 years 5 months ago
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vick's picture

vick

love actualy, is a great move, with some compelling messages. it is jumbled, but that is the beauty of it, in all the madness there is one constant. that is the beauty of it and there is a structure in the move. it is a wonderful move, i enjoyed watching it, this is coming from a guy that likes action and comedy movies. its a love story with multiple plot lines, very hard to pull off but supurbe. yours respectfully vick

8 years 9 months ago
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Love Actually Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2003

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