Genre Grandeur – Love Actually (2003)
This is my first time participating in Rob's Genre Grandeur series woo hoo! Here is my entry for the holiday movies theme. Originally posted on Movierob:
Written and Directed by Richard Curtis
This month Rob’s Genre Grandeaur series takes on holiday movies. I chose one that I love turning on during the holidays, it helps get me in the spirit and it is one of those films that is perfect to have playing in the background as I wrap presents. Now imagine that moment, Christmas movie playing in the background, beautiful tree all lit up, lights all over the house, stockings hung up, now do you feel the cheesiness oozing out of that moment? If so, then that is exactly how you will feel after watching Love Actually.
The film is directed and written by Richard Curtis, who also made the romantic comedies, Four Weddings and A Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill. This film falls perfectly in with his other ones; it’s as if the moment when Bridget Jones realized she always loved Marc Darcy, the guy who wears the corny Christmas sweater, was made into a movie.
Love Actually features many different characters that are all going through different phases of love in their life. Each story is interwoven on top of another and all the characters seem to connect in one way. The movie opens with aging rocker Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) who is recording a Christmas song and he can’t seem to get it right and he admits openly that he hates his new song. Being a famous person, he has come to realize has left him all alone.
Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a recently widowed father left to take care of his son Sam (Thomas Sangster). He is friends with Karen (Emma Thompson) who is married to Harry (Alan Rickman). He has an assistant Sarah (Laura Linney) who is hopelessly in love with her co-worker (Karl Rodrigo Santoro). Another one of his co-workers has a thing for him and throws herself at him every opportunity she gets. Emma’s brother is the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is secretly in love with Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), the woman who brings him tea and the office assistant. She bumbles and gets flustered at his presence and he secretly has a huge crush on her.
Juliet (Keira Knightly) and Peter (Chiwetal Ejiofor) just got married and his best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is secretly in love with her. The whole time she thought he didn’t like her, but he has been secretly pining for her. Yes, that is our beloved Rick Grimes looking all fresh faced, sweet and adorable.
One of the waiters at the wedding is a young guy who believes that if he moves to the US, then he will get lucky in love because all American chicks dig dudes with accents. This guy makes getting laid in England seem almost hopeless and I hope that is not the case for all our UK dudes out there.
These main stories all intersect one another. Every story or vignette is also interspersed with Christmas or love songs, from Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” to “All You Need Is Love.” There is not a moment that goes by that a song is playing in the background, this only adds to make the movie more heartfelt and cheesy.
The film centers on many of the characters showing big acts of love, from first kisses in front of millions of people a la the Prime Minister to guys revealing giant note cards that say, “To me you are perfect” for the gal they admire the most. The film counts down the weeks till Christmas, slowly revealing various moments of love throughout the week.
One of my favorite scenes is when Daniel and his little boy are watching Titanic, that momentous scene where Jack and Rose embrace on the ship playing in the background; he tells his son that there isn’t just one person for you out there. Not only was he giving him advice, in a sense it was a note to himself that he too could find love again.
The movie has its downsides, some of the scenes feel superfluous and corny, but what can you truly expect from a Christmas movie. In order to show us so many of these characters and their stories, it’s hard to figure out what was the main narrative of the entire film. There were many other characters, Martin Freeman as the sex scene actor and Colin Firth as the writer, I did not even mention because they were pretty much pointless. It’s almost as if the director wanted to show us so much and ran out of time. Had he cut out a few of the stories, it may have been a little more cohesive.
Love Actually was never considered an Oscar worthy film, nor did it garner any accolades, but it has stood the test of time and every year it is played during Christmas because it is a sweet story that doesn’t cut to deep and is fun to watch at the surface level. The running theme of finding and keeping love is something people can always relate to and never gets old. Tender moments are balanced out with funny scenes like the Prime Minister dancing around his house to “Jump for My Love.” Regardless for all its’ silliness it is a worthy movie to watch over the holidays and put you in the Christmas spirit.