Love Actually

“But you know, the thing about romance is people only get together at the very end.”

Set in London at Christmas time, Love Actually follows the intertwining romantic lives of an assortment of characters: from the Prime Minister to a pair of movie stand-ins and everyone in between. The whole thing is set against the backdrop of aging pop star Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) striving to make his Christmas single (a lazy cover of his own biggest hit, with the word ‘Christmas’ replacing ‘love’) number one on the charts.

Love Actually is one of those kinds of movies that you’ll probably only like if you like that sort of thing. If you don’t like that sort of thing, there will be parts that have you rolling your eyes. Basically, if you like romantic comedies, you will love this movie. If you hate romantic comedies, you might just like it anyway. I can’t say the movie realistically depicts romance, but it doesn’t all end in rose petals. Some of the storylines end happily, some sadly, others vaguely.

I’m not sure who was in charge of casting this movie or when they graduated from Hogwarts, but really, the only way to get this many wonderful and famous actors in one movie is wizardry. Let’s do this quickly (and alphabetically): Rowan Atkinson, Elisha Cuthbert, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Shannon Elizabeth, Colin Firth, Gregor Fisher, Martin Freeman, Hugh Grant, January Jones, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Kris Marshall, Martine McCutcheon, Ivana Milicevic, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Joanna Page, Alan Rickman, Denise Richards, Rodrigo Santoro, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Thompson, and Billy Bob Thornton. For the cherry on top of a fantastic cast, Denise Richards only has one line.

Love Actually really makes you realize how vapid other romcoms are. This movie manages to combine about a dozen love stories into an average length film. It takes other movies the same amount of time to do one. Considering the time crunch the writers put themselves under, most of the characters are surprisingly well developed. Of course, some do suffer (Mia, John/Jack, Judy, Mark, Juliet, Aurelia), but all in all the writers do a credible job.

My favorite story is probably the Harry (Alan Rickman)/Karen (Emma Thompson) story, largely due to the acting. Two amazing, amazing actors. Rickman and Thompson have worked together a lot (Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility, The Song of Lunch, Judas Kiss) and they play off each other beautifully. Although both are so fantastic either could do a scene with a block of wood and make it award-worthy. The scene where she listens to Joni Mitchell in her room makes me cry every time.

I also love Jamie’s (Colin Firth) story, because I love anything with Colin Firth in it. I would tell you how many times I’ve seen Pride and Prejudice, but it would disturb you. He’s just ridiculously dreamy. As 30 Rock has said, “I got rid of all my Colin Firth movies in case they consider them erotica.” / “That man can wear a sweater.”

My least favorite storyline by far is that of Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall). I understand that disbelief often needs to be suspended in order to enjoy a romantic comedy, but Colin’s story takes this to new heights.

Bits and Pieces:

In David’s (Hugh Grant) first scenes, his tie continually changes between shots, which was (allegedly) done on purpose, as a joke. I have my doubts.

The US President (Billy Bob Thornton) seems to be some unholy combination of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Jamie jumps into a lake at one point, a direct homage to Firth’s most famous scene in Pride and Prejudice. In addition, his character’s last name is Bennett. Cute, yes?

If you get a chance, you should really check out the deleted scenes. They had to cut a few stories for time. The one with the headmistress is very good, although I must admit I’m happy they cut little Sam’s airport gymnastics routine.

Quotes:

Billy: “Oh, fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole!”
I use this a lot. It doesn’t sound as good without the accent.

Karen: “So what’s this big news, then?”
Daisy: “We’ve been given our parts in the nativity play, and I’m the lobster.”
Karen: “The lobster?”
Daisy: “Yeah!”
Karen: “In the nativity play?”
Daisy: “Yeah. First lobster!”
Karen: “There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?”
Daisy: “Duh.”
The friend who first got me to watch this movie did so by describing this scene.

Natalie: “Hello, David. I mean 'sir.' Shit. I can’t believe I’ve just said that. And now I’ve gone and said 'shit'...twice. I’m so sorry, sir.”
David: “It’s fine, it’s fine. You could’ve said 'fuck,' and then we’d have been in real trouble.”
Natalie: “Thank you, sir. I did have an awful premonition that I was gonna fuck up on the first day. Oh, piss it!”

David: (to a portrait of Margaret Thatcher) “You have this kind of problem? Yeah, of course you did, you saucy minx.”

David: “We may be a small country, but we’re a great one too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.”

four out of four no. 1 Christmas singles

14 comments:

Juliette said...

I'm now thinking I should start watching 30 Rock, just for that joke!

I love this film. Though I am a little disturbed that as of this year, it features Bilbo Baggins stark naked...

Billie Doux said...

I thought I'd seen this movie, but it certainly doesn't sound familiar. It does sound wonderful. I'll have to give it a try.

Billie Doux said...

And I've also worn out my copy of Pride and Prejudice. :)

Ben P. Duck said...

This was and remains one of my absolute favorite holiday movies. Its goofy but sincere, and is on the goofiest but more sincere subjects that I can think of.

Anonymous said...

Go on watch 30 rock..it's fun..so is this movie as well as heartrending..Thompson and Rickman's storyline is so fascinating, and yes they have some real chemistry as ever. Bill Nighy's rude washed up rock star is a hoot.
Anna

CrazyCris said...

This is one of those movies that didn't really click with me when I first saw it, and I probably never would have seen it again were it not for the fact that my roommate of 2 years LOVED it and it is also my sister's favourite Christmas movie (and my dad also really likes it) so they put it on every year. After several "forced" viewings it finally won me over! :p

My favourite actos in it are definitely Thompson/Rickman (those guys are amazing!), but for couple it would have to be Jamie and Aurelia (although the Prime Minister's story is also a blast!). I hadn't at all associated that pond dive with Pride and Prejudice! Bad me! (I've also worn out my copy), I guess I missed it because they look so miserable in the water! Also had no idea his last name in the film was Bennett, brilliant! :o)

One thing I really like about this film is how they managed to rather brilliantly weave the different stories together. It doesn't feel at all forced. The connections between the different characters definitely feel real!

And yeah Juliette... this year I might have trouble watching a naked Bilbo Baggins as well! :p

celticmarc said...

Never seen it.

It's British, now, HAVE to see it !

Alan Rickman : another brilliant actor (1)(public announcement : if case if you haven't noticed, I have a weak spot for actors/actresses !)

(1) of course great performances in the H Potter series, yes, but he was great in....Dogma.

JK said...

Wonderful movie. Quite possibly my favourite Christmas movie ever, in fact. (It's A Wonderful Life, while undeniably brilliant and certainly heartwarming, just doesn't make me laugh.) For me, between Love Actually and Die Hard, Alan Rickman might as well be Santa Claus.

onanymous said...

This is definitely my favourite Christmas movie of all time. (Die Hard is probably second)

I've seen it so many times, but some of the stories (especially the Alan Rickman & Emma Thompson and Laura Linney ones) can still make me cry.

The Prime Minister's tie - in the commentary they mentioned that the guy who was in charge of continuity for that scene had to wear the tie in question for the rest of the shoot.

It also features the quote I use most in real live - "Just in cases"

Juliette said...

I literally wore out the Pride and Prejudice videos and was forced to replace it on DVD :)

sunbunny said...

Juliette - 30 Rock is AMAZING.

celticmarc - Alan Rickman is amazing in everything he's in. He's my favorite part of Dogma. That and the whole Buddy Jesus thing.

fellow P&P lovers - I have three different versions of P&P movies (1940, 1995, 2005), and three copies of the novel (one falling apart, one annotated, and one in an absolutely gorgeous anthology of Austen's work). Anyone have an objection to my reviewing the three movies sometime next year?

Billie Doux said...

Great minds think alike, because I was thinking that with this many P&P fans, we need a review or two on the site. They're all yours, sunbunny.

CrazyCris said...

Sunbunny brilliant idea!!! I haven't seen the 1940 one in ages! Loved the twist with Lady Catherine in it... but I don't remember who played Lizzie (or anyone else for that matter!). :o)
*sigh* I only have two copies of the novel! ;o)

Anonymous said...

Pride and Prejudice reviews sounds ace..Love all the versions I've seen..
The 1980 one is pretty good but Colin Firth is my Darcy by far.
Anna