Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Sienna Guillory, Lucia Moniz, Liam Neeson, Thomas Sangster, Bill Nighy, Gregor Fisher, Martine McCutcheon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Rodrigo Santoro, Kris Marshall, Abdul Salis, Heike Makatsch, Martin Freeman, Joanna Page, Olivia Olson, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, Claudia Schiffer, Nina Sosanya, Ivana Milicevic, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, Shannon Elizabeth, Denise Richards, Lulu Popplewell and Marcus Brigstocke.
Well Love Actually is a 2003 British Ensemble Romantic Comedy that i saw last Christmas ans reviewing it now. This is one of those movies i was "suppose" to watch on Christmas or Valentine's Day or to be proven that there are some good romantic comedies out there and i am just skeptical. Well i have seen this movie before but didn't got a chance to finish it, as i was watching, i remembered stories of characters played by Knightley and Firth. Love Actually is packed with some great well known mostly British actors, the movie is a delightful multi-layered cake with lots of icing and sugar. The characters and stories are somehow interconnected, we see lives of these couples and what love means to them and how it defines their lives. Movie basically serves as a countdown to Christmas, starting 5 weeks before the Holiday.
The movie begins and ends in a same way, we see arrivals at the Heathrow Airport Terminal. Different people meeting their friends, families and loved ones. There are so many stories in this movie i don't know how to actually introduce them briefly with you guys but I'll try. Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is the aged rock and roll legend who does a Christmas variation of a classic song in hope for it to become the number hit single on the holiday. Nothing so great about this story however the performance by Bill Nighy is extraordinary, he is just truly spectacular and very convincing to watch on screen playing Billy Mack. The second story is that of Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), they marry in a very lovely ceremony which is organised and videotaped by their best friend and Peter's best man Mark (Andrew Lincoln). We later see Mark's true feelings, it is revealed that he is secretly in love with Juliet but couldn't say or do anything because of his friend. He acts very uncomfortable and shy around Juliet in order to control himself and you can clearly see that in his face, another brilliant performance by Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead fame. I love that brief intimate moment that both Juliet and Mark share at the end of their story arc and also when they confront each other in Mark's studio where she sees the video where he just taped her and nothing else.
Particularly the most romantic story is that of Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), crushed by his girlfriend sleeping his brother, Jamie, who is a writer goes to his French Cottage. He meets this Portuguese Housekeeper Aurelia who only speaks her native language, we see an instant spark and their story sets out to be the most romantic of the bunch. The moment in the cafe where Aurelia works has to be maybe the most cheesiest thing in the movie, but also the most romantic and beautiful scene which brought some tiny tears in my eyes. Harry (Alan Rickman) is the MD of a agency and is smitten by his new secretary, Mia. He buys her an expensive jewelery that his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) assumes is for her. Their story is that of an aging couple with children and responsibilities, reaching that part of life with each other where it feels one may have lost that spark they had, that love that existed before. The fifth story is that of Karen's brother David (Hugh Grant) who just became the Prime Minister of Britain, the most ridiculous story of the bunch and i felt nothing in this part. For me, Hugh Grant doesn't always works in a romantic comedy. Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) is a junior member of the household staff, they grow in love with each other and is revealed in a big moment to every one when the curtains are raised at a School Function which his sister is attending with her children. Billy Bob Thornton plays US president and serves a minor role in the story, that whole political bullying part did looked kind of something you wouldn't expect from a movie like this. But this whole story never works in the first place for me, its the height of ridiculousness.
The story of Daniel (Liam Neeson) who is Karen's friend is currently mourning over his wife's death with his son Sam (Thomas Sangster) who has fallen for her classmate Joanna (Olivia Olson). He wants to participate as a drummer in the School Christmas show (the same one) where Joanna is suppose to sing the infamous "All i Want for Christmas" one of the most sugary pop moment in the movie. The story of Sarah (Laura Linney) and her mentally ill brother Michael comes off very emotional, she is in love with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) who is the company's creative director where she works. Here we see family obligations overcoming ones personal feelings, it is a bit hard to watch that a woman like her kicking that opportunity right in the face where she can be with someone she loved for years just because she feels a responsibility and obligation towards her ill brother, brave and inspiring indeed. There are a few other stories too but they are very minor and i don't feel them to be of much significance.
This movie is indeed better than all of those ensemble romantic comedy attempts that have been done specially by Garry Marshall recently. It somehow works here, not completely but it still does. They story may have become a complete mess if it wasn't for the director and the writers, they save it from becoming too much at a time. All of these stories are timed decently, giving no preference to some particular one overall it moves at a very slow pace and giving the notion that we have to meet so many of these characters, feels unnecessary. A few things go as a complete misfire here, like playing with audience's feelings a bit, manipulating over the 9/11 reference, should have been simple "Ah! i feel great when i see people meeting their loved ones on Heathrow Airport". The ending works the best, where we meet the characters a month later in their lives greeting on the Airport followed by an actual footage of the arrivals played with a beautiful song, that is more effective. Most of the stories work here because we want them to and that the casting in this movie is very great. From Bill Nighy to Emma Thompson and from Colin Firth to Laura Linney it feels so good watching these beloved actors work in this movie which may come off silly and over long but makes us feel warm, cozy and that there is love out there is many forms. Some jokes in the movie works and other times they feel annoying, editing and pacing issue remains followed by some unnecessary additions which feels like something American Filmmaker will do. I enjoyed this movie overall, very flawed but still a lovely experience.