Love Actually is a 2003 British rom-com centered around showing different kinds of love. It features a series of intertwined stories which take place over the course the month leading up to Christmas. There are about 9 to 11 distinct stories (depending on how you count), all of which are related in some way (though some of the connections are extremely tenuous and some are tightly entwined). The stories range from puppy-love of a 9-year-old boy to the Prime Minister’s awkward falling in love to infidelity to the platonic love of two men who have no other people in their lives.
All of the stories are brilliant, funny, heartbreaking and wonderful by turns and all at once (except the Colin storyline because he is quite frankly a sexist wanker, though the american girls he “collects” are somewhat amusing parodies). I truly couldn’t pick a favorite.
Liam Neeson plays a recently bereaved father to young Sam, and is basically the best tv-dad since Bill Cosby.
Colin Firth plays a writer who retreats to France after his girlfriend cheats on him with his brother (yes, ouch). There he meets and falls in love with Aurelia, a beautiful young Portugese housekeeper, despite them having no language in common. Watching them talk past each other is just delightful.
Then there’s the heart-breaking stories like Emma Thompson as the housewifely sister of the new Prime Minister, coping with her husband of many years (Alan Rickman) dabbling his toes in infidelity with the pretty new secretary in his office. She’s just amazing, and relatable, particularly the bouncing between tears and putting on a brave face for the children at Christmas. (There really aren’t any stills or .gifs that truly do her performance justice. One must simply watch the movie. But this particular scene is a tear-jerker every time).
There’s lots of new love stories, including the Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) falling hard for a pretty new assistant at No 10 Downing St. One of the highlights is Hugh offering to assassinate the jerk ex-boyfriend of Natalie for breaking up with her for, as he says, “getting fat.”
Then there’s Hugh Grant dancing through the halls of the residence to a pop-song. Seriously, one of the absolute best movie scenes ever.
But one of the more touching moments is the awkward expression of deep affection between the degenerate rock star Billie Mack and his manager. It’s the kind of love that quite often crops up between two totally straight men, but which is usually ignored (or derided) by popular media. It’s lovely to see things like that celebrated for once.
There’s truly too many scenes and actors and writing choices that I love for various reasons to fit into a single blog post. This is one of my go-to movies for…everything. Not because it’s hilarious (it is in parts) or anything, just because it regularly runs me through all the best emotions. It’s one of the few movies that can reliably move me to tears both of the sad and happy variety. That’s quite a feat.
And yes, I did just watch it again. Because of reasons. And cried a minimum of 5 times. And then stay up an extra hour to write about it.