Love Actually (2003)

This movie was selected not because it tied into anything currently in theatres (though with its combined cast, it probably does) but because we both love it, and came at it from different directions. Really, we just want more people to see it.

Cheryl’s take:

When Love Actually came out, it was one of those big movies that I avoided even though everyone I knew rushed out to see it. I could taste the saccharine from the trailer and I wanted no part of it. On top of that, it was released on the heels of Bridget Jones’ Diary, a movie I never saw because I’d hated the book so much, I threw it across the room out of rage.

Finally, it happened: I was home, sick, in bed, and Love Actually was on tv. It was a welcome relief from home renovation shows and 24 hour news, and in my weakened state, I let it play. And I loved it. And now I watch it regularly — even outside Christmas holidays because it’s just a lovely, charming, bittersweet, slice of life.

Love Actually allowed me to understand why so many women swoon over Colin Firth and reminded me why I love everything that Alan Rickman does. I fell for the adorable round-cheeked Martine McCutcheon and the sweetly sultry Lucia Moniz. Emma Thompson and Bill Nighy are in top form here, too. In the end, this was a case where a stellar cast plus a pretty good script overcame any amount of contrived schmaltz that a holiday rom-com might otherwise deliver.

Alynda’s thoughts:

I don’t remember the logic behind the choice of Love Actually for this review.  Frankly, I don’t care either.  I love this one, an awful lot.  Now I know as the cock-eyed optimist, that’s what I’m supposed to say, but it is true and this isn’t your average romantic comedy anyway.

Can you think of a relatively well-known British actor?  They are probably in this movie.  It is a series of stories that twine around each other, and sometime collide, all about the nature of love.  When love is good, when love is bad, romantic love, platonic love, and how sometimes the love of family can outweigh romantic love for one’s self.

Aside from a lot of touching performances, and some really very funny bits, (Martin Freeman’s storyline is delightfully weird) what makes this a good movie in my opinion is that all the different stories don’t end up tied up in a shiny, happy bow.  Did I mention that this is set around Christmas?  No?   Enough do that you get that warm happy feeling but enough don’t that the film doesn’t veer too far into the saccharine.  There’s a scene with Emma Thompson where she’s so quietly devastated that you’ll forget that overall this movie is supposed to be funny.

This has become a go-to Christmas movie for me.  Even if it was terrible, which it is not, quite frankly it had me at Colin Firth, Alan Richman, and Liam Neeson.  Oh, and a dance number done by Hugh Grant!  Make yourself some cocoa, grab a blanket and snuggle up to watch this movie.  It’s worth it.



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