The Christmas holidays are almost over, so I thought it was a good moment to share my review on my favourite Christmas film: Love Actually. Since the first time I saw the film, it was my favourite one for this time of year. It’s very romantic, is set in London – one of my favourite cities – and it’s also very funny. Every character is in some way connected to each other and therefore I call it the British predecessor of the American Valentine’s Day and the Dutch Alles is Liefde, but more succesful. The film starts three weeks before Christmas and follows multiple characters in their search for love in the English capital London.
The director and writer of the film is Richard Curtis, who we know of other romantic films like About Time, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill. It won’t be a big surprise that also Love Actually is a sappy romantic chick flick, that men probably want to skip. In the lead roles we see Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighly, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, Martin Freeman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. A film with an amazing cast that outperform their American colleagues from the mediocre film Valentine’s Day.
The characters are at some way all connected to each other and have their own love problems. Hugh Grant plays the most important character: the British Prime Minister, who fancies one of his employees. His sister Karen (Thompson) has problems in her marriage once she finds out her husband Harry (Rickman), has bought a necklace for someone else.. In the meantime she helps Daniel (Neeson), a father who has just lost his wife. His son Sam goes to the same school as Karen’s children, and falls in love with an American girl. Colin Firth’s character Jamie finds out his wife is cheating on him with his brother on the wedding day of his friends Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet (Keira Knightley). This leads him to France, where he falls for his Portuguese housekeeper. In the meantime Juliet finds out that her husband’s best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) has a huge crush on her. I can continue but it’s way more fun and more clear when you find out yourself how everyone is connected!
Because of the connection between the different characters, the romantic, dramatic and more comic storylines are woven through the entire film. Therefore the film is not overly romantic nor dramatic. The film is perfectly in balance and there are more than one funny moments. Almost every character gets their happy ending, and therefore Love Actually is the ultimate feel good film. Every character is different, is in an other life phase and his its own problems. It’s because of this better to empathize with the characters. Love Actually is also timeless, since Christmas is of all times and a lot of people are celebrating this event.
Like I mentioned before, the film starts three weeks before Christmas with a nice message from Grant’s character: Love is all around. During this period the film works towards a moment when all the characters find their love and happiness. But before Christmas the adults still need to go to work, children have their school performances, Christmas parties are organized, presents are being bought, and there is a wedding. In the meantime singer Billy Mack (Bill Nighly) is working on a comeback by making a Christmas song. At the end of the film all seems to be well. However, the older couple has to work on their marriage but even that seems to end well. For variation, the film doesn’t only take place in London. After Jamie (Colin Firth) learns about the infidelity of his wife, he leaves for his home in France to write a book. This is the place he falls in love which eventually takes him to Lisbon. Kris Marshalls character Colin goes even further, since he thinks America is the best place to find a woman. Despite of his buddy’s doubts Colin leaves and eventually returns with two women!
Love Actually is the perfect film to end the month December and start a new year with lost of self-confidence. It’s a very romantic Christmas film, but because of the many characters and storylines, the balance between romance, drama, comedy is perfect. The characters are at some way all connected to each other, but are all very different and in other life phases. This makes the film more interesting and you can emphasize better with characters. Craig Armstrong’s score – and in particularly PM’s Love Theme – is truly amazing and touches the very soul. In short, Love Actually is indispensable in the Christmas period!