Day 6: Love Actually

So many characters, so many stories, so many locations and so much love! Love Actually has become a Christmas classic that also has become the aspiration of every ensemble film since its release. The film was released in 2003, from writer/director Richard Curtis, as an example of all kinds of Christmas more realistic stories one may expeiernce at the holidays.

Throughout there are funny moments, touching moments, love, heartache and a general sense that at Christmastime everything is supposed to be perfect, yet that rarely happens. There are many stories throughout the film that give it a slight bulkiness, but once you become familiar with the cast, you can start to see the connections between them.

Who’s Who

The film starts with Hugh Grant as England’s incoming Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, David, falls for a staff member, Natalie. His sister, Karen, is a housewife married to a man, Harry, who has a slight wandering eye. Karen is best friends with Daniel, who just lost his wife and is now a single parent to his stepson, Sam. Harry has an assistant who is making moves on him (someone call HR!). He is also the boss to Sarah who is in love with Karl at the office, but her brother takes most of her attention. Sarah attends the wedding of Juliet and Peter, although Peter’s best friend Mark is secretly in love with Juliet.

Also at the wedding is Jaime, a writer, who retreats to the country, only to fall in love with the Portuguese, Aurelia, his housekeeper. Cater waiters at the wedding are Colin and Tony. As another job, Tony works on porn shoots where he works with John and Judy, the stand-ins. All the while, Billy Mack and his manager are trying to have a rock n’roll comeback with a new Christmas version of his biggest hit. Track that? To be honest, that’s not even everything! The all-star British cast do their best as each leave their mark despite being part of such a large group.

Do You Ship it?

This movie has spawned a few knock-offs, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Those were less successful, leaving Love Actually, as the gold standard for ensemble holiday films. The secret sauce to this film is despite the strings of storylines, none are too complicated and all focus on relationships, so there is not too much to follow within each characters arc.

One of the main relationships is between Harry and Karen. The only married couple explore the challenges and expectations of married life at Christmas. Harry’s near-miss affair has left many fans still upset he didn’t gift Karen the necklace given to his assistant, but instead bought her a CD set. Despite this, one of the best scenes features Rowan Atkinson prepping the gift wrapped necklace.

The other main relationship is between David and Natalie. A “Will they?” “Won’t they?” relationship, as he is Prime Minister and she is on his payroll. Grant’s timeless rom-com charm allows his performance, even playing a politician, to be sincere and funny.

 

Love Actually (2003)
HUGH GRANT and MARTINE McCUTCHEON

With too many iconic scenes to count and so very many storylines that could each be analyzed as the best or the cutest or the most funny, there is a lot to love about Love Actually.

What your favorite scene from Love Actually? Share in the comments!

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