Christmas Movies: “Love Actually”
My favourite Christmas movie is, unsurprisingly for those who know me, the 2003 British romantic comedy, “Love Actually,” from the same team that brought us “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” I mean, I love the classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and all the other animated movies on Christmas, but “Love Actually” is my go-to film around this time of the year (and admittedly, around three times more during the rest of the year).
There’s no sublime message, deeper meaning or philosophical discourse present here. It is what it is: the stories of different people in different situations during the time of year when that one greatest thing humans are capable of is best manifested – love.
It assembles an all-star cast of some of the most brilliant character actors and actresses in the country, including the wonderful Bill Nighy as the raucous has-been rock star whose comeback song is the movie’s focal point, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney and Keira Knightley, with cameo appearances by the comic Rowan Atkinson. As an aside, two of the actors in the movie, Martin Freeman and Andrew Lincoln, now star in popular television shows.
“Love Actually” is light, feel-good and best of all, surprisingly honest in the way it shows how human relationships work, and in some cases, don’t work. It’s hilarious yet can also get you teary-eyed, by turns painful and heart-warming, but at the end of it all, leaves you with a sense of optimism that there is really something to be said for love and how it moves in our lives, especially at Christmas time.
Director Richard Curtis, who also wrote it, works on a simple but infallible premise: we are all interconnected in some way, and love, no matter who, what, when or where we are, touches us and makes us better people for having experienced it – whether it’s love lost, gained, unrequited, seemingly improbable, romantic, familial or platonic. The narrator states it in the beginning, that “if you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around us.” Because Christmas, and the suffusion of love the season brings, misses no one, from the Prime Minister himself to movie body doubles to a housewife to an 11-year old boy.
For those who haven’t seen “Love Actually,” do. Even if you’re not into rom-coms (or Christmas, for that matter), there’s a story in here for you.
Opening Scene from “Love Actually” (Warning: Contains strong language)