Saturday, October 24, 2009

Love Actually (2003)


The Widowers, Married Couples, Divorcees, and Singles struggle with love in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

When I got on my rants about the lack of romance in modern romance films, Love Actually is the perfect example of what I'm looking for. Funny with realistic characters, heartfelt in its attempt to look at love, and sweet in its whimsical and fun nature. The movie deals with a series of interconnected couples ranging from the prime minister down to nude stand in actors and the various troubles they have with love and romance. Love Actually puts a smile on your face, and delivers real up and downs, the hard and easy decisions people must make, and how things can turn out (for good or bad) when you take a chance on Love.

For all those reasons I really enjoyed this film. It doesn't try to force what isn't there, it utilizes each character it creates in order to show a different side of love. In this it manages to combine the sexual, emotional, intellectual, and fantasy sides of love, and bring about a truly sweet nature you can't help but love. Perhaps the best part is the ensemble cast put together for this film, filled with acting legends, modern greats, and up and comers, each of which is given their time to shine, in what may be described as one of the most star packed 2 hours in film. Stand outs, for me at least, include Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Grant who probably carry the blunt force of the film's romance story and scenes. Laura Linney is strong, but a bit underused, in one of the more prominent side stories, and Andrew Lincoln gives some strong moments, especially in one of the films more romantic scenes.

First time director Richard Curtis (whose recent outing in The Boat That Rocked is a great little gem) shows a great aptitude for happy films that have harsh emotions, but don't dwell on the downer moments. Instead Curtis crafts a series of wonderful characters, easily transitioned from one to the other when one is in a more down moment. Crafting each sequence carefully, Curtis brings out the best in each moment, with a final few minutes to die for: Sam (Thomas Sangster) in the airport + Jamie (Colin Firth) going for Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) combo scene = amazing fun and romantic. On the down side a few stories aren't quite wrapped up so well, they leave a bit of ambiguity, but it doesn't hurt the film, nor the audience, and as such I'm more than willing to give this film the free pass.

While by no means perfect, Love Actually is a great modern romance film that should have gotten more love in the States than it did.

4 better thoughts:

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

These romantic comedies with multiple story lines are to jumbled for my taste. I think they should have just done a whole film around the Hugh Grant storyline, throw in Keira Knightley somewhere and call it a film.

DEZMOND said...

Ryan, you forgot to add that LOVE ACTUALLY also has beautiful music. In some moments it's really breathtaking how they've incorporated some lovely romantic songs into the movie. :)
TOO LOST IN YOU was a huge hit in Europe, and is now considered to be one of the great romantic classics.

Ging said...

So often romantic comedies are fun and interesting until the ending then they just fall flat. Perhaps since this movie had multiple stories it didn't fall so flat at the end. I enjoyed it but it has been a long time since I saw it.

The Mad Hatter said...

I do love this flick, which some dudes may be ashamed of, but I don't care.

One of my favorite little moments of my wedding day, was my best man(younger brother) giving his toast. He ended off by saying, "I thought I'd finish this toast by quoting Ryan's favorite toast to raise a glass to...To the Queen!" was at this point that the DJ cued up "All You Need is Love"

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