To be honest, this is the kind of movie that almost everyone has seen. I’m not going to be saying anything too crazy about this film. It’s great. It’s a masterpiece of Romantic Comedy – so much so that it has set a template for many other rom-coms to follow in the last fourteen years. Love Actually was written and directed by Richard Curtis, the genius behind films like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Boat that Rocked. Just like the films I’ve named and almost all the other ones I haven’t Curtis has proven that he can create characters that are relatable but can also be put in ridiculous situations, be they romantic or not, and create comedy. I’ve said a few times that there is usually only one good romantic comedy film a year, but if this is the standard of good, there’s probably one every five or so years.
I can’t see this review being very long so I’ll brush over some things I liked and some things I didn’t. Many of the characters are believable and are introduced briefly into the story, and yet you know almost everything you need to know about them by about ten minutes in. This is an example of how you create a good ensemble. Give your characters a chance to grow but keep them as simple as possible. This isn’t a criticism, I like that all I need to know about John and Judy (Martin Freeman and Joanna Page) is that they are body doubles for a film with a sex scene in it. Their relationship blossoms from that point. I also like that in the first meeting between Prime Minister, David (Hugh Grant) and Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) you feel the pomp and circumstance that would usually come in the air of 10 Downing Street disappear the moment both of them say ‘fuck’. It’s good writing and great introductions that makes this film stand out to me. It is something a lot of the ‘copycat’ films have been unable to achieve.
Whether it’s the lost in translation love between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz) or the misguided sexual adventure Colin Frizzle (Kris Marshall) embarks on, everyone has their favourite Love Actually story. Mine is the Step-Father and Son relationship between Daniel (Liam Neeson) and Sam (Thomas Sangster) and their own journeys to find love after the death of Sam’s mother.
I’m going to wrap this up now. Love Actually is probably one of the best Christmas films and one of the best romantic comedies of all time. Admittedly, that statement is coming from someone that doesn’t like either of those genres all that much. But you’ll have to take my word for it, it’s a great film that pulls on all kinds of heartstrings. It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without it.
Love Actually: Above Average