Love Actually (2003)

C5Love. It’s a beautiful feeling. And it’s the worst pain one can experience. But “Love Actually” is a celebration of both sides of love. Longing, happy marriages, and crushes, and oh so much more. Deep down it’s a dedication to the people of 9/11, as the introduction declares, and it’s plenty resonant in the all-star tribute with a humongous cast of talented actors from Liam Neeson to Colin Firth right down to Martin Freeman, Elisha Cuthbert, and Billy Bob Thorton. In this episodic Capra-esque fairytale, we meet a large group of people experiencing life and love in all ends of the terminology. There are really too many sub-plots to mention, but I’ll try.

Here goes: Alan Rickman plays a man contemplating an affair, Bill Nighy plays a washed up rocker hoping for one more hit, Hugh Grant plays a prime minister hung up on his servant, Colin Firth plays a man who is falling in love with his French Maid, and, of course, my favorites: Keira Knightley plays a newlywed girl who discovers something about her husband’s best friend, Emma Thompson plays a woman forced to take her husband’s infidelity with grace, and, an excellent one, Liam Neeson plays a widow playing cupid for his son who is in love, though he’s lost the love of his life. There are the big sub-plots and then there are the small ones including Martin Freeman from “The Office” who plays a porn star who falls for his co-star while miming sexual situations on another day of filming. I mention Capra-esque because this is such a naive but unbelievably adorable movie with a heart in its right place, it’s about love in all forms, and it’s hard to scoff at something like this which sets off with the right intentions in mind.

One sweet sub-plot is with Laura Linney who plays an out of water American in Britain looking for love but is unable to, because of her family connections, I wont give it away from there. This is such a beautiful and well acted piece of satisfying fluff that I basically enjoyed every minute of it from the sweet opening, to the meaningful narration right down to the heartwarming and tear-jerking stories. My favorite was Neeson’s plot in which he just lost the love of his life and takes it upon himself to help his son find his first love and claim her before he loses her, something he knows about. The relationships between the two is adorable and a lot of fun to watch as they mimic “Titanic” and talk with one another about relationships. Movies these days prides themselves too much on having the child and parent hate one another for the purpose of comedy, it was refreshing to watch these two get a long like, What’s that word? Friends.

One of the best is the plot with Rickman who contemplates an affair with a beautiful sexy co-worker while his wife (Thompson) stands idly by. Of course there isn’t all sweetness and sadness here; there are also some rather funny bits including the bit with Grant who is hung up on his beautiful (and I do mean beautiful) servant, and Firth’s plot where he and his servant fall head over heels in love despite language barriers. It’s hard to believe that a movie so sweet can be filled with such naive idiocy all at the same time. I’ve known that Frank Capra’s films are rose-colored, but at times this was just ridiculous. You actually expect us to believe; a British guy goes to America and is jumped by a group of really really hot American women (Elisha Cuthbert, Denise Richards, and Shannon Elizabeth)?

Come on, now. I was muttering “bullshit, bull-shit, bull–shit!” throughout the entire sequence in which the character, I forget his name, is being bombarded by hot chicks who just want to do him. Puh-lease. American women are as uptight as and maybe even more so than British women. This movie works out everything for the best, and not once is there a sprinkle of reality, and therein lies it’s ultimate downfall, it’s so unrealistically naïve that it never once feels like a real story, only the fantasy of what could be if only life were so grand. If only, audiences will be saying to themselves, and that will leave them detracted by what is actually happening on-screen. In the end, all it is is fantasy. It goes without saying this is a very well acted piece of filmmaking with such an incredible cast, and I couldn’t help but smile all the way through at the top notch storytelling and sheer acting talent here. This is a surefire date film, and I loved it. Despite it’s naivety, this is one of the most beautiful and heart warming movies to come around in years with involving plotlines, top notch directing, and excellent acting from an all-star cast.