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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome: 31.65%
Worth A Look46.04%
Just Average: 9.35%
Pretty Crappy: 7.91%
Sucks: 5.04%

8 reviews, 91 user ratings


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Love Actually
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"This tagline will avoid using the word 'actually.'"
4 stars

While many films extolling the virtues of love are too gooey to be palatable by most humans, "Love Actually" wields its sweetness gracefully, drawing us in with sincerity and humor before ladling on the syrup.

Its conceit is one that is difficult to argue with, no matter how bad a mood you're in: that despite what you hear about the world being a bad place, love actually is all around us. The opening moments show footage of people greeting loved ones at Heathrow Airport. Our narrator tells us that these reunions -- sloppy, unrehearsed and genuine -- are proof that love, and not greed, money or selfishness, is what motivates most people.

That narrator, it turns out, is David (Hugh Grant), England's new prime minister and an eligible bachelor. His story, concerning his fast-developing feelings for a member of his staff, the compulsive-swearer Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), is one of several separate but intertwined stories told in the film. Each of them addresses some aspect of love, and the film celebrates love in all its beauty, joy, heartbreak and agony.

Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a recent widower who is certain he will never love anyone as much as he loved Joanna, and has only his platonic friend Karen (Emma Thompson) to talk to. His young son, Sam (Thomas Sangster), has a schoolboy crush on a classmate. Jamie (Colin Firth), a writer, is living in a cabin in France for a few weeks, slowly and impossibly falling in love with his Portuguese maid Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) despite the language barrier. Sarah (Laura Linney), who works at a magazine, has been in love with co-worker Carl (Rodrigo Santoro) for two years but can't muster the courage to tell him. Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is best man at his friend Peter's (Chiwetel Ejiofor) wedding to Juliet (Keira Knightley), then is hopelessly depressed over having lost his friend. Middle-aged Harry (Alan Rickman) enjoys a comfortably frumpy relationship with his wife, and is surprised to find himself the object of a youthful employee's affections.

Part of the film's charm is the way it slowly reveals all of these characters' relationships to each other, surprising us with the revelation, for example, that so-and-so is so-and-so's husband when all along we thought their subplots were completely separate from one another.

That sort of playfulness in the storytelling is typical of writer/director Richard Curtis, whose previous screenplays include "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Notting Hill" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," all of whose influence can be felt in "Love Actually," his directorial debut. He expertly bounces from one story to the next, keeping nearly all of the plates spinning at just the right speed so that only a few get neglected.

(In truth, there are two subplots that ought to have been cut altogether. One with Martin Freeman and Joanna Page as stand-ins on a movie set has some amusing sight gags but doesn't amount to anything. Another, about a libidinous lad (Kris Marshall) who sets off for America to find some action, is so absurd it belongs in an "American Pie" movie, not here.)

By necessity, to avoid having an eight-hour film, each of the stories is distilled down to its basic elements. We get only the good stuff, and none of the padding normally associated with romantic comedies. The performances are droll, every one of them, the dialogue wry and witty, and the emotional moments by turns poignant, wrenching and jubilant.

There's the simple and amusing relationship between Jamie and Aurelia, constantly misunderstanding each other without realizing it and falling in love all the while. There's Mark's realization that sometimes love is brutal. There's young Sam's calculated but innocent attempts to woo his sweetheart through the power of music. There's an aging rock star (Bill Nighy) and his eventual discovery that love isn't necessarily a romance-and-sex thing.

There is also the great pleasure in seeing so many terrific actors doing their thing. Emma Thompson: What a delight you are! Why can't you be in three movies a year, like so many of your less-talented colleagues? Hugh Grant, doing that adorable stammer thing that so many folks like. Colin Firth, appearing in his one-millionth film of this nature but still giving a vulnerable, honest performance as if it were his first. Alan Rickman, always so likably gruff, and Laura Linney, down-to-earth and accessible, and Rowan Atkinson being sublimely silly in two brief appearances, and Billy Bob Thornton playing the American president so well that I think I would vote for him if he ran.

In the end, it requires almost superhuman suspension of disbelief to get so many disparate characters together in two locations, first a school Christmas program, then an airport. But, if this is meant to be eight or nine romantic comedies rolled into one, all existing in the same universe, then it stands to reason that the airport would be a busy place, since that's where the concluding scenes always seem to take place.

Besides, the whole thing is about love, and what is love if not improbable? What about it makes sense or follows the rules of logic? Love, like a good movie, can convince you of almost anything.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8297&reviewer=247
originally posted: 11/06/03 21:45:42
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User Comments

11/24/17 Suzanne One of my favorite movies ever - but the Wisconsin plot was ridiculous (Southern accents?) 5 stars
12/19/16 Charity ABSOLUTE BRILLIANT FILM. Brilliant casting. Brilliant acting. Brilliant writing. 5 stars
4/02/12 Shirley Temple Thomas Sangster was one unappealing little boy. How old is he now?, 2 stars
3/23/12 Les S. A bit of a slow start but it pulls you in and you find yourself enjoying it. 3 stars
1/08/11 Beverley Sporck Sends all kinds of messages. Great to view around the holidays. 5 stars
8/06/09 Simon A lot of the reason we do see movies is to feel good. A cheesy guilty pleasure 5 stars
11/30/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
12/03/07 Ionicera sweet and shallow 3 stars
8/31/07 johnnyfog Schitzo plot, but Liam Neeson's in it, so it's OK. 4 stars
5/13/07 David Pollastrini All the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
4/11/07 Dark Enchantress If i could give it a zero i would! Oh yeah that girl kiera knightly is a slut! 1 stars
2/08/07 Stanley Thai One of the better romantic comedies. 4 stars
12/02/06 William Goss Stuffed, slight, but undeniably charming. Nighy provides snarky oasis amongst the schmaltz. 3 stars
5/05/06 Ashley Hinz I love pieces of this film, just not all of the characters. 4 stars
9/26/05 Corinne Pettersen I adore this movie, especially Carl - please can you give me more information on him. 5 stars
4/14/05 Danny Takes a while to get into it, but worth the time. 4 stars
3/07/05 Hydrian Good romantic flick without being too mushy to deter the guys. 5 stars
2/05/05 Amy Bradshaw Such a sweet film, quite refreshing. 5 stars
12/26/04 mjoc Adequate holiday fare 4 stars
12/24/04 Hugh Janus Too cutesy by the guy that played Karl was fucking deadly...SCHWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
12/12/04 Helen Great movie!! Also loved the music 5 stars
10/23/04 michaelb14 Very feel good, funny movie for the holidays, Nighy is hilarious 4 stars
9/26/04 alicia definitly a chick flick..but a damn good one 5 stars
9/04/04 Dave My whole family loved this film. Funny and touching. Emma Thompson remarkable. 5 stars
8/16/04 John charming and immensely entertaining 5 stars
8/05/04 Chris this movie had maybe too much to say but very sweet and endearing. worth checking out. 4 stars
7/17/04 Daveman I was left with mixed feeling but I won't deny I enjoyed it. 3 stars
7/15/04 S.F Total crap...actually! 1 stars
6/18/04 Monster W. Kung A piece of crap! 1 stars
5/22/04 Vic & Helen We loved it...a happy, warm and romantic comedy 5 stars
5/04/04 TIM HENNEKER HAS A TINY PENIS GOOD MOVIE 2 stars
5/04/04 Beverley Sporck Need to view it a couple times to 'get' most of it anyway. Thought provoking with humor. 5 stars
5/02/04 chris. packing bad stories into a movie to fit the alotted time does not make a movie "ultimate" 1 stars
4/28/04 The Dude Britain sucks, but the movie was good. 4 stars
4/23/04 Jack Saw it on a plane and found it delightful with a bit of truth but no universal truths 4 stars
4/21/04 Littlepurch. A bit too pointlessly sad in places but some moments were v.funny and acting was all gr8. 4 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart not my sort of thing its too romantic !!9BUT GOOD IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING) 3 stars
4/09/04 Gemma An absolutely fantastic heart warming film that had me gripped all the way 5 stars
4/07/04 harriet best movie ever actually bloody fantastic 5 stars
3/12/04 wrob Textbook, pithy, sentimental pap. Painfully cliche and predictable at the same time. 2 stars
2/02/04 jacqueline robson love actally is all around good 5 stars
1/24/04 amy not for the cynical or self rightuous 4 stars
1/23/04 Saf aWESOME MOVIE--saw it 3times in the first couple weeks! 5 stars
1/22/04 Chloe Brody This was such an awesome film! Will never get tired of HG in the same role every movie... 5 stars
1/18/04 Cathy It revamps popular cliches with devilish British humour. 5 stars
1/18/04 Carol Shanahan CRAP ACTUALLY 2 stars
1/15/04 Heather Purplethorne Ending has some feelgood fluff, but the getting there -- TOO LONG! 3 stars
1/14/04 Betty White Good cast rounds out this hopelessly contrived, overdone romantic comedy. 2 stars
1/13/04 Chupa Chups I thought it was good! cheesy, but touching. 5 stars
1/10/04 Chris You cannot be serious! Have our tastes slipped this low??? 1 stars
1/10/04 Shadaan Yikes ! 2 stars
1/09/04 ness you HAVE to see this film 5 stars
1/07/04 Mokina It was a really sweet movie not everythings about sorrow,good to see that portrayed 4 stars
1/01/04 OnlyChild It's a sweet movie.. 4 stars
12/30/03 christina thomas sangster made me love this movie, he was the best actor there 5 stars
12/30/03 Chlo Gyllenhaal I thought this was really good! Cheesy, but the sort of film that just made you smile! 4 stars
12/28/03 your worst goddamn nightmare you might get this if you really really love someone... loved it, actually... 4 stars
12/27/03 Donelle Occasionally quite funny, over-inflated, deliberate audience manipulation & predictable 2 stars
12/27/03 John Bale The ultimate Xmas feel good movie with a fine cast. Lotsa Fun. 4 stars
12/22/03 Dee Fantastic Film. loads of hot men, the funniest film I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
12/20/03 Littlepurch Some depressing bits but v. funny overall. Loved it, actually. 4 stars
12/16/03 Greg Register Without fail...one of the most entertaining films I have seen in years. 5 stars
12/16/03 Michelle Teeva, you must be a women's rights lesbian, get off it. 5 stars
12/15/03 jada most hot men in one movie 4 stars
12/15/03 Teeva so sexists, every woman subserviant - while exposed! gratuitously. 1 stars
12/14/03 Ginnie Roberts Brilliant 5 stars
12/14/03 Kent I enjoyed it - funny & thought-provoking. 4 stars
12/14/03 christina Gee this is the bst movie ever 5 stars
12/13/03 Carla It was fabulous! Alan Rickman is the best! 5 stars
12/12/03 Viv Phillips Xmas feel good movie for 2003 ! Yeah Poms you sure know how to do it! 5 stars
12/10/03 Jummai It had warm funny scenes and you werent forced to laugh and enjoy it, came naturally 4 stars
12/09/03 katrina lomas feel good and fun 5 stars
12/08/03 Vicky Adams I loved it. I bet everyone watching could relate to one of the stories 5 stars
12/02/03 Hayley Absolutely terrible. Calculated, stereotypical, sexist and racist (against the Portuguese). 1 stars
12/01/03 the muffinman who the hell is karl and where can i find out more about him hes sexy 5 stars
12/01/03 president billy bob Too many low points to mention all - a very sappy R-rated chick flick,not a film for guys. 2 stars
11/30/03 guisada yes 5 stars
11/30/03 LordJiggy A brave masterpiece about choice and choosing love...even if it costs you. 5 stars
11/26/03 Mike H Crap, actually. Which is surprising considering the great cast. 2 stars
11/22/03 jrsygrl I enjoyed the film because it leaves you with a warm-fuzzy feeling - - and a smile. 4 stars
11/22/03 Bobbio Best film of the year, great cast, very funny. 5 stars
11/21/03 amy made me feel warm and fuzzy, without hating myself for it 5 stars
11/18/03 Johnny's Been Rotten Saw it. Loved it. Most charming movie of the year. 5 stars
11/18/03 nick2k very cute and adorable... "we're gonna get the shit kicked out of us by love" 5 stars
11/17/03 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch too many boring little stories... 2 stars
11/15/03 Deanna I will quote the film "Say Yes you skinny moron" and go see this with someone you love. 5 stars
11/12/03 john fun, love trip...light hearted ... mooshy 5 stars
11/11/03 Heather Perfect Christmas & date movie, charming British movie 5 stars
11/11/03 Tyler GOOD MOvie 5 stars
11/09/03 Max Ernst The greatest date flick ever. Went 2x, 2 diff girls, both: score. Love this film! 5 stars
11/06/03 Cameron Slick If you're going to be dragged to one chick flick this year, be dragged to Love Actually. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 27-Apr-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2003


Directed by
  Richard Curtis

Written by
  Richard Curtis

Cast
  Hugh Grant
  Liam Neeson
  Alan Rickman
  Emma Thompson
  Laura Linney
  Keira Knightley



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