December 17, 2011

25 Days: Love Actually
by docsmartypants

Love Actually (2003) Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Every Actor in the UK

Love Actually has about a million plot threads going at once, but all you need to know really is that it follows the lives—romantic and otherwise—of a set of loosely related London-based characters in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Most of them live happily ever after, but some of them just live.

I’ve been putting off writing up Love Actually for some time. It’s not because I don’t like the movie; I do like it. But it’s also the Christmas movie I have the most complex feelings about. It’s such a strange mix of fairy tale world and nightmare: where the British prime minister looks like Hugh Grant and porn stand-ins fall sweetly in love, but also where a wife and mother dies and people cheat on Colin Firth and Emma Thompson. I want to live in the world where a little boy learns the drums and wins the heart of his crush, where Bill Nighy is a rock star, where two people who don’t speak the same language can still fall in love. I’d gladly pass on the one where the American president is a villain and a woman’s mentally troubled brother keeps her from finally making things work with the man she’s been in love with for years. But even though this movie is often completely unrealistic, the fairy tale/nightmare dichotomy is where I think it is surprisingly true to life: Sometimes you get the fairy tale moments and sometimes you get the nightmare, and how you deal with that is what makes all the difference.

My comrade Stacey, who was on-hand to watch Love Actually along with me, did a nice job of summing up some of our feelings:

This movie is all about triumph. In every storyline, even the sad ones, the characters find the ability within themselves to keep moving forward, and that’s what this movie reminds us: that even if you’re the Prime Minister of a civilized country, sometimes the greatest triumphs are the smaller ones, just gathering the strength to wake up every morning and go in search, again, of joy. Which is what Christmas at its best is supposed to be: a day of joy.

What’s great also is that the love in Love Actually is not just between the couples, it’s not just romantic love, it’s everywhere: it’s the guests at the wedding, the stepson and stepfather, the friends, the siblings, the co-workers.

Because the movie has so many plotlines and stars almost every living British actor, there isn’t room to talk about all of our favorite parts. So here is a list of a few of them:

Some of Stacey‘s favorite bits were: Colin Firth’s Portugal plot, particularly the scene in the pond; the line “a fantastic place called Wisconsin”; the prime minister hugging his sister and knowing she isn’t OK, his answering the phone “Yes, I’m very busy and important, how can I help you?”, his speech to the press, and the subsequent scene of him dancing triumphantly around 10 Downing Street to the song “Jump (For My Love).”

Our friend Noel‘s favorite bits were: “Andrew Lincoln with his real accent, being wonderful; Emma Thompson, breaking my heart; Thomas Sangster being adorable; ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’; and the end, with people meeting loved ones at the airport gate. Remember those long-lost days?”

As for me, I love pretty much the entire plotline with Billy Nighy’s rockstar character and his manager, especially the line, “Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!” (Ha! Oh Bill Nighy, you kill me!); the bit where Rowan Atkinson is a store clerk who takes FOREVER gift wrapping a piece of jewelry that Alan Rickman’s character doesn’t want his wife to see him buying (Seriously, the number of times a clerk has done this to me at Christmas—I can’t even tell you. Sometimes just ringing up a single item will take them 20 minutes for no discernible reason. WHY???); Emma Thompson’s entire performance; and the tiny plotline of the two porn stand-ins who fall in love, which is oddly one of the sweetest romances in the whole film, even though I blush through almost every one of their scenes.

Anyways, all the best clips on YouTube had the embed feature disabled, so no clips for you, I’m afraid. Just go watch the film.

Tune in tomorrow for Day 18: Miracle on 34th Street.

posted under Media
One Comment to

“25 Days: Love Actually”

  1. On December 18th, 2011 at 12:29 pm Stacey Says:

    This movie really is my favorite Christmas movie. I laugh and I cry and at the end I always feel happier than I did at the beginning. BECAUSE LOVE ACTUALLY IS ALL AROUND US.

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