Love Actually, 2003

The 2003 Christmas-themed romantic comedy, written and directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually, is a heartwarming (yet very tearjerking) film to watch this Christmas.

The film follows 9 love stories:

  1. Billy Mack and Joe (played by Gregor Fisher and Bill Nighy)
  2. Juliet, Peter, and Mark (played by Kiera Knightly, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Andrew Lincoln)
  3. Jamie and Aurelia (played by Colin Firth and Sienna Guillory)
  4. Hary, Karen, and Mia (played by Alan Rickman, Heike Makatsch, and Emma Tompson)
  5. David and Natalie (played by Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon)
  6. Daniel, Sam, Joanna, and Carol (played by Liam Neeson, Thomas Sangster, Olivia Olson, and Claudia Schiffer)
  7. Sarah, Karl, and Michael (played by Laura Linney, Rodrigo Santoro)
  8. Colin, Tony, and the American girls (played by Kris Marshall, Abdul Salis, Ivana Milicevic, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert, and Shannon Elizabeth)
  9. John and Judy (played by Martin Freeman and Joanna Page)

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Billy Mack and Joe – Not romantic love, but friendship love

Billy Mack is a rock and roll legend, and with the help of his manager Joe, he records a Christmas version of the hit “Love Is All Around”. After realizing that the song is actually going to be a hit, he celebrates his victory at a party hosted by Elton John. At the party, Billy finds that Joe needs some affection too, so he suggests that they should celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn.

 

Juliet, Peter, and Mark – Love Triangle

Juliet and Peter get married and Peter’s best man Mark records the wedding. The couple believes that Mark has a dislike towards Juliet, when in fact, he’s madly in love with her. We find this out when Juliet stops by Mark’s home with a snack in hopes to be friends. Asking him to give her a chance, she asks for the tape of the wedding and finds to her surprise that the tape is focused entirely on her throughout the entire ceremony. He runs out and leaves her alone after an uncomfortable silence. Then on Christmas Eve, Juliet finds Mark on her doorstep, carrying a boom box playing Christmas songs along with cue cards. Within the cards, he confesses his love for her, then walks away. Juliet then runs after him, giving him an innocent kiss and runs back inside.

 

Jamie and Aurelia 

Jamie is a writer who was pushed to Juliet and Peter’s wedding by his girlfriend while she pretends to be ill. He returns from the wedding to check on her, but finds his brother there, and hears her say that she wants to have sex a few more times before Jamie returns. Jamie is crushed. He withdraws to his French cottage. There, he meets a Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia, who only speaks her native tongue. Their inability to communicate with one another forms a barrier, but when Jamie returns to England, he begins to learn Portuguese. He then returns to France to find her and in Portuguese, he professes his love and proposes to her! She speaks in broken English to respond, and we discover that she was learning his language to communicate as well. Their commitment is undeniable.

 

Harry, Karen, and Mia – Love Triangle

Harry is a managing director of a design agency and Karen is his wife. They have children, but Mia, Harry’s new secretary, wedges herself between them. Harry becomes increasingly interested (well, let’s be real, aroused) by Mia’s sexual comments and actions at work. At a company Christmas party held at Mark’s gallery, he asks if Mark is her boyfriend and dances with her. He calls her one evening and finds out what she wants for Christmas and almost gets caught by his wife while purchasing a very expensive necklace for Mia (seen through a comical exchange between him and the jeweler). Later, Karen finds a box in his coat pocket and opens it, finding the necklace meant for Mia but mistakes it as something for her. He hands her a similarly shaped box on Christmas ever and she is heartbroken to find it is a CD rather than a necklace. She struggles to hide her pain and then questions who it was for and if the affair was just sex or sex with love attached. When he sees what harm he has caused, he says how truly sorry he is and calls himself a fool. She responds that not only has he made a mockery of their marriage, but of her and the way she chose to live her life.

 

David and Natalie

Karen’s brother, David, is Prime minister and Natalie is a new junior member of the household staff. While having a meeting with the US President, they run into Natalie and the President makes an inappropriate comment about her body. Later David walks in on Natalie serving tea to the President and it is clear it is uncomfortable. Natalie is shamed, but the President has a sly grin on his face and due to this, when he gives his political speech, David is assertive while taking a stand against the President’s policies. David moves Natalie to another job because she has proven to be a distraction. However, on Christmas Eve he finds a Christmas card from her that declares that she is “his and no one else’s”. Going door-to-door, he stumbles across Mia, who says she lives next door. Finding that she is with her family, and they are on their way to a school pageant, she sneaks him into the school. He runs into his sister Karen, which is the point the audience makes the connection that they are related. As Natalie and David watch the show backstage, they finally kiss. Their hiding is shown to be for nothing as the curtain rises, they are seen kissing by everyone.

 

Daniel, Sam, Joanna, and Carol

Daniel, Karen’s friend mourns the death of his wife Joanna and tries to raise stepson Sam alone. Sam falls in love with an American classmate, also names Joanna. Sam discusses his love for her, despite his age, with his stepfather and they come to the conclusion that he should learn to play the drums to accompany and win the heart of Joanna in the school’s Christmas pageant. Missing his chance to profess his love, Sam chases after Joanna at the airport before her flight. She kisses him on the cheek after saying hi. Meanwhile, Daniel meets Carol, the parent of another one of Sam’s schoolmates.

 

Sarah, Karl, and Michael

Sarah is an American who works at Harry’s graphic design company and first appears at Juliet and Peter’s wedding. She’s been in love with the company’s creative director, Karl. For unknown reasons, they admire each other from afar but neither is willing to make the first move, so the admiration from a distance continues. They finally connect at a Christmas party and he drives her home. They kiss but nothing more occurs because Sarah gets a call from her brother at his mental care facility. On Christmas Eve they say no more than Merry Christmas and she spends the night with Michael at his care facility.

 

Colin, Tony, and the American Girls

Colin informs his friend Tony he plans to go to America and find love, after several failed attempts with English women. He is convinced that his Britishness will be an asset in the US, and he lands in Wisconsin. He meets Stacey, Jeannie, and Carol-Anne in a bar. They fall for his accent and are joined by Harriet when they invite him back to their apartment.

 

John and Judy

John and Judy are professional body doubles for films for sex scenes. John tells Judy that it’s “nice to have someone I can just chat to” while the two of them are completely comfortable being completely naked on set while simulating sex acts. They attend the Christmas pageant at the local school with John’s brother while they carefully pursue a relationship.

 

I think this movie is very heartwarming but also interesting. It has its own ways of teaching, I think. For example, the love story between Jamie and Aurelia it suggests that love can be miscommunicated, even with something as simple as language. It’s definitely a wonderful Christmas movie to watch while you’re curled up on the sofa with a hot drink in hand.

Love Actually earns a 4/5 from me.

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