12 Films of Christmas 2013: Love Actually

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In a mad dash to the finish line mere days before Christmas, I am now nine reviews deep in my 12 Films of Christmas series. Despite a few little bumps along the way in my one-horse open sleigh (I did not intentionally rhyme that, I swear), I’ve watched several wonderful movies that have been just the ticket to drum up some holiday spirit. So what do I turn to after so much greatness? Well, for the tenth film of Christmas my local library gave to me…Love Actually!

Love Actually (2003)

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Synopsis: “Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.” –www.imdb.com

The Holly Jolly:

  • The star-studded cast. Seriously, have you noticed how many big names are on this cast list? Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman…Frankly, it’s ridiculous. Yet so, so wonderful.
  • The script. With so many different characters to follow, the script could very easily become cluttered and confusing or several characters could be cheated of a proper, fleshed-out story. Yet for the most part, the stories are balanced, the characters are great, and the dialogue sparkles. As a whole, it’s an incredibly charming film with lots of pieces that fit together just right.
  • All the walks of life. A prime minister resists falling for a staff member. An aging rock star realizes who really matters to him. A devoted wife and mother finds out her husband is cheating on her. A man admires his best friend’s wife from afar. A woman’s ill brother hinders her chance at love. A recently widowed man helps his stepson attract the girl he loves. These vastly different love stories are adorable, hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking.
  • And now, a bunch of glorious random things: Bill Nighy singing a dreadful Christmas song—clothed at first, naked later. Hugh Grant dancing. That ADORABLE KID (Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Sam). “All You Need Is Love” at the wedding. Seeing Liam Neeson as a softie instead of a tough guy. Andrew Lincoln and his bittersweet signs. I could go on and on, but I won’t bore you.

The Lumps of Coal:

  • Kris Marshall’s segment. Marshall’s character, Colin, is the only character I don’t think this film needs. Unlike everyone else in this film, awkward and annoying Colin isn’t on a noble quest for love—he’s on a quest to get lucky, and he thinks he can achieve that goal in America. And he does. But frankly, I don’t care because Colin isn’t endearing, and neither is the slice of America. Speaking of…
  • The portrayal of Americans. I know that not everything in this film should be taken seriously, but it still irks me that aside from Laura Linney’s compassionate character, Sarah (who really gets screwed in the end, but don’t get me started on that), our representatives consist of an asshole president, a slew of slutty bimbos, and a pre-teen popstar. Okay, so we’re not perfect, but REALLY?!
  • All of the fat jokes tied to Martine McCutcheon’s character, Natalie. She may not be a rail, but that girl is NOT fat. Joking or no, what kind of message does that send?
  • The super skanky office assistant constantly hitting on Harry (Rickman). I know that we’re not exactly supposed to like her, but it would be nice if we at least understood her sudden, aggressive flirting with her boss. Is she actually in love, is she a gold digger, or is she just out to ruin his marriage for fun?

In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: There’s plenty more to be praised and critiqued in this film. It’s such a wonderfully complex rom-com that I could go on for ages. But I’ll cut things short and simply say this: Love Actually is a delightful film. Not only is it one of the best films in its genre, but with a story revolving around Christmas, it’s also great holiday fare. The film is a stirring, humorous ride with brilliantly edited interwoven segments and stellar performances from the large and talented cast. It’s an adult Christmas story that you won’t soon forget.

My Glad Tidings: A-

Ten down! I can’t believe this series is almost over and Christmas is THREE DAYS AWAY. Like, woah. Still lots to do before then, so I’d better be off! Oh, but just one thing before I go…MovieRob mentioned this, and I wanted to make sure everybody understood—you know the Resolutions blog series coming up next month? Just so we’re clear, if you guys are interested, I want you to pick movies that you haven’t seen. I’ll be picking my own lineup of films, but don’t base your choice off what I have or haven’t seen—this is all about you watching something you’ve been meaning to watch for a while. That’s why it’ll be fulfilling a resolution! But again, if you have any questions just comment below or send me an email at cs227@evansville.edu. 🙂

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29 thoughts on “12 Films of Christmas 2013: Love Actually

  1. I do feel like this movie is a bit overrated in its own way, however, there is still a lot to like here. It’s just overlong and stacked, that’s all. Good review.

  2. Agreed on almost every point. Colin’s story is the weakest, though I still don’t entirely hate it. I do hate the assistant. I am not rich. Nor do I run a company, but no woman has ever thrown herself at me that shamelessly. Without some indication as to why she behaves that way, she feels like a badly conceived character straight out of an adult movie.

    Also agreed on the fat jokes. I remember thinking them funny when I first saw it. On my recent rewatch I was quite offended.

    I will disagree on the portrayal of US citizens. Farces work when they have enough hyperbole, and I think Curtis has it here. I find the portrayal quite funny.

    • I remember you mentioning you were a fan of this one! Glad we’re pretty much agreed. As for the Americans…I don’t know. Some of that stuff was just a little too over-the-top for me. Especially the slutty girls. Yeesh. But I guess it doesn’t help that I wasn’t a fan of Colin’s whole segment in the first place. Or that I’m an American girl and I don’t like knowing that that stereotype exists. Lol.

  3. great review.

    I thought this movie was nice, but nothing spectacular. Saw it in the theater with my first (now ex-wife) wife when we were still dating and there was a woman breast feeding her infant thru the ENTIRE film. Hungry kid, I guess 🙂

    Did you see I posted my challenge topic?

    • Oh gees. Well that made the movie extra memorable, I guess…Haha. And I did not see your post! I’ve been all over the place today and I’m just now sitting down to peruse WordPress. I’ll head over and check it out!

  4. Sorry to like and leave earlier lol but I had to get out to the grocery store before the Churchies descend on our city like gangs. Violent, pushy, judgy gangs. *Shudders….

    Uh – this movie is not one I will likely ever see during my lifespan. I like what you did here but, I’ll pass…

      • LOL – your international comment readers might not get this but – THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN HOBBY LOBBY BIDDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about turning someone INSANE!!!

        *weeps in suffering

    • I KNOW. The whole movie I was like, I know this kid. And then I looked him up and remembered he’s Jojen! And all grown up! It’s crazy. Sorry you didn’t care for this one… 😦

  5. Nice review. 🙂 I didn’t mind this movie at the time but I’ve kind of grown to hate it. 😉 I’d forgotten about the Martine McCutcheon fat jokes. Now I’m pissed off about that again – SO not fat! Yeah, horrible message to send to any young girls watching. And I hated that slutty chick flirting with Rickman. And Keira Knightley got on my nerves – especially when she says something like “I look quite pretty!”. Well, at least there were no fat jokes about HER. Lol… Maybe I liked this movie even less than I realized!!! 😉 The heartbreaking stories happened to work the best in this one but… How depressing. 😦

    • I’m fond of this one, but it does have its issues. And yeah, it is kinda depressing, isn’t it? I love Alan Rickman, but I really wish Emma Thompson got a chance to smack him in this one! Haha. And poor Laura Linney…if only office hottie would understand her bro’s situation. 😦

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