Movie Review: Love Actually (2003)

Synopsis: The subject of love is explored through the overlapping stories of eight different London couples as they prepare to celebrate Christmas.

Who's in it? The movie stars Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman.

Review: My wife and I have both seen bits and pieces of this movie (sometimes in spoof form) and she had it in our library to watch. We finally got around to doing that tonight and, overall, I thought it was entertaining. 

Some of the love stories were compelling, such as the British Prime Minister (Grant) falling in love with one of his assistants (Martine McCutcheon) and a business executive (Rickman) needing to choose between his wife/mother of his kids (Thompson) and his alluring secretary (Heike Makatsch). A couple others, like the one involving a man (Andrew Lincoln) being in love with his best friend's new wife (Keira Knightley) and a writer (Firth) trying to overcome a language barrier with the housekeeper he loves (LĂșcia Moniz).

The stories had a good mix of drama and comedy (I especially liked the couple scenes Rowan Atkinson was in). I'll also admit some of the love stories in this movie weren't anywhere near as predictable as I thought they would be, with some of them having a completely different outcome than I would have expected.

I think my biggest complaint about this movie is there might have been too many love stories. The four I described all were compelling. A fifth one, involving a man (Neeson) trying to connect with his stepson (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) after his wife died, was also entertaining. But I felt like the rest of them just seemed a bit crammed in there.

The one involving Sarah (Laura Linney), Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) and Sarah's mentally challenged brother (Michael Fitzgerald), for example, felt like something that could have used a lot more time than it got, especially since Sarah and Karl were over within a matter of minutes without any real effort to resolve their challenges. And frankly, I really didn't get the point of Colin's (Kris Marshall) journey to America. A British guy hooking up with a bunch of hot Wisconsin women hours after he gets off the plane seems less like a love story and more like something you'd see in a National Lampoons movie.

Final Opinion: As I said, there might have been too much crammed into such a short run-time and some of those stories might have been better as standalone movies. However, I can still see why this has become a favorite for a lot of people over the past 10 years.

My Grade: A-


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