The British film love actually received two Golden Globe nominations, one for best screenplay, and one for best motion picture (musical/comedy). It is rated R for sexuality, nudity and language and was released in 2003. I had forgotten that Christmas figures prominently in this film, and I think it would be a good film for adults to watch at Christmas time. But don’t wait till the season is upon us once again. Get it for Valentine’s Day.
This romantic comedy stars so many great actors, it is hard to know where to start. The ensemble cast swirl in and out of each other’s lives, each one having a different lesson to learn about love. I counted at least nine story lines in this movie.
Daniel (Liam Neeson) has lost his wife, and becomes the sole caregiver for his stepson, who has a bad case of puppy love. Jamie Bennett (Colin Firth) is sent reeling from his relationship into relative seclusion at a villa where he meets a beautiful Portuguese woman. Neither of them speaks the other’s language. Hugh Grant is the Prime Minister who finds Natalie, one of his domestic employees, to be very distracting. His sister Karen (Emma Thompson) has two children and is married to Harry (Alan Rickman) who is sorely tempted by a young woman at work. Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is an aging rock star whose long-suffering agent has devised a Christmas comeback for him. Juliet (Keira Knightley) marries and discovers that her husband’s best friend has a crush on one of them. Sarah (Laura Linney) is not so secretly in love with a co-worker, but is the sole comfort of her mentally ill brother. And possibly my favorite is the young British man who decides American women would embrace him because he is British, and flies off to Wisconsin of all places to meet the women of his dreams. Billy Bob Thornton has a cameo role as the President of the United States, and Denise Richards and Claudia Schiffer also appear briefly.
One story line has an X-rated movie being filmed where the two stars shyly begin a relationship. My sister took two elderly women to the theater to see this film when it first came out, and they all indignantly left when these scenes appeared. That’s an R rating for you. If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, rent love actually. It would be a shame to miss such beauty and fun and really touching moments because of that one small part of the movie. The only unsatisfying story for me was the one about Sarah and her mentally ill brother, which is totally sad.
I loved how Hugh Grant played the Prime Minister. He has to really stand up to the President, and I feel like cheering every time he makes his speech. He also has a wonderful scene when he is searching for Natalie and some little girls get him to sing some “carol songs.”
There is a message to this movie and it is that
love, actually, is all around. Have your tissues handy.