Love Actually

Year of release: 2003.
MPAA rating: R.
Run time: 135 minutes.


      "Love Actually" is 10 new romantic films in one. Set in contemporary London in the two months before Christmas, it weaves together a series of touching and hilarious stories, which end in not one, but lots and lots of romantic climaxes on Christmas Eve. Short for "Love Actually is All Around," the film argues that everywhere you look, love is the driving force in people’s lives.”


I copied the following two plot summaries from movie-related databases on the Internet:

      "Love is all around us. And that's certainly true for all of these people. John (Martin Freeman) and Just Judy (Joanna Page) have fallen in love with each other while on the set of an erotically charged film. David (Hugh Grant) has just become the new Prime Minister. The second he steps into his office/home, he is smitten with Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), his catering manager who had already screwed up at the first minute. David's sister is Karen (Emma Thompson), who's married to Harry (Alan Rickman), who runs a local magazine. Harry is somewhat smitten by his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch), who is constantly hitting on him. Harry's best editor is Sarah (Laura Linney), who has a brother in the asylum and a not-so-hidden crush on Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), who has a thing for her as well. Karen is friends with both Daniel (Liam Neeson), who has just lost his wife and has discovered that his stepson (Thomas Sangster) is in love with a young American girl, and Jamie (Colin Firth), whose girlfriend (Sienna Guillory) has just left him for his younger and more attractive brother (Dan Fredenburgh), forcing him to move to France to continue writing his novel while falling for Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), a young Portuguese woman who can't speak a lick of English or French. Juliet (Keira Knightley) has just married Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), not realizing that his best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) has loved her since they first met. Colin (Kris Marshall) is desperate to have sex and believes that in order to do that, he should travel to Wisconsin because he thinks that American women will dig him for being British. And Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), an old rocker who is climbing back up the charts after battling his old heroin addiction, is on the radio and TV shows either bad-mouthing his new CD, insulting his manager, Joe (Gregor Fisher), or a hot new boy band, or calling Britney Spears the worst sex he's ever had. Are you still following along?"
Summary written by Will (LAST NAME UNKNOWN)


      "Set almost entirely in London, England during five frantic weeks before Christmas follows a web-like pattern of inter-related, losely related and unrelated stories of a dozen or more various individuals with their love lives, or lack of them. The central character is the new bachelor prime minister David (Hugh Grant) who cannot express his growing feelings for his new personal assistant Natalie (Martine McCutcheon). The prime minister's older sister Karen (Emma Thompson) slowly grows aware of her husband Harry's (Alan Rickman) flirtation with an office worker named Mia (Heike Makatsch). Karen's friend Daniel (Liam Neeson) is a recently widowed writer whose 11-year-old son asks for love advice about a girl he has a crush on. Meanwhile, Jamie (Colin Firth) is another writer who leaves his girlfriend after catching her cheating on him and travels to France to write a novel where he pursues a possible romance with his non-English speaking Portuguese maid Aurelia (Lucia Moniz). Also, Harry's American secretary Sarah (Laura Linney) questions a romance she pursues with the office hunk Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), but her personal family problems get in the way. Other secondary characters involve a photographer who pursues his best friend's new wife Juliet (Keira Knightley); a pair of movie stand-ins, named John and Judy, who grow closer after their simulated love scenes; a libidinous chum who wants to travel to Wisconsin, USA to score with women; and a burned-out former rock star named Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) who is the main connection between all stories involved."
Summary written by Matt Patay


      This movie has a terrific ensemble cast and a wonderful story involving many intertwining love stories.  I first saw this movie when it came out in the theater just before Christmas of 2003.  I've seen it several times since then on cable and DVD and love it more every time.


HARRY - Alan Rickman
SARAH - Laura Linney
BILLY MACK - Billy Nighy
JAMIE - Colin Firth
JULIET - Keira Knightley
KAREN - Emma Thompson
DANIEL - Liam Neeson
NATALIE - Martine McCutcheon
JOHN - Martin Freeman
SAM - Thomas Sangster
CAROL ANNE - Elisha Cuthbert
JEANNIE - January Jones
BERNIE - William Wadham
COLIN - Kris Marshall
JUST JUDY - Joanna Page
AURELIA – Lucia Moniz
STACY - Ivana Milicevic
MARK - Andrew Lincoln
PETER - Chiwetel Ejiofor
MIA - Heike Makatsch

Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Director: Richard Curtis
Screenplay: Richard Curtis
Producers: Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner
Executive Producer: Richard Curtis
Director of Photography: Michael Coulter
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston
Editor: Nick Moore
Production Designer: Jim Clay
Music: Craig Armstrong


Awards (2004)
British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards:
(Won) Best Performance by an Actor in A Supporting Role -- Billy Nighy
(Nominated) Best Performance by an Actress in A Supporting Role -- Emma Thompson
(Nominated) Best Film -- Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner & Richard Curtis

Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) Award:
(Nominated) Best Acting Ensemble

Empire Award (United Kingdom):
(Won) Best British Actress -- Emma Thompson
(Won) Best British Film
(Won) Best Newcomer -- Martine McCutcheon
(Nominated) Best Newcomer -- Andrew Lincoln

European Film Awards:
(Nominated) Audience Award for Best Actor -- Hugh Grant
(Nominated) Audience Award for Best Director -- Richard Curtis

Evening Standard British Film Awards:
(Won) Best Actress -- Emma Thompson
(Won) Peter Sellers Award for Comedy -- Billy Nighy

Golden Globe Awards (USA):
(Nominated) Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy)
(Nominated) Best Motion Picture Screenplay -- Richard Curtis

Golden Satellite Awards:
(Nominated) Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical -- Billy Nighy
(Nominated) Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical -- Thomas Sangster
(Nominated) Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical -- Emma Thompson

Golden Trailer Award:
(Nominated) Best Romance

London Critics Circle Film Awards:
(Won) British Supporting Actor of the Year -- Billy Nighy
(Won) British Supporting Actress of the Year -- Emma Thompson

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award:
(Won) Best Supporting Actor -- Billy Nighy

Young Artist Award:
(Nominated) Best Performance in a Feature Film (Supporting Young Actor) -- Thomas Sangster


      Like in so many other great movies, the music in "Love Actually" is an integral part of the film.  Many films have an instantly recognizable theme song or a musical score that adds to the feeling of the film.  But, perhaps more than in any other movie I have ever seen, the music in "Love Actually" is an absolutely essential part of the movie experience and is critical to the viewer's full appreciation of this film.

      One of the songs that runs throughout the movie, and which is even a part of one of the many storylines in the film, is a song titled "Christmas Is All Around".  This song is performed by the character Billy Mack (played brilliantly by Billy Nighy).  This song is actually a cover of the classic 1960's song "Love Is All Around" by The Troggs.  An updated version of this song was performed by the band Wet, Wet, Wet and used in the 1994 movie "Four Weddings And A Funeral" which was also directed by Richard Curtis.  That later version of the song was number one on the British music charts for 15 weeks in 1994.

      Inside the soundtrack CD to the movie, the director, Richard Curtis, wrote the following:

"Without its music, Love Actually wouldn't work at all.  I know -- because I saw the film without the music, and it was a shocker.  So this soundtrack in your hands isn't a few songs stuck together; it's the real life and soul of the film.  Some of the songs were there from the very beginning.  When first I decided to write about Christmas, I knew that "All I Want For Christmas Is You" would be in the film.  And Joni Mitchell's extraordinary rerecording of "Both Sides Now" -- the words of youth rediscovered in her fifties -- was always the core of Emma Thompson's whole story.  But other songs were more random, lucky finds.  Our music editor, Mike Price, put Eva Cassidy's angelic version of Christine McVie's "Songbird" over the Sarah & Karl scene -- and suddenly it sense.  I played Hugh Grant seven records to dance to, he chose "Jump" and now I can't imagine another song.  One evening, I started to go through my record collection to find a song for the end and got called to dinner when I'd just reached "B" -- so the only song I took into the edit the next day was "God Only Knows" -- and it never changed.   I hope you enjoy the album -- every song has brought me huge pleasure, and if the film could talk, it would indeed say to the songs "God only knows what I'd do without you."
-- Richard Curtis, Director, Love Actually

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