Dec 21 2011 11:00am

Love Actually: A Romantic’s Perfect Christmas Film?

The success of Love Actually is the movie that started the romantic vignette comedy trend—since then we’ve had Valentine’s Day, He’s Just Not That Into You, and New Year’s Eve.

Love Actually is by far the best: London, Christmas, lots of beautiful white people, hormones, and copious amounts of eggnog can really get the Yuletide cheer going. And with a cast like this, how can you go wrong? Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, January Jones, Claudia Schiffer, Shannon Elizabeth, and even Denise Richards.

In true vignette style, the film unfolds withloosely interconnected storylines. Hugh Grant plays the British Prime Minister who is secretly in love with his assistant. His sister, Emma Thompson, believes her husband, Alan Rickman, is cheating on her. Said husband is smitten with the secretary who constantly flirts with him. The sister is friends with a widower, Liam Neeson, whose stepson has a crush on a girl at school, and then there’s a recently single lad, Colin Firth, whose girlfriend left him for his younger brother. The older heartbroken brother flies off to France and falls for a Portuguese girl who doesn’t speak English or French very well. Then we have Keira Knightley who has recently married and doesn’t know her hubby’s best friend, Andrew Lincoln, has been in love with her all this time. And in the background we have Bill Nighy playing an old rocker who blabs to a radio station that Britney Spears was the worst sex he ever had, during a woe-is-me moment.

Got all that? Yeah, whatever, just watch the movie. If you haven’t already, or watch it again if you have.

All forms of love are represented in this movie: young, old, new, grieving, unrequited, stagnant, falling out of love and more so, falling in love. There are touching moments such as when Liam Neeson, a widower, carefully helps his stepson through his first love. Then there is Andrew Lincoln, who is secretly in love with a woman he cannot have. Emma Thompson lives through the heartbreak of infidelity, as does Colin Firth. Hugh Grant, with all his signature wit and humor, weaves through being a new prime minister and falling in love at the same time. All the stories will touch your romantic heart with the background visuals of snow falling, Christmas trees, and carolers a singing.

Some of you may love the scene where Andrew Lincoln writes on signs how much he loves Keira Knightley; or when Laura Linney kisses her man, then goes off to the side where he can’t see her to jump up and down; or even the part where Hugh Grant talks to Margaret Thatcher’s portrait for love advice. Mine is when Sam hurries off to tell Daniel, his stepfather, his big plan to get the girl. The smile on the wee lad’s face melts my heart.

Sam: Daniel, I have a plan!
Daniel: Thank the Lord! Tell me.
Sam: Well, girls love musicians, don’t they?
Daniel: Uh-huh.
Sam: Even the really weird ones get girlfriends.
Daniel: That’s right. Meatloaf definitely got laid at least once. For God’s sake, Ringo Starr married a Bond girl!
Sam: [looks at him strangely] Whatever. There’s this big concert at the end of term, and Joanna’s in it. And I thought, maybe if I was in the band, and played absolutely superbly, there’s a chance that she might actually fall in love with me. What do you think?
Daniel: I think it’s brilliant! I think it’s stellar! Uh, apart from the one, obvious, tiny, little baby little hiccup...
Sam: That I don’t play a musical instrument.
Daniel: Yessir.
Sam: A tiny, insignificant detail.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and Merry Festivus to all this Holiday Season. May you find love, be loved, and most of all, give love.


Philly native Charli Mac is an aspiring author, mother, wife, friend, and part-time clown. Come find lost love along the Jersey Shore at Twitter her @CharliMacs

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I love all the different stories except for the Laura Linney and her brother one, which just breaks my heart in so many ways (my uncle was paranoid schizophrenic, so maybe I'm extra-sensitive?). But the best part for me is Bill Nighy and the relationship with his manager.
2. CdnMrs
Thanks for reminding me to watch this movie again. I love it. The emotions in it seem so genuine. I always laugh and cry when watching it. Even the husband likes it!
Morgan Walters
3. MorganBaby
I LOVE Love Actually! It has all the love, all the stars, all the fun, although it can sometimes be a race to cover the kid's eye during the porno-stand-ins scenes LOL
I'm happy to watch it any time during the year, but I especially make a point of watching it every Christmas.
The kids get a kick out of knowing that Olivia Olson (Joanna/Sam's love interest) is also Vanessa on Phineas and Ferb!
Anna Bowling
4. AnnaBowling
I am a huge Love Actually geek. Have lost track of how many times I've viewed the movie, the deleted scenes, the cast commentary, and even read the script. All the interwining stories seem so very real that it's a wonderful experience.

I can relate to Megan - the Laura Linney character's storyline is very close to home, as it reminds me of my dad's battle with Alzheimer's. I have decided that after the movie ends, she decides to fess up to Rodrigo Santoro's character, and he understands; they end up happily married, and he fields some of those phone calls for her.

Bill Nighy and his manager are pure gold here. "Christmas is All Around" gets very very frequent play in our family.
5. Kaye55
I loved just about every moment in the movie, but could never figure out how the 'porn stand-in' couple fit into the interwoven plot threads.

I think my favorite part is the trailer collage at end of real people meeting up with loved ones at an airport to the tune of the Beach Boy "God Only Knows (How I Feel About You)" I cry every time !
Megan Frampton
6. MFrampton
@AnnaBowling--I like the way you think! Maybe I'll feel better next time we watch (which should be in just a few days).
7. Emily Anderson
"lots of beautiful white people"? There are actually two characters that I can think of who are black and attractive. Kiera Knightley's husband and the friend of the idiot who goes to Wisconsin. (Tony is also a tech on the movie, so that's how that couple is sort of connected to everyone) It's not porn, btw, they play body doubles for a movie.
Charli Mac
8. CharliMac
@MFrampton Yes, Laura Linney's storyline breaks my heart. Bill Nighy makes up for all the heartache.

@CdnMrs The human element is the emotion, gets me everytime.

@MoganBaby Didn't know the Phineas & Ferb connection, thanks for that.

@AnnaBowling I love your extended ending. I think that way with Titantic, lol. Jack comes back!

@Kaye55 (In my Beavis voice) You said porn, uh-huh-huh.

@EmilyAnderson Yes, there are two minority characters. That's what I call the "token" characters. I also call my take on it humor or sarcasm. Ba-da-bump-bump.
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