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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome: 31.65%
Worth A Look46.04%
Average: 9.35%
Pretty Bad: 7.91%
Total Crap: 5.04%

8 reviews, 91 user ratings


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Love Actually
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Collin Souter

"An escapist romantic comedy in love with all things romance"
4 stars

There’s unconditional love and there’s unrequited love. There’s young love and there’s love that has run its course. There’s love that transcends language and there’s love that requires more communication. There’s wedding-and-church-bells love and there’s the kind of love that exists only between friends. There are open, heartfelt declarations as well as tormenting silences. Sometimes, the guy gets the girl and sometimes, the girl loses. There’s the kind of love story that exists in real life and there’s the kind of love story that probably only exists in the movies. Movies like “Love Actually,” actually.

And, actually, it’s probably better that way. “Love Actually” gets away with a lot simply due to a charming ensemble cast, the biggest anglophile wet dream since “Gosford Park.” It has a familiar approach: Take several of the most well-known and respected actors and actresses around and set them into a series of romantic scenarios until they all meet up at the end in one central location. Have them all relate to one another somehow, a la “ShortCuts” or “Magnolia,” but nowhere near as deep. Most of all, keep it light and somewhat truthful.

Truth be told, though, “Love Actually” carries a lot of forced sentiment and manipulation, but unlike its American counterpart, “Playing By Heart,” it has a sneaky way of winning the viewer over in the end. Hard not to with this cast. Look at this: Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Kiera Knightley, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson, Martine McCutcheon and a few nice cameos to fill out the rest.

Rather than confuse you by explaining how each character and scenario relates to every other character and scenario, I’ll just give you the basics and you can see for yourself how the pieces become glued together. Hugh Grant plays the handsome and single newly elected Prime Minister of England who has fallen in love with one of his assistants. Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman play a married couple with two kids, he with an assistant who has the hots for him. Colin Firth plays a writer who has fallen in love with his assistant, who does not speak a word of English, yet somehow they communicate perfectly to one another.

Liam Neeson plays a single stepfather to a 10-year old kid who has fallen in love for the first time with a singer at school. Neeson advises him to learn a rock instrument in order to impress her. Bill Nighy plays an aging rock star who has just released a ghastly version of “Love Is All Around” (this one called “Christmas is all around”) and promotes it by trashing it over the airwaves, simply out of frustration for not having a love in his life (or does he?). Laura Linney plays a woman in Rickman’s office who has fallen for one of her co-workers, but cannot make time to ask him out because of her nagging cell phone. And Kiera Knightley plays a newlywed with a secret admirer.


All that and more. As you can see, “Love Actually” consists of a lot of Meanwhiles, many of them superfluous and unnecessary, but the movie seems to want to make the point that love exists in many shapes and sizes, too many to mention. The movie does not have anything deep or profound to say about any of them, but it manages to succeed in other ways. It has warmth, laughs and charm to spare and it is also unabashedly, unapologetically, dizzyingly romantic (Jesus, I sound like a quote whore).

The exceptional cast seems to be having a good time, even if the material doesn’t allow for any stand-outs (which can always work in favor for an ensemble piece). Hugh Grant and Colin Firth phone in their usual fops. Emma Thompson brings copious amounts of grace and dignity to every one of her scenes. Rowan Atkinson, of course, steals a scene by wreaking havoc one of the cast’s straight men. It’s always good to see Alan Rickman playing against type and Kiera Knightley can pretty much just smile all the way through a picture and I’d be happy (but she’s a terrific actress, too).

The movie comes in at two hours and fifteen minutes and many situations could have been trimmed. A story involving a man who moves to the U.S. in order to use his English accent to get laid more often lacks a decent punchline to make it worth our time (I kept waiting for him to wake up from a dream at the end). Hugh Grant doing a lone dance number to the tune of “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters would be the movie’s biggest time-waster, but Grant saves it at the very end. Come to think of it, the entire soundtrack is horrendous.

But, hey, I’m a sappy romantic at heart and get me in the right mood and this movie can be my best friend for an evening. Chalk this up to a Guilty Pleasure. “Love Actually” may not be a great movie, but I found it hard to resist its charms after a while. A scene involving a kid running around an airport trying to stop a girl who is about to get on a plane with her parents so that he can tell her he loves her should really make me cringe. Really, a ten-year old. But, “Love Actually” has a crush on every aspect of escapist romance. Many of these situations exist mainly in the movies, but isn’t that one of the main reasons we go to them in the first place?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8297&reviewer=233
originally posted: 11/07/03 16:45:38
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User Comments

11/25/17 Suzanne One of my favorite movies ever - but the Wisconsin plot was ridiculous (Southern accents?) 5 stars
12/20/16 Charity ABSOLUTE BRILLIANT FILM. Brilliant casting. Brilliant acting. Brilliant writing. 5 stars
4/03/12 Shirley Temple Thomas Sangster was one unappealing little boy. How old is he now?, 2 stars
3/23/12 Les S. A bit of a slow start but it pulls you in and you find yourself enjoying it. 3 stars
1/08/11 Beverley Sporck Sends all kinds of messages. Great to view around the holidays. 5 stars
8/06/09 Simon A lot of the reason we do see movies is to feel good. A cheesy guilty pleasure 5 stars
12/01/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
12/03/07 Ionicera sweet and shallow 3 stars
9/01/07 johnnyfog Schitzo plot, but Liam Neeson's in it, so it's OK. 4 stars
5/14/07 David Pollastrini All the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
4/12/07 Dark Enchantress If i could give it a zero i would! Oh yeah that girl kiera knightly is a slut! 1 stars
2/09/07 Stanley Thai One of the better romantic comedies. 4 stars
12/02/06 William Goss Stuffed, slight, but undeniably charming. Nighy provides snarky oasis amongst the schmaltz. 3 stars
5/06/06 Ashley Hinz I love pieces of this film, just not all of the characters. 4 stars
9/27/05 Corinne Pettersen I adore this movie, especially Carl - please can you give me more information on him. 5 stars
4/15/05 Danny Takes a while to get into it, but worth the time. 4 stars
3/08/05 Hydrian Good romantic flick without being too mushy to deter the guys. 5 stars
2/05/05 Amy Bradshaw Such a sweet film, quite refreshing. 5 stars
12/27/04 mjoc Adequate holiday fare 4 stars
12/25/04 Hugh Janus Too cutesy by the guy that played Karl was fucking deadly...SCHWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
12/13/04 Helen Great movie!! Also loved the music 5 stars
10/24/04 michaelb14 Very feel good, funny movie for the holidays, Nighy is hilarious 4 stars
9/27/04 alicia definitly a chick flick..but a damn good one 5 stars
9/05/04 Dave My whole family loved this film. Funny and touching. Emma Thompson remarkable. 5 stars
8/16/04 John charming and immensely entertaining 5 stars
8/05/04 Chris this movie had maybe too much to say but very sweet and endearing. worth checking out. 4 stars
7/18/04 Daveman I was left with mixed feeling but I won't deny I enjoyed it. 3 stars
7/15/04 S.F Total crap...actually! 1 stars
6/19/04 Monster W. Kung A piece of crap! 1 stars
5/23/04 Vic & Helen We loved it...a happy, warm and romantic comedy 5 stars
5/05/04 TIM HENNEKER HAS A TINY PENIS GOOD MOVIE 2 stars
5/04/04 Beverley Sporck Need to view it a couple times to 'get' most of it anyway. Thought provoking with humor. 5 stars
5/03/04 chris. packing bad stories into a movie to fit the alotted time does not make a movie "ultimate" 1 stars
4/29/04 The Dude Britain sucks, but the movie was good. 4 stars
4/23/04 Jack Saw it on a plane and found it delightful with a bit of truth but no universal truths 4 stars
4/22/04 Littlepurch. A bit too pointlessly sad in places but some moments were v.funny and acting was all gr8. 4 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart not my sort of thing its too romantic !!9BUT GOOD IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING) 3 stars
4/10/04 Gemma An absolutely fantastic heart warming film that had me gripped all the way 5 stars
4/07/04 harriet best movie ever actually bloody fantastic 5 stars
3/13/04 wrob Textbook, pithy, sentimental pap. Painfully cliche and predictable at the same time. 2 stars
2/03/04 jacqueline robson love actally is all around good 5 stars
1/25/04 amy not for the cynical or self rightuous 4 stars
1/24/04 Saf aWESOME MOVIE--saw it 3times in the first couple weeks! 5 stars
1/23/04 Chloe Brody This was such an awesome film! Will never get tired of HG in the same role every movie... 5 stars
1/19/04 Cathy It revamps popular cliches with devilish British humour. 5 stars
1/18/04 Carol Shanahan CRAP ACTUALLY 2 stars
1/15/04 Heather Purplethorne Ending has some feelgood fluff, but the getting there -- TOO LONG! 3 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Good cast rounds out this hopelessly contrived, overdone romantic comedy. 2 stars
1/14/04 Chupa Chups I thought it was good! cheesy, but touching. 5 stars
1/10/04 Chris You cannot be serious! Have our tastes slipped this low??? 1 stars
1/10/04 Shadaan Yikes ! 2 stars
1/10/04 ness you HAVE to see this film 5 stars
1/08/04 Mokina It was a really sweet movie not everythings about sorrow,good to see that portrayed 4 stars
1/02/04 OnlyChild It's a sweet movie.. 4 stars
12/31/03 christina thomas sangster made me love this movie, he was the best actor there 5 stars
12/30/03 Chlo Gyllenhaal I thought this was really good! Cheesy, but the sort of film that just made you smile! 4 stars
12/29/03 your worst goddamn nightmare you might get this if you really really love someone... loved it, actually... 4 stars
12/28/03 Donelle Occasionally quite funny, over-inflated, deliberate audience manipulation & predictable 2 stars
12/27/03 John Bale The ultimate Xmas feel good movie with a fine cast. Lotsa Fun. 4 stars
12/23/03 Dee Fantastic Film. loads of hot men, the funniest film I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
12/21/03 Littlepurch Some depressing bits but v. funny overall. Loved it, actually. 4 stars
12/17/03 Greg Register Without fail...one of the most entertaining films I have seen in years. 5 stars
12/16/03 Michelle Teeva, you must be a women's rights lesbian, get off it. 5 stars
12/16/03 jada most hot men in one movie 4 stars
12/16/03 Teeva so sexists, every woman subserviant - while exposed! gratuitously. 1 stars
12/15/03 Ginnie Roberts Brilliant 5 stars
12/15/03 Kent I enjoyed it - funny & thought-provoking. 4 stars
12/15/03 christina Gee this is the bst movie ever 5 stars
12/13/03 Carla It was fabulous! Alan Rickman is the best! 5 stars
12/12/03 Viv Phillips Xmas feel good movie for 2003 ! Yeah Poms you sure know how to do it! 5 stars
12/10/03 Jummai It had warm funny scenes and you werent forced to laugh and enjoy it, came naturally 4 stars
12/10/03 katrina lomas feel good and fun 5 stars
12/09/03 Vicky Adams I loved it. I bet everyone watching could relate to one of the stories 5 stars
12/03/03 Hayley Absolutely terrible. Calculated, stereotypical, sexist and racist (against the Portuguese). 1 stars
12/02/03 the muffinman who the hell is karl and where can i find out more about him hes sexy 5 stars
12/01/03 president billy bob Too many low points to mention all - a very sappy R-rated chick flick,not a film for guys. 2 stars
12/01/03 guisada yes 5 stars
12/01/03 LordJiggy A brave masterpiece about choice and choosing love...even if it costs you. 5 stars
11/27/03 Mike H Crap, actually. Which is surprising considering the great cast. 2 stars
11/23/03 jrsygrl I enjoyed the film because it leaves you with a warm-fuzzy feeling - - and a smile. 4 stars
11/23/03 Bobbio Best film of the year, great cast, very funny. 5 stars
11/22/03 amy made me feel warm and fuzzy, without hating myself for it 5 stars
11/19/03 Johnny's Been Rotten Saw it. Loved it. Most charming movie of the year. 5 stars
11/18/03 nick2k very cute and adorable... "we're gonna get the shit kicked out of us by love" 5 stars
11/17/03 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch too many boring little stories... 2 stars
11/16/03 Deanna I will quote the film "Say Yes you skinny moron" and go see this with someone you love. 5 stars
11/12/03 john fun, love trip...light hearted ... mooshy 5 stars
11/12/03 Heather Perfect Christmas & date movie, charming British movie 5 stars
11/11/03 Tyler GOOD MOvie 5 stars
11/09/03 Max Ernst The greatest date flick ever. Went 2x, 2 diff girls, both: score. Love this film! 5 stars
11/07/03 Cameron Slick If you're going to be dragged to one chick flick this year, be dragged to Love Actually. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 27-Apr-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2003


Directed by
  Richard Curtis

Written by
  Richard Curtis

Cast
  Hugh Grant
  Liam Neeson
  Alan Rickman
  Emma Thompson
  Laura Linney
  Keira Knightley



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