Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: "Love Actually" is Christmas and "Valentine's Day"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 71 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Love Actually (2003)
Running time: 135 minutes
MPAA – R for sexuality, nudity, and language
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Duncan Kenworthy
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Coulter (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Nick Moore

COMEDY/DRAMA with elements of romance

Starring: Bill Nighy, Gregory Fisher, Colin Firth, Sienna Guillory, Liam Neeson, Thomas Sangster, Emma Thompson, Kris Marshall, Heike Makatsch, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Nina Sosanya, Martine McCutcheon, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Rodrigo Santoro, Declan Donnelly, LĂșcia Moniz, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson, and Colin Coull

A father deals with the recent death of his wife by focusing all his attention on his young stepson’s schoolboy crush on an American girl who may soon be leaving for home. A man is deeply smitten by his best friend’s new bride, so he deals with it by acting coldly towards her. An aging rock star attempts to briefly reclaim the spotlight by dueling with a popular boy “band” for the number one spot on the charts with a Christmas song, and he does it by being a vulgar buffoon, much to the chagrin of his manager. This is just a small taste of the delights in Richard Curtis’ Love Actually.

Who would think that the British could make a feel good film as sweet, life affirming, and romantic as anything a big Hollywood studio could? Who would think that that film, Love Actually, would end up being one of the five best films of 2003? This ensemble comedy/drama about eight couples and their love lives in the five weeks before Christmas is an absolute delight.

Although the multitude of movie stars and character actors would comprise a dream team for any ensemble film, the true star of the film is writer/director Richard Curtis. An accomplished writer of British TV (the “Blackadder” series) and film (Four Weddings and a Funeral and the adaptation of the novel for Bridget Jones), Curtis had a ready-made disaster on his hands, as Love Actually starts off a bit slow and there are so many subplots to follow. However, if the viewer is patient, he can watch as Curtis brilliantly and subtly weaves together a film of tremendous power. I was completely taken in by the poignancy, the comedy, and (what I describe as) light-hearted pathos of Love Actually.

Love Actually is so feel-good, but not too sentimental. It’s a love letter to love – love of lovers, spouses, friends, and family. And when it’s done this well, there’s nothing wrong with being sweet. Love Actually makes a bad day good and a good day really fun, and the soundtrack is slammin,’ too.

9 of 10


2004 BAFTA Awards: 1 win for “Best Performance for an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Bill Nighy) and 2 nominations for “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Richard Curtis, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Duncan Kenworthy) and best supporting actress (Emma Thompson)

2004 Golden Globes Awards: 2 nominations for best motion picture-musical or comedy and best screenplay-motion picture

Buy Love Actually (Widescreen Edition)

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