WARNING: Tons of spoilers.
I really like the feeling when you're watching a film and it's being so exciting and enjoyable that you don't want it to end. Actually, I started watching this movie and only after the introduction of the many characters, I ended it intentionally. Yes, I admit that it's mainly because of Judy and John's unlikely activity. But, there's a ton of love stories there so why waste the opportunity just because of a single one, right? And honestly, I was very fulfilled and happy to have made the right decision. This is one big romantic comedy to celebrate. There's love, there's fun. The main point of this film is actually similar to (500) Days of Summer. This is not just a love story. It's a story about love.
To start off, we have the introductory narration by Hugh Grant. He plays the friendly and easy-going character David who is no less than the Prime Minister of Britain. The love story? He fell in love with one of his staffs, the chubby as they call her, Natalie. It's not necessarily forbidden love between them. It's just that it's not quite proper for them to love each other for political reasons. I think their light and positive auras attracted them to one another. Among all the stories in this film, theirs is the most fairytale-like. Really likable. Going back to the introductory part, he said, "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around. " I consider it compelling. After that, it made me wanna hug those people I love. A good start, eh?
The next one is the happily married Harry and Karen, who's no other than the younger sister of PM David. They seemed to be living a perfect family life until Mia comes along, the pretty secretary who's currently hitting on Harry. Emma Thompson played the lovely Karen who is always ready to offer a helping hand to others but soon found out that she can't even help herself while her husband becomes attracted to another woman. Harry, who is played by Alan Rickman, appears to be strict and firm but is proved to be vulnerable to the seductive Mia. I found this story the nearest one to reality. Cheating and betrayal are very evident in relationships nowadays. When Karen realized that the necklace she found was not actually for her, then she just quietly cried in the room, it sure does broke my heart. Karen is one of the most admirable characters in this film.
In the office, there's another love story. It is the great admiration of Sarah (Laura Linney), the best editor of Harry, for Karl (Rory MacGregor) who is the chief engineer. Everyone's been advising Sarah to make the move. It was actually Karl who asked her to dance with him at the Christmas party where things turn well for the two. But, it was Sarah's mentally ill brother who gets in the way. I admire Sarah a lot here. He has been liking Karl for years and though tings get better for them, she still didn't neglect her responsibility to her brother. It takes such strength to let go of the one you've been dreaming of. She's such a noble woman. Maybe one of the love stories I could somehow relate to. The crush thingy. But, not the brother, and the things-turning-well stuff. Only the admiration doodad. Yeah, I know I suck.
We now move on to Mark that is played by Andrew Lincoln, who's a friend of Mia. His best friend, Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), was recently married to Juliet played by the beautiful Keira Knightley. He appears to be disliking Juliet and they haven't actually talked. When Juliet was asking for the video of her wedding, she made her way into Mark to know what the problem is. The twist here is that she discovered that Mark actually loved her. This is one of my favorite stories. When he surprised Juliet during Christmas, one thing on one of the boards really touched me a lot. "To me you are perfect and with my wasted heart I will love you." It's really heartbreaking. I admire Mark for stepping back so that is best buddy could be happy, even if it requires him to sacrifice the woman he loves.
Mark, Peter and Juliet were friends to the author Jamie who is Colin Firth. He just discovered that his wife was having an affair with his brother. So, he decided to kind of move out where he met Aurelia, his Portuguese maid. Though they are both having a hard time understanding each other's language, they understood each other's heart. The really sweet thing here is that Jamie actually studied Portuguese when Aurelia went back to her country and Aurelia actually studied English at the same time. I also loved their conversation when Jamie said, "This is my favorite time of the day, driving you." Aurelia didn't understand that but in turn she said in Portuguese, "This is my saddest time of the day, leaving you." which Jamie didn't understand as well. Really nice one, but not among my favorites.
Going back to Karen, she's been a very good friend of Daniel (Liam Neeson). His wife recently died and he's left with his stepson, Samuel (Thomas Sangster). He finds it hard to get in touch with the boy because it was always his wife who talks to him before. He has no choice but to get to know his stepson and later on discovers a new kind of hope with him. They quite complement each other that it even seemed they're real father and son. The fun thing here is that he helps his son cope with a problem he least expected. Samuel was in love with a popular girl in school. Daniel tries to help him out. Daniel also had his love story right at the end. He met Carol, another parent in Sam's school. I am a fan of father-and-son stories. Concerning a romantic comedy, their story is really a good one due to the fact that the other stories were predominantly romantic love, while theirs is more of fatherly compassion. This is a good one to balance things out.
We now move on to another. They were making highly intense scenes for an erotic movie. They fell in love. The one in charge was Tony (Abdul Salis). He was the friend of Colin (Kris Marshall) who always wanted to be with a woman. He's always rejected. He plans to go to USA thinking that girls would love his "cute British accent". The thing that surprised me a lot was that he actually was successful, and he also brought Carla for Tony. By the way, Colin is part of the catering services for Peter and Juliet's wedding. These two stories were among the least favorites of mine. I didn't like them much.
The another not-romantic-love story here is where Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), the old rock star who's surprisingly at the top of the charts this Yuletide season, insults his single, speaks a very foul language, is the perfect example of lust, and ridicules his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), actually spent Christmas with him. He said that Christmas is a time to be spent with the people you love, and he realized that he loves his manager. Another balancing element for the romantic love stories. Their story is not that connected, but they are visible in some moments in the other stories. I didn't like it that well, too. But, what the heck. It's still good.
Oh yes, I really like the very short yet very notable appearance of Rowan Atkinson. He really rocks! What a great man, seriously.
There are many more connections here. What made this film even more exciting is the link among the characters. This is a really enjoyable one. The actors were all great. This film is rich with characters with varying wonderful personalities. Most of the love stories ended happily. And again, to balance things off, some didn't exactly ended the way others did. This a really remarkable film. I'm glad I saw this. It made me feel good a lot. It showed the different angles of love.
Love may be in the form of a father and son. Love may be seen in friends. Love could possibly break the language barrier. Love could put together a Prime Minister and a simple staffer. Love can satisfy the heart's deepest hopes. Love could always let go and move on for the sake of others. Love can be found in the most unlikely places. Love can be seen in children. Love stays with the aging ones. Love...is actually all around.