Love Actually Reviews
But, in dealing with 9 characters and ensuring that each star has adequate time on film, this plot becomes too much. The overload of ideas leads to the film's demise. There is not enough time spent to develop the meaning and significance of each relationship. As a result, the movie bores the viewer by the halfway point and losses the romantic element of the comedy, as there is no time for any couple to develop it's relationship.
If Love Actually was a documentary it would be incredible. With a star-studded cast and a highly realistic plot it holds incredible documentary potential. But it is not. As a movie it is realistic, meaning the viewer can easily relate their life to it. Very few however, go to the theatre for reality unless it is a documentary.
The realistic aspect of the movie translates into relatable characters. This is promising, but, through the confusing overlay of getting 9 different stories into a 2 hour time limit, only the very basic elements of these stories are given time to be relayed. This basic portrayal makes it very simple and resultingly boring to watch and very difficult to focus on any one character. Furthermore, the editing of the movie results in flitting back and forth among the various plot lines. It does not spend much time on each character, rather splicing together short vignettes. This editing technique merely complicates and confuses the viewer. The resulting film seems like a bunch of boring stories that got into a massive car crash, unfortunately without even an epic soundtrack to accompany the catastrophe.
These nine different characters and their relationships - so technically 18 different characters - makes the film very difficult to follow, but leaves enough of a taste to illustrate the potential it holds. With such a broad age range Love Actually is different, but not much different than one`s life which relates back to my previous point regarding the fact that nobody goes to the cinemas to watch their own life on the big screen.
Fitting into the sub-genre of rom-coms that detail numerous relationships around holidays, Love Actually takes on a similar motif to the films like Valentine's Day, and New Year's Eve, but it deviates in that not all of its protagonists are in a loving embrace by the film's end. Also, more importantly, in the other movies, the stories of the various characters are connected, yielding a particular type of product that is catchy due to the interesting situations they face and the common questions they grapple with about their particular holidays. Love Actually however, has no such unique trait, nor does it really pose the same specific interesting questions that society has in regard to something particular, because it does not have these connecting elements.
The way Love Actually deals with love is through vague overtly general questions like what is love or what should one give up for love. It could even be argued the film ventures into the question of: at what cost is love worth it? It seems to maximize satisfaction rather than address these questions directly. For, by the conclusion of Love Actually everyone seems quite satisfied even though they may not have a significant other to love. The way everyone is satisfied by the end of the movie seems to state that although not all of one's desires are fulfilled they can still love their life and all it presents them - a rather basic motif. This manifests for some as the realization that their love is restricted to their ailing brother or existing family and for others it is the realization that love really does exist and sex is not just confined to the lust filled flings life throws at them. But in my favorite twist, the film states that for some, love manifests in the affirmation that your first crush likes you back. But again, these questions would have been better served if there was more time to understand them and the implications of the protagonists decisions.
The only saving grace of the movie is the quality of the acting. One can only imagine how much worse a film it would be without these quality actors. It can be argued that due to the poor film splicing and editing, the non-existent soundtrack, lack of any significant cultural queries or resonance, and very dry nature of the story line, the only actual feature worthy element of this film is the actors themselves. The slightest indication about the plot's direction that these actors are able to reveal in their relatively short time on screen is truly impressive. The actors really roll with what they are given and to that I applaud them, but there is only so much magic they can work with a terrible script. The mundane dialogue forces them to act through their bodies rather than their words which really complicates their task as an actor.
While the reality is there as everyone does not end up in a loving relationship at the end of the day, "Love Possibly" might have been a more fitting name. Not only does the possibly invoke uncertainty similar to that evoked by the movie on the viewer, but, it also removes certainty from the title - just like the movie removes the romance, an aspect that is generally guaranteed in a rom-com. The potential for romance is definitely there and there are the classic environments one would expect of a Christmas film, but due to the many different stories the film needs to develop, the romance never shows as time is always seemingly cut short.
In essence, if you are an individual with extreme amounts of time on you hand and enjoy watching mediocre quality films, Love Actually is the movie for you. Otherwise, I would seriously urge you to pick one of these actors and watch one of their acclaimed works.
It's easy to categorize Love Actually as an overdone, overly sugary and cliched film, but this would ignore all the complications that the movie tackles. The heartbreak, sadness, unrequitedness, and grief that inevitably come with loving--with being so invested in another human--are not only included, but heavily considered through out this film. Emma Thompson, a dedicated friend and devoted mother and wife, discover that her husband, Alan Rickman, has gifted another woman jewelry for Christmas. The scene that ensues is impossible to forget as she stands in the bedroom she shares with said husband, her children and husband just on the other side of the wall. The scene is so touching and so evocative because her dilemma is so clear; she's been betrayed but as she stands in the home that she's built with her husband, with the family they share together, she cannot let go of their life together. She still loves and it's because she loves that she was able to be so broken. Laura Linney's character, mentioned above, is perhaps an even sadder tale. She sacrifices her love for her coworker Carl, for the love and wellbeing of her mentally ill brother. Love Actually is full of moments, like Laura's stuggle between her own interest and her brothers, or Emma Thompson disillusionment with her marriage, that grapple with real problems, real emotions and real struggles. Death, infidelity, mental illness, sexual harassment in the workplace and unrequited love are all serious issues dealt with in Love Actually that one would not typically associate with a movie that markets itself as "the ultimate romantic comedy". However, despite these darker issues, a talented cast manages to create comedic moments even in the face of more serious issues. Of course, there also moments purely created for comedic effect, seemlessly woven in as a result of the multiple storyline structure. Rowan Atkinson's cameo as a store clerk allows for a lighthearted break from heavier material while the sex-driven Colin's search for love in America also provides comedic moments.
So many ensemble cast films fall flat in their execution despite being littered with classic tropes and ample star power. Love Actually avoids this failing by making use of a talented cast, evocative emotional scenes, comedic relief and the mulitple story line structure that highlights all the kinds of love that exist.
Some may argue over which storyline is the most charming, yet I believe that it is culmination of all nine, and the connections between them, that is the most enticing aspect of the film. Love Actually could be compared to other romantic comedies such as Valentine's Day, in which the audience follows nine love stories on Valentine's Day. However, Valentine's Day is in no way comparable to Love Actually in regard to plot, characters, and overall aesthetic. Love Actually is known in part for being a heart-warming holiday romantic comedy, in part for some of its specific scenes. Most notably, the notecard scene, when Andrew Lincoln's character proclaims his love for his best friend's wife, played by Keira Knightly. What may initially seem like an average romantic comedy will quickly prove you wrong in how passionate each and every character is, in addition to the multitude of comedic relief.
Love Actually is unlike any other romantic comedy in how it portrays the many faces of love, ranging from parent and child to brother and sister to boss and his secretary and to Prime Minister and his assistant. Love Actually effortlessly binds these nine stories together without neglecting a single one, all the while developing and complicating each situation. I would label Love Actually as, quite possibly, the best romantic comedy of all time, and furthermore, my favorite film of all time. This film is essential in the world of film and romantic comedies in particular. If you are looking for a film to sweep you off your feet and remind you that love is all around you, look no further.
The film really captures the spirit of Christmas and Bill Nighy was fun to watch. Nighy has the best story in the movie, in my opinion. Andrew Lincoln, on the other hand, is creepy as hell in this movie. Even Lincoln himself admitted it.
Putting aside the creepiness, it's still the most Christmas of all Christmas movies you'll find.