Rainer's Review of Love Actually
Love Actually, actually is my favourite rom-com and one of my favourite Christmas movies, although I don't see it as much as a Christmas movie but more of a movie that happens to cover a story around Christmas. It's more about love than Christmas.
Anyways, I'm a huge fan of such anthology films anyhow, and I also love huge star-studded casts. Love Actually has all this and much more. Especially the ensemble cast is really really good. You merely get to see such talent on screen in a rom-com, and this is one my favourite casts ever, but more on that later.
The brain behind the film is Richard Curtis the beloved screen writer of similar British successful productions as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. Love Actually was his baby and he carefully put it all together. The result has just the perfect mix of laughs, cheerful moments, tearwrenching and smarts that I look for in any movie.
Critical for any holiday film is also the rewatch-value, otherwise we wouldn't care to see it over and over again at this time of the year. Love Actually stands out in this particular category. Even after numerous viewings you still get some new connections and nuances you never realized before (Today, for example, I realized that Martin Freeman is part of the cast - he plays a porn actor). I think that's one of the main points why I like it so much.
But the really really really single greatest thing about Love Actually is, by far, its cast. I can't and won't list all the stars that participated in it, but I want to point out a few.
There's the wonderful Emma Thompson, who gives objectively the best performance of the film (one of the few that required some serious dramatic skills) although I didn't like her character as much as others.
For me, it's all about Hugh Grant (I'm a huge fan of him anyways), who plays the prime minister and brother of Thompson, Bill Nighy, who plays an old rockstar who re-releases an old hit as a Christmas version, Andrew Lincoln, as Mark, the best friend of a newlywed husband and secret admirer of his new wife, Kris Marshall, as a loser who goes to America to pick up some chicks and Billy Bob Thornton as the slick and arrogant American president.
Actually, the whole cast is great, I can't complain much about any of the roles, although some the characters I didn't really love (e.g. Laura Linney as the whimsical employee in Alan Rickman's company who has a crush on her colleague but can't connect with him because she has to care for her mentally ill brother).
It has also one of the greatest soundtrack of all times if you ask me. I like pop soundtracks and Love Actually finds just the right combination of Christmas classics from Hugh Grant's interpretation of Good King Wenceslas to pop tracks by the Sugarbabes. In between, of course, the unforgettable "Christmas is All Around" by Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) and the wonderful version of "All I Want For Christmas is You" by Olivia Olson.
If you are, like me, a sucker for films consisting of interrelating stories with many many stars (who mostly have British accents) and you can live with a great amount of schmaltz then you're at the right place and should just dive into this pre-Christmas London wonderland.