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Surprisingly Enjoyable
milareppa6 April 2004
I hate romantic comedies. I detest them. You can list the actors I avoid watching: Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Richard Gere, Julia Roberts. Romantic comedies make me cringe and I avoid them like the plague so you can imagine the foul mood I was in when I was forced to watch this film.

And the introductory voice-over by Hugh Grant as we watch an airport full of people hugging made me want to commit an act of violence - either against the people who forced me to watch this film or against myself just to end the torture.

Then the most unbelievably shocking thing happened. Bill Nighy and Gregor Fischer came on screen, mocking one of the most hated love songs in Britain, "Love is all Around" and I found myself getting sucked into the film.

By the time I reached the end of the film I found myself facing the impossible, there was one romantic comedy out there that genuinely is a comedy and actually likeable. No-one was more shocked than I.

Many different kinds of love are covered (although not all kinds), there's 8 storylines and the biggest cast list I've seen in a long time. Somehow, it works. You'd think it wouldn't, I know I certainly didn't.

If you're looking for a full-length story, this is not the film for you. It snap-shots the important events leading to the resolution of the couples involved, nothing more. If you want a classic romantic film, this might not be the film for you. This is funnier than most straight comedies I've seen in recent times, however (I'm just as harsh a critic of comedy films as I am of romantic films).

It's not trying to be the meaning of life, it's not trying to look at the big picture. In fact, it's only trying to do one thing, and that's say positive feelings crop up in the most unexpected places or are more prevalent than people think. One of the storylines, one that is cited constantly in reviews as one of the failed storylines with a sad ending is actually bittersweet. It doesn't end with failure but the failure of one type of love in favour of a different kind.

This film isn't perfect, I'll never find the perfect romantic-comedy because I hate the genre so much, for example, one of the storylines did annoy me intensely and yet ironically still made me laugh in places. However, the flaws in the film are vastly outweighed by positives. It's superficially complicated but is really a very simple film. It makes a statement: "love actually is all around" then shows why it makes that statement and doesn't attempt to do or be anything else.

And like the fact it covers different kinds of love, it covers different attitudes and portrayals of it - so a couple are realistic, a couple are classic fantasy, a couple are pure comedy and a couple are pure rom-com tradition.

I have seen no reviewer give this film a middle-of-the-road review, and I've read many reviews. I think, in the end, Love Actually is up to the individual. It's like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it.

Speaking as a cynical, misanthropic, Marmite-hating, Romantic-Comedy hating member of the human race, I actually liked Love Actually.
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A deeply loving film rich in character
bzb200128 November 2004
It has been a long time since I have seen a movie so rich in character that I did not want it to end. Love Actually is not a love story, it is a story about love. Love that reinvents itself, multiplies itself, opens itself up, and even devastates.

I am sure the film has its critics who say it drips in buttery corn. But when you are able to retreat inward and let it take you over, it is impossible not to feel. It is a rare treat - a film that makes you feel. During the process I was sad and happy and relieved. I was turned on, turned off, dizzy and grounded.

I was in love one time and it reminded me of that. The power of cinema can be that amazing, it can be that intense. The title of the movie is, perhaps, meant to confuse. Yet I believe it is designed to ask. Love Actually is ... what?

Is it lust? Or a deep appreciation of the past? Can it be conquered by language or political barriers? Race? Infidelity? Age? Can it be all of the above plus more? Maybe a mingling of several?

It is rare for a film of great acting to be married to a terrific script. Yet it is something else for it to speak right to the audience; not talk at them, not try to sell them a film. Let them experience the film. Let it wash over them little by little until there is nothing more of them left.

**** (A)
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A film for those who can cope with more than just one story line.
clairerosemaryjane25 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This was a most intriguing film. There are of course other reviews of it here, but the one common theme that seems to exist in all reviews is the simple fact that you can never please all the people all of the time.

For myself I loved the film and the way that all the stories were intertwined. You could spend ages just trying to work out where the various connections between the story lines actually were.

But there were two very special moments for me in this film. One was where Mark (Andrew Lincoln) finally told Juliet(Keira Knightley ) how he REALLY felt about her, through the medium of the messages on the cards, (surely many of us have experienced that sort of unrequited love), the other was the brilliant brief speech given by the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) to the press conference at which the American President was present. (Both of these appear as quotes elsewhere on this site.) I felt that it was a very brave move on the part of the writer (Richard Curtis) to allow the Prime Minister in the film to state what so many ordinary British people are feeling about America and its politics right now.

I also feel that we, the British, are finally beginning to move away from under the Hollywood shadow, and are starting once again to produce some really excellent films of our own. And for me, this film just underlines this fact. May this trend continue.

Claire Rosemary Jane.
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A fabric woven of happy and sad threads
BrianWatchesMovies19 December 2003
What I appreciated most about Love Actually was that for the most part, it realistically looks at relationships happy and sad, successful and unsuccessful, with a future and without. It addresses different forms and levels of love, sometimes straightforward and carefree, sometimes complex and contradictory. There are schmaltzy happy moments and touching sad ones, moments of great strength and moments of foolish weakness. The movie is made up of many threads, and of course some threads are stronger than others.

The most interesting parts of Love Actually are the times when it addresses the tragic situations where love is self-sacrificing, contradictory, or fragile. One character's unrequited love is revealed as a noble sacrifice made for another's happiness (the method of finally achieving closure and moving on, however, could only work in the movies). Another character is shown to be caught between conflicting duties that will, we are led to believe, prevent her from ever being truly happy. And the strength that a third shows when love is shown to be fragile and her world collapses around her is tragically inspiring.

These noble, tragic threads are interwoven with lighthearted comedic ones to produce a fabric that holds together well. While some characters have to fight for their love, others have simple, happy, straightforward relationships, with love (or whatever) falling in their laps like a parcel from Santa Claus. And the purely comic moments, like Rowan Atkinson's appearances and Hugh Grant's Christmas-caroling bodyguard, are delightful in and of themselves.

There are of course plenty of nits to pick. Hugh Grant doesn't make a very believable Prime Minister, and even his very pointed speech to his American counterpart -- especially relevant in light of Bush's recent state visit to England -- don't redeem the odd casting. Others in this forum have commented on the number of fat jokes in the film, and while I agree, I feel I should point out that the entire point of the first such joke is that the character who has fallen for the "fat" girl clearly doesn't think of her as fat, and doesn't understand at first who the other is talking about. It's true that calling her fat is ridiculous; she's only large in comparison to Keira Knightley, who must be carrying some vital organs around in her handbag because there's certainly not enough room in her torso! But that one time would have been enough; the "fat" theme gets tiresome later on in the movie. I also agree with those who have said that much of the nudity is completely unnecessary to the plot, and that at least some of the comedic threads in the movie are formulaic and unoriginal.

In the end, I feel that Love Actually is for the most part a thoughtful and entertaining look at relationships, which does not shy away from taking the bad with the good.
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A Holiday Fantasy Classic (Yes, Fantasy - Negative Reviewers Get Over It ;-)
jackburden19 December 2004
This movie does come off as a bit shallow, and it contains characters who are one- dimensional caricatures of themselves. But guess what -- this movie is clearly in the romantic, holiday fantasy genre -- just like It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story are. And most people love those movies, so I don't get all the negative reviewing of this film. To me, this movie is clearly a fantasy piece, and as such it should not be subject to all the driveling negativity that would better be directed toward something terrible that masquerades as serious dramatic work. Would the British PM ever go knocking door to door with just one bodyguard? No Way! Do Londoners actually care what song is "number one for Christmas" more than Americans do?? (I'm seriously doubting it -- who other than a few teenagers and record promoters actually cares about charts?) This is clearly a work that's not to be taken as a "serious" movie, though it's seriously fun if you'll take it for the fantasy that it is.

I love this film. Despite the clearly fantastic story lines, I like the characters, and the amazing A-list cast does a great job. I caught it first in theatrical release, then I watched it three times back to back on a plane to London because the other choices were the abysmal "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Duplex." Since I've caught it on HBO, and I've quickly realized it's one of those movies you can watch repeatedly when flipping channels for a quick "pick me up" that only fantasy movies can provide. My favorite movie of that sort is Groundhog Day, if that clues you into my argument.

The multi-threaded storytelling in this borrows from the likes of Magnolia, and the fact that it's a light hearted holiday theme flick place that device in interesting contrast.

I see Love Actually as a new holiday classic.
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Clever and delightful, actually.
Turambar-319 December 2004
This was a lovely script, and I was surprised I hadn't heard much about this movie before I caught it on HBO. I turned it on to keep myself company while working and ended up glued to the screen. I really enjoyed it.

The movie is a series of vignettes about several different people that seemingly have no connection to one another, although by the end the connections are finally all present and accounted for. There's a fair amount of subtle satire and a generous portion of irony; the characters are quite human and often don't do the right thing. I was caught off-guard by the incredibly successful results of the trip to America, but I laughed pretty hard and decided I wouldn't have written the script any other way. Not everyone ends up getting what they want, but then again that's love, er, actually. Nice little film.
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Simply perfect
margaretnicora15 February 2006
It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me smile, hug everyone, tell everyone how much I loved them!!! I think the music is the true soul of this movie. Cheers for the director!!! So many beautiful films he's been doing for so long!!! There was no need of marvelous photography, neither splendorous costume...but every detail was placed perfectly. Excellent actors and performances. It was a very good combination of experienced ones and some others one had never seen before. I liked very much how the director showed how open minded the English people are, by the way Liam Neeson talked to Sam and some other aspects on other dialogues as well (related to sex) It is remarkable also the way they mention the American society. Not criticizing the people and the culture, buy yes the government. CONGRATULATIONS ENGLAND!!!!
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The Ultimate Romantic Comedy: Served in a British Vein (Trying for Unspoiled, cannot guarantee - Actually!)
Ian Bourne26 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Any picture that can have me rooting for Rowan Atkinson (who I usually detest as Bean, actually) has to be very well-crafted for my part...

Rowan was the Angel Of Conscience in the film he helped the son of the just-widowered Liam Neeson's character by pass Customs to pursue true love of a little school-mate who happened to be a fine young Afro-American girl(this was where love did not know Race... Color-Blind), but he did everything to make Alan Rickman as the publisher think twice before he effed up his marriage for a bit of materialistic fluff! (The gift-wrapping sequence in the department store was annoying, hilarious and Bean-esque all at the same time w/o conflicting.. Amazing!!)

Bill Nighy as the old rocker who discovered platonic love was marvelous; Hugh Grant (brother of Rickman's wife in the flick) as the goofy good PM who effed up Billy Bob Thornton's "Bushy" prez was superb and I liked the girl from EastEnders as his love interest, it shows true love knows no class! Love knows no language was shown in Colin Firth's attraction to his Portuguese assistant when recovering from Romance betrayed - another aspect of love, actually...

Kiera Knightley and her weird triangle was a great twist, I thought the white guy had a crush on her husband not her! Ten stories linked in the weirdest ways and showing that love is Universal! As for the tunes, they were sublime and it was weird to see Bill Nighy's send-up really did do well in the UK Xmas charts! The Power of Love, actually!
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Delightfull Homage to Love
Claudio Carvalho29 May 2005
In London, from five weeks before Christmas up to a month after Christmas, the lives of different persons are linked by love. The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and the member of his household, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon); his sister Karen (Emma Thompson), her husband Harry (Alam Rickman) and Harry's secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch); Harry's employees, Sarah (Laura Linney), a woman with a serious problem in her life, and the designer Karl (Rodrigo Santoro); the writer Jamie Bennett (Colin Firth) and his Portuguese maid Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz); the grieving widow Daniel (Liam Neeson) and his son, Sam; a porn actress and her colleague; the singer Billy Mack (Billy Nighy) and his manager; the just married couple Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet (Keira Knightley) and their best man Mark (Andrew Lincoln); a British young man that travels to USA, trying to score women in that country.

"Love Actually" is a delightful homage to love. There are different situations, some of them dramatic, others funny, sometimes touching but never corny. The interconnection of the stories has a perfect timing. The cast is a constellation, highlighting the shining beauty of Keira Knightley and the nice role of Hugh Grant. There are many wonderful moments, such as the collective interview of the Prime Minister and the American president; or the moment when Karen finds that her Christmas gift is a CD of Joni Mitchell; or when Mark declares his secret love for Juliet; or the relationship of Daniel and Sam; or when Daniel meets Carol; or when the manager of Billy makes a comment about Elton John; or the narration in off in the beginning of the movie. I believe I could list many other magnificent moments, but better off the reader of my review rent or buy the DVD and have a good time. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Simplesmente Amor" ("Simply Love")
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Bravo Richard Curtis
Michael1019 January 2004
Like most guys I would never have seen this movie on my own or with male friends. However my girlfriend was in town and I thought a romantic comedy would make an ideal movie for us to see together.

I had heard about the reference to 9/11 made at the beginning of the movie and was dreading having to sit through that part. However I was pleasantly surprised to note that the reference was very minor and not particularly cringe worthy either so I am not quite sure why it annoyed some people so much.

As regards to the movie overall I quite enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it as an ideal date film. A lot of the reviews here have disparaged the movie because they thought it was too glib about love and very unrealistic. But I think you have to accept that the movie was made to make people laugh and bring the spirit of love into the Christmas holiday period. If you watch the film in that context then it does its job admirably well.

However for me the best moment in the film was the press conference given (standing side by side) by the American president and the British Prime Minister. I actually felt like standing up and cheering when Hugh Grant (as the Prime Minister) finally tells the American president to his face and in front of the worlds press that Britain will no longer kowtow to American wishes but will have an independent view of its own.

Considering that America is the biggest market for movies it was extremely brave of Richard Curtis to write this scene and he deserves a lot of credit for portraying the American president as rather loathsome and putting into context what the `Special Relationship' really is all about.

As Richard Curtis must have known the movie had done okay but not great in the States. However it has cleaned up here in the UK and I'm sure will do very well in the rest of the world too.

So Bravo Richard Curtis for standing up for your principals; you are a hero!
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Highly recommended - if you have no taste or human decency
nancy-29225 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
At first I was suckered in by this movie - cool British actors like Emma Thompson, swank shots of London, the British love/hate attitude towards America.

But slowly, steadily, it began to dawn on me - this movie is incredibly bad and misogynistic to boot. By the end of the movie I was writhing with disgust at the waste of good acting talent and two hours of my life.

I just saw it tonight on pay-per-view. Normally I won't pay for a movie unless I have a pretty good idea what it's about and a good sense that I'll like it. I threw caution to the wind and rented this one without all that. HUGE mistake.

It's the perfect movie for evolutionary psychologists. The successful pairings are older powerful men and younger women, or a young guy and 4 women, or young guy and porn star. If you're older, like Laura Linney, you get no sex with a hot hot man because your brother's a violent looney, and your entire life is dedicated to nurturing him, or you're older and married with kids, like Emma Thompson and your husband is screwing his secretary and you just suck it up. Didn't you know you're a piece of crap older woman whose sex life is over? Now go make yourself useful by making a costume for your kid.

I mean, I knew that evolutionary psychology was big in Britian, but had no idea things were that bad.

And incredibly some people claim that this is a movie for middle-aged women. Maybe middle-aged women who hate themselves.

And of course there's the awful awful plots. And the heaping piles of bad music and two stupid horrible scenes one after the other - the little boy on the plane, and the English guy in Portugal, with the stupid "inspirational" music pounding you over the head.

Yes, love is all around, unless you're the funny fat sister. Then you get nothing and everybody hates you - and the filmmakers invite everybody to laugh at you.

That's what really makes anybody with taste or sensitivity or humanity hate this movie. Because it keeps smugly patting itself on the back for its sensitivity and LOVE when in fact it's a woman-hating, schmaltz-churning, vomit-producing travesty.

I'm so glad there is a site like this where I can not only get a chance to get some of the feelings of loathing and sickness induced by this movie out of my system, but I can see that there are other sane, discerning people in this world who also get why this movie is so deeply, fundamentally, soul-destroyingly wrong.

And a shout-out to NYTimes critic A.O. Scott for totally nailing this movie and its many and varied evils.
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They don't make them better than this...
bernie_lockwood2 March 2006
I really didn't know they made movies like this anymore... it's been a long time since I could honestly say that here is a movie worth seeing, renting, owning. They really didn't leave anything out. They covered all their bases on this one. As a Romance Novel Reader, and as a Romance/Comedy Buff, I say I AM IMPRESSED. And I thank whoever wrote the script and hope he's a happy man, as he has made me happy every time I watch this. It made me laugh, and cry, and hope, and dream. There was love actually everywhere. Not to mention the fact that I am Portuguese and so did not need to read the subtitles to understand those beautiful scenes in Marseilles. How beautifully written this was!!! I applaud. My co-workers applaud, my family and friends to whom I recommended this movie to applaud...
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Crap Actually
RSTLOUP18 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I had expected from this film a relatively undistinguished, harmless little romantic comedy. What instead unfolded was two-plus hours of the most unremitting, insulting, film clichés imaginable.

The film consists of nine simultaneously-running subplots. Each subplot manages to be absurdly implausible, yet predictable at every turn. Among the worst:

One tracked a geeky fellow who was convinced that the way to turn his romantic life around was to impress American girls with his English accent. Each scene of that plot consisted of something like the following:

"I'm going off to the US, where the chicks will think I'm a coolly sophisticated Brit!"

(His friend): "You're crazy!"

"California girls here I come!"


And so on.

And on.

In the "payoff" scene, at film's end, he does, in fact, bag three hot American girls in a bar. Why this scene was worth endless repetition along the way is a mystery.

Another similarly repetitive plot involved two people performing together in a porn film. They strike up a conversation and start forming a tentative relationship. The "joke" is that these strangers are being sexually intimate, yet are acting like awkward teenagers as they stumble their way to going out on a date. They're porn stars, but they're shy! Isn't that funny? Ho ho ho! This might have an amusing one-five-minute-scene joke, but this film stretches into a film-long subplot, complete with the male rejoicing over getting a good-night kiss from his new love. Barf.

Perhaps the worst one involved Colin Firth. Betrayed early in the film, he's heartbroken. He is assigned a non-English-speaking housekeeper, whom it takes exactly two seconds to discern will be his romantic salvation.

This subplot builds to a supposedly climactic scene where he, with a big crowd in tow, descends upon a restaurant where she works, to propose marriage. He awkwardly declares his love, shots of all of the other diners looking confused and expectant, she says yes, then everyone breaks out in applause and there isn't a dry eye to be found. Argh.

This film didn't even bother to construct a buildup to this climactic moment. The two characters have barely a few verbal exchanges prior to this scene.

And the film uses all of the other clichés: her brusque Mediterranean father in the crowd, her sister egging her on, etc. None of these people were actually developed characters. They are just insulting stereotypes thrown in for the final set piece.

In another subplot, Hugh Grant plays a newly elected British Prime Minister. He doesn't bother to act differently from the way he normally does, the same stammering, yet somehow debonair, Hugh Grant character that he always plays.

He walks in off the street to 10 Downing, and is introduced to his staff, one of whom, again, can immediately be identified as his eventual love interest. Power Prime Minister falls for humble servant girl -- how romantic! Who would have thought?

The Prime Minister's scenes seem to have scripted by a 10-year-old. It's hard to depict politics or diplomacy more childishly than most mainstream films do, but this film manages. Grant is shown meeting with his Cabinet, with dialogue along the lines of:

"Mr. Prime Minister, you really need to get tough with those Americans."

"No, I don't think I will. Like it or not, America is the most powerful country in the world, so I think we'll just have to be nice to them."

Yes, it's about that sophisticated.

But soon the evil Americans show up, led by Billy Bob Thornton, looking hickish and sinister, another example of the film's relentless caricaturing. There is soon a negotiating scene that goes something like:

(Americans, haughtily): "We will be continuing the policies of the previous Administration."

(Brits): "But they are bad policies!"

But the Americans won't bend, so "bad" policies it will be. (Ah, the simple logic of film. Let's have good policies instead of bad ones -- Brilliant!)

Later, when in private discussions with President Billy Bob, Grant steps out and returns to find the Prez nuzzling his housekeeper. So, the Americans are not only unreasonable negotiators but lechers, too! At the next press conference, Hugh's backbone stiffens, he emphatically declares that the Brits aren't going to be pushed around anymore.

Cut to shots of applauding, grateful Brits, wiping tears from their eyes. No kidding.

The writing is adolescent from start to finish. Supposedly about romance, it was about anything but: It was about how many times the writer/director could haul out the same tiresome, insulting, manipulative stereotypes and syrupy music.

The film begins with shots of people embracing at airports. It's a clue. The writer likes the image of love, but isn't terribly interested in what goes into it.

We have a new plague among screenwriters: Richard Curtis. He also gave us Four Weddings and a Funeral, which was similarly, though not quite as spectacularly, awful.

Is it really the case that filmgoers will find such dreck droll and clever if only it is dressed up with a British accent? There seems to be no other explanation for this man continuing to be given financial backing.
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stereotypical and fake? who cares, it's a good film
TheNorthernMonkee29 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers

Not sure how to begin this really. I've wanted to see "Love Actually" for quite some time. I don't know why, I just know that I remember it being released at the cinema and being sorry for not going then. I guess a combination of Richard Curtis, the fact it was British, an all-star lineup and the occasional funny joke in trailers convinced me. Anyway, I took my time, but finally I got a chance to watch it. Quite liked it too.

In "Love Actually" we're presented with what sounds like a ridiculously complicated plot. It's not really though. Anyway, the basic premise is that there are all these different people in different situations who find love. Simple enough, until the details are filled in and then it gets confusing. I'm not going to bother going into any extreme detail though.

I guess I can see why people disliked this film. Other than the fact that London is not like the film portrays, and the random coincidences linking the main actors are coincidental, there's a distinct feeling of sickness at times from how sweet it is. The thing is though, you can't take the film that seriously. I admit in the past I've done it myself. When I watched Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" I almost kicked the television in I was that frustrated by it's plot. The thing is though that "Love Actually" doesn't want to be taken seriously (whilst at times "The Patriot" felt like it did). Richard Curtis has directed a film with an allstar cast, but you get the impression none of them took it too seriously and ultimately just had a laugh. Emma Thompson in particular was superb as the betrayed wife, and I can finally see why she got so much praise. Liam Neeson is also amazing as the grieving father forced to help his son deal with first love. Ultimately though, it's Neeson's son Sam in the film, little Thomas Sangster, who deserves the most praise. Sangster is excellent as the kid, putting in a decent performance. Keep an eye out, he's got a bright future.

I suppose the film does have a few big problems with it. Kris Marshall is infuriating in it, overplaying the goofy aspect and unlike most of his work, he bugs me in this. Billy Bob Thornton is a bit rubbish too, displaying a slimeyness which I wonder if was his character or his natural self. Other than those two, there were one or two moments when the film did get a bit extreme in it's cheeseyness, especially Hugh Grant's Prime Minister standing up against Thornton's President.

Ultimately though, this film is just a good laugh. It's not meant to be taken seriously, and anyone who does, obviously needs to lighten up a bit. Sit down, put your feet up, grab a beer, and relax. Just for infuriating obvious pun sake, it's quite a good film ACTUALLY.
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To believe again...
Lucas Garcia17 February 2006
Love Actually is movie that helps you see how life redefine's it self.

Common and extraordinary lives are mixed together with such good taste that you tend to believe that you were probably wrong the last time you were angry because of someone else doings.

The cast gave us outstanding performances by Hugh Grant, Liam Neesom and Emma Thompson and characters (the rock star and his manager are just persons to love!).

Special chapter for the charming Keira Knightley that just have away herself... and that is to say probably a person very similar to the general and popular idea of what angel's are.

A movie just perfect to believe in love again.
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worst movie ever
fieldy31 August 2007
Conclusively, without doubt, undeniably, unmistakably, unquestionably and irrevocably THE worst movie I have ever seen in my life.

The only reason I was able to sit through it is that I couldn't look away from this horrific car crash that injured so many fine actors (not to mention a handful of appalling no-names).

On the few occasions that my nausea subsided, it was brought back with a vengeance by the unbelievably bad music selection, the piece de resistance being the primary school's blood-curdling rendition of Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas'.

Every time you think the film can't get any worse, it somehow manages to, which is quite a mean feat I must say...
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The worst Brit movie of all times
suaheli26 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Of course this was run on TV in these Christmassy times and I was masochistic enough to give it another go. The posters in the hate it-section have summed it all up already I know, but even I repeat them I feel the urge to share with the world what got on my nerves most: The silly Colin Firth "love story", Hugh Grant as PM is truly unbearable, the guy wooing his best friends wife, the VO in the beginning, I could go on forever. Question is why Rickman, Thompson and Ejiofor (screentime about two minutes) wasted their talent on this dreck. Only Nighy is fun to watch, his cynicism about his record should be applied to this sort of movie.
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Tripe, actually
bob_bear29 June 2006
A stellar cast is drawn together for...what? For the biggest load of tripe I've had the misfortune to sit through in a long time.

Hmmm...Romantic COMEDY? Laugh...I thought I'd never start - and I was not wrong. Not a chuckle, not a titter was raised. Humour of the middle-class dinner party variety doesn't work for me. Lame, obvious jokes and cartoon characters abound. "Common as muck" Natalie swears in front of the "upper-crust" Prime Minister and we're supposed to find it funny? Charming? Believable??? PREPOSTEROUS?!

LOVE? If Richard Curtis thinks his threadbare characterizations and superficial plot lines constitute or represent love in any meaningful way then he is bonkers, actually.

Utter rubbish. Disney for grown-ups.
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Misogynistic, actually. Smarmy too
JackieBlu8 October 2005
Well now I know it's true. And I'm sad about it. British people aren't smarter or funnier than Americans. Although a higher percentage of them might be able to spell the word "p...a...n...d...e...r".

But who were they trying to pander to? It really ticks me off to market a film as a "women's movie" when every female character over 30 ends up sad, alone, or dead.

Where to begin: Well, the Liam Niessen story was unseemly. An eleven year old boy's mother has just died, and he's left alone with his step dad, and the boy's biggest concern is "falling in love" with a classmate? I know life goes on and all that, but honestly, life doesn't go on in this way, and I don't find the practice of projecting adult thoughts into eleven year old bodies humorous or poignant.

And the bereaved husband, who is so torn up about losing his perfect wife that he can't complete her eulogy, ends the movie by falling in love with Claudia Schiffer. Perhaps this is realistic, if your wife dies, you should expect to end up with a Claudia Schiffer supermodel or her look-alike. But I don't find it charming. I find it smarmy.

And Colin Firth (40 something) is going to meet and fall in love with a beautiful Portugese cleaning woman (20 something) with whom he's never had a conversation, but first, the filmmakers have to get rid of his wife, while turning Firth into a "sympathetic" victim.

How will the filmmakers get rid of his wife so he can fall in love with a much younger woman without the audience realizing he's really just a cad? They accomplish this by having Colin Firth's British wife sleep around on him for no apparent reason in a really callous way. Then she leaves him and he's so so depressed, for about a week. He wonders why all the women he marries betray him. Perhaps, I thought to myself, it's because he falls in love with women who don't speak English and marries them?

I confess I found the actress who plays the cleaning woman to be the most charismatic in the movie. And if the rest of the movie wasn't so godawful, I might have let this storyline pass, but then, the filmmakers have to stick in cheap shots at her oh so comically peasant-like father and her horrible fat sister. Incredibly, the fat girl's own father seems to hate her, and the filmmaker seems to expect the audience to sympathize with him while he is nasty to her. Wonderful chick flick, huh?. Clearly, Love is All Around.

And Keira Knightley is so beautiful and she's all of 19 or something and she's going to marry a black man who is perfect and handsome and rich and completely incidental to the storyline. In fact, the perfect black man isn't important at all, except to signify that Keira Knightley is funky and liberal and has something to her besides her looks. Because we neither know nor care about anything else about her. She's young, she's beautiful, she has an overbite, she's going to be married. She might as well be Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride.

Laura Linney's story is actually touching. And she acts it well. She's got to care for her brother, who's mentally ill. But he lives in a HOME! Why should this prevent her from having a relationship? Probably, because she's over 30. Again, if this were the only story about a 30 something woman ending up alone, through her own fault, I'd buy it. But it's the confluence of all these anti-women story lines that I just can't take.

Poor Emma Thomson and Alan Rickman work to save this movie. It's not unrealistic to think of an older bossman bonking the young female help. I don't mind this storyline,'s a little hard to see the witty and wise Emma ending up in a compromise of a marriage, while Liam Niesan's character ends up with Claudia Schiffer.

Bill Nighy does best with his role as a star performer who puts out a cheesy single, promotes it shamelessly, and has the grace to prove his loyalty to his manager, rather than going out to a fashionable party. Good thing his manager was a fat 40 something man instead of a slim 30 something female, or he'd have been left alone in the cold too.

I am a fan of Four Weddings and a Funeral despite the fact that Andie MacDowell couldn't keep up with the British cast, but with this new effort I am officially giving up on light British "romantic" comedies. I prefer the boys in the American Pie series to the cads in this movie, and the caddish screenwriters and producers who dared to market this film as a feel good fantasy for women.
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Among the very best of its kind, a beautiful tribute to love of all sorts
ametaphysicalshark23 February 2008
Richard Curtis is a terrific writer. I'm not convinced he can write anything properly dramatic or serious, but he has proved again and again that he has a wonderful knack for comedy, where his television work on the likes of "Blackadder" and "The Vicar of Dibley" has occasionally outshone his fantastic work on films like "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "The Girl in the Cafe". Curtis is also a good fantasy writer. No, not fantasy in the Lord of the Rings sense, fantasy as done in Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life". "Love Actually" is a beautiful, touching, and genuinely affecting romantic fantasy in which the bits of humor work extremely well.

"Love Actually" works so well as a narrative for several reasons, one of them being that it's fairly unique. The easiest way to describe it would be 'interlocking', but that would sadly put it in the company of trash like Paul Haggis' abortion of a movie "Crash" and Inarritu's similarly unsuccessful "Babel". "Love Actually" is best described as a series of vignettes about various varieties of love.

The star-studded cast don't exactly have to act their hearts out but they work perfectly together, Liam Neeson and Bill Nighy being the most affecting actors in the film. The film is not especially remarkable visually, but it is satisfyingly well-shot. Curtis' script is nothing short of brilliant, at least until the final scenes. If "Love Actually" has flaws, they come in those final scenes. They are certainly contrived, but the rest of the movie does such a good job drawing you in that you barely notice it at the end. This is a remarkable film, one that is hard to forget.

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One of the worst films ever made
Skint1118 January 2006
After seeing this I wanted to inflict actual bodily harm on Richard Curtis. I'm not joking. I really, really did. Love Actually is the vilest, most ghastly, most putrid film I have ever seen. It is appalling. The nadir of Curtis's output, it is a toe-curling abomination. Where to start? What about the pure, undiluted cynicism of the enterprise, evident in everything from the music to the manipulative sentimentality to the use of children to the Christmas setting. It's a film with no heart, no structure, no sense, just a series of orchestrated, contrived scenes, augmented by the odd stale comic line (eg 'Now I can only get into dresses that belonged to Pavarotti') and utterly stupid improbabilities. To go through those would take way, way too long. And what's with the use of bad language in the most inappropriate of situations? Do not see this vomit-inducing turkey of a movie, especially in a couple if you're a man because it may well end your relationship, which would actually be quite ironic, eh Mr Curtis?
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Hail_Martini22 December 2004
I cannot believe that anyone who likes movies enough to post or even vote on IMDb would actually like Love Actually. After peeling my mangled body from the floor of my apartment I crawled to the phone and called every movie buff I know and warned them about this foul-smelling debacle. Expecting at least good acting in a movie I knew would be a sappy British comedy, after the sixty-minute mark I begged my girlfriend to let me turn it off. I didn't even notice the misogyny until after the smoke had cleared from my head after watching two hours of bad lines, worse plot, and disastrous humor. I felt like I had been drug all over London watching stupid people doing stupider (sic) things, and drugged on a never-ending storyline that, at rare intervals, might have required a teaspoon of creativity. The portrayal of women was also completely inappropriate. It was a class struggle throughout: authoritative and powerful men and the lowly enamored women acting like they're at a Beatles concert. If you haven't seen a poorly made movie in a while, see this film. Even my girlfriend agreed that it was not at all good, and was as surprised as I was that it averaged above a 2 on the voting. You want a holiday comedy? Watch Elf. I usually don't comment on IMDb, but after seeing the 7.8 I couldn't help myself.
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Please tell me this was meant to be ironic...
nompular19 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
So.. is it just me or was anyone else greatly offended, if not outright appalled by everything this movie had to "offer"? Not only was the acting simply awful with its cheesy lines and its predictable scenarios, but there were also so many different stories it made each one lose any meaning it might have had in the process. On another less general note, I was offended by the fact that Colin Firth only started to really find his Portuguese maid attractive once she stripped down to her underwear, Liam Neeson's kid, right after his own mother's funeral, claimed he wasn't distraught over her at all - it was LOVE that was tormenting him, and the comment made by the father of the Portuguese maid to his other daughter - the "fat" one - saying "oh shutup, dunkin' donut 3000".... is this supposed to be funny? Because if it is, i think i may have lost hope in humanity forever. What would possess anyone to nominate this movie for not one, but TWO golden globes? There is far more to be said about this pathetic attempt at redeeming love and people in general, however it might cause me to feel ill so i will discontinue. My overall vote? If i could give it less than a 1, i would. I am ashamed of anyone I know who has even remotely enjoyed watching "Love, Actually."
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Repugnant Manipulative Saccharine Rubbish!
apavel-127 March 2004
It's films like this that makes you despise what cinema has become - a manipulative medium that contrives a formula to tap into your base emotions with a painting-by-numbers banality. Richard Curtis uses every clichéd, over-used, underdefined character from his big book of cardboard caricatures, then gets all his tired old thesp-chums to appear in it and churn out this sugar-sweet isn't-the-world-wonderful-even-when-you-think-it-isn't rubbish - and then has the audacity to stick it in the cinemas of the world and charge an entrance fee. How long must we tolerate this self-indulgent travesty from a man who is the king of the dumbing-down rom-com.

Notting Hill and Love Actually should forever be consigned to video bargain bucket hell.
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"Smug, Actually" would have been a better title
a-j-zak6 January 2004
One of the worst films its been my misfortune to see - I saw it for free and still wanted my money back. Smug middle class trash and one of the most manipulative films it's been my misfortune to sit through. The opening 9/11 reference was unbelievably crass and offensive and it was downhill from there. The saving grace was Laura Linney but her character just seemed to be discarded when Richard Curtis couldn't seem to contrive a way to get her back into the plot. Robert Altman and Paul Thomas Anderson have both shown how multiple storylines can be handled to amazing effect - evoking a genuine emotional response from the audience. Richard Curtis just strings together a few popular scenes from his other scripts, desperately trying to squeeze a laugh or tear from the audience. Depressingly this is one of the most successful UK films ever - despite having little or no resemblance to any London that actually exists. I think the audience's reaction will be different in hindsight when, on a second viewing, they realise they've been had.
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