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Love Actually
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Reviews & Ratings for
Love Actually More at IMDbPro »

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525 out of 610 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Enjoyable

9/10
Author: milareppa from South Wales
6 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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368 out of 448 people found the following review useful:

A deeply loving film rich in character

10/10
Author: bzb2001 from Nixa, Missouri
28 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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267 out of 357 people found the following review useful:

A Holiday Fantasy Classic (Yes, Fantasy - Negative Reviewers Get Over It ;-)

Author: jackburden from Austin, TX
19 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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236 out of 303 people found the following review useful:

A film for those who can cope with more than just one story line.

Author: Claire Rosemary Jane from Somerset, England.
25 October 2004

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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143 out of 185 people found the following review useful:

A fabric woven of happy and sad threads

8/10
Author: BrianWatchesMovies from London, England
19 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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163 out of 235 people found the following review useful:

Simply perfect

10/10
Author: margaretnicora from Argentina
15 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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131 out of 177 people found the following review useful:

Clever and delightful, actually.

8/10
Author: Turambar-3 from Albuquerque, United States
19 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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139 out of 204 people found the following review useful:

Bravo Richard Curtis

Author: Michael101 from London
9 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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112 out of 163 people found the following review useful:

The Ultimate Romantic Comedy: Served in a British Vein (Trying for Unspoiled, cannot guarantee - Actually!)

10/10
Author: Ian Bourne (ian.bourne@gmail.com) from Barbados, Caribbean
26 August 2004

*** This review may contain 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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111 out of 163 people found the following review useful:

Delightfull Homage to Love

9/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
29 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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