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Love Actually (2003)
Loved it "Actually"
****Spoilers ahead**** 5 years after this movie was released, I still LOVE it. Having read lots of the bad reviews, I had to comment. Seems there are many 'critics' on IMDb, some harsh wannabe Eberts out there, imho. 'LA' is a romantic comedy. I'm not sure what those who rated it so poorly, expected? Realism? A documentary? I'm puzzled. Yes, your typical rom-com is going to contain fluff, cheesy story lines & dialogue, but with a rom-com, you have to suspend your common sense & just believe! This is a movie to extract from. It's a myriad of messages about, love. And what this movie shows is, love is 'all around, actually'. I rated it 9/10, not a 10, because, yes, a few of story lines were....er...silly? An very far fetched (the subplot of the so called 'cute Brit who goes to America' in search of 'cool American babes' & actually sleeps with 4, just by being a 'cute Brit'? Not so, sorry, what were they thinking in the casting dept with that guy?? not cute!) Not to mention the stand ins for the porn movie..?? if that story line was really necessary? To omit it & focus some more on Colin Firth's character's subplot would have been a wiser choice. But again, it's not a perfect movie. If you look at the movie & analyze it, you will find that there IS truth to the movie. How? *The love of a brother from a sister (Laura Linney's Sarah is fantastic) you can FEEL her turmoil. Her need for romantic love overcome by her love & responsibility for her brother. And yes to those nay sayers....sometimes we do give up love for familial love. That happens. You're in a fantasy world if you think not. -The unrequited love of being in love with your best friend's partner. Tell me there aren't people out there who haven't fallen in love in that situation?? I'm sure that has broken up a marriage or two, considering the divorce rate... *The comfortable love faced with a mid life crisis that crosses the line into an almost office affair. Oh yeah, that's NEVER happened either. Never has a man fallen for his secretary. Nope never heard of that happening. *Then we have the Cinderella story. Prime Minister falls for 'fat, help'. I suppose love has never sprouted across social class either? Sure some of it's a bit cheesy, the happy ending where the PM & Natalie DO hook up, but, hey it is a rom-com. Hugh Grant is hilarious in his own "Risky Business" moment. I personally thought it was comical. *You also get healthy doses of heartbreak. Neeson's character broken hearted over the lose of his 'perfect girl/wife', Emma Thompson's character who's emotional pain is SO palpable. I know, I've been in that situation & ever so clearly, remember a very similar time of shaking my hands trying to hide that intensely crushing moment of revelation at the worst possible second. Oh yes, that's VERY real. And what is ALSO real about that sequence IS THIS..sometimes a marriage does survive a betrayal...and it doesn't fold nicely, as in ever so happily ever after.... *Falling in love across a language wall? Could happen. IN five weeks, doubtful. But,I think the message is, yes, we love, are sometimes betrayed, but we can & do, find love again in the most unusual places. (a family member of mine met his wife in Spain, during the war, married her & brought her home, & SHE DIDN'T SPEAK ANY English, NOR DID HE SPEAK ANY Spanish - they were married 30 something years & had 4 lovely children) -As for the 11 yr old, yes, while us adults KNOW that it's not 'real love' most of us have a 'first love' tucked away in our minds and hearts. And while I will admit 99.9% of us ARE not with our puppy loves, we did have one. *You also find a bit of blended love. Love between a stepfather and stepson. Under horrible circumstances (But when is that blended love not under difficult circumstances?) That story 's ending may be sugary, but it serves its purpose in the film. This movie, while not perfect, comes pretty close. Its underlying theme, the theme that if we look around us, we will see that love is all around. Between friends (just like that of Billy Mack & his manager) between step families, between co-workers, between brother sister, man & woman, new 'strangers' who meet, husbands & wives, etc. And it doesn't always have a scripted perfect ending. THAT is life.. Oh & on the 'fat' comments...I think the meaning is...fat is so often distorted, it is so often not true, & a real dilemma for those girls who think they are, when they're not..so don't knock yourself. Just because you're not as skinny as the overrated Keira Knightley, does NOT mean you're fat. I see no offense by the reference to that in the movie. Nor do I see the insult to America. The president, wonderfully portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton. It is what it is. Obviously a reference to ol Bill. Not unjust in poking fun at that one, considering it was an embarrassing happening that dominated the news for quite some time....If Britain wants to stand up to America for once, so what, big deal. Remember again folks, it's a R O M A N T I C comedy! Fabulous acting by Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, (the young boy who portrays Sam, don't know his name), and Andrew Lincoln. Don't expect heavy character development, there isn't time allowed. But that's not the point. The point is, it's Christmas, pull yourself up by the bootstraps & take a look, all around. Love is, actually all around. Just open your eyes & you won't be disappointed!
P.S. I Love You (2007)
P.S. I Love You Gerard Bulter!
Yes, it's a chick flick. Yes, it's a tear-jerker. Yes, it's not the most 'creative' writing ever on film. Yes, it's predictable.
However, if you're up for a chick flick, tear jerking, bittersweet, warm and fuzzy couple of hours, this is a great choice.
Gerard Butler is the star, but not given nearly as much time on screen as he deserves, or as one would be lead to believe considering he's on the movie poster!
Lisa Kudrow is essentially "Pheobe" in this film, with simply another name. Great comic relief.
Hilary Swank for this role? Hmmm, I didn't sense the chemistry between her and Butler. Perhaps Amanda Peet would've been better in the role? Cameron Diaz? Yes, Swank is a great actress, but she just didn't seem to fit the role of grieving widow too well. She was flat. And seemingly only two dimensional.
Bates is fabulous, as always.
So, Butler and Bates are the reasons one should watch this film. It's a heartwarming tale about the love of man for his wife. (who happens to be similar to a stick in the mud, & if that was what's intended, then Swank did a great job)
The reason I rated it so highly is because of Gerard Butler. He really shows his acting chops. He's the multidimensional guy to watch. Very funny, very endearing, very lovable, charming...and sweet. Not only when you get your 15-20 minutes of Gerard eye candy in the start, but when you hear his voice via the letters...his voice over is enough to bring you to tears...
Ireland was captured wonderfully by the DP. Definitely helps to market it as a place you want to see.
I gave it such a high rating not only for the laughs, the quirkiness of 'Gerry', but because it fit it's bill as a romantic comedy that delivers.
Me thinks it would have done better had it been casted without the dull Swank as it's female lead? Without the chemistry between her and Butler, you will have to suspend your beliefs for the movie and pretend.....
But don't we always pretend when we're watching warm and fuzzy, bittersweet dramatic romantic comedies?
Dear Frankie (2004)
A bittersweet drama that transcends all time.....
This is the kind of movie you want to watch when you want to feel good, when you need a lift, & to be reminded that although life is tough, during the hard times, there is often something beautiful that can happen, if you look hard enough. I have a picture frame on the wall in my home that says "There is NO friendship, NO love, like that, of the parent for the child" by Henry Ward Beecher. This movie captures that saying like no other I've ever seen. (Forget about Mystic River, which it's theme and plot, almost a given if you're a parent, how that won Best Picture, is beyond me??) Incidentally, it's a CRIME this film didn't do better in the box office. I'm baffled? Especially with the wonderful reviews on here, & elsewhere. If it's the 'chick flick' idea, check the demographic breakdown of the reviewers on IMDb alone. Having recently developed a strong admiration for Butler after seeing his work before & his most recent, P.S. I Love You, I realized he is such an amazing actor with quite a range. So, I made it a mission to watch more of his work & found this beautiful movie on IMDb, immediately set out to buy it. This movie, unfortunately appears to have not been marketed enough in the US for me to even recall it & it truly is a shame. It has so many beautiful elements to it, but the theme of the movie, a parent's unconditional love for their child, well, that is why it transcends all time. 'Frankie's mother, Lizzie' was portrayed by a fine actress, who hopefully we will see more of in the future. Her emotions are palpable & if the viewer is a parent, you can understand & sympathize with her completely. (especially if you, yourself know what it's like to need to protect your child from a parent who's hurt them. If that's the case, it can really 'hit home', no pun intended) You see love between mother & daughter, mother & son, brother & sister (Lizzie's sister in law for Lizzie's husband), & hopefully, romantic love. It's all there. It's a movie full of compassion & giving,without seeking anything in return. This is why the movie transcends all time..it focuses on the desire & the lengths we will go to protect a loved one, to make a loved one happy...that is a universal desire when it comes to true love, not just romantic love, but love for the child, for the parent... Gerard Butler, as "the Stranger", is simply perfect in his role. He can say so much without even saying a word. Next time you see him, watch his face, watch his eyes...the man is amazing & not half as much recognized as he should be. When he speaks with his eyes, his face, you get it. Ironic for the film considering "Frankie" is deaf. "The Stranger" makes a comment to "Frankie" towards the end, "we are all connected", which is so true. Love is the common denominator that connects us. As many romantic dramas go, yes this film is a tear jerker, but it's more than that, it's a movie about people of truly good character & that those people do exist. Despite all difficulties there are in life, hardships, & sadness. Love is still there & can be found. Unconditional love, selfless love, they do exist. Kindness exists where you may least expect it.
I tend to consider myself a good judge of great movies, considering I watch them constantly, & what makes this one different is among the elements of love, caring, and altruistic acts, we are given a surprise at the end, that I found to be, a surprise. Those who are parents should take note of that. Sometimes, our children know more than we give them credit for knowing. The music in the movie, while touching, is the one, tiny area that could have been improved upon, however one must consider the budget restraints..e.g....Had, say, Hans Zimmer scored it, it would have been an 11 out of 10! All other elements of the film were top notch, the lighting, the photography (Scotland is beautiful even when it's cloudy), the directing, the writing (what a script!) & of course the acting of all characters. Finally, I'm surprised that this movie was reviewed by more men than women? That fact alone renews my belief that men can be & are touched by human dramas, & are much more sensitive than some of us may think. So guys, when you claim to NOT WANT to see a supposed 'chick flick', give it a shot, you may be moved to tears!
I highly suggest this film for all ages. My 9 yr old son was in & out of the room while I watched, so I'm not sure if it really grabbed his attention, but when he did watch, he seemed to be touched as well. (because the revelation of "Frankie's deafness" and its cause, is not fully explained but hinted at, enough to allow adults to infer, a 9 yr old watching it need not know the horrible truth, but will know enough to satisfy the question as to 'how' he became deaf.
It's definitely worthy of your time. Watch it & you will not be disappointed. It's even worthy of owning it for those who enjoy dramas
P.S. The only downside to this movie, NOT enough screen time for Butler. He is so beautiful, (check him out if you can in some interviews, he's so very down to earth & un-Hollywood) The 'kiss' in this movie can make even a married woman melt, I'm sure. WOW, if I could only find a man who looked like him, looked at me like that, & then kissed me the way he did her! Ladies watch him!
Time to go, I'm going to curl up & watch it again!