Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wednesday Movie Night: Love Actually (2003)

So I figured before the holidays took me away that I would watch one last Christmas movie I could fit in. I've heard a lot about Love Actually, so I was very excited to watch it, and by the end a bit disappointed. I loved some stories, and found that others left me feeling a bit lackluster. I suppose people like this movie because it tries to be a more realistic romantic comedy though? Some relationships work out, some don't, and some are left unanswered?  I would have preferred just to watch two hours and 14 minutes of just Martin Freeman falling in love in the porn industry though.

Summary: Eight couples are nearing Christmas in London, and some are falling in love, and others are falling out of it. Billy Mack is trying to revive his career with a Christmas album. Jamie is a lonely writer, who begins to fall for the housekeeper during a getaway to France. Daniel is a recently widowed, and raising his son on his own. Karen discovers her husband maybe having an affair. Juliet discovers her new husband's friend has feelings for her, and the prime minister begins falling for a woman who works on his staff. All these stores have loose connections tying up to show the workings of love.

Acting: The acting is really good, and keeps the movie from becoming a complete cheese ball. Hugh Grant is the Prime Minister, and honestly one of the more boring parts of the movie. Grant can act, but I just didn't enjoy the story. I was anxious to get to other stories the entire time. Liam Neeson is Daniel, and I thought he was good in the role, but again the whole dynamic of him and his son's beginning love story just wasn't that interesting, and provided moments that verged on cheesy explosions. Colin Firth has one of the better stories as Jamie, and I did get into the story a bit, but only because Firth was charming as Jamie. Emma Thompson was Karen, and one of my favorite characters, but the whole end to her story was just disappointing. Alan Rickman played her husband, and I was hoping to see something different from Rickman than just the supposed bad guy. Keira Knightley is Juliet, and well she is not incredibly interesting, but the other guys who fall for her are. I wish the focus would have more so been on them. Anyways, those were the main highlights. The story I was most interested in involved Martin Freeman who worked as a porn star, and fell for his costar. It was the only hilarious part, and the only part that seemed sweet.

Filming: The movie is shot very well and it keeps the movie more grounded in reality. Richard Curtis doesn't let the romantic comedy atmosphere eat the movie. I think the fact that the story plays out like it does is what has many people enjoying this movie. The color pops and it makes the movie lively, and the Christmas vibe is there, but this movie could just as easily be watched outside of the holiday season. At first though matching the time up with what was happening was a bit confusing because the beginning does some adjusting as we get into the character's lives.

Plot: If you're favorite story was one of the prominent ones then you'll enjoy it. The primary stories seem to be Karen beginning to wonder if her husband is having an affair and Daniel helping his son with his first love after the passing of his wife. The one about the father and son is touching, but maybe I just wasn't in a mood where it left me really affected. `Karen is a likable character, but I guess the romantic in me was pulling for a different outcome, and that urges would be conquered. The story I liked most wasn't the primary featured though, and that could just be because I do like Martin Freeman in most stuff, but the scenario he had was just hilarious, and pretty cute.

I can see why people like Love Actually. It is one of the better romantic comedies out there. It doesn't have as much comedy as I would have expected, and at times I didn't even like how the women were portrayed, but it does have it's moments. Overall though I wouldn't find myself putting this in my Christmas classics to watch again.

Rating 6.5 of 10.

Love Actually (2003) on IMDb

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