Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually

Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson in “Love Actually”.

No matter how big the movie buff you may be, there is always at least one movie that escapes you and you have to catch up to see it (Roger Ebert said at one point he had never seen The Sound of Music). Well, over a decade late, I have finally caught up with seeing Love Actually, and I am glad I did.

That is not to say it is a perfect film. The movie centers around multiple couples in their love lives, and, for the most part, it works. The main reason why is that the director (Richard Curtis) used some of the best thespians at the time. Not movie stars, but thespians. They include (but are totally not limited to) Hugh Grant (playing the prime minister), (the late) Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney,  Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, and Keira Knightley. The film also has appearances by young soon to be stars such as Chiwetel Ejiofor (a decade before he made 12 Years a Slave), Martin Freeman (before he was Bilbo Baggins or Sherlock‘s Watson) and Andrew Lincoln (in the days before playing Rick on The Walking Dead).

It would take too much time for me to write down what each character is going through, and would ruin the surprise to those who may not yet have seen it. My personal favorite is of Colin Firth’s Jamie, a writer going through a breakup and meets a new house keeper named Aurelia (Lucia Moniz). The movie also gives us a look at “puppy love”, which I have always been a sap for.

If I had to cut a story, I would cut two of them. The first is with Martin Freeman’s John and Joanna Page’s “Just” Judy. I cared for these characters, and liked the acting. What I did not care for was the fact that they had to be porn stars. The other involves the character of Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall). Again, the acting is good, but, unlike most of the other stories, he is not looking for love, but sex. It does not add to the movie I feel.

Parents, the movie is not for kids, although (mature) High Schoolers and above would be ok. Just be wary, there is a lot of nudity that does not need to be in the film.

In the end, the film does wrap a big enough blanket around me that gave me a nice, fuzzy, cozy feeling. It ends with one of my personal favorite songs (“God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys), making you look at airports in a different way.

There is a scene in the film where a girl is singing “All I want for Christmas is you” by Mariah Carey. For the longest time, this song was on the Christmas radio station in my car so much I have grown to despise the song. Love Actually made me love the song. That alone is quiet the accomplishment.

Overall: Four Stars ****

Alan Rickman: 1946-2016

Alan-Rickman

I normally don’t post on passings of celebrities, but after hearing about the passing of actor Alan Rickman at 69, I felt obligated to do so.

The first film I remember seeing him in was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. My first reaction as a kid was “This dude is bad. Like really really bad.” Now that I think of it, it was the first time I knew what it was to witness a villian that you love to hate.

As I grew older, I saw him in what is probably his best role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, possible the best known terrorist in Cinema History. He was an actor who was so good at playing a villian that it seemed almost second nature to him.

When I first knew of the cast of the Harry Potter films, I was most happy when I found out he was in it. I did not know much of Severus Snape, but I knew Rickman was playing him, and it would be memorable. He was author J.K. Rowling’s personal pick for the role (she even gave Rickman information about the character before the final book’s release), and I still think it is the best casting choice of the whole series.

Through the years, I realized he was a class act, and one of the most well known and respected British thespians alive.

Had I a magic wand, I would be raising it in respect.