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Romantic and entertaining -- for older teens.
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Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: Warm, bittersweet and hilarious, this is lovely, actually. Prepare to be smitten.
- Nev Pierce, BBC, Thursday, June 24, 2010
Watching Professor Snape falling for a young woman is something right? Speaking of reality, this is what life is. It reflects people's life so well. The starting was boring. I thought I just got another movie to inspire myself to die. But I was pleasantly wrong. This movie was absolutely heart touching. I've never thought or noticed what happens in the airport. There was some good laughs in it. And also eye watering moments. Life can be weird and complicated. So is love.
- 3niR, Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Great love story with Christmas background. You just can't hate this movie.
- citawijaya, Thursday, February 25, 2010
"If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around." As implied by the title, Richard Curtis' Love Actually is a film about love. In an age characterised by cynicism and irony, this is an unashamedly upbeat romantic comedy - it proudly proclaims that even in the direst of circumstances, love is all around and, if we're unable to see it, it's because we're not looking. This sentiment, which constitutes the film's core, may seem overly cloying and mushy, but writer-director Curtis is so earnest in upholding the notion that it comes across as genuinely touching. Love Actually is charming, warm and delightful, but there's no getting around the fact that it's an overstuffed Christmas turkey. The sprawling structure of the movie tracks a group of tentatively linked Londoners during the frantic months leading up to Christmas. These stories concern not just the standard romantic variety of love, but love in multiple forms and guises: love between siblings, love between parents and children, love between spouses, puppy love, platonic love, unrequited love, and sexual/romantic love. There are characters falling in love and characters falling out of love. Some characters are with the right people, and some are with the wrong people. Some are looking to have an affair, and some are in a period of mourning. It's a capsule summary of reality. In terms of characters, there's the new Prime Minister (Grant) who cannot express his growing feelings for his new personal assistant, as well as a photographer in love with his best friend's new wife, a pair of naked movie stand-ins who grow closer while assuming coital positions, and a burnt-out rock star named Billy Mack (Nighy) who is the main connection between all the different stories (just to describe some of the content). Richard Curtis' insinuation that love is everywhere but not as newsworthy as hate or destruction is manifested in the film's bookend which takes place at the airport and shows the arrival gate full of anonymous smiles, hugs and kisses. After all, what's more symbolic than the inherent rom-com clich of the airport? Love Actually marks the directorial debut of Richard Curtis, who's no stranger to success. He co-wrote the Blackadder TV series, and he was responsible for Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. Meanwhile, his big-screen writing credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Bridget Jones's Diary. As viewers of Curtis' prior works should be aware of, he always tempers romanticism with welcome comedy. There's an excellent offering of comedic scenarios in Love Actually, including a hilarious scene in which Rowan Atkinson plays a department store attendant, and the ubiquitous presence of Billy Mack: the outspoken, addled, and often downright offensive rock star who proves a publicist's worst nightmare as he never hesitates to broadcast that his new single is commercial shit. The problem with Love Actually, as is often the case with sizable ensembles, is that there's just too much here, and all the tales are therefore reduced to mere stocking stuffers with barely sketched characters and situations. Worse, the film doesn't spend enough time in the company of the most interesting people. Just when you're enjoying the Prime Minister's story, the focus shifts to Liam Neeson's character mourning over his recently deceased wife. Love Actually is easy to follow, but it's difficult to genuinely care about three dozen protagonists; each allotted approximately 8 minutes of screen-time (apparently more than 60 minutes of footage was cut to get the movie down to acceptable release length). One often gets the sense that the state of love is more important to Curtis than the people he uses to examine it. There's a great deal of dead weight here, and Curtis could have easily crafted a stronger package by excising the weaker plotlines (or using the concept for a television series instead). Another flaw lies in the fact that Curtis too often relies on stale plot devices (a typewritten manuscript is blown into a lake) and lazy, feel-good shorthand (cue groovy music as Hugh Grant has a solo dance). On top of these flaws, Craig Armstrong's score, which is gently romantic and poignant in some scenes, swells into would-be epic proportions a few times when a note of whimsy would prove more suitable. The low-key, whimsical nature of the film is easily overwhelmed by such orchestral insistence. Happily, the rest of the soundtrack - consisting of several wonderful songs - is well-judged. Furthermore, Love Actually is unable to tell romantic stories that offer anything new or fresh to its genre. Curtis could have challenged us with something refreshing... After all, the subject of love can easily branch out into further avenues than the predictable subjects Curtis ultimately presented (like the boy chasing girl motif which occupies most of the movie). Moreover, the "love" here simply exists because the film forces it, despite language barriers, logic or resemblance to reality. Some of the stories are resolved in a true-to-life manner that admits not all endings are happy and some relationships will never come to pass, but others are pure fantasy, demanding considerable suspension of disbelief. The key offender in this department is a tale concerning a libidinous chum convinced he'll score tonnes of women in America due to his "cute British accent". The concept itself is amusing because it's built around a core of truth, but when the clich turns out to be true beyond his wildest dreams, Curtis appears to have wandered off into a bizarre realm of British male fantasy that implicates all American girls are impossibly hot and easy. The fantastical elements could be accepted as part of the film's overall optimism, but one gets the sense that Curtis keeps changing the rules, with half the picture acknowledging the untidiness of real life and the other half operating more along the lines of pure wish fulfilment. The different approaches may increase the appeal, but it carries the whiff of cheating. Easily the biggest pleasure afforded by Love Actually is the cast that's packed with a bunch of the finest British actors. Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Kris Marshall, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, and Martine McCutcheon are featured here, just to name a few. There's a cameo from Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the United States too, in addition to the aforementioned cameo appearance of Rowan Atkinson. All of these actors deliver acceptable performances, but not many are given their moment to shine. To the credit of these performers, they all shape dynamic, distinct characters, and this helps keep story confusion to a minimum. All things considered, Love Actually is lovely, heart-warming and delightful, and it contains a number of spot-on gags in addition to an influx of genuine charm, but that's about all the film has going for it. Overlong yet criminally undercooked, this is nonetheless an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours, and it's terrific to witness so many of the UK's best actors sharing screen space.
- PvtCaboose91, Saturday, December 26, 2009