Love Actually

Year: 2003
Production Co: Working Title
Director: Richard Curtis
Writer: Richard Curtis
Cast: Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Billy Bob Thornton, Michael Parkinson, Shannon Elizabeth, Denise Richards, Claudia Schiffer
Just what we needed - another rom com. But as writer (and this time director) Curtis believes – as articulated by Hugh Grant's opening remarks over the title sequence, we might think it's a horrible, cold world, but love is actually all around.

And that's as deep as the message gets. Like Four Weddings and a Funeral and other Brit that have straddled the divide between Hollywood feelgoodishness and a bit of reality, each of the stories followed by the film isn't just about sweetness and light, which gives the proceedings an edge and keeps them from being the usual sugar coated kissy feely tosh Hollywood rom coms keep serving up.

A huge number of major characters – seemingly played by every high profile British actor of today – are loosely connected by family or friendship, and coming up to Christmas, they're all surrounded by love and it's effects.

The new PM (Grant) has a crush on his tea lady at No. 10 (McCutcheon). Recent widower (Neeson) has to reconcile his relatinship with his stepson who has the hots for a girl at school. A married career man (Rickman) looks set to embark on a saucy but ultimately doomed affair with a co-worker. The token American (Linney, to draw in audiences across the Atlantic) has been crazy about a colleague for years. And a writer (Firth) on sabbatical in Portugal finds himself falling for his sultry maid who doesn't speak a word of English.

Smaller subplots wend in and out – Keira Knightley and her husband's 'friend' who curiously doesn't seem to like her, the porn film stand ins and the scene stealing aging rocker desperate for a Christmas hit (Nighy), all to varying effect.

It's a big ask tying each story up neatly and Love Actually mostly does, and while it's too much to stuff into one feature film and delve in too deeply, you're not left wanting for stories to sink your teeth into – most of them nice, some of them sad, all of them to do with love.

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