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*** Official LOVE ACTUALLY Review Thread


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#1 of 8 Chad R

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Posted November 02 2003 - 07:46 AM

So, my wife and I went to the sneak preview offered last night for "Love, Actually" and aside from knowing that it had a good portion of British Beefcake for my wife, I had very little knowledge about it.

Basically, it tells nine different stories about love, which are all loosely tied together, in the month preceding Christmas in London. The film begins with a very nice frame by letting us know that it's a film celebrating love in a post 9/11 world. Some of the stories are grand Hollywood romances, whereas others deal with love in a much more realistic sense, all handled with deft charm from writer/directoor Richard Curtis. There are really three stand-out stories.

The most affecting to me regarded Laura Linney and her inability to start a relationship due to family comittments. It's a heartbreaking little story that has more to do with love for one's family than the more traditional romance.

Then there's a quaint little vignette with Liam Neeson as a widower left to raise his step-son. The little guy is moody, not from the recent loss of his mother, ibut because he's fallen in love with a little American girl at school. The two bond over the situation, and ends in one of the more grandly romantic ways.

Third, there's a tender little story about a marriage with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman who has a wandering eye for his young Secretary.

And then there's more comical tales involving a single Prime Minister, Hugh Grant, in love with one of his house servants, a nice little tale with Coling Firth trying romance across the language barrier and more.

The film is unabashedly sentimental, and that's why it works so wonderfully. It forgets much of the cynicism that permeates modern cinema, instead tugging on our Christmas spirit. There are grand bits of comedy, including a pair of professional stand-ins (people who stand in for stars for lighting) who find each other while standing-in for a particularly racy film--earning the film its R rating. Although it may sound extreme, it's actually handled with warmth and subtelty.

A chief complaint likely to lobbed its way may be that some of the stories don't reach a real resolution, but to me, this is one of the film's greatest strengths. Several of the stories are of the nature where a pat, resolute ending wouldn't be true. They deal with issues that aren't as finite as we are sometimes led to believe by other movies and sitcoms. It's an odd juxtaposition against the grandly romantic stories also offered here, but they all end appropriately for the type of story they are.

The most engaging performances are from Emma Thompson and Laura Linney, which may not be considered Oscar caliber due to the material, but are none-the-less perfectly pitched for this movie.

I highly reccomend this film for the upcoming holiday season as it has just thre right sense of Capra-esque charm for adult audiences. I'd say four out of five stars.

I believe it opens Nov. 7th.

#2 of 8 RafaelB

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Posted November 03 2003 - 01:09 AM

I completely second that review, Love, Actually is filmed like an epic romantic comedy taking as many variables of the way couples meet and fall in love and mixing them up in such an unabashedly romantic way. Truly charming. Posted Image

I'm glad I braved the crowds this past saturday to see it.

Rafael

#3 of 8 Robert Crawford

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Posted November 04 2003 - 08:20 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Love Actually". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#4 of 8 Edwin Pereyra

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Posted November 08 2003 - 03:17 PM

As a screenwriter, Richard Curtis is responsible for such hits as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary to name a few. With Love Actually, Curtis also establishes himself as a director more than capable of transforming his romantic comedy writings into the big screen himself.

In this his directorial feature film debut, Curtis surrounds himself with some of U.K.’s popular and well-known actors: Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, and Keira Knightly to name a few.

The film tells about a dozen or so love stories somehow interconnected with each other. However, some stories are more forced than others. Since the subject is about love, as expected, the scale is tipped a little to the sweet side. But fortunately, there are the more serious episodes involving Laura Linney and Emma Thompson that try and balance the playing field. The comedy is also spot-on, especially those scenes with Bill Nighy playing a washed up 70’s rock star providing the most laughs.

There is a lot to like about Love Actually. The few times it goes over the top is excusable. As a whole, it works as a romantic comedy better than most released recently. The performances that make up the stronger links in the chain more than make up for the few weaker one in plotlines and predictable resolutions. As with love, we can have the propensity to forgive and forget certain faux pas.

~Edwin ô¿ô
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#5 of 8 Kevin Grey

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Posted November 08 2003 - 03:35 PM

Agree totally with all of the above. Just a wonderful movie. The finale to Liam Neeson's story is among the most affecting movie sequences I've seen all year.

#6 of 8 Patrick Sun

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Posted November 09 2003 - 01:26 AM

It starts out good, gets a little dour (reality and baggage does have a way with putting the kibosh on our attraction to another person), and it ends up unevenly.

There are probably 3 too many subplots in this film. I think I enjoyed the Colin Firth subplot the most, followed by the Liam Neeson subplot. I do think some of the subplots are there only for the comedic value, and don't add as much in the way of really driving the stories forward in a substantial way. But, that being sad, its heart is in the right place for most of the film, so I'd recommend, though it's not a home run.

I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.
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#7 of 8 Guy Martin

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Posted November 09 2003 - 05:22 AM

I really loved this movie. It's long to be sure, but the writing was terrific and so were the performances. I can't believe no one has mentioned Bill Nighy's part as the over-the-hill-rocker who tries to get people to buy his terrible Christmas single so that a N'syc-esque boy band isn't #1 on Christmas day. That was one of my favorite plot lines (and was I dreaming or was that Josh Groban standing in the back of the recording booth at the beginning?). And the cameo by the US President was one of the best bits of surprise casting ever (I won't ruin it here). Great stuff which proves that real romantic comedy with sincere characters (most of whom are middle-aged) and great writing is still alive!
- Guy

#8 of 8 Arman

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Posted November 09 2003 - 06:17 PM

In my mind, Love Actually scores a homerun! It is not only the feel good movie of the year, it gets my vote as the feel good movie of the new millenium. This film (with a fantastic stellar cast) gives solid laughs from its hilarious and joyous beginning to its rousing end. Colin Firth and Liam Neeson gave the best and most charming comedic performances of their career. The versatile Laura Linney (who was memorable in her supporting roles in this year's critics favorite Mystic River B- and in one of the 2003's most poorly reviewed movies, The Life of David Gail F) proved to everyone that she is one of the best young actresses around and that's the reason why we will be seeing her at least three more times next year (The Squid and the Whale, P.S and Kinsey).

Actually, I agree pretty much with all what Chad R said in his reviews (except with the difference in our ratings and I'm solid 100% for Colin and Liam). A lot of critics love (and hate) Love Actually (the perfect feel good, romantic and comedy film ... yeah, yeah yeah, it is like the perfect reincarnation of Notting Hill A-, Four Weddings and a Funeral A, About A Boy A-/A and Brigette Jones Diary B+ combined), but like their love to Raising Victor Vargas
A+ (the perfect coming of age film ... yeah, yeah, yeah, Thirteen A-, Y Tu Mama Tambien A and Blue Car A- are almost as fantastic), they are just too afraid and gun shy to give the highest possible ratings or grade to one of my best films of the year. Like Kill Bil Volume 1 which is bloody cool, Love Actuall is bloody fun! Posted Image

Love Actually gets an A+. (It's the first romantic comedy/comedy since Say Anything .../Ferris Bueller's Day Off to get an A+ from me).