By Halimah Kargbo
Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually (Image Source: Universal)
Love Actually is an example of a classic 21st-century romance movie that does a good job at depicting the ups and downs of love. Directed by Richard Curtis, this film is a bit different from the typical romance movie. The movie primarily takes place in London and follows different stories of love, each capturing a different perspective. Among these stories, some of the more recognizable actors include Hugh Grant, Kiera Knightley, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, and more. At times, this film can prove hard to follow with all of the different characters and their storylines, but everything makes sense once it all comes together.
In total, the film depicts nine stories of love in total— each connected through family, work, or friendship. The first to appear is Jaime (Colin Firth), a writer who finds out that his wife is cheating on him with his brother, and later finds himself on a retreat in France where he meets Auralia (Lúcia Moniz). But, before he goes, he attends the wedding of his good friends Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet (Kiera Knightley). Also among the attendees are Sarah (Laura Linney) and Mark (Andrew Lincoln), the latter of the two being in love with the bride, as well as Colin (Kris Marshall) and Tony (Abdul Salis). Sarah works for Harry (Alan Rickman) who also employs Mia (Heike Makatsch) and Karl (Rodrigo Santoro); Mia being his side affair and Karl being the object of Sarah’s affections. Harry himself is married to Karen, (Emma Thompson) the sister of the British Prime Minister and good friend of Daniel (Liam Neeson), recently widowed and the father to his late wife’s son, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster). This sounds like way too much to fit in a two-hour film, and yet, it only captures the mere surface of their individual stories. Anything beyond this, including each character’s intentions and actions, must be learned by watching the film.
Going into this movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After reading a quick synopsis, Love Actually sounds like the type of romance movie that is bound to give a terrible rash. However, there were many aspects of this movie that appealed to me, as apprehensive as I was. This movie definitely has many comedic aspects (basically Billy Nighy’s entire character, along with Colin Firth’s failed attempts to speak French and Portuguese at the beginning of the film) that will definitely draw laughs. However, the movie is hard to keep up with at times seeing as how some stories get more attention than others.
The story of John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page), two adult film stars who find love in the most unromantic setting is overshadowed easily. Also, despite being advertised as a holiday film and containing certain Christmas elements, I found myself forgetting that Christmas was a part of this movie at all
Officially, the film falls into the category of romance and drama. Not all of the stories end in a ‘happily ever after,’ and I believe that was completely intentional. You find that the film depicts many low points when it comes to love, such as husbands who woo their secretaries or girlfriends who sleep with their future brothers-in-law. But, you can also find love in the dynamics of a father and his young son, or a woman and her brother that she looks out for.
The main takeaway from this film is that love comes in many forms, and can be seen or found in places where you least expect it. If you’re like me, a bit skeptical when it comes to romance in movies and life in general, perhaps give this particular film a try. You never know— one day you too could be in front of the arrivals gate at the airport and find that “love is actually all around.”