Did you know that Hugh Grant did not want to dance it out in Love Actually? Probably not. Why? Because it was arguably the most iconic scene of the whole movie, so we just assume he loved it, right? Well, I’ve got news for you: he did not. After a long running disagreement about it, Grant finally agreed, and it was shot on the last day. The rest is movie history.
There are many interesting facts about this feel-good festive film, such as the fact that the airport scenes were filmed with hidden cameras and that Emma Thompson’s emotional sobbing scene took 12 takes to get it right. But the final product is epic. It is, in my opinion, the best Christmas movie of all time.
So, as Christmas draws near, it’s time to ask yourself the most important question. Is it really Christmas if you don’t watch this festive classic at least once? Well, I’ll speed this up for you – the answer is no, you cannot put a foot wrong with this one. I like to compare it to a dressing gown: suitable for all situations. Tired? Love Actually. Stressed? Love Actually. Happy? Love Actually. The answer is always Love Actually. Because I’ll tell you this, even if you hate Christmas, and these festive films, I can pretty much guarantee you will love this one. Even if it means you love to loathe it.
This movie presents to you an all-star cast including Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Keira Knightly, the late Alan Rickman and even the unstoppable Bill Nighy, amongst many more golden names. The soundtrack (composed by Craig Armstrong) is nothing short of marvellous, including the Mariah Carey classic, ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’, and an, albeit remastered version, of the timeless Beach Boys single ‘God Only Knows’. If this hasn’t wet your appetite, the movie was written by (perhaps the King of Romance himself) Richard Curtis. With Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral under his belt, Curtis made his directorial debut in this rom-com. With Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, the film took a worldwide total of almost 200 million pounds at the box office. I think that says enough.
For those that do not know (and really, you should) this film follows about 10 separate love stories, as the characters navigate themselves through the sorrow, joy, heartbreak, laughter – and of course, love – of the holiday season. Through affairs, deaths, young love, familial relationships, politics, sex, language barriers, nativities, carols and awkward car journeys, this movie promises tears, smiles, and happiness. With such a plethora of topics, there really is something for everyone.
In 2018, it is perhaps easy to argue that the stories are not representative of reality. For example, where is the LGBTQ+ love? And though a valid point, we must remember this movie was more relevant when released in 2003. And I do suppose the movie finishes with almost everyone having a happy ending, but surely we want this to happen? Who wants to watch a Christmas movie that leaves you feel sad and grey? I, for one, do not.
This movie might be a bit of a gimmick, and yes, it is cheesy as anything, but, at the end of the day, aren’t those movies the best? The critical response may not be the most favourable, but I know I’m not alone in saying this movie is worth the watch. If you want something slightly more melodramatic, look for It’s a Wonderful Life, something scary: Silent Night, Deadly Night or something downright ridiculous, Elf is the one for you. But if you want to laugh until your stomach hurts (cue Miss Dunkin’ Donut quote), cry tears of sadness (enter Andrew Lincoln’s storyline), or just smile from ear-to-ear (of course I mean Martine McCutcheon’s airport scene) then Love Actually is for you. If you have already watched this, you are certainly on the “nice” list this year, but you have to watch it again to stay there.