Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley
Director: Richard Curtis
Running Time: 135 mins
Love Actually is a British film about the lives of various couples in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and how the festive season can bring even the most opposite of people together.
No matter how hard I tried to dislike this film, with all of its cheese and ridiculous romance, I just couldn’t escape its wonderful charm. Sure, it’s the ultimate romantic comedy cliché, beyond an ironic level, but what it does have is a host of great performances and a really pleasant atmosphere that come together to make a film that’s just impossible not to love, even if I tried to hate it with all my might.
Of course, I didn’t go into this film wanting it to be bad, I would never do that, but as soon as I saw (within five seconds) that it was the epitome of cheesy romance movies, I went into default mode and thought it would be two and a half hours of living hell.
What I actually got, however, was a sweet, pleasant and undeniably charming romantic comedy, that’s not only got a cosy feeling to it, but is genuinely funny, well-acted, and manages to get through its excessive runtime very easily. Somehow, this just didn’t feel like it was over two hours long.
With regards to the writing, the comedy is pretty great. It has a great combination of silly slapstick and typically sarcastic British humour, and proves that Richard Curtis doesn’t always churn out rom-coms with more cheese than France in them.
I was laughing a lot during Love Actually, and that really impressed me, but what I was even more impressed by was the performances. The cast is ridiculously big, and features a massive ensemble of famous people from all corners of the showbiz world, but oddly, every single one of them puts in a great show to give a convincing and heartwarming performance to make this insanely cheesy story fully watchable.
However, it’s not all perfect in this film. There are some glaring issues that did make watching this sometimes a bit of a chore. Generally, as I said, it goes by very quickly, and is so pleasant to watch, but there are moments, particularly in the final act, when the romance takes centre stage, and it just gets silly, because the story is so preposterous that it’s almost laughable (again, beyond an ironic level).
The other big problem with this film comes as a result of the humongous cast. Yes, the actors are all great, but this film has upwards of fifteen main characters, so even with such a long runtime, there just isn’t time to give them all the story they deserve. There are so many points in this film where we return to a story that we touched on over half an hour ago, and by then, I had often forgotten that that story was even in the movie, proving to me that I didn’t actually care about what was happening despite the niceness of it all.
Overall, however, I had a surprisingly good time watching Love Actually. It’s ridiculously clichéd, and the plot is painfully convoluted, but it has such a wonderful charm to it that I just couldn’t find any way to dislike it. It’s not a particularly impressive film, but it’s one that I really enjoyed watching, and that’s why it gets a 7.0 from me.