23. Love Actually

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Film Title: Love Actually. Copyright: © 2003 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Movie: Love Actually

Release Date: November 21, 2003

Director: Richard Curtis

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson.

Tag Lines: “Love actually is all around.”

“This Holiday Season All Your Need is Love Actually.”

“This Holiday Season Join this Unforgettable Filmaking Team as they explore that time of the year.”

“Coming soon actually.”

“The ultimate romantic comedy.”

“Very romantic. Very comedy.”

“All You Need Is Love.”

“It’s All About Love… Actually.”

Relevance: Sometimes a movie has a funny or tragic story attached to it that makes it important in my life. Sometimes an actor or actress gives such an astounding performance that the film becomes one that I need to watch over and over again. Sometimes a movie just happened to be released at the right time and the right place during my life and it simply helped me endure. Sometimes the movie is just a really great movie, and that’s the case with today’s film, actually.

‘Love Actually’ was released in theaters on November 21, 2003. It received mixed to negative reviews, but that did not stop audiences from going to see it. The movie became a box office success grossing more than $248 million worldwide. Despite it not being a darling with the critics, it did also manage to garner a few nominations during awards season. I guess Hollywood should never underestimate the power of the people or the almighty dollar. The film has since arguably become a modern day Christmas movie. And just for the record, anyone that argues that it is not a Christmas movie is dead wrong.

I do remember when ‘Love Actually’ was released in theaters but I was not one of the lucky movie goers to see it on the big screen. In September of that year, I had just relocated to a “home office” position with the retail company I was working with for the past eight years. Me being me, I completely threw myself into my new position and worked diligently at trying to do the best job I possibly could at that time. I was relieved I wasn’t working over sixty hours a week during the holidays, but it was still a busy time. Between that and my one way hour commute to work, my social life was a bit dampened.

I can’t remember when I actually saw ‘Love Actually,’ but I do know that it was through a rental at Hollywood video. It might have been in the Spring of 2004 or perhaps during the holiday season of that year. I can’t seem to recall when exactly I watched this romantic comedy, but I do know that I loved it immediately. I was a huge fan of the filmmakers behind the movie as well as its hugely talented ensemble cast. Sometimes I am a bit wary watching a film that includes so much talent behind and in front of the camera that also gets dodgy reviews. Thankfully ‘Love Actually’ did not let me down. Everything about the movie was brilliant and it was a film that made me both laugh out loud numerous times as well as weep uncontrollably. Happy tears, of course.

‘Love Actually’ was a movie that remained a favorite of mine and one that I went out and purchased on DVD as soon as humanly possible. I began a tradition with myself and started watching the movie every Thanksgiving Day. I spent many Thanksgiving Days alone. If I wasn’t going to have my son for the holiday that year, and since I had to work the day before and after, I always stayed home instead of traveling more than three hours to be with family. Not being a huge fan of turkey, I always made myself a big salad, pumpkin pie, drank wine and watched movies all day long. From 2004 on, ‘Love Actually’ was watched every Thanksgiving night as a sign of the start of the holiday season. I spent many a Thanksgiving night smiling (as well as wiping away a few happy tears) from the joy that was this movie.

‘Love Actually’ will always be a holiday movie for me. Sure, there were no Santa Clauses or dancing elves or reindeers with bright red noses or snowmen jumping to life with the help of a magic hat, but there was love. And that’s all you really need. Well, that and two lobsters at the nativity scene.

Today’s Thoughts: “The trouble with being the Prime Minister’s sister is, it does put your life into rather harsh perspective. What did my brother do today? He stood up and fought for his country. And what did I do? I made a papier-mâché lobster head.”

My husband is a huge fan of ‘Love Actually’ as well (he wouldn’t be my husband if he wasn’t). Because I knew that the movie would be popping up on my list of most influential movies of all time, we did not watch it on Thanksgiving. Tradition broken. Unfortunately, he worked today and did not get to watch it with me but I am sure we will catch it together again sometime before the holiday season ends. With that said, today, with a cup of coffee and a box of Kleenex, the holiday season officially started in my household.

‘Love Actually’ is a beautifully crafted, funny, romantic movie that I will never, ever tire of. It simply is one movie that immediately puts me in the Christmas spirit. I never realized that it was almost two and a half hours long as it always zooms right along. All of the storylines are interwoven poetically and there isn’t one character that I don’t care about. If I had to pick one thing about this movie I would change it would be Laura Linney’s character’s cell phone ringtone. Other than that, it is perfection.

The creators of ‘Love Actually’ will be popping up again on my list in the top twenty when another one of their romantic comedies appears. Until then, I will simply bask in the glory of this film as well as the holiday spirit that now fills my house. As far as romantic comedies go and as far as Christmas movies go, ‘Love Actually’ is hands down one of the best.

Awards: Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, Richard Curtis (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Bill Nighy (winner), BAFTA Award for Best British Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Emma Thompson (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Bill Nighy (winner),

Ways to Watch: Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.

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