I saw "Love Actually" for the first time February of this year (yes a little late on the boat, I know!), and from my first viewing, I realized that it's one of the greatest films about love and Christmas to come out in the past decade. The 2003 romantic comedy has a whole slew of British acting greats that hopefully everyone has heard of, but the best part is that it's not headlined by your run-of-the-mill 20-somethings.
Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson top the cast credits, with Laura Linney adding in an American flair and Kiera Knightly took on her small role the same year "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" hit theaters and she, in turn, got huge.
What's great about "Love Actually" is that it tells stories about love, not about romance. "It seems to me that love is everywhere," Hugh Grant's character says in the opening monologue. "Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends." While most of the main plot lines in the film follow some sort of romantic strain, some of the best stories are those told between best friends (Bill Nighy and Gregor Fisher) or family (Liam Neeson and his onscreen son, Kris Marshall).
While interest in watching "Love Actually" should be more about watching the relationships pan out than watching a movie all about Christmas, it comes replete with a Nativity Scene, presents, carols and Christmas trees, and with a PG-13 rating, this is definitely a film you can watch with the family on Christmas Eve.
Of course, there also the fact that "Love Actually" completely captures the optimistic, modern view of what Christmas is all about. The grand romantic gestures never become cheesy, and the sentimentality in the film is never overdone (at least in a female perspective. All my guy friends claim that if they watch it, they themselves will grow some lady parts ... my boyfriend couldn't make it through more than 10 minutes).
Even though some of the storylines don't have the happiest resolutions, the film leaves you with a sense of optimism. The message in "Love Actually" is that Christmas is about surrounding yourself with the ones you love. Our message? Screening this movie in your living room will sure to put a smile on everyone's face.
What's your favorite movie to watch during the holidays?