Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Love Actually" 2006

"Love Actually"

This is one of my favorite modern holiday movies.  It is funny and dramatic and sweet.  The cast, which is sizable, are all great.  Yes, it is sentimental and sappy as well but it is a Christmas movie. 
The movie has a lot of little stories that intertwine in ways that you don't discover until the end.

Hugh Grant is the newly elected Prime Minister of Great Britain. 

They give him a very Tony Blair vibe.

Prime Minister: Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. 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. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around.

The Prime Minister moves into his new home and meets the household staff.   One of the office staff is brand new and not used to the protocol of the office.

[Natalie, a secretary, is greeting the Prime Minister]
Natalie: Hello, David. I mean "sir". $hit, I can't believe I've just said that. And now I've gone and said "$hit" - twice. I'm so sorry, sir.
Prime Minister: It's fine, it's fine. You could've said "f**k," and then we'd have been in real trouble.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have an awful premonition that I was gonna f**k up on the first day. Oh, piss it!

Their chemistry is evident from the start. 

His sister is played by Emma Thompson.  She is excellent as a wife and mother who finds out her husband has a secret. 

Karen: 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 maché lobster head.

Her husband is Alan Rickman.  He has a secretary who is quite the flirt but she wants to up the game.

Mia: I'll just be hanging around the mistletoe, hoping to be kissed.

Also in Harry's office is Sarah, played by the amazing Laura Linney.  She has had a secret for a while herself.

Harry: Tell me, exactly, how long it is that you've been working here?
Sarah: Two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, what... two hours?
Harry: And how long have you been in love with Karl, our enigmatic chief designer?
Sarah: Ahm, two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, an hour and thirty minutes.
Harry: I thought as much.
Sarah: Do you think everybody knows?
Harry: Yes.
Sarah: Do you think Karl knows?
Harry: Yes.
Sarah: Oh, that is... that is bad news.
Harry: Well I just thought maybe the time had come to do something about it.
Sarah: Like what?
Harry: Invite him out for a drink and then, after about twenty minutes, casually drop into the conversation the fact that you'd like to marry him and have lots of sex and babies.
Sarah: You know that?
Harry: Yes, and so does Karl. Think about it, for all our sakes. It's Christmas.
Sarah: Certainly. Excellent. Will do. Thanks, boss!

Sarah is a guest at the wedding of Peter and Juliet. 

It also attended by Peter's best friend Mark.
[At the altar, just before Peter is married]
Peter: No surprises?
Mark: No surprises.
Peter: Not like the stag night?
Mark: Unlike the stag night.
Peter: Do you admit the Brazilian prostitutes were a mistake?
Mark: I do.
Peter: And it would have been much better if they'd not turned out to be men?
Mark: That is true.

Another, you guessed it,secret.  Juliet thinks that Mark doesn't like her.  But he is actually in love with her. But as soon as she sees video he took at her wedding she sees that she was wrong.

Juliet: [after watching Mark's video of her] But... you never talk to me. You always talk to Peter. You don't like me.
Mark: I hope it's useful. Don't show it around too much. It needs a bit of editing. Look, I've gotta get to a lunch. Early lunch. You can just show yourself out, can't you?
Mark: It's a... self-preservation thing, you see.
Juliet and Peter have another friend, Jamie, played by future Oscar winner, Colin Firth.  He leaves his sick girlfriend at home while he attends the wedding.  When he leaves early to check on her, he finds his brother in the house and his girlfriend feeling pretty good.

Heartbroken he goes to France to finish his book and soon finds himself attracted to Aurelia.  They don't share a language but that doesn't slow down their relationship.

Jamie: Er... Would you like the last, uh...?
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] Thank you very much, but no.
Jamie: No?
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] If you saw my sister, you'd understand why.
Jamie: That's all right, more for me.
Aurelia: [in Portuguese] Just don't go eating it all yourself, you're getting chubbier every day.
Jamie: I'm very lucky, I've got one of those constitutions where I never put on weight.

Other guests include Colin and Tony.  Colin is striking out with every woman in Great Britain.  So he has a plan.

Colin: Exciting news!
Tony: What?
Colin: I've bought a ticket to the States. I'm off in three weeks.
Tony: No!
Colin: Yes! To a fantastic place called Wisconsin.
Tony: No!
Colin: Yes! Wisconsin babes, here comes Sir Colin! Whoo hoo!
Tony: No, Col! There are a few babes in America, I grant you, but they're already going out with rich, attractive guys.
Colin: Nah, Tone, you're just jealous. You know perfectly well that any bar anywhere in America contains ten girls more beautiful and more likely to have sex with me than the whole of the United Kingdom.
Tony: That is total bollocks. You've actually gone mad, now.
Colin: No, I'm wise. Stateside I am Prince William without the weird family.
Tony: No, Colin, no!
Colin: Yes!
Tony: Nyet!
Colin: Da!
Tony: Nein!
Colin: Ja, darling!

And another friend of the happy couple is John who has a job as a stand in for a movie and meets Judy on the set as they help set lighting for an adult film.  But they hit it off and start having interesting conversations as they simulate the scenes to come up.  In most scenes they are all kinds of naked,  So don't pull this on out around the kids.

It was hard to find a photo of them dressed.

John: So, what do you reckon to our new Prime Minister, then?
Judy: Oh, I like him. I can't understand why he's not married, though.
John: Well, you know the type. He's, uh, married to his job. Either that, or gay as a picnic basket.

Now, circling around to Karen again, is her good friend, Daniel, played by Liam Neeson.  I love Liam Neeson.  He has that Scottish thing going on which I find rather attractive.  I like a good accent.  He plays a very recent widower who is trying to figure out how to help his stepson get over his mother.  He soon discovers that the loss of his mom is not what is bothering him.

Daniel: So what's the problem, Sammy-o? Is it just Mum, or is it something else? Maybe... school - are you being bullied? Or is it something worse? Can you give me any clues at all?
Sam: You really want to know?
Daniel: I really want to know.
Sam: Even though you won't be able to do anything to help?
Daniel: Even if that's the case, yeah.
Sam: Okay. Well, the truth is... actually... I'm in love.
Daniel: Sorry?
Sam: I know I should be thinking about Mum all the time, and I am. But the truth is, I'm in love and I was before she died, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Daniel: [laughs] Aren't you a bit young to be in love?
Sam: No.
Daniel: Oh, well, okay... right. Well, I mean, I'm a little relieved.
Sam: Why?
Daniel: Well, because I thought it would be something worse.
Sam: [incredulous] Worse than the total agony of being in love?
Daniel: Oh. No, you're right. Yeah, total agony
Not really related to any of the other characters, but showing up through the whole movie is scene stealer, Bill Nighy as Billy Mack.  He is an over the hill rocker who's trying to get back on top with a Christmas version of his only hit.  When he starts telling the truth his song shoots up the charts.

Billy Mack: Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!

Also a little extra, Rowan Atkinson as Rufus who keeps showing up to guide the characters in the right direction.

It ends with all the movie cliches.

A run through the airport to tell a girl you love her, only to miss her and have her find you.

Searching for a girl when you don't quite know where she is only to find her on her way to a Christmas pageant.  

And a funny dance sequence.

Romantic kisses in the snow.

There is so much more.  It a great movie.  Of course my husband isn't a fan.  He can't understand British accents.  Watch it.  It is a great romantic comedy.

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