Love Actually (2003)

Love-Actually

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Fun, but meh.

So. Movies with ensemble casts. They have their positives and negatives, of course, but I have a huge dislike towards the way they choose to direct everything. You have an amazing assortment of well-known actors, but who cares? It’s nice to see them, but have you even seen Movie 43? Cast means nothing. In fact…the more people you have in a cast means the higher obligation to split the focus onto everyone…which lessens the plot to basically nothing. Love Actually is more or less praised as a romantic comedy. I’ve heard it more than once…it’s a good movie, but I feared watching it because it’s clearly an ensemble flick. Did it surprise me…yes. But at the same time, no.

I wish I could sit here and tell you about the amazing plot, but let’s get down to brass tax. It’s about love. Different kinds of love. Different kinds of people and their journey to find and lock in that love, whatever it may be. Romantic love, familial love, friendly love, forbidden love. It’s all there, and it more or less operates as an anthology flick that is sort of woven together to create one full story.

I won’t lie, the messages here are downright brilliant. Love in film is rarely looked at in such an honest light. It’s beautiful sometimes, but sometimes it is a horrible, awful thing. It may be over-the-top and predictable at moments, but you’ll notice that it isn’t the things that happen in the film, but how they are presented by the characters that matter. There’s no scootching around this one, it’s a character film. There were a lot of different characters, and they were all very, very different in their own regards. Each actor (I won’t go through the list) did a surprisingly good job in their role. It’s hard to create universally phenomenal chemistry between a large cast like this, but they did it very well.

However, and this is a big however, movies like this have one unstoppable flaw. That is…focus. These people are huge in Hollywood, so each of them basically need equal focus, so the whole film feels like eight short films struggling to be interwoven in the end. They are connected sure, but it’s not like it really makes any difference. Love brings people together yeah, and there is the whole six degrees of separation rule, but in the end  I don’t think for a second that it feels like a movie. It feels like an anthology. A collection. A montage. I had fun with it, though. I think this is one of the strongest films like it, but it’s definitely not my thing.

The Good:

I hate movies like this. I’ll be honest. The same applies to how they decided to split the focus up in Love Actually. However, that being said…I think the performances were worthwhile and surprisingly diverse. Their chemistry with one another is truly what makes this film special. I also believe that the films overall look at love is something that should be seen.

The Bad:

…I mean… It’s an ensemble movie. There is no real plot. It’s also a romantic comedy, so it’s incredibly predictable as well. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea, but I think they did a well-enough job with it.

The Random:

Is it just me, or was their vision of America really ignorant? Billy Bob sporting his usual douchey attitude as President of the United States, and the first girls a foreigner runs into in America are skanky tramps that want a foursome…

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5 thoughts on “Love Actually (2003)

  1. Love Actually was one of the more bearable romantic comedies I’ve come across, and I think the ensemble helped at holding my interest from beginning to end. I think what I liked most about it was it didn’t focus on one love story but explored the successful and unsuccessful traits of love played out in different scenarios. Mushy and silly, but the Christmasy vibe always reels me in.
    (The bit with Billy Bob as president was cringeworthy to say the least.)

  2. Love Actually is still my favourite movie to watch every Christmas! I’m glad you gave it a passing mark despite some of its flaws. Good review!

  3. It’s long and a bit bloated, but it’s still enjoyable because the whole cast is good. Especially Nighy, who had me laughing almost every second he showed up. Good review Dave.

    • Haha, yeah I believe I was saying “this is my favorite story” whenever Nighy would show up, who makes me laugh every time as well.

  4. This has been on my TBW pile for awhile now and I’ve read a lot of good things about this movie. I’m a bit wary about ensemble casts as well but this has a pretty strong cast so I’m thinking of giving it a chance. Thanks for the great review.

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