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2004 Mini Reviews

Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually
Directed by Richard Curtis
Starring Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant
Running Time: 135 minutes

Richard Curtis opens this film up with his thesis statement, that "love actually is all around us" and uses the next couple of hours to prove it to the audience. He uses several stories with a large ensemble of characters to do this, all of which share a common theme, plus a slight (if not obvious) connection to one another.

The stories are all interesting, but some are definitely better than others. Hugh Grant's gives the best performance as the Prime Minister; the story between Laura Linney's Sarah and Rodrigo Santoro's Karl was the most interesting and the story about Liam Neeson's boy is probably the most powerful. Other stories come off drab or contrived, such as Colin Firth's romance with his Portuguese housekeeper and Alan Rickman's tempation against his marriage to Emma Thompson, yet they do all restate the thesis in their own way.

I think the primary problem with Love Actually is that it is slightly too big and too ambitous. Richard Curtis does a good job of letting the audience know all the characters, but they really don't get developed properly. I think the film would have been much more powerful and just as effective had there been a few less stars, a few less plots, and a little bit less going on.

I found the film to be very entertaining and touching, but it could have wowed me.