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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all saccharin
I'm fed up with the number of reviewers here and elsewhere who have dismissed this wonderful film on the grounds that it's too sweet, that the stories are saccharin, and so on. Does nobody get it? The sweet sections are fantasies. Colin the 'love god' goes to Milwaukee in search of beautiful women, and that's exactly what he gets, in bucketfuls. But there aren't many...
Published on 26 Sept. 2012 by amantedofado

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, Actually
I recently watched "Love Actually" for the second time, some dozen years after viewing it on cinema release, and was prompted to write a review as a sort of personal retrospective.
This turned out to be quite difficult, because "Love Actually" is really a collection of almost a dozen "mini" films, woven together by an over-arching theme of seeking to examine various...
Published 8 months ago by DavyG


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meh, Actually, 7 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I recently watched "Love Actually" for the second time, some dozen years after viewing it on cinema release, and was prompted to write a review as a sort of personal retrospective.
This turned out to be quite difficult, because "Love Actually" is really a collection of almost a dozen "mini" films, woven together by an over-arching theme of seeking to examine various aspects of love. It's a film which seems to polarise opinion. Some regard it as the perfect frothy, bubbly festive season entertainment, others as a trite, treacly mess, and it's hard to reconcile the differences.
Central to the problem, I think, is the self indulgence of writer and first time director Richard Curtis. Curtis's earlier "Four Weddings" script showed a much more measured and disciplined approach to the treatment of multi-layered storytelling. In the case of "Love Actually", over-elaboration proves his downfall; there's simply too much going on to enable a reasonable grip to be kept on the narrative as it unfolds, and the finished product is extremely uneven, an uncomfortable blend of the pleasing and the dreadful.
Some episodes do work really well, when Curtis restrains the silliness and enables some fine individual performances to come to the fore. Colin Firth is really engaging as a writer who falls head over heels for his Portuguese housekeeper with whom he can barely communicate. Bill Nighy is hilarious as an ageing rocker trying to resurrect his career with a terrible Christmas single, and Gregor Fisher is affecting as his long-suffering manager. Rowan Atkinson's all too brief contribution as an eerily calm sales assistant is comedy gold. The splendid Emma Thompson is genuinely moving as the two-timed spouse of philandering Alan Rickman.
The trouble is that other performances and other parts of the narrative really suffer by comparison. For instance, who can possibly come to terms with Hugh Grant as Prime Minister, falling for his tea lady, for goodness sake? Things are particularly problematic where Curtis, with commercial considerations clearly in mind, tries to shoehorn in too many American identification characters, locations and themes into his primarily London based piece. The effect is awkward in the extreme, horribly contrived, and frankly, too cringe-making and obsequious for comfort. Why not just set the darn thing in New York and be done with it? As for these "American" plotlines themselves, they vary from the unconvincing (Laura Linney) to the downright embarrassing (Kris Marshall, what did you you do to deserve THAT?).
To summarise then, there are things here really to like, and things to hate. There's some clever, witty writing, some laugh out loud scenes, some fine performances. Then there's some totally unfunny writing, some cringeworthy scenarios, some dire performances (step forward Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, and oh dear, Keira Knightley).
So for me it's all a bit of a hodge podge, and on balance overlong, over sentimental, and often silly to the point of stupid. Three stars on account of Firth, Nighy, Fisher, Atkinson and Thompson. The rest? Well, Meh, Actually.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all saccharin, 26 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] (DVD)
I'm fed up with the number of reviewers here and elsewhere who have dismissed this wonderful film on the grounds that it's too sweet, that the stories are saccharin, and so on. Does nobody get it? The sweet sections are fantasies. Colin the 'love god' goes to Milwaukee in search of beautiful women, and that's exactly what he gets, in bucketfuls. But there aren't many romances like this. Take the painful scenes where Laura Linney, embarking on a physical affair with the love of her life has to answer the phone twice to her mentally ill brother, ruining the atmosphere and ending the new romance; and watch the later scene in which she is with her deeply disturbed, who is violent. Her love for her brother outweighs any of the other stories. Or what about Emma Thompson's discovery that her husband is planning to embark on an affair coupled with her strength in getting through it for the sake of her children. More love that is far from saccharin. Or Colin Firth's romance with his Portuguese housekeeper, following his wife's affair with his brother. The skill with which their story is told even though, until the climax, they don't speak a word of each other's language. There are many sweet things in the film, but only dyed-in-the-wool cynics should give a moment's thought to this. It is one of my favourite films, however many times I watch, because it's balance is perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many love stories put together, 8 Nov. 2014
By 
D. Kochanik "self-student" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Love actually is the movie, which me and my girlfriend loved from the very first seeing. And even more and more with every subsequestial watching. I remember watching it together about three times, and at least a couple of times I watched it on my own. So, where to begin?

There are so many people involved in the plot that it's actually hard to count. But the main five relationships or stories within are those: Hugh Grant, as the Prime Minister of UK, falls in love with one of his employee - a lovely girl from Wandsworth, London ( supposedly the doggy end ). Second story is about the writter played by Colin Firth. His tragic and hurtful split up with his girlfriend at the beginning get's him to the bottom. He decides to head uphills to his "crib", where he meet lovely Portugese girl, who is there to help him with tidying and cleaning.

The third story starts with the wedding and sort of happily ever after, however, the usual triangle crops up soon. The forth one is about 11-year old boy, who's experiencing a "total agony" of being in love with the school Goddess from America. His father just lost his wife and had a speech at her funeral, so the pain is very close to him at those times. Nevertheless, he keeps the dream of meeting Claudia Schiffer alive, along with helping his song with the masterplan of attracting his dream girl.

And the last "main" story is around two young male friends, living together dreaming about girlfriends. Until one of them called Colin decide to go to US, with the vision of easy girls due to his cute British accent. There is a "sort of" happy ending for most of characters in the movie, even if there is some drama experienced along the way. Very quality movie worth watching it many, many times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great, but not bad, actually, 15 Dec. 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Love Actually is a mixed bag set in that mythical London that only seems to exist in the imagination of Richard Curtis. As a director, Curtis gets poor performances out of the better actors (Neeson and Rickman in particular) and passable ones from the really bad ones (Keira Knightley, Martin Freeman, Sienna Guillory) but is generally best when leaving the others to do their regular schtick (Hugh Grant playing the world's least convincing British Prime Minister, Emma Thompson in a virtual reprise of her Tall Guy character and Colin Firth doing his usual constipated look routine). With such a large ensemble many get lost en route and too many of the stories go nowhere, but it does get there in the end despite your resistance. Some of the surprisingly strong deleted scenes on the DVD do hint at a much more ambitious film, and there is one remarkably effective moment with a shattered Thompson listening to a Joni Mitchell song that holds the moment longer than you'd think he'd dare, but in the end the temptation to give in to feelgood corn wins over, even if it is at the cost of the film's already very limited supply of credibility. But that kid does look like he should be in The Omen or Village of the Damned - every time I see him I keep on expecting him to say "You are thinking of a brick wall."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thank heavens for Emma Thompson and Laura Linney, 21 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Hugh Grant is just adorable as the Prime Minister, as is his cheerfully profane lower-class love interest. And isn't Bill Nighy adorable too, as an aging rock star coming back from addiction to record an adorable Christmas hit? And what of Sam, Liam Neeson's kid? He's just adorable! And the shy (!!!) couple who work as body doubles in porn movies? How cute is that when they get together! And Colin Firth and his Portuguese housekeeper -- each learning the other's language when they're briefly apart, so that they can declare their love for one another -- adorable!

Are you seeing a pattern here? All the happy-ending love relationships in the movie are totally implausible wish-fulfillment fantasies. And when you consider that these stories are led into by a reference to the love expressed in the cell phone messages from the doomed passengers and Twin Tower workers on 9/11, it's hard not to feel that there's something cheap and cheesy about this whole concoction, even if the writing is witty at times and even if all these big-name stars, and some less-well-known ones too, work so hard at being charming. I'm sorry to sound curmudgeonly, but on the whole this is an exploitive mess. Is there anything good to say about it?

Well, yes -- amid all the forced cheerfulness and laid-on charm, there are two performances that evince something like human feelings we can relate to. Emma Thompson is totally credible as a humiliated wife, whose husband (Alan Rickman) is beginning to stray. And Laura Linney is touching as an American woman working for Rickman's company whose erotic and sentimental yearnings can never even start to be fulfilled (or even explored) because her brother, from a mental institution, needs to call her constantly in order to keep all his anxieties in check. Linney's role is underwritten, but she makes it work. Thompson has a bit more to work with, and she doesn't let us down. There's a rawness to both performances, and they're about failures and limits in love, and tonally and histrionically the performances belong in a different movie. Rickman's part is underwritten too, and he looks distinctly uncomfortable in this movie in a way that goes beyond the discomfort we would expect his character to exhibit. Similarly, Linney's love interest, played by Rodrigo Santoro, isn't given much to do, and since it's unclear how or if that couple can negotiate a future, the weight of interest falls on Linney's painful and sacrificial care for her ill brother.

Not all the limits of love are represented so credibly. Liam Neeson phones it in as a bereaved dad, who has lost his wife, to cancer one assumes, though he interacts nicely with his ten-year-old stepchild Sam (Thomas Sangster). And the travails of Mark (Andrew Lincoln) who has loved from afar the woman his best friend marries (Kiera Knightley) are just too silly. Without giving too much away, I think I can ask, "What if Peter (the best friend) had answered the door on Christmas Eve?" So . . . it's all a bit of a mess. You can't blend comedy and writing that are at the Monty Python end of the spectrum with the kind of directness that we get in Emma Thompson's and Laura Linney's performances. They are the only honest things in this movie -- which we're meant to find adorable. Sorry!
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102 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't like RomComs or Hugh Grant, just don't watch it, 9 Sept. 2006
By 
Demac (Milton Keynes, Purgatory, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
I've just read through all of the reviews on here and so many people have started theirs with the words "I don't normally like romantic comedies" or "I don't like Hugh Grant films". Then why are they watching it?

Too many people are watching this expecting too much. It's a film, not a documentary. In the words of Colin Firth, "It's not bloody Shakespeare".

Yes, Hugh Grant plays his standard character, (bumbling Englishman who you just want to give a slap), but that's what he plays. You don't find him doing a Tarantino do you?

Richard Curtis did a radio interview a few months ago and was asked what his plans for fuure projects was and he said that there were only so many ways he could get Hugh to mumble. He gets the joke, Hugh Grant is a parody of Hugh Grant.

Yes, Richard Curtis overdoes the sugar sweetness by a huge bucketload. That's what he does with his movies, split personalities. With Blackadder you got Curtis the cynic, with movies you get Curtis the incurable romantic.

People have said that the characters were unbelievable, that you don't find all these types of people in London. Go to the middle of London, it's full of them. Curtis has captured middle class England perfectly. It just might not be so recognizable to all of us at around the minimum wage mark.

I think a lot of people who have given this bad reviews really haven't watched it properly, hell most of them didn't even get the names and events right. Personally I think it is a great film to watch when you want to be uplifted, if you can't keep up with more than one storyline then go buy the Teletubbies. If you want a film that shows Britain for the majority then watch Shaun of the Dead, if you want Britain at its worst then watch Scum.

If you want to see Britain at the same level as Richrd Curtis see it then watch this, he says that a lot of characters and events in his films can be traced back to people and events he sees around him.

The cast in this are mostly wonderful:

Hugh Grant - Plays Hugh Grant in a wide selection of ties

Colin Firth - Can do comedy and emotion with equal ease, but can't help jumping in water.

Liam Neeson - Can't go wrong with Liam (Except Star Wars but that was beyond Liams control). Only he could have pulled of the funeral scene with as well as he did.

Bill Nighy - Pure comic genius, hard to remember seeing this that he is a dramatic actor, in this he is hilarious.

Alan Rickman - Again, how can he do wrong?

Rowan Atkinson - Another great Curtis regular, and one of Britains all time best actors. Should be given bigger parts but makes up for it in performance.

Thomas Sangster - Young but shows potential for future acting.

Emma Thompson - One of the most emotional scenes of the film, listening to CD alone in bedroom.

Martine McCutcheon - Wasn't expecting much from a TV actress but was surprised. Seeing Hugh Grant kissing her was just plain wrong though. Like a dirty old man.

Keira Knightley - Pre-Pirates and still finding her way in movies, wasn't in the film enough to develop completely.

Laura Linney - Wonderful performance, you could feel her pain at having to choose between family and love.

Lucia Moniz - Wonderful, shy and quiet at first, sweet,cute and adorable at end. Also Portugese Eurovision Song Contest entrant in the 90's but don't hold it against her.

Listen to the cast commentary with Richard Curtis, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster. It's almost as good as the film itself.

This film isn't for everyone but then what film is there in the world that EVERYONE loves?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Christmas Feelgood Film, 14 Dec. 2014
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Such a lovely, heartwarming film to watch around Christmas. Unapologetically cheesy, the intertwined stories are each individually lovely, and every time I watch it I enjoy the links between them. My husband, not a fan of chick flicks or romcoms in any way, suggested we watch this recently - so it does appeal to almpst everyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Is All Around, 3 Dec. 2004
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
'Love Actually' is one of my favorite Christmas films, next to 'The National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. 'Love Actually' is a sometimes silly, romantic film where dozens (it seems like) of couples fall in and out of love.

The film centers around people who are sometimes connected. Hugh Grant plays the Prime Minister of Britain, his sister, Emma Thompson married to a philandering jerk, Alan Ricker. The PM, Hugh Grant, is all alone, too busy for love until he meets an attractive food aide on his first day in office. Billy Bob Thorton, plays the President of the United States, who gets his comeuppance from the Britain's PM.

Liam Neeson plays a good friend of Emma Thompson, whose wife recently died, and he is the step father to such a cute young boy who is in love with a young exchange student from the US. Colin Firth finds his wife playing around with his brother, he goes abroad and meets a young woman who cleans and cooks for him. Neither speaks the other's language. And, then, the best part, Billy Mack, an older, much older musician played by Bill Nighy , looking for love in all the wrong places. Another young English man going to Wisconsin to meet some women, which he does. He could not find any women in the UK. So love is all around. There are some sad stories, you can find those. This is an uplifting film, that will bring smiles and a few tears.

Happy Holidays. Recommended. prisrob 01-01-14
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have seen this many times on tv before but wanted ..., 9 Aug. 2014
By 
S. M. Malone (LONDON) - See all my reviews
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Have seen this many times on tv before but wanted to own this rom com. If you haven't seen it yet WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN !!!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Actually DVD Review, 11 Sept. 2004
By 
LM (Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Love Actually [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Love Actually not only cocoons you in a world eternally Christmas, making you feel all fuzzy and nice inside, but throws up some genuinely interesting points. Its premise - in fact it's full title - is Love Actually Is All Around, everyone loves and is loved by someone, even the most unlikely people have their own love stories to tell, and love itself takes many forms.
It's classy, escapist, romantic, cosy, thought-provoking sugar.
But it has also been reviewed to death, so I won't dwell on the plot but rather on the DVD's special features.
I'd been disappointed by favourite films whose DVDs have come with a meagre lack of extras (Titanic, are your ears burning?) - happily not the case here.
Here's what you can expect for your £16.99 - actually:
- Witty, engaging commentary by writer/director Richard Curtis, Hugh Grant, Bafta-winning Bill Nighy and young Thomas Sangster (Hugh Grant's real-life cousin, who plays lovesick moppet Sam). Digs aplenty from naughty Hugh at his Bridget Jones love rival Colin Firth ('Controversial cardy he's wearing there!' 'Guess you had to film him from above to make him look thinner!').
- The cringe-o-rama promo for Billy Mack's spoof Troggs/Wet Wet Wet remake, Christmas Is All Around.

- The obligatory behind-the-scenes documentary, which is in fact the one letdown here, being a tad on the short and lightweight side.

- Highlighted songs - including All I Want for Christmas(sung brilliantly by mature-beyond-her-years 10-year-old Olivia Olsen, alias little Sam's love interest, Joanna) and The Beach Boys'God Only Knows - with enlightening introductions by Richard Curtis, which demonstrate the power of a good soundtrack to a mushy blockbuster.
- A virtual movie's-worth of deleted scenes. It really is a revelation just how much was sacrificed to the cutting room floor - but then if every single tiddly character's love story were allowed to unravel, the film would never end. Love Actually could spawn a thousand sequels.
Which may not be a bad thing.
Oh go on - buy it, leave your brain and cynicism outside the door, close the curtains, pour yourself a Baileys, open the Milk Tray and wallow in sugar!
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Love Actually [VHS] [2003]
Love Actually [VHS] [2003] by Richard Curtis (VHS Tape - 2004)
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