There is a stereotype out there that men only want to see “shoot’em-up, blow’em-up” or gory movies, whereas women only want to see romantic-type movies. This is so common that if you utter the phrase “chick flick,” the other person already knows what to expect. As a guy, drift outside of these boundaries and people being to wonder about your “other” interests.
Me? I am a fan of good stories, regardless of how they are packaged. I do prefer comedic efforts, so I tend to like romantic comedies. Also, I am a romantic — I like that the guy gets the girl, regardless of how stupid he has been. Why? Because that means there is hope for me.
I saw Love Actually in the theater and loved it the instant I saw it on the screen. How could I not? I love the casting, the way the stories intertwine — heck, it even has one of my favorite Christmas songs. But it is more than that — I loved the realistic aspects of some of the stories set against the backdrop of Christmas. The backdrop is potent because our senses are heightened during this time, thus bringing our emotions closer to the surface.
There are eight stories, with a funny bit running along as comedic support:
- Colin Firth — discovers his girlfriend is cheating and goes away to write a novel
- Hugh Grant — is elected Prime Minister and discovers things about himself
- Alan Rickman — is tempted by the forbidden fruit of a mistress, leaving Emma Thompson wondering what her future holds
- Liam Neeson — has just lost his wife and is left to care for his step-son, who is having his own crisis of love
- Andrew Lincoln — watches the love of his life, Kiera Knightley, marry his best friend
- Martin Freeman — has an unusual job that leads to more than just a “happy ending”
- Laura Linney — is trying to move on with her life while being held back by family
- Bill Nighy — is an aging rock star trying to make sense of his life
- Kris Marshall — is the free spirit of the movie, ever hopeful that America will give him what he has been denied in England
Of course these stories and the characters intertwine in ways that do stretch the realm of reality, but reality is never shattered. Each story has a satisfying conclusion, albeit not always a happy one. The director did an amazing job of picking the right songs to accentuate certain moments; these songs are so well-picked that they actually become the character of the narrator.
Naturally, I have this on DVD and watched it last week as part of my holiday traditions. This time around, I listened to the audio track of the director, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, and the little boy. It was a fun listen, but I prefer the main movie. Other features include:
- 5.1 sound
- deleted scenes
- discussion of how each song was picked for the soundtrack
My advice: If you have not seen this, you are missing out. Get it today and curl up with a loved one or by yourself and see that “Love is……actually……all around.”