Saturday, December 3, 2011

31 Days of Xmas: Love Actually

2003, Richard Curtis -- Netflix

This movie makes even the old curmudgeon on me smile, laugh and actually shed tears.  I would say it's one of my favourite holiday movies but really, it's not Christmas themed -- it just happens to take place during the season. But we are including that concept in our choice, so it was an expected re-watch on my part. On that note, we are not including movies just because they happen to have a scene during Christmas, unless it plays a significant part in the plot of the movie.

So, this one is about love, actually, in all it's various forms. There is familial love, sexual love, obsessive love, romantic love, unrequited love, blossoming love but mostly, it's romantic love. It is set up as a bunch of interweaving stories where characters' paths cross and bump into each other, all as they prepare for the holiday season. The movie is charming, loveable, goofy and disarming but really, if you are a curmudgeon when it comes to romantic love, you should probably avoid.  It is a schmooshy gooshy lovey dovey flick.

My favourite two of the stories are: the Daniel (Liam Neeson) / Sam step-dad & son story and the Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant) / Natalie budding attraction story.  Daniel and Sam have just lost Sam's mom at the beginning of the movie, obviously from a long illness, a death they were prepared for. Rather unrealistically, Daniel is more focused on his son's feelings, setting his own grief aside. I say unrealistically because he is rather heroic in keeping his son's emotions bolstered, which of course is helped by the fact that Sam has a crush on a girl at school and Daniel is doing his best to assist in getting them together. As Marmy pointed out, either Sam's real dad was a dick or also passed away, as Daniel is given uncontested guardianship of Sam, making his role even more heroic. Meanwhile, David the new Prime Minister, is almost instantly attracted to his staff member Natalie. He knows his role is VERY public and the idea of a love affair in the household would be a bad idea but he cannot stop thinking about her. The American President tosses a wrench into the mix but in the end, it all works out, very publicly.