A romantic comedy that has become something of a Christmas tradition over the past decade and for good reason as it is a good one. A tale of eight couples whose lives and stories all intersect just before Christmas time. Besides a good story it also features a virtual who’s who of British acting. It will have you laughing and crying which is a good sign when it comes to romantic comedies.
Love is a complex thing. Some people fall the right people while others go down the wrong love path. It is London a few weeks before Christmas. The new British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant – Bridget Jones’s Diary, Four Weddings & a Funeral) is settling into his new position with his staff. The single man’s eye is caught by his secretary Natalie (Martine McCuthcheon – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). His game is totally thrown off and he tries to solve it by having her transferred somewhere else. The Prime Minister’s sister Karen (Emma Thompson – Pride and Prejudice, Nanny McPhee) is having doubts about her husband of many years Harry (Alan Rickman – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Die Hard). An employee of Harry’s Sarah (Laura Linney – from television’s The Big C) has been in love with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro – 300, I Love You Philip Morris) but a family issue comes between them getting together. A friend of Karen’s Daniel (Liam Neeson – Taken, Schindler’s List) is dealing with the death of his wife and raising her son Sam on his own. Writer Jamie (Colin Firth – The King’s Speech, A Single Man) has just found out that his wife is cheating on him and goes away to his property in France where he falls for the Portuguese woman (Lucia Moniz) who cleans his place. His friends Juliet (Keira Knightly – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, A Dangerous Method) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor – Children of Men, Salt) have just gotten married but she does not know that Peter’s friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln – from television’s The Walking Dead) is in love with her. Finally, former rock star Billy Mack (Bill Nighy – Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) is attempting a comeback with a crap Christmas version of his biggest selling single and he is supported, even though he doesn’t deserve it, by his manager (Gregor Fisher – Wild Target).
Admittedly I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy, but the key word in that sentence is good. Brit by way of New Zealand, Richard Curtis is one of the best in the business when it comes to the genre. He just gets the nuances and realizes that you can make it witty and intelligent as well as romantic. Presently he directed the better than you expect About Time and he has written the scripts for such winners as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral. If you fall upon a romantic comedy by this guy chances are you won’t waste your time watching it.
Not a full-length story. Rather eight smaller vignettes that intersect. Somehow writer/director Richard Curtis (Pirate Radio, About Time) makes it work. It is a comedy and romance and genuinely likeable. Not a typical romantic comedy, it covers love in many different forms. Not looking to be more than it is the film focuses on love and especially love in unexpected places and times. A film from the genre that even people who don’t like romantic comedies will end up enjoying. Or else you are the Grinch.
-The Music of Love Actually
-Kelly Clarkson “The Trouble With Love Is” Music Video
-Billy Mack “Christmas Is All Around” Music Video