There are about a dozen different romances simultaneously taking place throughout this movie, and attempting to summarize them here would use up far too much of my space in this review. Instead I’ll say that each is slightly different, some being more classic tales of romance, while some are far outside your normal “meet-cute”. For example, one small side tale is of a couple who in fact meet while filming an erotic film together, and go on to become a lovely couple in their own right. Starring in the film are Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, and dozens other talented actors and actresses. The entire cast performs strongly and each character has their own take on what love really means to them.
Billy Mack (Nighy) is an aging singer who’s writing a holiday version of an outdated hit he once had, and he spends his holidays alone thanks to his reluctance to change or meet anyone. Alan Rickman plays a married man who’s suspected of having an affair with a co-worker, his assistant falls for another co-worker who has always secretly loved her back, and Alan Rickman’s wife is played wonderfully by Emma Thompson, who’s brother is the Prime Minister (Grant). Now can you see how confusing it becomes when you add in twelve more characters? Curtis has brought together the best of romantic comedy actors that Britain has to offer - such as the always witty Hugh Grant and deeply talented Colin Firth - for this massive romantic holiday romp.
While I have written of the film’s many plots weaving together, I feel I have ignored the quality that makes this film most unique indeed. The ease with which Richard Curtis has cut all of these stories together into one film is benefits it greatly, as similarities are drawn across stories to arrive at the conclusion that love is in fact a most powerful force in everyone’s lives regardless of their situation. The film handles some darker concepts of loss, but is predominantly a happy, warming, Christmas film, which is exactly what its supposed to be. Love Actually stands out among most other romantic comedies for its charming characters and mash-up of stories into one fine film.