This is written for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur which bears the theme of all- star casts!
Today the term “all-star cast” has all but almost faded in obscurity, as now it refers to those “epic event” movies from the 60s and 70s. Disaster flicks, war movies, and historical pics- the genre is endless, but the one movie that brought the concept forward into the 21st century was the Christmas essential Love Actually (2003).
Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually revolves around Christmas and the love lives of an all-star cast, whose characters are all connected to each other in some way or another. Due to the fact the film came out in 2003, I was too young to watch it then, and I saw this one for first time in 2016. My guy Colin Firth was the main draw for me (he’s practically the only A list star I love in relation to today’s stars), but it turned out that everyone’s storylines and performances were enjoyable.
Whether a subplot was cheerful, sad, heartwarming or just plain hysterical- Love Actually manages to somehow make it all worth watching. Some of the character’s predicaments even mirrored the actor’s real life: Liam Neeson’s character Daniel is grieving the loss of his wife, while Colin Firth’s Jamie is trying to win the affections of his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), with the language barrier keeping them apart.
Of course, this movie is also a chance to view the late great Alan Rickman in a role that makes you believe he’s the most lovable jerk, as his character Harry cheats on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) for his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).
Personally, I can’t skip over Hugh Grant’s David the Prime Minister. The scene of Hugh dancing down the hallway and the stairs made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, and it’s what made me see him differently (I only knew him as Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, a favorite modern day movie of mine!).
In regards to reactions to this movie, the more I read other people’s opinions, the general consensus is this movie is polarizing. It seems to divide people into the, “this movie is trashy”, camp (think about the actual plots, and YES its trashy) and the, “this movie is iconic”, camp (the All I want for Christmas is You performance, the “you are perfect” moment). I for one do say the movie is full of clichés however; it’s the actors who make you care about the storylines and the characters they are playing. No matter what anyone thinks of it, the ending montage at Heathrow Airport set to Beach Boys God Only Knows, is very powerful and can even win over the harshest of haters.
For better or worse, Love Actually also spawned a bunch of other holiday all star cast movies such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day. While I haven’t seen these other movies, perhaps because they just don’t contain an actor I care about (and maybe because Love Actually is British), I will admit the idea of these movies are unique and a change to the usual style of storytelling.
Overall, Love Actually may be over rated, and a tad trashy, but also full of funny and cute moments that bring Christmas cheer. Its certainly one I watch every Christmas season, plus it’s just a fun excuse to see your favorite actor from basically any other TV show / movie you love. (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Honest Trailer below- it’s seriously eye opening!)