Love Actually

A review of Love Actually by Rob Mason

Love Actually is a 2003 Christmas-themed romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress. Most of the film was filmed on location in London. 

The United States release was on 14 November 2003 and a week later in the United Kingdom, where it debuted to positive reviews, but received mixed-to-positive reviews in the US. The film was a box-office success, grossing almost $247 million worldwide on a budget of $45 million.

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy about the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. This is a very true comment and one that I can relate to. I remember waiting for a plane at Palmerston North Airport to take me back to Auckland.  However, while I was waiting a plane arrived and a lot of disembarking passengers came through the arrivals gate.  I noticed one woman who came through and who rushed towards a small group of people. She just threw her arms around a guy she must have known and they displayed real loving feelings towards each other. I'm not sure why but when you're alone and witness the display of affection like this, it does have a significant effect. 

However, getting back to the film itself, the impression I got was that the basic idea is good but the actual presentation itself needed to be improved.  For instance, the background music was not right, the tunes did not always fit the scene. It seemed to me that the film was dependent on the music to try and give it more pathos.  It was also too loud, as in some instances it was louder than the actor’s voices. A film soundtrack can be good but it should not over-shadow the dialogue, it should rather supplement it.  Another weakness was the quality of the dance sequences performed by Hugh Grant and Bill Nighy, they were just not good enough.  Maybe it’s because I ‘ve just seen the dance sequence from another movie, ‘A Bigger Splash’ that was so much better. In this scene, Ralph Fiennes performs a dance sequence to a Rolling Stone tune called ‘Emotional Rescue.’ In this scene Ralph Fiennes was assisted by choreographer, Ann Yee. 
In summing up I believe the film was not sharp enough, the idea was brilliant (‘Love Actually’) but the performances were sub-standard.  Also, the sex scenes were far to explicit and seemed to me, to be in bad taste and unnecessary.
On a more positive note I liked the scenes of London, and some of the comedy, namely with Rowan Atkinson and Colin Firth. As a recommendation for the future I believe the film should have been shorter with more emphasis on performance and standards of conduct.  The film score should also be improved to ensure the music compliments the respective scene and the sound is turned down to a respectable level.