Love Actually

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(2003) ★★★

ITV1: Sunday 20 December, 10.20m

Love is all around in the four weeks leading up to Christmas in London. Newly elected prime minister Hugh Grant is attracted to cockney sparrer Martine McCutcheon, serving tea and sympathy at No.10 Downing Street. Alan Rickman guiltily cheats on loyal wife Emma Thompson with office sexpot Heike Makatsch. Grieving widower Liam Nesson helps young son Thomas Sangster over a schoolboy crush: “What could be worse than the total agony of being in love?” And she doesn’t even know his name. Cuckolded Colin Firth retreats to lick his wounds in France, falling for servant girl Lucia Moniz. Andrew Lincoln carries a torch for Keira Knightley, who’s just married his best friend.

Laura Linney blows her big chance and, in less interesting interludes, rock’n’roll wrinkly Bill Nighy and hapless Kris Marshall scratch around for affection. (Simon Pegg’s body double inserts could have usefully been scrapped, too.) Eight loosely connected love affairs unfold in Richard Curtis’ smash-hit romcom, intended as a Valentine to life itself as much as to the glory of love. It’s soppy, sappy and sometimes – just sometimes – sublimely funny. Cleverly constructed, slickly crafted and so eager to be all things to all people, it’s no wonder it set dvd rental records. With a soaring soundtrack of smartly used songs, it’s a film full of terrific acting and piquant highs. Keira Knightley looking at the wedding video shot by the lovelorn Lincoln.

Hugh Grant’s Home Alone moment, dancing around No.10 to the Pointer Sisters’ Jump. Lucia Moniz rescuing Colin Firth’s manuscript from the pond. Emma Thompson opening her Christmas present. Laura Linney’s brother reaching out to hold hands. The wedding rendition of All You Need Is Love. And still there’s room for an even better pop song, perhaps the best ever – the final flourish is accompanied by God Only Knows. “I love multiple storylines,” said Curtis, years later. “This film is my Pulp Fiction.” Don’t sell yourself short, mate.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 120min

IMDB – Love Actually

TMDB – Love Actually

Rotten Tomatoes – Love Actually

Other Showings Date & Time
ITV2 Tuesday, 22 December at 9:00PM