Love Actually

  • Directors: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Duncan Kenworthy
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with 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. David’s voiceover also relates that all the known messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people, culminating in a final scene at the airport enacted to the tune of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” that closes their stories. The film ends with a montage of anonymous persons greeting their arriving loved ones that slowly enlarges and fills the screen, eventually forming the shape of a heart.

With the help of his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), aging rock and roll legend Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) records a Christmas variation of The Troggs’ classic hit “Love Is All Around.” Despite his honest admission that it is a “festering turd of a record,” the singer promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. During his publicity tour, Billy repeatedly causes Joe grief by pulling stunts such as defacing a poster of rival musicians Blue with a speech bubble reading, “We’ve got little pricks.” He also promises to perform his song naked on television should it hit the top spot. Mack keeps his word—albeit while wearing boots and holding a strategically placed guitar. After briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy unexpectedly arrives at Joe’s flat and explains that Christmas is a time to be with the people you love, and that he had just realized that “the people I love… is you”, despite simultaneously hitting Joe with insulting comments about his weight. He reminds Joe that “We have had a wonderful ride” touring around the world together over the years. He suggests that the two celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn. Billy and Joe’s story is the only one exploring platonic love, and the two characters are unrelated to any of the other characters in film, although a few of the other characters are shown watching Billy Mack on their TVs or listening to his song on the radio.

Rufus is a minor but significant character played by Rowan Atkinson. He is the Selfridges jewellery salesman whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping nearly gets Harry caught buying Mia’s necklace, and later at the airport, his distraction of an attendant allows Sam to sneak through security and see Joanna before she goes back to America. In the original script, the character was revealed to be an angel, and the airport scene showed him disappearing as he walked through the crowd, but this aspect of the character was removed, although he does give Daniel a wink indicating he knows he is giving Sam cover to slip through. Richard Curtis says that with all the storylines already complicating the movie, “the idea of introducing another layer of supernatural beings” seemed over-the-top.[1]

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