The cover to the Blu-ray release.

Love Actually is a 2003 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. The ensemble cast is composed predominantly of British actors.

Set in London, the film begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.

Synopsis

The film begins with a voice-over from David 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:

Billy Mack and Joe

With the help of his longtime manager Joe, aging rock and roll legend Billy Mack records a Christmas variation of The Troggs' classic hit "Love is All Around". Nonetheless he promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. The song does go to number one; after briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy suggests that he and Joe celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn.

Juliet, Peter and Mark

Juliet and Peter are wed in a lovely ceremony orchestrated and videotaped by Mark, Peter's best friend and best man. The video he recorded reveals that he secretly has feelings for her.

Jamie and Aurélia

Writer Jamie first appears preparing to attend Juliet and Peter's wedding. His girlfriend misses the ceremony to be with his brother. Jamie retires to his French cottage where he meets Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia, who speaks only her native tongue Portuguese. There is an instant attraction between the two. When Jamie returns to England he realises he is in love with Aurelia. He learns her native language and goes back to propose to her. When he does propose to her, she says yes, and it is revealed that she been learning English to communicate with Jamie.

Harry, Karen, and Mia

Harry is the managing director of a design agency; Mia, is his new secretary. For Christmas he buys her an expensive necklace from jewellery salesman Rufus, who elaborately wraps while Harry becomes increasingly nervous with the fear of detection. Meanwhile, Harry's wife Karen is busy dealing with their children, Daisy and Bernard, who are appearing in the school Nativity, to her brother David, who just became Prime Minister, and her friend Daniel, who has just lost his wife. Karen discovers the necklace in Harry's coat pocket and assumes it is a gift for her; Karen later confronts Harry over the necklace, who admits to foolishness.

David and Natalie

Karen's brother, the recently elected British Prime Minister David, is young, handsome, and single. Natalie is a new junior member of the household staff at 10 Downing Street and regularly serves his tea and biscuits. Something seems to click between them. David walks in to find the U.S. President attempting to seduce Natalie. David has Natalie moved, but later comes across a Christmas card "With Love, Your Natalie." He eventually finds Natalie at her family's home, then drives everyone to the local school for the nativity play, the same one in which his niece and nephew are appearing, and the two watch the show from backstage, their budding relationship exposed when a curtain is raised during the big finale.

Daniel; Sam and Joanna

Daniel, Karen's friend, and his stepson Sam fend for themselves, where Sam has fallen for American visitor Joanna. Daniel consoles Sam, who is heartbroken over recent news of Joanna's return to the United States, and convinces him to go catch Joanna at the airport.

Sarah, Karl and Michael

Sarah first appears at Juliet and Peter's wedding, sitting next to her friend Jamie. We learn she works at Harry's graphic design company, where she has been in love for years with its creative director, Karl. A tryst between Karl and herself is interrupted by Sarah's mentally ill brother, Michael, and this effectively ends their relationship. On Christmas Eve, she loves visiting her brother at the institution where he lives, wrapping a scarf around him as he hugs her.

Colin, Tony, Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne, Harriet and Carla

After several blunders attempting to woo various English women, including Mia and Nancy (the caterer at Juliet and Peter's wedding), Colin Frissell informs his friend Tony he plans to go to the US and find love there. He meets Stacey, Jeannie, and Carol-Anne, three stunningly attractive women who fall for his Basildon accent and invite him to stay at their home. Colin accepts.

John and Judy

Note: In the Asian releases, this particular story is deleted. John and Judy, meet as stand-ins for the sex scenes in a movie. John tells Judy that "it is nice to have someone [he] can just chat to." The two carefully and cautiously pursue a relationship, and see the play at the local school together with John's brother.

Rufus

Rufus is the jewellery salesman whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping gets Harry caught buying Mia's necklace. It is his distraction of staff at the airport which allows Sam to sneak through. His character is seen as a sort of guardian angel, as his place in the film is to look out for the other characters.

Epilogue

In the epilogue, set one month later, the film's characters are seen to be in relationships: love, actually. These scenes dissolve into live-footage of arrivals at Heathrow Airport, which divide the screen and eventually form a heart as the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" plays on.

Music

Soundtrack

Song title Performer(s)
"Christmas is All Around" Bill Nighy
"All You Need is Love" Lynden David Hall
"Take Me as I Am" Wyclef Jean featuring Sharissa
"Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye)" Bay City Rollers
"Puppy Love" S. Club Juniors
"Sweetest Goodbye" Maroon 5
"All I Want for Christmas Is You" Olivia Olson
Flood (arranger)
"I'll See It Through" Texas
"River" Joni Mitchell
"Jump (For My Love)" The Pointer Sisters
"Here With Me" Dido
"Rose" from Titanic James Horner (composer)
"Too Lost in You" Sugababes
"Like I Love You" Justin Timberlake
"Turn Me On" Norah Jones
"Songbird" Eva Cassidy
"All Alone on Christmas" Darlene Love
"Smooth" Santana featuring Rob Thomas
"Wherever You Will Go" The Calling
"Both Sides Now" Joni Mitchell
"White Christmas" Otis Redding
"Silent Night" Pre Teens
"Good King Wenceslas" Hugh Grant
Colin Coull
"Catch a Falling Star" Cast
"God Only Knows" The Beach Boys
"The Trouble with Love is" Kelly Clarkson
"The Star Spangled Banner" (uncredited) U.S. Marine Band

Notes

  • Thomas Sangster, who played Sam, and Olivia Olson, who played Joanna, would work together again on the Disney Channel animated show Phineas and Ferb. In reference to this film, Thomas' character, Ferb Fletcher, has a crush on Olivia's character, Vanessa Doofenshmirtz, similar to Sam's crush on Joanna in this film.
  • Chat show host Michael Parkinson and TV presenters Ant & Dec star in the film as themselves.
  • The DVD commentary includes director Richard Curtis noting that Olson's rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was so pitch-perfect that they had to train her to sound more like what one would expect a 10-year-old to sound like. The reason was that Curtis and the production team feared viewers would think that Olson was lip-synching to Mariah Carey.

Edits

There are two instances of switched music between the UK and U.S. versions of the film.

  • In the original UK version, the montage, introducing the office Christmas party, is set to "Too Lost in You" by Sugababes. In the U.S. version, it is set to with "The Trouble With Love Is", performed by Kelly Clarkson.
  • During the second half of the end credits after the Clarkson song plays (for the second time in the U.S. version) the original version concludes with a cover of "Jump (For My Love)", performed by Girls Aloud. This song does not appear at all in the U.S. version, which concludes with the Sugababes song that the UK version used at the party.

The 2009 U.S. Blu-Ray actually contains the original cut of the film, while the original U.S. DVD had the U.S. cut.

Cast

Actor/actress Character
Bill Nighy Billy Mack
Gregor Fisher Joe
Rory MacGregor Engineer
Colin Firth Jamie
Sienna Guillory Jamie's girlfriend
Liam Neeson Daniel
Emma Thompson Karen
Lulu Popplewell Daisy (Karen's daughter)
Kris Marshall Colin Frissell
Heike Makatsch Mia
Martin Freeman John
Joanna Page Just Judy
Chiwetel Ejiofor Peter
Andrew Lincoln Mark
Keira Knightley Juliet
Hugh Grant The prime minister
Nina Sosanya Annie
Frank Moorey Terence
Jill Freud Pat the housekeeper
Martine McCutcheon Natalie
Tim Hatwell Vicar
Laura Linney Sarah
Lynden David Hall The wedding singer
The Big Blue Church musicians
Jont Whittington Guitarist
Dan Fredenburgh Jamie's bad brother
Julia Davis Nancy the caterer
Abdul Salis Tony
Shaughan Seymour Movie cameraman
Helen Murton Funeral priest
Edward Hardwicke Sam's grandfather
Caroline John Sam's grandmother
Thomas Sangster Sam
Gemma Aston
Matt Harvey
Adrian Preater
Joanna Thaw
Family mourners
Junior Simpson Wedding DJ
Alan Rickman Harry
Rodrigo Santoro Karl
Brian Bovell Radio Watford DJ
Sarah McDougall Receptionist
Marcus Brigstocke Mikey (DJ interviewer)
Richard Hawley Alex (Deputy prime minister)
Wyllie Longmore Jeremy
Gillian Barge
Richard Wills-Cotton
Kate Bowes
Kate Glover
Nicola McRoy
Cabinet ministers
Anthony McPartlin Ant
Declan Donnelly Dec
Elizabeth Margoni Eleonore
Lucia Moniz Aurelia
Billy Bob Thornton The U.S. President
Peter Marinker US Expert
Keir Charles
Doraly Rosen
Press conference reporters
Meg Wynn Owen PM's Secretary
Carol Carey Natalie's replacement
Jo Whiley Radio DJ
Sarah Atkinson
Clare Bennett
Sarah Holland
Vicki Murdoch
Meredith Ostrom
Katherine Poulton
Tuuli
Billy's video vixens
Michael Parkinson Parky
Michael Fitzgerald Michael (Sarah's brother)
Ciaran O'Driscoll Hospital Patient
Rowan Atkinson Rufus the Jewellery Salesman
William Wadham Bernie (Karen's son)
Catia Duarte
Igor Urdenko
Nat Udom
Ines Boughanmi
Yuk Sim Yau
Language students
John Sharian Wisconsin taxi driver
Glenn Conroy Barman
Ivana Milicevic Stacey
January Jones Jeannie
Elisha Cuthbert Carol-Anne (American goddess)
Wes Butters BBC Radio 1 Chart Show DJ
Laura Rees Record company executive
Emma Buckley Jamie's sister
Sheila Allen Jamie's mom
Terry Reece Terry
Colin Coull Gavin
Margery Mason Harris Street Old Lady
Katharine Bailey Harris Street Little Girl
Tiffany Boysell
Georgia Flint
Her Friends
Joanna Bacon Natalie's mother
Bill Moody Natalie's father
Billy Campbell Natalie's octopus brother
Paul Slack John's Brother
Adam Godley Mr. Trench
Olivia Olson Joanna Anderson
Ruby Turner Mrs. Jean Anderson
Amanda Garwood Backing-singer teacher
Arturo Venegas Mr. Anderson
Claudia Schiffer Carol
Patrick Delaney Tommy (Carol's son)
Helder Costa Mr. Barros
Carla Vasconcelos Sophia Barros
Stewart Howson Airport gate man
Jamie Edgell
Dave Fisher
Paul Heasman
Tony Lucken
Airport guards
Raul Atalaia Restaurant proprietor
Nancy Sorrell Greta
Shannon Elizabeth Harriet
Denise Richards Carla
Uncredited
Chevy Cofield Wedding planner
Richard Curtis Trombone player
Frances de la Tour Lesbian lover
Rebecca Frayn Joanna - Daniel's dead wife
Jeanne Moreau Taxi passenger (Marseille Airport)
Fiona Thompson Airport arriving passenger

External links

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Universal Studios
Movies Merry Christmas, Mr. LawrenceThe Munsters' Scary Little ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Love ActuallyThe HolidayKrampusAlmost ChristmasThe Grinch (2018)Last ChristmasBlack Christmas (2019)
Direct-to-video films The Life and Adventures of Santa ClausBarbie in a Christmas CarolA Very Monkey ChristmasBarbie: A Perfect ChristmasBeethoven's Christmas AdventureAll I Want for Christmas is YouMy Adventures with Santa
Live-action television episodes "The Day They Captured Santa Claus" • "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas…" • "Christmas Presence" • "Home for the Holidays" • "Yule Laff" • "Christmas Brains" • "Seoul Mates" • "A Christmas Secret" • "Christmas Party" • "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa" • "A Benihana Christmas" • "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad" • "Moroccan Christmas" • "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa Claus" • "Ludachristmas" • "Christmas Special" • "Secret Santa (30 Rock) • "Christmas Attack Zone" • "Secret Santa" (The Office) • "Classy Christmas" • "Christmas Wishes" • "Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party" • "Mr. Monk and the Miracle"
Animated specials and episodes "Dickens of a Christmas" • A Wish For Wings That Work • "For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls" • "A Christmas Peril" • "Ms. Banshee's Holiday Hits" • "Fright Before Christmas" • "A Very Woody Christmas" • "It's a Chilly Christmas After All" • "Yule Get Yours" • "The Twelve Lies of Christmas" • How Murray Saved Christmas • "ChristMess Eve"
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