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.
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 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.
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.
|"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"||
|"I'll See It Through"||Texas|
|"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|
|"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|
|"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|
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.
|Bill Nighy||Billy Mack|
|Sienna Guillory||Jamie's girlfriend|
|Lulu Popplewell||Daisy (Karen's daughter)|
|Kris Marshall||Colin Frissell|
|Joanna Page||Just Judy|
|Hugh Grant||The prime minister|
|Jill Freud||Pat the housekeeper|
|Lynden David Hall||The wedding singer|
|The Big Blue||Church musicians|
|Dan Fredenburgh||Jamie's bad brother|
|Julia Davis||Nancy the caterer|
|Shaughan Seymour||Movie cameraman|
|Helen Murton||Funeral priest|
|Edward Hardwicke||Sam's grandfather|
|Caroline John||Sam's grandmother|
|Junior Simpson||Wedding DJ|
|Brian Bovell||Radio Watford DJ|
|Marcus Brigstocke||Mikey (DJ interviewer)|
|Richard Hawley||Alex (Deputy prime minister)|
|Billy Bob Thornton||The U.S. President|
|Peter Marinker||US Expert|
|Press conference reporters|
|Meg Wynn Owen||PM's Secretary|
|Carol Carey||Natalie's replacement|
|Jo Whiley||Radio DJ|
|Billy's video vixens|
|Michael Fitzgerald||Michael (Sarah's brother)|
|Ciaran O'Driscoll||Hospital Patient|
|Rowan Atkinson||Rufus the Jewellery Salesman|
|William Wadham||Bernie (Karen's son)|
Yuk Sim Yau
|John Sharian||Wisconsin taxi driver|
|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|
|Margery Mason||Harris Street Old Lady|
|Katharine Bailey||Harris Street Little Girl|
|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|
|Patrick Delaney||Tommy (Carol's son)|
|Helder Costa||Mr. Barros|
|Carla Vasconcelos||Sophia Barros|
|Stewart Howson||Airport gate man|
|Raul Atalaia||Restaurant proprietor|
|Chevy Cofield (uncredited)||Wedding planner|
|Richard Curtis (uncredited)||Trombone player|
|Frances de la Tour (uncredited)||Lesbian lover|
|Rebecca Frayn (uncredited)||Joanna - Daniel's dead wife|
|Jeanne Moreau (uncredited)||Taxi passenger (Marseille Airport)|
|Fiona Thompson (uncredited)||Airport arriving passenger|
- Thomas Sangster, who played Sam, and Olivia Olson, who played Joanna, would work together again on the Disney Channel animated series 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.
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