- Richard Curtis
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Thursday, December 18, 2003
The movie tells many separate stories all surrounding various forms of love. Billy Mack (Billy Nighy) is an old rocker looking for a revival. Jamie (Colin Firth) finds solace in France after his wife cheated on him. Daniel (Liam Neeson) finds a way to distract himself from his wife’s death by helping her young son Sam (Thomas Sangster) cope with a broken heart. Karen (Emma Thompson) suspects her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) is seeing another woman. Juliet (Keira Knightley) just got married but has to deal with her husband’s best friend’s sentiments. The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) finds love in his assistant Natalie (Martine McCutcheon). And Sarah (Laura Linney) has been in love for years but fears of telling it to the guy in question.
Writer-director Richard Curtis is responsible for this amalgam of love in all its forms and variations, whether it’s between grown-ups, friends, kids, lovers, you name it. Love exists in every possible way, in every place imaginable, in the most unexpected situations. It is what drives people forward, and Curtis knows that. His movie is corny, yet you never feel like killing the filmmakers. Even in its more over-the-top moments the movie is so crowd-pleasing that you just can’t help it but smile.
The movie is mostly successful in covering all the ground it can reach. Sometimes it does feel like some stories are not treated as much as others that are less interesting. For instance, Colin Firth’s storyline is not that interesting (although it has an amazing finale) and I would’ve liked to see more of Keira Knightley’s, Laura Linney’s or the one with the pair of stand-in lovers. Then again, there are simply too many characters, so some sacrifices had to be made.
The movie is involving, funny and entertaining. It is full of absolutely charismatic actors in stories we can all relate to because we all know what love is one way or another. The ending in the airport is way too much, but then I loved how some stories were resolved and some weren’t completely. Despite the fantasy world this movie lives in, there’s a trace of reality hidden in there that doesn’t make it insulting.
The best storylines for me were Liam Neeson’s, Emma Thompson’s, Bill Nighy’s, Keria Knightley’s and Laura Linney’s. Short but absolutely riveting. Oh, and High Grant’s storyline is also quite fun and charming.
I was also surprised by the way the movie pokes fun at the United States in a couple of storylines. For non-U.S. people those gags are hilarious, but I wonder how Americans will take them. The fun part is that the actors involved in the jokes are well-known American performers. It’s good to have a sense of humor!
As performances go, this movie excels. The highlights for me were Billy Nighy (absolutely explosive and hilarious), Emma Thompson (touching and credible all the way), Laura Linney (heart-breaking and beautiful) and Martine McCutcheon (chubby and absolutely charming). There are many other actors that I have not mentioned which appear in the movie such as Rowan Atkinson, Rodrigo Santoro, Lúcia Monaz, Billy Bob Thornton, Claudia Schiffer, Denise Richards, Shannon Elizabeth and many more, all of whom appear very briefly.
A delightful mosaic of love.
“To me, you are perfect.”
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