Love Actually is Now Streaming...

Why Love Actually is a masterpiece Christmas film…Now Streaming 

Love Actually Is Now Streaming 

An Essay/Review  

by Jonny Diaz  

        Around this time of the year we all search for our version of the best Christmas films available. However, what that entails is often a complex and almost controversial decision for most householdsSome might say the answer is actually quite obvious; it’s Home Alone, 1 and/or 2. Others say that that film is too played out. The new generation of course loves Elf or How The Grinch Stole Christmas. While some dark horses tend to root for Die Hard or Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas (arguably a Halloween/Christmas picture) 

         There’s also already so many classics such as, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Then again, how can you have Christmas without watching A Christmas StoryAnd does it even have to be a feature length film? After all, how do you skip out on, A Charlie Brown Christmas or the Flintstones Christmas Carol 

          I suppose there isn’t just one film that deserves to be qualified as the best Christmas film of all time. But I recently revisited Love Actually and instantly thought, "This is the perfect Christmas film". The reasons are many but I've selected a few including: the acting, the story telling and even with its own very obvious, yet wonderful theme on how Love actually, is all around. 

         The picture opens in a location where most people can't phathom to be in for longer than they need to. Especially during the holidays. It fades in on, an airport. Yet right away, the film chooses to look at this setting in a rather surprising way. The narrator mentions it as a place where friends and family find each other and embrace one another with love. In a time where only hate seems to be spreading, it's important that we're in an airport because the truth is, we pay a lot of money to travel all across the country during December. And when you boil it down, we do this to be with the ones we love, or the ones who love us.  

          The film was released in 2003 when 9/11 was still very fresh in our minds. It was a difficult time to look for love in the world. But this film does it so brilliantly while also being quite funny. I think what makes this film so great is the group of characters and actors selected to play these parts. This films proves that there are no small parts. And that in order to make it work, each actor has to be on point no matter how brief they're on the screen. They each succeed brilliantly here and the secret ingredient in what makes them do this, I believe, is their subtle gestures and mannerisms. Often right before the editor makes his cuts. There's a certain look, or smile and even eye roll that works here. The only bad thing is that they're all too good looking for their own good. However, the fact that they're not all just a bunch of white people celebrating Christmas is another breath of fresh of air. The cast is quite diverse and yet not in your face about any of it. You don't question any of the casting choices you just enjoy it and let them charm you. And they do.  

          The film was also made at a time when interweaving storylines were really popular in Hollywood thanks to P.T. Anderson's Magnolia. Yet this doesn't really matter here since the main theme of the film never leaves us. 

          Love Actually sticks to telling us that love is here... just, in different ways. And not always the way you imagine it. One storyline I particular appreciate is Laura Linney's. She's an American working in London who has a brother who is mentally not well. They live in London without their parents and since she is his only guardian, she feels responsible for looking after him. Yet when someone she secretly loves, admits he has feelings for her, she has trouble reciprocating. Mainly because of her responsibilities towards her brother. The man she is with, is incredibly respectful and understanding. He admits that sometimes, "life can be challenging filled with unexpected interruptions." And when this happens, she is still unable to disconnect herself from her environment, because of her love for her sick brother. The fact that she can't shift her love is a very telling character trait, that I think, is often not discussed or explored enough in most films.    

        Other notable storylines for me is the couple that can't communicate shared between Colin Firth and Lúcia Moniz. The fact that they never understand each other verbally, but share an affinity for one another, through gestures (and whenever they accidentally lock eyes), proves how silent and powerful love can be. The miscommunication here is subtle and funny exactly when it needs to be.  

            Liam Neeson's character arc in this film, is also something that doesn't get discussed enough in films. In this picture he's dealing with the loss of his wife and how he has to shift his attention to his new stepson. Who unfortunately (and ironically) falls in love at a very early age. Liam finds refuge and advice for this the only way most of us do: we watch movies. Eventually he does the best thing a parent can do for their child; he listens to him. Ultimately, his grief turns into support for his son and with a little help of movie magic, he gets lucky in the end. 

            The last storyline that I think is significant to mention, is the one between Emma Thompson and her husband, played by the late Alan Rickman. They feel like such a normal married couple. Emma Thompson seems like such a pleasant wife! Yet like any marriage or relationship, when someone gets tempted by the opposite sex it can become very complicated very quickly. Often times, you can forget about all the effort of love you've spent building with each other, just because someone else may have flirted or noticed you. This is the case with Rickman's character. He plays the husband so brilliantly that you almost feel sorry for him. The real trophy of course, belongs to his wife, Thompson. Who after realizing her husband is buying a more extravagant gift for his secretary, doesn't act a fool. Instead (and probably for the sake of her children) collects herself with such poise you'd think her bones were made out of iron. The writer's subtle choice here to not have her act out shows the level of strength, detail and care he puts in her. I also think this shows how strong women can be. That despite having her heartbroken, she still carries on. A message I think is incredibly important and relevant.  

          The final moments of this film are perfect in every way a romantic comedy can be. We need to look no further for a Christmas rom-com than Richard Curtis' Love Actually. His films are uniquely his, yet relatable to so many of us. His film, About Time for example, may have one of the best wedding scenes ever filmed. The fact that Love Actually takes place during Christmas is not only a gift, it’s a blessing. For it is indeed, a time of giving. And what Curtis has given us here is a cinematic present that should be opened quickly into our homes as one of the best Christmas film ever made. Let us not take for granted the saturated films that are around us, but instead, let us always keep in mind that Love Actually, is now streaming...on Netflix.  

Love Actually now Streaming