I once heard a prominent critic say something to the effect that a particular film would be generally enjoyed except by those who didn't actually love love itself. It strikes me that such a sentiment applies even better to Love Actually.
There is no mistaking the movie's intentions to celebrate this most celebrated emotion. From the opening and closing voiceovers and shots of ordinary, loving people, to the innumerable plotlines exploring one or another type of love (typically, but not limited to, the romantic sort), there is barely a moment not featuring this basic connection, or prospect of a connection, to another.
It's really no wonder that the topic is so pervasive - people are obsessed with the concept. Even so many action, or otherwise masculine, films often feature the simplest subplot to get the hero a mate. Such a fundamental human need - perhaps I should go so far to call is a struggle - will always permeate every human culture. Go to your local multiplex, and a love story will be playing on at least one screen. How could it be any other way?
Okay, there wasn't going to be any confusion as to the topic of this piece. What remains in the air is whether Love Actually, actually gets its point across.
The film hops from plot to plot rapidly, threatening distraction, but the scenes are tight enough that the device works. There were a couple times I lost track of some of the characters, which may have something to do with all those Anglo Brits looking alike (outside the piles of recognizable stars, that is). I won't get into the actual plotlines here, as they are so equally weighted, that once started, it would be hard not to detail them all, and take away half the reason to see the film.
It is not surprising to see elements of the trite in a film such as this. Fortunately for us, the writing generally prefers to state things simply, and only a few details stretch credibility.
Does Love Actually accomplish what it sets out to do? That all depends on how receptive you are to what it has to say.
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