Thereís like 40 different storylines going on, so the Main Characters section will be really brief and describe most of the movie.
The Main Characters
--David, the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) is the PM of Britain and falls for one of his workersÖ
--Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) works for the newly elected PM and loves him.
--Jamie Bennett (Colin Firth) has discovered his girlfriend is cheating on him with his brother. He retreats to his cottage where he falls in love withÖ
--Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) is the maid for Jamie at his cottage. She doesnít speak English but they still fall in love.
--Daniel (Liam Neeson) has just lost his wife. His son is broken up about it, but heís in love with a girl from his class.
--Sam (Thomas Sangster) is Danielís 10-year old stepson who is in love with a girl named Joanna from his class.
--Juliet (Keira Knightly) has just married Peter. Peterís best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is incredibly standoffish to her, but she will learn why.
--Harry (Alan Rickman) is the head of some company. He is married to Karen (Emma Thompson) but heís being pursued by his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).
--Sarah (Laura Linney) works for Harry and its obvious sheís madly in love with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) but she has to deal with her mentally ill brother.
--Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is an aging rock star with a new Christmas song out. He is constantly around his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), and they have a unique, loving relationship.
--Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) is constantly spurned by British girls so he goes to America (Wisconsin) to get some ladies.
--John (Martin Freeman) is a stand in for a nude scene with Judy (Joanna Page). They start dating and all after forming a bond on the set.
Jolly Olí England, from 5 weeks till Christmas to Christmas Day.
Itís really simple; you see that list of names up there? It follows each and every couple, and they all seem to be connected in some sort of weird way. They show the trials and tribulations of what different situations arise and how they affect love between people. Thatís what the movie is about, after all. Love actually being all around.
Iím not one for chick flicks (and this for sure is one), but this one is probably the best one Iíve seen. Itís got so much going for it. Itís funny when it needs to be, serious when it needs to be, and just gives a great sense of love. All the characters are important to the film, and we donít get much, if any, background information on the characters, itís just really a snapshot of people living and loving. There are some notable cameos (Billy Bob Thornton as the horny US president and Rowan Atkinson as a store clerk) and they work well. If you donít like British style comedy, you probably wonít like it, as there is what many consider some gratuitous nudity and loads of cursing. Still, itís a great movie that Iíd recommend. Itís funny, serious and has a great message. There is probably a lot of social commentary and takes a lot of shots at US but itís not done in an obvious way (except with the president and Natalie going in wearing a blue dress and the prez hitting on her, hmmm). Is it a Christmas movie? I donít know, you can watch it anytime I think. Is it a good movie? Probably one of the best romantic comedies I've ever seen. ***3/4.
1) Feature Commentary
The commentary is done by director Richard Curtis, actors Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster. The commentary is a very good listen. Richard Curtis does most of the talking but Hugh chimes in a lot too. Bill doesnít say too much, neither does Thomas, but when they talk itís interesting. Overall, Iíd recommend watching this movie with the commentary at least once.
2) Deleted Scenes
These are deleted scenes from the movie and each scene is introduced by director Richard Curtis and runs about 38 minutes altogether. Curtis says why certain scenes were cut (mostly time reasons, it was 3 and a half hours before edits). The first is with Sam and Daniel and their bonding process. The next scene includes John and Judy. They then show some scenes with Mia and Mark at the art gallery. The next series of scenes include the son of Emma Thompson who is a pretty disturbed guy, which then leads to the principal, and her dying girlfriend. The next scene is with Billy and Joe, and then one with Sarah and he brother. The next scene is of Sam doing gymnastics in the airport. The last bit of scenes was to show a picture in the office and they zoom in on the picture and show live action from the picture to show that love is all around.
3) The Music of Love Actually
This is a pretty in-depth featurette on the music of love actually and it goes through some of the songs used in the film. Director Richard Curtis narrates it. Curtis talks about the song then they show the scene from the movie that the song was used in. The songs mentioned are: ďBoth Sides Now,Ē by Joni Mitchell, ďAll I Want For Christmas is You,Ē by Olivia Olsen, ďSongbird,Ē by Eva Cassidy, the Beach Boys, ďGod Only Knows,Ē and ďTotal Agony ThemeĒ by Craig Armstrong. The whole thing last about 20 minutes.
4) Kelly Clarkson: ďThe Trouble With LoveĒ Music Video
This is a 3-minute 50-second video for the song from the movie. Itís actually a pretty decent song and itís the usual movie video with scenes from the movie interspersed throughout.
Yeah, I didn't check.
The movie is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen with a 2.35:1 ratio. The audio is done in Dolby Digital 5.1 in English and just Dolby Surround in French and Spanish. There are English, French and Spanish subtitles. The audio doesnít really need the DD because itís a talking movie and really any old sound wouldíve worked. The widescreen does well. There are varying degrees of colorful shots and the transfer is sparkling with the whites, reds and other colors.
C) Liner Notes
None, just some coupon type thing.
D) Easter Eggs
Great movie makes this an easy recommendation. I donít know if itís worth the high price tag (Iíve seen it as high as $28 in stores!) but I got it for like $14 off of Columbia House and it was well worth it. Heck, it is worth the $28, actually. The movie is funny and enjoyable and the extras are pretty neat too. The music thing was pretty in depth and there were a bunch of deleted scenes. The commentary was good and thereís an extra music video thrown in. Really great movie and pretty damn good DVD.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 Thereís at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, donít even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever