Love, Actually


In life we’re continually confronted by markers that remind us of the passing of time – specifically our own. Sometimes it could be something physical such as starting to make a groaning noise getting out of a chair; or it could be turning on the radio and hearing a song you’ve never hear of, that just so happens to be from the biggest artist on the planet.

And in this instance, it’s being informed that Love, Actually is being re-released to celebrate – wait for it – its twentieth anniversary.

boom reviews Love, Actually
Yeah I'm channeling Jagger, what of it?!

London, five weeks before Christmas, and various couples and singletons are getting on with their various lives in the capital. Take John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) for example, who find themselves put into an awkward situation at work; and then there are couple Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet (Keira Knightley) soon to get married, With Mark (Andrew Lincoln) as Peter’s not so best man; or a new PM (Hugh Grant) at Number 10, getting introduced to his new staff, including Natalie (Martine McCutcheon).

All of them unaware that change is in the air, as well as love, but for who?

boom reviews Love, Actually
Now I can just imagine this lot as a hoarde of zombies...

In 2003 when this film was released, writer and director Richard Curtis had already had global success with films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bean, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary. And although he’s had continued success, it’s fair to say that Love, Actually could be considered the zenith of his career.

It’s an interesting take, as it’s essentially a number of brief vignettes, with a number of them overlapping, all sharing the theme of relationships – past, present, and possibly future.

And although not a flat out Christmas film per se, as the season is just used as background, it has been adopted as such, and will no doubt feature on many TV channels’ schedules again this year. But this is a rare opportunity to see it on the big screen, which is of course what it was made for.

It also features a jaw-dropping cast, with certainly the best of British involved, including the late-great Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson. It also has a couple of iconic scenes that have helped cement it as a bone fide British classic, that involve some moves by Grant, and some sign writing my Lincoln.

And considering the film is 20 years old, it’s held up remarkably well, and remains a testament to Curtis as a skilful writer. It’s surprisingly bittersweet in places, with some examples of love not exactly going to plan, giving it an element of authenticity.

It can be difficult for a film to grow old gracefully, being able to still make an audience smile inanely throughout as well as still seem relevant in a timeless fashion, but this film still somehow manages it.

Yes it’s 20 years old but you know what? It’s actually still pretty darn great and remains a true British rom-com classic.

we give this four out of five