“It’s a terrible mistake, Chubs, but you turn out to be the f**king love of my life. And to be honest, despite all my complaining, we have had a wonderful life.” — Billy Mack, Love Actually
As Netflix is continuously piling its shelves with reams of original projects, it’s worth reminding ourselves that they started out by sharing some of the greatest Hollywood titles ever made. So, with Netflix Flashback, we’re looking back at some of the platform’s classic films and reminding ourselves just how great they are. Next up, is Richard Curtis’ fuzzy and sappy 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually which might be one of the greatest Holiday rom-coms now streaming on Netflix.
Richard Curtis waltzed into our lives with Love Actually just a few years after producing three epic romantic films, namely Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary. The trio established his legacy as one of Britain’s most acclaimed rom-com creators in contemporary times. With a star-studded ensemble cast to die for, headlined by the dreamy Hugh Grant as a lovestruck Prime Minister, the film follows the story of nine couples who try to grapple with their turbulent feelings and emotions right at the onset of the Holiday season. Love Actually is not as sophisticated or well-written as Curtis’ previous endeavours but the feel-good factor is overwhelmingly romantic and as sweet as candy canes.
The cast comprises Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Andrew Lincoln, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It has become a classic for the masses who find themselves going weak in the knees, watching the swoon-worthy moments unfurl. Whether it is Grant’s iconic waltz scene or when Mark confesses to Juliet using placards, the film is filled with heartwarming moments. Besides having an iconic collection of pullovers and turtlenecks, the moving storyline between Liam Neeson and his stepson as they try to connect with each other has made many tear up.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking narratives in the film remains the cheating narrative as Alan Rickman’s Harry finds himself sauntering away from his wife both physically and emotionally. Emma Thompson’s Karen is crushed by the revelation but the ambiguous ending to their relationship in the airport makes it unclear if they parted ways or continued holding up a facade in an unhappy home. Love Actually sets in the Yuletide spirit with warmth, love and cheer but does not move away from the brutal realities and melancholy moments in life. It is perhaps Nighy’s performance as the cynical jingle singer that adds a fresh breath of charm to the film as we see the spirit of Christmas churn out his inner Scrooge and replace it with a kinder, more affectionate figure.
The film may be sappy but it is a Christmas classic. A few moments might feel flawed or long-drawn but it will always be a Christmas classic. Watching Love Actually during the Holiday season is like guzzling down a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows. No matter how lonely or depressed you are, it will always feel like a warm, comforting hug, even after 18 years.