Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman
Daniel: Tell her that you love her.
Sam: No way! Anyway, they fly tonight.
Daniel: Even better! Sam, you’ve got nothin’ to lose, and you’ll always regret it if you don’t! I never told your mom enough. I should have told her everyday because she was perfect everyday. You’ve seen the films, kiddo. It ain’t over ’til its over.
Many characters fall in love (or at least lust) in many different situations.
I think I’ll do this review a little different since I liked some of the story lines more than others. I’ll review them individually.
1.) Hugh Grant plays the new British Prime Minister and immediately falls in love with a woman, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), who works as part of his house staff. He realizes this could be a problem and tries to keep it professional, but eventually has her let go. Of course he realizes his mistake and must go find her again. I’m a Hugh Grant fan, I’ll admit it. I find his comedic delivery amusing most of the time, and it works again here. The political stuff with the U.S. President (Billy Bob Thornton) seemed a bit extraneous, but the romance angle was alright. Rating: 7.7
2.) Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is in love with his best friend’s new wife, Juliet (Keira Knightley), but acts slightly hostile towards her in order to protect his own feelings. When Juliet sees the wedding footage that Mark shot, she realizes it was almost entirely focused on her, and she soon learns of his feelings for her. This storyline was one of the lesser ones, and seemed fairly underdeveloped. We don’t know much about the characters, so it’s hard to care much about the outcome of their story. Plus, I thought Mark’s romantic gesture at the end was kind of inappropriate. Rating: 6.5
3.) In an eerie bit of foreshadowing of real life events, Liam Neeson plays Daniel, a husband whose wife has just died and who now must raise his 10 year old step son alone. He discovers that his step son, Sam (Thomas Sangster), is in love with an American girl at school who will be leaving the country soon. This was my favorite storyline in the movie because Neeson and Sangster are so good together. I’m glad they resisted the temptation to make their relationship troubled or to make Sam into a bratty little kid. I would have liked to have seen a whole movie about their story. Rating: 9.0
4.) The always likable Laura Linney plays Sarah, who has been in love with a coworker, Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), for about as long as she’s worked with him. They’re finally about to, uh, have a romantic moment, but it’s interrupted by calls from her brother who has some mental issues. Sarah is the only one who can look after him, and must choose between caring for him or being with Karl. This was another boring one for me, mainly because we know absolutely zilch about Karl. We barely see him until the Christmas party, so for us, the audience, he’s just some guy. It’s hard to care about some random guy. Rating: 6.1
5.) Intertwined with that story is the one about Alan Rickman’s character, Harry, being tempted to cheat on his wife, Karen, played by Emma Thompson. There wasn’t much special about this storyline. Thompson was good, and there’s a funny bit in a store involving gift-wrapping, but overall, I found myself waiting patiently for their scenes to be over and the other story lines to return. Rating: 6.3
6) John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are stand-ins, working on a movie that apparently has lots and lots of nudity, as they spend most of their time chatting away, becoming friends while wearing very little clothing. This one was pretty basic. They didn’t get much screen time, most likely because there wasn’t much of a story to it. I guess the circumstances under which they meet and become friends is supposed to be funny, but it just didn’t work much for me, which is a shame because I like Martin Freeman. Rating: 5.5
7.) When Jamie (Colin Firth) catches his girlfriend cheating on him with his own brother, he tries to go into isolation in order to write a novel, but soon finds himself attracted to the Portuguese woman who is working as his housekeeper. This one was a little bit dull, but also had some funny and touching moments. The resolution to it was a little odd, but sorta worked anyway. Rating: 7.2
8.) In my least favorite storyline of the movie, Colin (Kris Marshall) is a young British guy who is convinced that he’ll have much more luck with women in the United States. This was my least favorite one because it seemed like it belonged in an entirely different movie. It was more like some sort of American Pie, teen comedy, male fantasy story that wasn’t remotely grounded in reality. Or if it is grounded in reality, I might be moving to Wisconsin soon and polishing up my British accent. Rating: 3.2
9.) Finally we have the story of Billy Mack (Bill Nighy). An aging rock star who makes a comeback by recording a cover of Love Is All Around, but with Christmas terms replacing some of the lyrics. He knows it’s terrible, but it’s his ticket back to stardom, so he’s more than happy to sell out. This was the funniest of the many plots. It kind of seemed like it belonged in a separate movie too, but since it was funny, it’s okay that it’s in this one. Rating: 8.0
I think that covers everything. I could have done without some of the storylines and would have enjoyed seeing more of others. Overall, it’s a pleasant enough movie though.
Chicks dig accents…and musicians…and Prime Ministers.
(7.7 + 6.5 + 9.0 + 6.1 + 6.3 + 5.5 + 7.2 + 3.2 + 8.0) / 9 = 6.6