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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Love Actually

A Holiday Enchantment

I've always found something very Christmasy about London and England and the U.K. as a whole. Love Actually is a holiday classic as well as a cultural comfort. Set in London five weeks before Christmas, Love Actually plays out weekly before the countdown and follows ten separate stories carried out by Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, and more. The specific plot of each story is no more predictable than that of any other holiday film but there's only one Love Actually.

There's something admirably original about the atmosphere of the film. Love Actually lets itself exhale tenderly and happily flourish in its own enrichment. Love Actually is almost more of a play than a film, particularly when it comes to the performances. Perhaps the Holidays just have a way of letting people's guards down but all the actors really seemed to lose all sense of professional surroundings and break free inside the confines of their characters.

I also appreciated the way the film portrays love. The Holidays always remind you that life is too short and the romance of Love Actually isn't about finding love in of itself but rather listening to your gut at the moment so you don't look back years later wishing you had done something different. Some characters follow through on their instincts while others stay put.

There are many storylines to follow and they are all so sweet and tender. Yet, I must say my favorite is the one between Juliet and Mark (Keira Knightley & Andrew Lincoln). Wanting someone you can't be with is never easy but I just loved how instead of making it a tragedy, Love Actually wrote the iconic doorstep scene. Mark plays Silent Night on the radio to make it seem to Juliet’s husband there are Carol singers at the door. As the song plays, Mark holds up flashcards that say wonderful things and Juliet smiles. She is touched by his creative attempts to show his love for her. Mark walks down the street afterward only to be suddenly stopped by Juliet who sneaked out of the house to give him a quick but sweet kiss before returning inside. It was just so beautiful, it made the scene seem special and not sad.

Having multiple storylines certainly contributed to my feeling that I wasn't in just one place for the entirety of the film. It's fun to have different moments for different people. Sort of like visiting multiple people for the holidays. If they all live close, you'd try to see them all, wouldn't you? Love Actually makes time for its audiences and wraps them in an embrace that years later keeps them returning for an annual holiday enchantment hug.

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