Love Actually

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Love and Christmas are all around.
"General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around."
The Prime Minister

Love Actually is a 2003 Romantic Comedy set during Christmas time.

The movie revolves around several different people and their relationships, all woven together. Among the myriad plotlines, we see the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Hugh Grant) falling hard for the girl who does the tea in Number 10 Downing Street (Martine McCutcheon), who also draws the eye of the visiting U.S President (Billy Bob Thornton); his sister (Emma Thompson) going through a rough patch in her marriage while her husband (Alan Rickman) finds himself drawn to his secretary; his work colleague (Laura Linney) finding herself torn between pursuing love with a long-time crush and her obligations to her disabled brother; a mystery writer (Colin Firth) decamping to France after his brother sleeps with his girlfriend and falling in love with the Portuguese maid, despite neither of them speaking each others' languages; an aging and burnt-out old rocker (Bill Nighy) making a last stab at music success, and his friendship with his manager / roadie; and a recently widowed father (Liam Neeson) trying to help his young stepson through his first case of heartache...

And more...

Tropes used in Love Actually include:
  • Adaptation Decay: In-universe, as part of a nativity play that takes...several liberties. Including three lobsters, an octopus, a whale, and Spider-Man.
  • Anthology
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Being Billy Mack's manager is one hell of a P.R. nightmare.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Karen and Harry decide to just brave on, even though they may not be happy; Sarah and Karl can't make it work; Mark's final scene suggests that he's still not over Juliet.
  • Black Best Friend: Tony and Peter.
  • Blonde Tory Sex Kitten: You know what I mean: Margaret Thatcher - that saucy minx!
  • Book Ends: The arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the Aurelia scenes, she refuses a biscuit, saying that the writer would understand if he saw her sister. Near the end of the movie, he meets her sister, who's noticeably fat and homely.
    • Another one, Daniel's first scene is his wife's funeral, and there's a joke about him having a crush on Claudia Schiffer. He spends the rest of the movie trying to help his stepson Sam win over the girl he loves, which brings them to the school play, where he meets a woman played by... Claudia Schiffer.
  • British Accents: Colin is convinced that having one will make him devastatingly hot in America.
  • Bury Your Gays: Only in deleted scenes. The female teacher of one of Karen and Harry's kids is shown to have a female lover who dies in a later deleted scene.
  • California Doubling: Milwaukee, WI shows up in a brief scene, and everything from the airport sign to the bar looks like it was shot in California. The only thing that looks right is the shot of the house at the end of the scene.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: When meeting David the Prime Minister for the first time, Natalie worries about how she thought '(she) was going to say shit or something and ruin everything.' Then realizes that she has indeed, just said shit, and quotes this line verbatim.

Natalie: Hello, David. I mean, sir. Shit, I can't believe I've just said that. And now I've gone and said shit. Twice. I'm so sorry, sir!
David: It's fine, it's fine! You could have said fuck, and then we'd both have been in real trouble.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have a terrible premonition I was going to fuck up on my first day. ... Oh, piss it.

  • Casanova Wannabe: Colin, at least in his home country; he thinks that going overseas to America will improve his luck with the ladies. It works.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Claudia Schiffer plays a lookalike of... Claudia Schiffer.
  • Chew Out Fake Out: In a scene cut the theatrical release, (but included in the DVD extras), Karen is called to her son's school because his teacher is upset by a theme paper he wrote, in which he described how the world would be different if people's farts were visible. Karen listens attentively to the teacher and principal, and then quietly takes her son into the hallway to talk to him:

Bernie: Sorry, Mum.
Karen: I'm sorry too, Bernie. Sorry and ashamed and embarrassed... that I have put you in a school with such total and utter pricks that they don't get a good gag when they see one! I mean, this is high-class comedy. This is first-rate stuff! Look, you're my son and obviously I have to love you. But right now, I really love you! (Mother and son dissolve into laughter)

Billy: Oh come on, Mikey, you know as well as I do the record's crap. But wouldn't it be great if Number One this Christmas wasn't some smug teenager, but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price? All those young popsters, come Christmas Day... they'll be stretched out naked with a cute bird balancing on their balls, and I'll be stuck in some dingy flat with me manager, Joe, ugliest man in the world, fucking miserable because our fucking gamble didn't pay off. So if you believe in Father Christmas, children, like your Uncle Billy does, buy my festering turd of a record. And particularly enjoy the incredible crassness of the moment when we try to squeeze an extra syllable into the fourth line.
Mikey: I think you're referring to 'If you really love Christmas... '
Billy: 'Come on and let it snow'? Ouch.

  • Covers Always Lie: Rowin Atkinson is always shown to be a main character of the film but he only actually appears twice.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Cutis admits in the commentary that he did no research on America, and didn't realize he was sending Colin to the "cheese state". This sets up every American viewer with undue expectations of what he'll find there.
  • Did Not Get The Guy: Sarah the lone Downer Ending in a movie of mostly happy ones.
    • Also, Mark's ending, to a lesser extent (he doesn't expect to get Juliet from Peter, and she gives him a pity-kiss. It arguably ends well since they didn't get along before, but are now friends.)
      • It becomes an even lesser extent when considering that it's not that Mark didn't want to be friends with Juliet; he was so in love with her that his defense mechanism to save himself pain was to push her away. The movie makes it clear he loved his friend Peter deeply and loved Juliet madly, but couldn't reconcile his feelings towards both because they were getting married. So while he didn't blame either party, he still felt a little betrayed on the inside.
  • Disappeared Dad: We never do find out what happened to Sam's biological father, aside from the fact that he's not to be seen.
  • Eagle Land: Mixed Flavor. The US President (played by Billy Bob Thornton as George W. Bush with an added dose of Bill Clinton's infamous womanizing) is textbook flavor 2; the American girls Colin meets in Wisconsin are a less extreme flavor 2 in that they are nice, but still reinforce the stereotype of American girls as "easy" and willing to sleep with anyone who has a sexy British Accent. It's the Sarah character, and her deep concern for her brother over her own happiness, which balances out the movie's portrayal of Americans.
    • Joanna is also an American and is portrayed positively.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While most of the stories are very idealistic, there are indications that the characters had to earn that happiness. All the characters who end up happy either made a sacrifice or took a big risk in the name of love. Even Colin, who has the most idealistic story in the film, had to sell his apartment to make his fantasy come true. And the characters who end up unhappy, like Sarah or Mark, arguably end up that way because they took no risks or were unable to move on.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Aurelia is fluent in Portuguese, but starts out speaking no English at all, and is poor at it even when she learns. She falls in love with a writer whose English is perfect, but his Portuguese is even worse than her English.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Colin is certain his British accent will make him irresistible to American girls he's somehow right, and it's taken to such an extreme it turns into pure parody. Also, Colin brings home a sexy girl with a thick Texas drawl (from Wisconsin) proving it works both ways.
  • Femme Fatale: Mia. She's pretty and alluring but she is deliberately flirting and making moves on her married boss. During the company's Christmas party, she dances with Harry in front of his wife. She's even wearing a devil costume!
  • Follow the Leader: Started a whole genre of romantic comedies with a big cast and overlapping stories (He's Just Not That Into You, Valentine's Day, What to Expect When You're Expecting).
  • Funny Background Event: When Jamie is going to Aurelia's restaurant at the end, he walks past a wall with a completely unrelated French graffiti "TV: first cop in France".
  • Genre Savvy: Daniel and Sam come off as this, with a full knowledge of love films.

Sam: You know the films, they never get together until right at the very end.

  • Gossip Evolution: When Jamie comes to propose to Aurelia at the end, the rumor soon goes via "Father is about to sell Aurelia as a slave to this Englishman." to "Apparently he is going to kill Aurelia."
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: So many, but Mark pulls off the best one at the end with the cue cards.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The ending of Aurelia's story plays out in Portuguese, with subtitles revealing that it's rather amusingly broken Portuguese.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Billy, oh so much.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Billy Mack and Joe. Although they don't realize how much they mean to each other until the end.
  • Hide Your Gays: The film manages to depict and celebrate every form of human relationship and connection, except one. Richard Curtis has said that an early draft of the screenplay had a subplot involving two schoolgirls attracted to each other, and a subplot involving the principal of the school and her dying female partner that was filmed but not included in the final cut is mentioned above as an application of Bury Your Gays. The treatment of queer characters in the Richard Curtis oeuvre makes interesting food for thought.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Natalie is constantly ragged on (pretty much by everyone but David) for being a fat cow. She isn't.
    • Possibly a parody, or at least a lampshading, as David is just as puzzled and annoyed by this as presumably everyone in the audience was.
      • It definitely seems like Natalie is a parody of Hollywood Homely.
      • Several years before the film was made, the British media was obsessed with Martine McCutcheon's weight. There was a public backlash over it due to people being utterly baffled by the media's claim that she was fat. This storyline feels like a parody of that event, with the rest of the cast reflecting the media attitude and the prime minister reflecting the public's reaction to it.
  • Homage Shot: Word of God has stated the scene where Mark reveals that he's in love with Juliet by showing her his tape of her wedding, which is entirely made up of shots of her is a homage to the ending of Cinema Paradiso.
  • Hyperlink Story
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Juliet to Mark.
  • Language of Love: Jamie and Aurelia.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Karen and Daniel.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Follows nearly twenty characters, to greater or lesser degrees. See One Degree of Separation below.
  • Love At First Sight: How Sarah felt about Karl. Yes, Everyone Can See It.
  • Male Gaze and Female Gaze
  • Missing Mom: Sam's dies before the start of the movie. We see her Meaningful Funeral.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: A mild case. Eels are explicitly mentioned in Homage.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Especially when they're acting as body doubles for a sex scene.
    • Also, the schoolgirls laughing at pictures of naked men in the gallery Mark works in:

Mark: Actually, they're not funny, they're art.

  • No Party Given: The Prime Minister, although Fridge Logic suggests he's a Conservative (he is clearly implied to follow Tony Blair and seems to have achieved the position by virtue of winning an election rather than succeeding within the party). He also...admires Margaret Thatcher.
  • One Degree of Separation: Nearly all the main characters are linked directly or indirectly; only Billy Mack and his manager have no real connection to the other characters (unless you count his performance distracting a security guard at exactly the right time).
    • Earlier than that, seeing the video gave Sam the idea to become a drummer to impress Joanna.
    • The song or music video was playing all over the place throughout the movie. In all honesty it was rather interesting how they were able to successfully work it into so many scenes so well.
  • Only in It For the Money: Billy openly, cynically, and hilariously states that this is his sole motivation for recording "Christmas Is All Around".
  • Our Presidents Are Different: The Prime Minister is textbook PM Personable, but played in a way that virtually no work has ever done.
  • Playing a Tree: A good chunk of the pageant roles.

Daisy: We've been given our parts in the nativity play, and I'm the lobster!
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: Yeah, first lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

    • There's also an octopus, penguins, a vomiting whale, a starfish, and a Spider-Man King.
  • Pluralses: When the Colin Firth character asks his housekeeper to marry him (in clumsy Portuguese), she says, "Thank you, that will be nice," and then when he remarks that she learned English too, she says, "Just in cases."
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner

Sam: "Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love."

    • There's a few others. The Prime Minister right before finding Natalie:

David: Hi, Jack? I need a car... Right now. (Theme Music Power-Up)

  • Promotion to Parent: Sarah's problem with regards to her Ill Brother.
    • Also, after Sam's mother dies, his stepfather is stuck with all parental duties and has to help his son through a difficult time while dealing with his own grief. While he started out a parent, it was in a much less active role.
  • Race For Your Love: Sam at the airport chasing Joanna.
  • Risky Business Dance: Almost. The Prime Minister does keep his pants on when dancing around.
  • Second Act Breakup: David the Prime Minister and Natalie, sorta (well, she gets transferred anyways).
  • Sexy Santa Dress: In Billy's video.
  • Shout-Out: Billy's video is based on the video to "Addicted to Love".
    • The Screenplay of the Film has a picture of Billy and Joe embracing in a similar pose to the picture on the Fight Club page.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: In-story, the Prime Minister has this reaction to his driver/bodyguard's (Gavin?) incredibly rich, deep and very very Welsh voice when they are entreated to sing Christmas carols by some pleading children while going door to door.
    • Richard Curtis was worried that Olivia Olson's singing voice would look fake coming from such a young girl, when in fact she actually was that good. The final version has her stopping for breath several times when she didn't actually need to.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: With two exceptions, very idealistic.
  • Sweater Girl: Juliet in one scene.
  • Take That: When Hugh Grant's Prime Minister character moves into Number 10 Downing Street, there are a few at his predecessor as PM (who's implied to be Tony Blair).
  • Talking with Signs: Mark uses a set of pre-made signs to confess his feelings to Juliet and wish her a merry Christmas while covering for his presence with a taped choir singing "Silent Night".
  • Title Drop: The opening narration.
  • Wedding Day: Peter and Juliet's.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Did the Prime Minister of Great Britain just end the special relationship with the United States over a crush? And why the hell does everyone in Number 10 think this is such a great thing?
    • The whole point was that the US president was using his political leverage to bully Great Britain. This was how the Bush/Blair relationship was popularly viewed in the UK at the time, with Blair as Bush's 'lap dog'. The incident between the President and Natalie was the metaphor that made the PM realize he should stand up to the President.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Takes place in the airport, a month after Christmas. A rare short duration version.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Mia comes on to Harry constantly, and he seems to be slipping into having an affair before Karen catches him. Technically he's Mistaken for Cheating, but only because he hasn't actually tapped that yet.
    • He did get her a very expensive necklace (or some form of jewelry) while he bought his wife a CD. I mean... come on!
    • The ironic thing is, in getting his wife a CD of one of her favorite artists instead of one of his usual generic gifts, he showed that he did love his wife very much.
    • We never see the scene of him giving her the necklace, so it's left open-ended if they had sex when he did so or not. Karen even points this out near the end of the film, how she's unsure if he just gave her a necklace or sex and a necklace.