Love Actually (2003)

2h 25m / R / Romance

Love Actually is three and a half movies at once: it’s a Christmas movie, a romantic comedy, an ensemble movie and half of an anthology (the various plots actually do all tie together and reference each other, so it only gets partial credit here). There are at least ten stories happening simultaneously, and it stars at least fifteen actors who, in a more normal film, would be billed above the title. Christmas draws people together, so making a series of interlocking love stories makes a lot of sense; Christmas can also make people anxious and fretful, so making the movie a frantic accumulation of plots makes a lot of sense too. But in the end it presents an idea that’s familiar to a lot of holiday films: what matters most in a life is who you love and how well you love them. That message deserves to be told ten times per movie, at least.

This year’s Holiday Classics series is presented by Bank of America, with promotional support from WEDU PBS.