Set in the days leading up to Christmas and featuring interlocking love stories, LOVE ACTUALLY stars Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and Alan Rickman, among others in Richard Curtis’ witty and charming treatise on love in all its shape and forms.
AFI Movie Club: LOVE ACTUALLY
DID YOU KNOW? LOVE ACTUALLY marks the directorial debut of Richard Curtis. Prior to helming this film, he was predominantly known as the writer of classic romantic comedies, including FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, NOTTING HILL and BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY.
DID YOU KNOW? Simon Pegg was originally eyed for the role of the jewelry salesman, which ultimately went to comedian Rowan Atkinson. Richard Curtis and Atkinson had collaborated previously on FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, MR. BEAN and BLACK ADDER.
DID YOU KNOW? Hugh Grant has said that the hardest scene to film was when his Prime Minister character dances to the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” through the halls of 10 Downing Streetand put off filming it until the very last day.
DID YOU KNOW? The idea for Mark surprising Peter and Juliet on their wedding day with a live band performing a cover of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” came from Jim Henson’s funeral (which writer/director Richard Curtis attended) where all of the puppeteers brought their Muppets and sang a song together.
DID YOU KNOW? More than 200 young actresses auditioned for the part of Joanna, the young singer whom Sam falls in love with. Olivia Olson, who was cast, sang “All I Want for Christmas” almost too flawlessly – so that director Richard Curtis had his editor cut in extra breaths to her talent show-stopping performance to make it more believable.
DID YOU KNOW? The song “Love Is All Around” was previously featured in Richard Curtis’ FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, which resulted in a British hit by Wet Wet Wet. The original was recorded by the Troggs and was a hit in Britain and the U.S. in the 1960s.
DID YOU KNOW? To play the forlorn wife of Alan Rickman’s character, Emma Thompson drew from personal experience in terms of the breakup of her own marriage to actor Kenneth Branaugh. Richard Curtis recalled shooting the powerful scene: “We just let it happen, and Emma walked into the room 12 times in a row and sobbed. It was an amazing feat of acting.”
DID YOU KNOW? LOVE ACTUALLY filmed almost a year after 9/11. Laura Linney said, “Shooting the wedding scene in the chapel was a memory I won’t forget. The entire crew had a moment of silence because that chapel was very close to the American Embassy, and 9/11 was very much in the air.”
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The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Discussion Questions
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- What does the title – LOVE ACTUALLY – mean to you? Why?
- Which storyline is your favorite in LOVE ACTUALLY and why? What is the most iconic moment in the film?
- The film was shot a year after 9/11. How do the sentiments of that day anchor and permeate the film?
- Describe the different kinds of love on display, both romantic and platonic, throughout the film.
- The film is predominantly set in the UK, but also takes place around the world, including the United States, France and Portugal. Is love universal or different around the world, and how so?
- Which moments are the most romantic in the film?
- How does the film depict how love can bring great joy and happiness and profound sadness into one’s life?
- Would you consider LOVE ACTUALLY a quintessential Christmas film? Why or why not?
- How would you rate LOVE ACTUALLY?
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