Love Actually (2003 R) is a great English comedy romance movie for Christmas. Excellent movie! But don’t watch with your kids!
Ten different stories of love take place together and separately over the month leading up to Christmas Eve.
***I started to list all the story lines, then deleted them. The director (Richard Curtis) can tell the story better than I can write it here. So, go watch the movie!***
I first saw the movie on an airplane. Airplanes show movies that have been edited for offensive material. One entire story line was missing because of nudity and implied sex. There are some bad words, but with the British accent, most of them fly by me. But for those two things I would hesitate watching with kids or teens.
It’s easy to get confused about the relationships, but that’s okay. Don’t stress, and just sit back and enjoy. If you must know, here is a good relationship recap. But don’t read it until after you have watched the movie, because some of the relationship reveals are the kind that make you gasp, or grin.
As the stories unfold and you get involved with the characters, you will identify with someone. Some characters you will think should just do something different or say something else. But one or two characters will really touch your heart.
By the last 30 minutes I just can’t stop grinning! I love how the problems and situations cascade and accelerate to the conclusion. Not all stories have happy endings, but many do.
Listen to this performance Beethoven’s Symphony Number 7, 2nd Movement. It starts low and mysterious. Slowly, very slowly, builds to a powerful, yet melancholy, finish. Very dramatic!
No wonder it has been used in many movies!
The King’s Speech (2010 R). British Prince Albert (Colin Firth) suffers from stuttering until his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) finds a speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) who is able to work with him, even after Prince Albert has all but given up hope. When he becomes king, he must make his first radio broadcast, announcing Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939. Logue is there guiding him, and Beethoven emphasizes the enormity of his speech.
Watch The King’s Speech scene with Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.
The Fall (2006 R). In a 1920’s California hospital, an injured stuntman (Lee Pace, Pushing Daisies) from the early days of movies spends his days spinning an adventure story for a little girl (newcomer Catinca Untaru) also recovering from a bad fall. Watch how the director (Tarsem Singh, Mirror Mirror) blends what happens in the story to the little girl’s perception of her world. It’s beautiful! The opening title sequence uses the Beethoven to show how the stuntman was hurt while filming a silent western.
Watch The Fall scene with Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.
Both movies use Beethoven beautifully. And both movies are incorrectly labeled as R. The King’s Speech, a historical adaptation, would be a terrific film to be shown in high school history classes, but because of one scene with many swear words, it got the R rating. Casino Royal, the James Bond movie with a naked torture scene, got a PG-13. The Fall, a fantasy adventure film, is “Rated R for some violent images”. All four Pirates of the Caribbean movies certainly contain some violent images, and each have a PG-13 rating.
Take the time to see these great movies! Enjoy the fun music, too.
My teenaged daughter played this Beethoven piece in her youth symphony. It’s great that she recognizes classical music in movies!
My teenaged daughters and a friend and I went to see the movie Austenland (2013 PG-13). It is a modern romantic comedy of a woman who goes to an immersion Jane Austen resort in England, and must dress and behave as a proper lady of an English manor of 1810. At the theater, the manager mentioned that for the previous night, people in the audience came in Regency costumes! I’m sorry I missed seeing that!
Jane (Keri Russell) is a 30-somthing fan of Jane Austen’s books, and the movies that have been made from them. Think Sense and Sensability. Think BBC. She has idealized romance and proper behavior to the extent that she can not be happy dating any man who doesn’t live up to Austen’s early 19th century standards. Especially as portrayed by Colin Firth‘s Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (1995). The back story of her obsession is a little awkward, as it is difficult to tell what era and age Jane is being portrayed in (college in the 1990’s? a travel agent from the 1980’s?). But once she gets to England the story really takes off.
Jane Seymour is perfect as uptight Austenland hostess Mrs. Wattlesbrook, who strives for a romantic pairing for each of her guests. Jennifer Coolidge is silly in her dress and her manners, as an American having fun trying to be proper and British. Georgia King is the third guest hilariously over-acting her part as a wealthy young English aristocrat. The sets are great in that they show how touches of the modern sneak in, and how the actors relax when not playing house maid or dashing romantic man. Fun movie!
My husband knew this movie was not for him. Our audience of women laughed and sighed and appreciated the film. That’s likely because women made it.
Austenland is based on the novel by Shannon Hale, who co-wrote the screenplay with another woman, Jerusha Hess (writer of Nacho Libre and Napoleon Dynamite). Hess also directed (her first time). Of the seven producer-type people, four are female, including Stephanie Meyer (Twilight author).
I met Shannon Hale at a book signing (I forget my camera), and have enjoyed following her blog. I caught her cameo in the movie! She is passionate about the need for more women-made films. “Please, go see Austenland. Vote with your wallet…Encourage those skeptics in Hollywood. Convince them that backing something with a few women in it and written by women isn’t such a huge risk. People do want variety. They do want to hear women’s voices. They do want to see actual real women on the screen doing things besides just getting saved in the end and kissing the male star.”
I like Austenland the book and Austenland the film. You should try both!