Written and Directed by Richard Curtis
Starring: Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman
In the month of December a collection of characters is busy going about their lives. As they deal with everyday struggles, each of them is also looking for love.
This movie fits the mold of several popular movies from the last decade. Films like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve have capitalized on the ensemble casts and interwoven stories to some success. For screenwriter Richard Curtis (War Horse), this was an opportunity to make his directorial debut. He was fortunate to be allowed to direct a film that he also wrote. Curtis was also lucky to have an all-star cast at his disposal.
The film features many talented actors, including Bill Nighy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List), and Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks). The cast also includes Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice), Hugh Grant (Sense and Sensibility), Laura Linney (Absolute Power), and Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). This huge cast did an excellent job creating a vast array of characters that come together for important moments throughout the film. Thankfully, each of the roles also seems perfect for the actor chosen.
The music for this film was nicely chosen as well. The eclectic soundtrack includes Maroon 5, Joni Mitchell, The Bay City Rollers, and many more wonderful artists. These songs were used to great effect throughout the film. The music doesn’t ever seem to overwhelm the moment, but serves as a wonderful accent to the situations on the screen. Craig Armstrong (Ray) also put together some original music that fits right in.
The story for this film is a patchwork of vignettes that tie together with one another throughout the film. This is a fun and entertaining way to tell a series of stories within the film.Unfortunately, this also creates a lot of detail that can be easily overlooked. This doesn’t hurt the overall theme of the film, but it makes some of the characters a bit harder to follow. This might be an instance where Richard Curtis might have wanted to reduce his story lines for the sake of clarity.
This is a fun movie from beginning to end. The characters are fun and the setting is perfect. It is a sappy movie at times, but I think that’s almost expected with the genre. I would recommend this one to fans of romantic comedies. I would also suggest this to fans of any of the many stars in the film. This is an adult film, with some mature themes throughout. For that reason I wouldn’t make this a family movie night selection. I give this one 3.3 out of 5 stars.