A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Love, Actually has some very strong language, sexual references and sexual situations, including prostitutes and adultery, and humorous nudity. A character's history of sex, drugs, and rock and roll is played for humor. There are some tense and sad scenes. Some audience members may object to the portrayal of the American President (Billy Bob Thornton) as a crude bully. One of the movie's many strengths is its matter-of-fact portrayal of loving inter-racial friendship and romance.
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What's the story?
The interwoven stories of LOVE ACTUALLY all take place in the weeks before Christmas. They include a Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who is drawn to the outspoken girl who delivers his tea, an 11-year old (Thomas Sangster) who wants to attract the attention of the coolest girl in school, a man in love with his best friend's new bride, a waiter who is sure that all his dreams of romance will come true if he goes to America, a thoroughly married man (Alan Rickman) whose flirtatious secretary is making him wonder how thoroughly married he is, a rock star (Bill Nighy) angling for a comeback with a cheesy Christmas single, a heartbroken writer (Colin Firth) who can't stop thinking about the woman who cleans his house, even though they don't understand each other's languages, and a couple who meet at work as movie stand-ins assigned to increasingly (and hilariously) more intimate poses.
Is it any good?
This romantic comedy is as stuffed with goodies as the Christmas stockings for those at the very top of Santa's "nice" list -- and it is just as entertaining, too. Richard Curtis, who wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill for the first time directs his own screenplay with heart and style. It helps, of course, that he has a dream cast, including newcomer Sangster, a real-life cousin of Hugh Grant and already a first-rate actor and a knock-out screen presence. Each of the actors creates complete, endearing, vivid, and vulnerable characters that we will remember long after we have forgotten most "stars" who spend two full hours onscreen in the latest multiplex fodder.
Love Actually is a movie about taking big chances (both hopeful and hopeless), about making big gestures to show our love, and about big, big feelings that may make us crazy and miserable but remind us that we are alive and why we are alive. In addition, any movie that manages to include a child dressed as a Nativity lobster, a Bay City Rollers song played at a funeral, love-emergency lessons in both drums and Portuguese, and Hugh Grant dancing through the halls of 10 Downing Street to the Pointer Sisters is worth seeing at least twice.
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