I love movies. And when I say I love movies, I mean I LOVE movies. For years, I tried to watch 500 movies in a single calendar year. (I got to 472 once, but I usually topped out at around 340.) Nowadays, I doubt I can get to 100 in a year. But I watch as many as I can, and it is by far my favorite thing to do.
Despite my deep passion for movies, there are some genres I could never really get in to. I am not a big fan of war movies. I am not sure what it is, but they just do not resonate with me. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I really enjoyed Dunkirk and Full Metal Jacket is one of my all time favorites.
Another genre I could never get behind was the romantic comedy. I get they are supposed to be formulaic and make you feel good, but I have always found them boring. They manipulate your emotions, test the limits of the word “plot”, and feel like a complete waste of time. Sure, there are exceptions like Clueless, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and The Princess Bride, but these movies went outside the boundaries of the genre and are considered classics. For the most part, even the best romantic comedies are mediocre at best.
But, there is always an exception. There is a romantic comedy that stands far above the rest. A rom com that is not only the best of its genre, but one of my favorite movies of all time. It is funny, heart warming, and relatable. Yes, it is also manipulative, but to me it is the perfect romantic comedy.
My favorite romantic comedy of all time is Love Actually.
Released in 2003, Love Actually features an ensemble cast. Instead of telling one story of a couple finding each other, it tells ten separate ones. If that is not syrupy enough, it also takes place the month leading up to Christmas. This is a movie that is ready to tug at every heart string.
Love Actually does a great job of giving the audience many memorable stories. Each story is filled with great characters that never allow the movie to wear out its welcome. This is not just another rom com about finding love. This is a movie about the nature of love itself.
To that end, Love Actually not only sees people overcoming the odds to fall in love. It also shows the power of friendship, the youthful joy of mindless lust, and even the failures of love. This makes for an unpredictable movie that is also relatable. It is hard not to get engaged in everything that it is happening. Each story is filled with emotion. Whether it is a marriage falling apart, love breaking through language barriers, or two people finding love during a sex scene, Love Actually has its audience experience a wide range of emotions. It is impossible to not watch the movie and not be moved in one fashion or another.
Like any good rom-com, Love Actually makes sure to manipulate your emotions. It uses some cheap tricks in order to make you a little weak in the knees. The thing that separates it from an average rom-com is it is a good movie. Along with the great storytelling, Love Actually is also filled with great performances. The always dependable Hugh Grant puts in the performance of a lifetime while Colin Firth is an absolute joy to watch. Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, and Andrew Lincoln add to the ensemble cast.
Love Actually is the greatest romantic comedy ever. It has some of the tropes found in the genre. Instead of being generic, they make the movie charming. It is also unafraid to take risks. It uses a strong ensemble cast and outstanding storytelling that will show anyone who watches that love actually is all around.
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