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Film / Love Actually

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Love and Christmas are all around.
"General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge; they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
The Prime Minister
Love Actually is a British 2003 Romantic Comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis, featuring an All-Star Cast and set during Christmas time in and around London.

The film revolves around several different people and their relationships, all woven together. Among the myriad plotlines, we see:

  • David, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Hugh Grant), falling hard for Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), the girl who does the tea in Number 10 Downing Street, who also draws the eye of the visiting U.S. President (Billy Bob Thornton)...
  • His sister Karen (Emma Thompson) going through a rough patch in her marriage when her husband Harry (Alan Rickman) finds himself drawn to his secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch)...
  • Karen's friend Daniel (Liam Neeson), a recent widower, trying to help his young stepson Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) through his first case of heartache...
  • Harry's colleague Sarah (Laura Linney) finding herself torn between pursuing love with a long-time crush, Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), and her family obligations...
  • Colin (Kris Marshall), a Loveable Sex Maniac tired of striking out with British women who decides to visit America in hopes that his British accent will get him laid there.
  • Sarah's friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln), the best man at the wedding of Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliet (Keira Knightley) but who is in love with the bride...
  • A mystery writer, Jamie (Colin Firth), decamping to France after his brother sleeps with his girlfriend and falling in love with the Portuguese maid Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), despite neither of them speaking each other's languages...
  • Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), an ageing and burnt-out rocker, making a last stab at music success, with his long-suffering manager Joe (Gregor Fisher) attempting to moderate his lifestyle...

While not all of its stories feature Happily Ever After endings, the film as a whole is unabashedly sentimental and quickly became a holiday staple, particularly in Ireland and the UK.

A ten-minute Short Film sequel has been aired as part of Red Nose Day 2017, with most of the original cast returning.

This film and its sequel provide examples of:

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    Tropes present in Love Actually 
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Alan Rickman standing in an office, talking about a man named Karl, and saying "It's Christmas" as a reference to Die Hard.
    • Harry manages a graphic design business. Alan Rickman ran one before becoming an actor.
    • Many people mock Natalie for being chubby when she clearly isn't. This appears to be a Take That! to a time when the media was obsessed with Martine McCutcheon's weight.
    • Hugh Grant references Harry Potter. He was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart in the second film but had to back out. This film also stars a few Potter cast members: Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Emma Thompson (Sybil Trelawney) and retroactively Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour) and Frances de la Tour (Madam Maxime) in a deleted scene. What's more is that Michael Gambon (the second Dumbledore) was one of the choices for the role.
    • When Sarah leaves Harry's office following their conversation about Karl, two clocks can be seen on the wall set for New York and Brazil. Laura Linney (Sarah) is from New York and Rodrigo Santoro (Karl) is from Brazil.
    • Hugh Grant answers a phone call from Karen by saying "I'm very busy and important", a line originally said by Bridget Jones to Daniel Cleaver who was played by Grant in the film adaptation.
  • Adaptation Decay: In-Universe, as part of a nativity play that takes... several liberties. Including three lobsters, an octopus, a whale, and Spider-Man.
  • Artistic License – Music: The Christmas UK Singles Chart of 2003 was announced on December 21, not on Christmas Eve. In the film Wes Butters, who at the time was the real-life radio DJ who announced the new chart each week, says the two contenders for the #1 spot are Billy Mack and Blue, reveals that Billy Mack is #1 and briefly chats to him on air, then immediately plays Billy's record. In real life, this reveal of the #1 was made after all the records from the #40 counting up to the #2 had been played (although the more clued-up listeners could have worked it out when the #2 record was introduced), followed by the chart rundown and then the #1, which is when he would have played Billy's record.
  • Author Catchphrase: Richard Curtis likes to have a Butt-Monkey character in his movies called Bernard (his college girlfriend ran off with someone of that name and he's been taking revenge ever since). In this case it's Karen's "horrid son".
  • Bait-and-Switch: Mark gazes so longingly at the newlyweds Peter and Juliet that Sarah asks if he's in love with him, leading the audience to think that this and their supposed Incompatible Orientation is the reason he's so hostile to Juliet. Only for him to be in love with Juliet after all, thus putting a fresh twist on a clichéd situation.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although most of the stories do get happy endings, this isn’t the case for every story.
    • Karen and Harry appear to have either divorced or decided to just brave on, even though they may not be happy again for some time.
    • Sarah decides she cannot give Karl a chance due to her caring responsibilities.
    • Mark's final scene suggests that he's still not over Juliet.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Well, Tory. The Prime Minister addresses (a photo of) Margaret Thatcher with "You saucy minx!".
  • Blunt "No": When Daniel and Sam try to get through to the boarding area to see Joanna, the guard won't let them through without a boarding pass.
    Daniel: Not even to say goodbye to the love of his life?
    Guard: (looks at him for about half a second) No!
  • Bookends: The film starts and ends showing the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport.
  • Bowdlerize:
    • Two versions of the film were released theatrically, with one completely removing John and Judy's sub-plot to make it more family friendly.
    • Aside from the standard removal of curse words, etc., John and Judy's sub-plot is completely removed from US networks' TV airings. No doubt the editors realized that there would be absolutely no way to get around the fact that they're naked in nearly every single one of their scenes.
      • Almost every other country has no problem with it.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Early in the Aurelia scenes, she refuses a biscuit, saying that Jamie would understand if he saw her sister. Near the end of the movie, he meets her sister, who's noticeably fat and homely.
    • Daniel's first scene is his wife's funeral, and there's a joke about him having a crush on Claudia Schiffer. He spends the rest of the movie trying to help his stepson Sam win over the girl he loves, which brings them to the school play, where he meets a woman played by... Claudia Schiffer.
  • Bury Your Gays: One minor plotline involved a lesbian couple, but this was cut and can only be seen as a deleted scene on the DVD. The female teacher of one of Karen and Harry's kids is shown to have a female lover who is dying.
  • Brutal Honesty: Billy Mack is under no illusions as to why his Christmas record is going to be a big hit.
  • Calling Your Shots: Sam learns to play drums in the hope of getting Joanna to notice him during the concert. When she gets to the line "all I want for Christmas is you, she points at him, and Sam thinks it worked. But then she points to other points in the audience with "...and you, and you," and Sam thinks he failed. However, she was only pointing at random directions, as can be seen in the last one.
  • The Cameo: Television hosts Michael Parkinson and Ant and Dec appear as themselves. Radio DJs Jo Whiley and Wes Butters are heard on the radio.
  • Can't Believe I Said That: When meeting David the Prime Minister for the first time, Natalie worries about how she thought '(she) was going to say "shit" or something and ruin everything'.
    Natalie: Hello, David. I mean, sir. Shit, I can't believe I've just said that. And now I've gone and said shit. Twice. I'm so sorry, sir!
    David: It's fine, it's fine! You could have said fuck, and then we'd both have been in real trouble.
    Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have a terrible premonition I was going to fuck up on my first day. ... Oh, piss it.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Colin tries to pick up women but doesn't get anywhere—at least in his native U.K.; he thinks that going overseas to America will improve his luck with the ladies. It works - soon after getting off the plane he gets not one supermodel girlfriend but four, who are all friends and all cool with sharing his affections.
  • Casting Gag: At his wife's funeral, Daniel jokes that his wife said to bring Claudia Schiffer as his date. At the end of the film, Daniel makes a love connection with a mother at Sam's school... played by Claudia Schiffer.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Claudia Schiffer plays a lookalike of... Claudia Schiffer.
    • Harry Potter is mentioned. No word on who plays Professor Snape.note 
  • Chekhov's Gag: Billy Mack jokes that if he gets number one, he'll strip naked on live TV. The video of him doing this distracts airport security long enough for Sam to sneak past and see Joanna.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out:
    • In a scene cut for theatrical release, (but included in the DVD extras), Karen is called to her son's school because his teacher is upset by a theme paper he wrote, in which he described how the world would be different if people's farts were visible. Karen listens attentively to the teacher and head, and then quietly takes her son into the hallway to talk to him;
    Bernie: Sorry, Mum.
    Karen: I'm sorry too, Bernie. Sorry and ashamed and embarrassed... that I have put you in a school with such total and utter pricks that they don't get a good gag when they see one! I mean, this is high-class comedy. This is first-rate stuff! Look, you're my son and obviously I have to love you. But right now, I really love you! [Mother and son dissolve into laughter]
    • A Deleted Scene reveals that the head also thought the idea of visible farts was funny, but had to not laugh because of her position of authority.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Where was Karl hiding those arms!? (I mean, aside from in his shirt.)
  • Class Princess: Joanna,the daughter of a well-known singer, wows the entire school community with her Christmas pageant solo, and according to Sam, the other kids at their primary school "worship her because she's Heaven." However, she acts sweet and down-to-earth in her interactions with other people.
  • Closed Door Rapport: Liam Neeson's character sometimes talks to his step-son through the door. Sam mainly responds by leaving notes on the door itself.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: More like Cluster-every-swearword-in-the-English-language bomb, but Billy Mack drops one of these when he messes up his recording (again) of "Christmas Is All Around".
    Billy: Oh, fuck wank bugger shitting arsehead and hole.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: While naked and simulating sex acts, John and Judy chat as easily and casually as if they were fully clothed.
  • Concert Climax: Nearly all the characters end up in the audience at an primary school Christmas concert. It culminates in an awesome cover of "All I Want For Christmas Is You".
  • Concert Kiss: David and Natalie reveal their romance to the world sooner than they intended, when they're making out backstage at the Christmas play and the curtain unexpectedly rises on the patch of stage where they're standing. "So, not quite as secret as we hoped."
  • Convenient Slow Dance: A slow song starts just after Karl asks Sarah to dance at the office Christmas party.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "Love Is All Around" is changed by Dreadful Musician Billy Mack to "Christmas Is All Around" in a blatant attempt to have a Christmas Breakaway Pop Hit. Later there's a fanservice video. Billy himself finds the whole idea ridiculous, even while recording it, and refuses to promote it without deep sarcasm. For instance, from a radio interview:
    Billy: Oh come on, Mikey, you know as well as I do the record's crap. But wouldn't it be great if Number One this Christmas wasn't some smug teenager, but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price? All those young popsters, come Christmas Day... they'll be stretched out naked with a cute bird balancing on their balls, and I'll be stuck in some dingy flat with me manager, Joe, ugliest man in the world, fucking miserable because our fucking gamble didn't pay off. So if you believe in Father Christmas, children, like your Uncle Billy does, buy my festering turd of a record. And particularly enjoy the incredible crassness of the moment when we try to squeeze an extra syllable into the fourth line.
    Mikey: I think you're referring to 'If you really love Christmas...'
    Billy: 'Come on and let it snow'? Ouch.
  • Covers Always Lie: Rowan Atkinson is always shown to be a main character of the film but he only actually appears twice. He was supposed to have a larger role, but much of it was cut due to time constraints.
  • Cringe Comedy: Harry tries to buy a necklace for Mia without his wife Karen noticing, but the employee at the jewelry store insists on going through the long, convoluted gift-wrapping process with Harry trying desperately to get him to hurry up before Karen comes and notices. Alan Rickman admitted he found this scene deeply uncomfortable to film.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Throughout the movie, Colin is convinced that his British accent will make him irresistible to women in America, and is justly mocked for this belief. When he finally arrives in America, he is proven completely correct.
  • Did Not Get the Girl:
    • It doesn't work out between Sarah and Karl, due to her choosing to focus her energy on her relationship with her brother, the lone Downer Ending in a movie of mostly happy ones.
    • Mark's ending, to a lesser extent (he doesn't expect to get Juliet from Peter.) It becomes an even lesser extent when considering that it's not that Mark didn't want to be friends with Juliet; he was so in love with her that his defence mechanism to save himself pain was to push her away. The movie makes it clear he loved his friend Peter deeply and loved Juliet madly, but couldn't reconcile his feelings towards both because they were getting married. So while he didn't blame either party, he still felt a little betrayed on the inside.
  • Disappeared Dad: We never do find out what happened to Sam's biological father, aside from the fact that he's not seen.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Hilariously subverted when Billy Mack makes an appearance on what appears to be a version of old Saturday morning show SMTV Live;
    Billy: Oh...Hiya kids. Here's an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. ...Become a rock star, and they give you them for free!
  • Eagleland: Mixed Flavour. The US President (played by Billy Bob Thornton as George W. Bush with an added dose of Bill Clinton's infamous womanising) is textbook flavour 2. It's the Sarah character, and her deep concern for her brother over her own happiness, which balances out the movie's portrayal of Americans. Joanna is also an American and is portrayed positively. The Wisconsin Girls are Flavour 3: Cloudcuckoolander (with a hint of sexy).
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Aurelia is fluent in Portuguese, but starts out speaking no English at all, although she begins to learn. She falls in love with a writer whose English is perfect, but whose Portuguese is even worse than her English. We only see them a few weeks after they've each started learning, though.
  • Enforced Method Acting: An unintentional version. According to an interview with Richard Curtis and The Guardian in 2022, the shooting for the scene between Alan Rickman and Rowan Atkinson was drawn out for so long by the latter improvising and speaking to Curtis that Rickman himself grew quite angry and impatient.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Colin is certain his British accent will make him irresistible to American girls. He's somehow right, and it's taken to such an extreme it turns into pure parody.
  • A Family Affair: Jamie's storyline begins with him discovering his girlfriend is having an affair with his brother.
  • Fanservice: Judy, played by Joanna Page (best known as Stacey in Gavin and Stacey), gets naked in a few scenes.
  • Femme Fatale: Mia. She's pretty and alluring but she is deliberately flirting and making moves on her married boss. During the company's Christmas party, she dances with Harry in front of his wife. She's even wearing a devil costume!
  • Flash Mob: Mark flash-mobs Peter and Juliet's wedding at the beginning of the movie by having a small choir and orchestra emerge from the pews after the ceremony to serenade the happy couple with "All You Need is Love".
  • Flat Character: Mia. Her entire existence is to be hot, sexy and tempt her boss.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: John and Judy are engaged by the end, after only knowing each other about ten weeks. Likewise Jamie proposes to Aurelia after knowing her three weeks.
  • Friends Turned Romantic Rivals: In the Juliet, Mark, and Peter story, Peter marries his longtime girlfriend Juliet, who they both believe Peter's best friend Mark hates. In reality, Mark is in love with her and will likely always be, even if he's decided to give up on her. He reveals all of this to her on Christmas Eve silently, using cue cards, as he visits her and Peter's home. When he leaves, Juliet runs after him to give him a quick kiss in brief acceptance of his feelings, before going back inside.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Jamie is going to Aurelia's restaurant at the end, he walks past a wall with a completely unrelated French graffiti "TV: first cop in France".
    • When Jamie arrives at his parents' house and all his family is there, the brother who Jamie's partner was cheating with can be seen lurking at the back looking rather uncomfortable.
  • Genre Savvy: Daniel and Sam come off as this, with a full knowledge of love films (including a watch of Titanic (1997)).
    Sam: You know the films, they never get together until right at the very end.
  • Girls Like Musicians: Preteen Sam decides to learn the drums because he knows girls like musicians and he wants to impress his crush Joanna, an excellent singer. It's discussed in a conversation with his stepfather:
    Sam: Well, girls love musicians, don't they?
    Daniel: Uh-huh.
    Sam: Even the weird ones get girlfriends.
    Daniel: That's right. Meat Loaf definitely got laid at least once. For God's sake, Ringo Starr married a Bond girl.
    Sam: Whatever. There's this big concert at the end of term and Joanna's in it. I thought if I was in the band and played superbly, she might fall in love with me. What do you think?
    Daniel: I think it's brilliant, I think it's stellar.
  • Gossip Evolution: When Jamie comes to propose to Aurelia at the end, the rumour soon goes from "Father is about to sell Aurelia as a slave to this Englishman" to "Apparently he is going to kill Aurelia".
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: The Film.
    • Mark pulls off a good one at the end with the cue cards.
    • Jamie abandons his family Christmas to fly out and ask Aurelia to marry him.
    • The PM searches for Natalie by personally scouring an incredibly long street, door to door.
    • Billy Mack abandons a party with Elton John to declare his love for his manager.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The ending of Aurelia's story plays out in Portuguese, with subtitles revealing that it's rather amusingly broken Portuguese. Of course, this is justified as the character speaking had just started to learn. Worth noting: Colin Firth's Portuguese is actually quite accurate, and he makes next to none of the grammatical mistakes the subtitles accuse him of. His pronunciation is dodgy, however.
  • Happy Dance: Sarah excuses herself to do a brief dance in the hallway after she finally gets to bring Karl back to her apartment.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Billy Mack and Joe, who have always been there for each other when others come and go. Although they don't realize how much they mean to each other until the end.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: The film manages to depict and celebrate every form of human relationship and connection, except gay ones. Richard Curtis has said that an early draft of the screenplay had a sub-plot involving two schoolgirls attracted to each other, and a sub-plot involving the headteacher of the school and her dying female partner that was filmed but not included in the final cut note  is mentioned above as an application of Bury Your Gays. (That said, the film is surprisingly open about gay relationships for a mainstream film made in 2003, with several characters nonchalantly bringing up the idea.)
  • Homage Shot:
    • Word of God has stated the scene where Mark reveals that he's in love with Juliet by showing her his tape of her wedding, which is entirely made up of shots of her is an homage to the ending of Cinema Paradiso.
    • Sam's shouting his crush's name when he's in the airport chasing her (which we don't hear) is a Shout-Out to The Graduate.
    • Peter and Juliet's wedding was reportedly inspired by Jim Henson's funeral, which reportedly also featured a surprise audience-participation sendoff of sorts.
  • Home-Early Surprise: Jamie comes home early only to find out that his brother was having sex with his girlfriend.
  • Hyperlink Story: All of the subplots (with the exception of Billy Mack's) feature characters who are connected to several of the others, whether as friends, family members, professional colleagues, or would-be romantic partners.
    • Karen is David's sister, and her children attend the same school as Daniel's stepson Sam (a connection through which she and Daniel have become friends), Natalie's younger siblings, and John's brother's children.
    • Mia is friends with Mark, and arranges to hold her office's Christmas party at his art gallery. She lives next door to Natalie's family.
    • Colin is a food delivery man whose regular stops include the office where Harry, Sarah, Karl, and Mia work (in which capacity he flirts with, and is shot down by, Mia), and he is a waiter at Juliet and Peter's wedding reception.
    • Colin's friend Tony is a crew member on the film in which John and Judy are performing as body doubles for nude scenes.
    • Jamie and Sarah are among the guests at Juliet and Peter's wedding.
  • Intimate Artistry: The film shows two different artistic connections:
    • Juliet believes that Mark dislikes her for marrying his best friend Peter. However, when she watches the recording he made of the wedding, she notices that all of his shots are lovingly framed of her and she realizes that he is actually in love with her. Mark had been cold and distant because he did not want to hurt either Juliet or Peter by injecting himself into their happy relationship.
    • John and Judy meet as they are working as stand-ins on a film production of an adult nature. They spend all of their time together naked and simulating sex acts trying awkwardly to hold normal conversations in compromising positions; at the end of their plot John works up the courage to ask out Judy while staging the last scene.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Mark says he will try to move on from his feelings for Juliet - and he's kept his distance from her precisely because he loves Peter very much too. The fact that he still organized a grand gesture at the wedding reaffirms this.
  • Lady in Red: Mia is wearing a seductive red devil outfit at the Christmas party, when she asks for a dance with Harry.
  • Language Barrier: Between Jamie and Aurelia. He doesn't speak a word of Portuguese, she doesn't speak a word of English. The subtitles reveal that they are often saying the opposite things to each other without knowing it - he claims that his constitution keeps him from putting on weight just as she warns that he is starting to gain weight; he says driving her home is the happiest moment of his day as they're alone together, she says it's the saddest moment of her day as they part company at the end of it; and after she dives into the water after his manuscript blows into it, she tells him not to follow her as the water is freezing cold, only for him to say she'll think he's an idiot if he doesn't go in after her.
  • Language of Love: English Jamie and his Portuguese maid Aurélia. Neither of them know the other one's language and both of them try to learn it. They do manage to fall in love enough for Jamie to propose before they're able to fully communicate with each other.
  • Last Girl Wins: Harriet is the last of the American girls Colin meets. She's the one he brings home.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Natalie, Aurelia and Juliet all have their hair down for the first time in the movie when they share their 'moments' with their respective beaus.
  • Loving Details: When Sarah is called in to speak with her boss Harry at the start of the film, it seems at first that she simply keeps very close track of her own employment history. It soon becomes apparent, however, that she can only recite the details because they're relevant to the first moment she met her crush Karl.
  • Man Hug: Billy Mack and Joe the Manager share an intensely awkward and equally heartfelt one at the end of their storyline.
  • Male Gaze: The camera lingers lovingly on Aurelia as Jamie watches her strip down to dive into the lake.
  • Maybe Ever After: Harry and Karen are a little frosty at the airport in the epilogue. They appear to be trying to stay together but it's unknown if their marriage will survive.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The school nativity play shows lobsters, penguins, an octopus, and a whale present at the birth of Christ.
  • Missing Mom: Sam's mother dies before the start of the movie. We see her Meaningful Funeral.
  • Mood Whiplash: Inherent to the fact the film switches among so many storylines / characters.
    • The opening scene is David (the Prime Minister) giving an emotionally touching speech about seeing love everywhere; then it immediately cuts to Billy (the singer) recording his song, which is played for laughs and accompanied by a fair amount of swearing by Billy.
    • A scene of two body-doubles-for-actors on a set simulating sex while having a mundane conversation is immediately followed by Joanna's funeral, which ends with her husband Daniel carrying her coffin while the song Bye Bye Baby plays.
    • While this song keeps playing, it cuts to happy lovers Peter and Juliet romantically dancing to this very same (continued) song on their wedding.
    • Right after the emotionally charged scene where Jamie and Aurelia say good-bye as he goes back to the U.K., it follows with the hammy Bill Nighy character singing his record with lots of scarcely-clad ladies in the background.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: An aversion. Colin Firth's character's Portuguese is mostly coherent; it's mainly plurals in the wrong places and incorrectly-conjugated verbs (common beginner's mistakes) rather than him saying something completely incoherent and out of context. There is an eel reference at one point, but he has good reason to fear eel-attack at that point.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
  • The schoolgirls laughing at pictures of naked men in the gallery Mark works in:
Mark: Actually, they're not funny, they're art.
  • Billy Mack the rock star strips naked on live national television on Christmas Eve. His crotch is covered by his guitar, of course, since this is still national television. But we graphically see him undoing his zipper and removing his trousers while performing his song. The fact that the stewardesses are totally distracted giggling about this is what gives Sam the opportunity to run past security check to meet Joanna.
  • New Parent Nomenclature Problem: We don't know how long Daniel was married to Sam's mother before her death, but it's shown they still have trouble connecting and Sam calls Daniel by his first name. After bonding throughout the film, Sam calls him "Dad" right before they rush to catch Joanna at Heathrow.
  • No Party Given: The Prime Minister, although there seem to be some subtle clues that suggest he's a Conservative (he is clearly implied to succeed Tony Blair, seems to have achieved the position by virtue of winning an election rather than succeeding within the party, and it's said to be a "strong feeling in the [PM's] party" that he should stand up to the Americans - Atlanticism is a very strong sentiment in the Conservatives. It was the left that was more sceptical about Blair's relationship with Bush). He also... admires Margaret Thatcher.
  • One Degree of Separation: Nearly all the main characters are linked directly or indirectly; only Billy Mack and his manager have no real connection to the other characters (unless you count his performance distracting a security guard at exactly the right time). Earlier than that, seeing the video gave Sam the idea to become a drummer to impress Joanna. The song was playing at frequent intervals throughout the whole movie since. Here's a chart to make things easier.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Sam falls for a girl called Joanna, which was his late mother's name. This is also lampshaded when Daniel meets a Carol and he mistakenly calls her Karen - and his friend Karen is another character. Elsewhere David has a butler called Terence and a driver called Terry.
  • Only in It for the Money: Billy openly, cynically and hilariously states that money and popularity are his sole motivation for recording "Christmas Is All Around".
  • Only One Name: Almost every character in the film save for Billy never has their last name mentioned.
  • Our Presidents Are Different:
  • Overly Long Gag: The gift wrapping of the expensive jewellery in the shop.
  • Playing a Tree: A good chunk of the pageant roles include stuff like a lobster, octopus, penguins, a vomiting whale, a starfish and a Spiderman King.
    Daisy: We've been given our parts in the nativity play, and I'm the lobster!
    Karen: The lobster?
    Daisy: Yeah!
    Karen: In the nativity play?
    Daisy: Yeah, first lobster.
    Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
    Daisy: Duh.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: Jamie retreats to a cottage in France after walking in on his girlfriend cheating on him with his brother.
  • Pluralses: When the Colin Firth character asks his housekeeper (in clumsy Portuguese) to marry him, she says, "Thank you, that will be nice", and then when he remarks that she learned English too, she says, "Just in cases".
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • Sam, when he tells Daniel that he's decided to run after Joanna to declare his love before she boards her flight back to America:
      Sam: Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love.
    • There's a few others. For example, the Prime Minister right before finding Natalie:
      David: Hi, Jack? I need a car... Right now. (Theme Music Powerup)
  • Present Peeking: Emma Thompson's character accidentally finds a golden necklace and gets excited. But her husband actually bought it for his Love Interest from work. When she opens the present of the same shape and size with her family, she's visibly disappointed because it's a CD. The CD is very meaningful, but she figures out he bought the necklace for someone else.
  • Promotion to Parent: Sarah's problem with regards to her ill brother.
  • Race for Your Love: Sam at the airport chasing Joanna. As it's post-9/11 he's chased the entire way by irate security guards who drag him back to his stepfather. Then it turns out Joanna followed them so she could give him a goodbye kiss.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Olivia Olson's singing was edited in post-production to sound worse because they feared no one would believe it was actually her singing that well.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Mia is seen getting out of a messy bed wearing nothing but her underwear, putting on the necklace Harry bought for her. With it being revealed years later that he did in fact sleep with her, you realize that the audience was essentially told this from the very beginning.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: The Prime Minister dances around to "Jump" by the Pointer Sisters.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Billy goofs when recording his cover, singing "love" instead of "Christmas" twice. He gets it on the third attempt.
    • Colin hits it off with three girls at the bar (though a fourth later joins them).
    • When said girls are getting him to pronounce words in his English accent, he says three words. The third one sounds the same.
    • When David searches for Natalie's house by knocking on doors, the third one shown gives him the directions. (Although according to the house number, it's the 100th.)
  • Self-Plagiarism: Colin blowing it with the wedding cook by not realising he's insulting her own food is straight from a deleted scene from Four Weddings and a Funeral. Curtis even forgot to change the speaker's name for one line, so the script says it's spoken by "Charles".
  • Sexy Santa Dress: In Billy's video the backup dancer ladies are wearing skimpy, red, feather-trimmed dresses.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sam and Carol's son share a giggle at the Meet Cute between their parents, Sam later suggesting he give her an Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Billy's video is based on the Robert Palmer video to "Addicted to Love".
    • The Screenplay of the Film has a picture of Billy and Joe embracing in a similar pose to the picture on the Fight Club page.
    • David 's speech about British culture versus American culture clearly echoes a similar speech by Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday — although over two decades on, it's the Prime Minister doing this on live TV in front of the President, not a London Gangster in a private conversation with his American associates.
      Harold Shand: What I'm looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world; culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than a 'ot dog, know what I mean?
  • Significant Name Overlap: Sam's crush Joanna has the same name as his recently deceased mum's, which he takes as a positive sign.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance:
    • In-story: the Prime Minister has this reaction to his driver/bodyguard's incredibly rich, deep and extremely Welsh voice when they are entreated to sing Christmas carols by some pleading children while going door to door.
    • Richard Curtis was worried that Olivia Olson's singing voice would look fake coming from such a young girl, when in fact she actually was that good. The final version has her stopping for breath several times when she didn't actually need to.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: With two exceptions, very idealistic. Billy Mack's storyline is hilariously cynical but it's played almost entirely for comedy.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Played for comedy, as much of the movie is, but Jamie's attempt at proposing to Aurelia with her family in a Portuguese expat neighbourhood in France is filled with butchered Portuguese and he barely understands the locals when they talk to him in their native tongue. He knows some from teaching himself, but can't keep pace with native speakers and makes legitimate (if funny) trips with conjugation, subject-verb agreement, and plurals as anyone learning a foreign language would.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When David goes to the Christmas pageant to pursue his secret relationship with Natalie, he runs into his sister there, as her kids are in the show. She talks about how surprised she is that he got the message she left with his secretary asking if he could attend the show, and David acts like that is the reason he's there.
  • Take That!: When Hugh Grant's Prime Minister character moves into Number 10 Downing Street, there are a few jabs at his predecessor as PM (who's implied to be Tony Blair).
  • Talking with Signs: Mark uses a set of pre-made signs to confess his feelings to Juliet and wish her a merry Christmas while covering for his presence with a taped choir singing "Silent Night".
  • The Tape Knew You'd Say That: When Sam is practicing his drums, Daniel tries to get him to eat by making kebabs. When Sam says he's not hungry, Daniel asks, "Are you sure?" Sam tells him to read the sign. Daniel moves off and the chalkboard reveals, "I said I'm not hungry!"
  • Title Drop: In the opening narration David says that he finds "love actually" is all around us.
  • Uncovering Relationship Status: The Prime Minister casually states to Natalie that she would live with her husband or boyfriend and children. Natalie replies that she just split up with her boyfriend and the Prime Minister says he's sorry.
  • Unequal Pairing: The film gives us two: David/Natalie (the Prime Minister and his employee) and Jamie/Aurelia (the latter of whom is his housekeeper who is not fluent in English). However, neither romantic relationship is acted on until after the direct employment relationship ends. David seems to recognize how problematic this trope can be and asks one of his aides to transfer Natalie away from his house while he is still contemplating his feelings for her.
  • Wedding/Death Juxtaposition: The Bay City Rollers' "Bye Bye Baby" plays at the funeral of Daniel's wife Joanna. The film then cuts to the wedding reception of Peter and Juliet, where "Bye Bye Baby" is also playing.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Takes place in Heathrow airport, a month after Christmas.
  • You Are Fat: Poor Natalie has to deal with this from almost everyone apart from the Prime Minister. No wonder she falls for him.

    Tropes present in Red Nose Day Actually 
  • Babies Ever After: The special reveals that Jamie and Aurelia now have three kids and a fourth on the way.
  • Belated Happy Ending: For Mark and Sarah, whose subplots from the original film ended unhappily.
    • Mark found the love of his life - Kate Moss, no less - and they're married, to Juliet's relief.
    • Sarah is Happily Married to a man played by Patrick Dempsey.
  • Bus Crash: Billy Mack's manager Joe is stated to have died of a heart attack between films.
  • Call-Back:
    • Billy Mack is again asked who his best lay was. This time, his answer is "One of the Kardashians."
    • Mark declared he'd marry Kate Moss (among other celebrities). Kate Moss appears as herself, now married to Mark, as revealed when he shows up to Juliet's house with placards like in the original film.
    • The Prime Minister still likes to dance around his office. Unlike in the original film, where this was played for sexy, he now is very clumsy doing it.
    • Jamie and Aurelia discuss how they met in the original film, and contrast that they now speak each other's languages.
    • Daniel recalls to Sam how the latter had a crush on a girl when he was 12. Cue said girl turning out to have met and gotten engaged with Sam now.
    • Rowan Atkinson's character still takes hilariously long to gift-wrap something. Played even more exaggerated this time, as it leads to a queue of people all the way to outside of the store.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: A variation. The sequel reveals that Sam and Joanna, who knew each other in childhood, reconnected in New York and got together afterwards.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Aurelia has become fluent in English since she began learning in Love, Actually. Jamie, however, is still struggling with Portuguese and Aurelia has roped their children into helping him improve his language skills.
  • Happily Married: The sequel reveals that Jamie/Aurelia and Peter/Juliet are this thirteen years later — Jamie and Aurelia have three kids together, and Juliet admits to Mark that she and Peter are very happy.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The death of Alan Rickman the year before filming precluded his character Harry appearing in the short. Emma Thompson also declined to appear stating it was just too soon after the death of her dear friend.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Juliet tells Peter that people raising money for Red Nose Day are at the door (it's actually Mark), Peter responds with tired frustration. The short film was, of course, part of a Red Nose Day fundraiser.
  • Sex Goddess: Billy Mack claims on of the Kardashians gave him the best sex of his life, but he can't remember which one.
  • Staircase Tumble: David falls down the stairs during his dance scene.
  • Take That!: David cites "Piers Morgan [still being] alive" as one of the reasons life in 2017 is harder than it was in 2003.
  • Talking with Signs: Mark's entire scene with Juliet is done with signboards.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: A variation. Mark's and Kate Moss' signboards are perfect responses to Juliet's dialogue.
  • Time-Passage Beard: Mark has Andrew Lincoln's The Walking Dead beard thirteen years later. When he asks Juliet what she thinks, she tells him she doesn't like it.
    Mark's card: No — I'm not sure either.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Colin's, Harry and Karen's, and John and Judy's subplots are not touched on in the Red Nose Day special.
    • Sarah's subplot is absent from the UK version, but was filmed for the US version note .
    • Daniel shows up but he is the only character which it is unclear about who they are with romantically now (what about the Claudia Schiffer look-a-like he met at the end of the original movie, for one thing?)
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The Red Nose Day 2017 special serves as this for the original film, as it shows where most of the cast is thirteen years after the events of the film.


Um, okay; THAT's done...

Sarah has a moment when the man of her dreams finds her desirable, too.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SteppingOutToReact

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