TrustMovies noticed that the film, written and directed by Richard Curtis (at left), was suddenly appearing as "new" on Netflix streaming, it was hard to resist taking a peek at it once again, as he hadn't seen it since it was first released in November 2003. (Interestingly enough, Mr. Curtis' newest film, About Time, makes its debut this coming week at the New York Film Festival.) TM promised himself that he would only watch maybe ten minutes, just as a "fun" reminder. But then, 135 minutes later, there he was scrolling down the end credits, tears dripping onto the remote control as he kept hitting the "pause" button to check the names of some those so recognizable faces in lesser roles.
What's maybe most surprising about the movie (other than how well it holds up and how, even now, it seems incapable of being properly imitated) is how many about-to-be-better-known actors (and a few others on their way down) show up in smaller roles! Other than those eight starry names and faces that appear on the movie's poster, top, you probably will have forgotten about the other actors until you find yourself saying, omigod, that's Shannon Elizabeth! Chiwetel Ejiofor! January Jones! Martin Freeman! Elisha Cuthbert! Rodrigo Santoro! Denise Richards! And on and on...
Hugh Grant (above, left) as Britain's new Prime Minister and Martine McCutcheon (above, right) as the aide he falls for still filled my memory. Perhaps this story registered so strongly because we were at that time in the midst of Bush's lying and illegal war against Iraq, to which Tony Blair, despite the wishes of the British people, gave his blessing. To see Grant stand up to Billy Bob Thornton's American President -- who comes of like a reptilian combo of Bush and Cheyney -- made the movie seem like wish fulfillment on a whole other level.
Colin Firth (above, with Lúcia Moniz) who, early on, is cuckolded by his girl and so hightails it to southern France where he meets and fall in love with another visitor to that country whose language he can't speak, nor she his. Mr. Curtis makes the most of this tale, with subtitles to clue us in to what Firth can't understand. Is there an another actor who packs so much emotion and heft into utter passivity? If so, clue me in. Firth is so good here that he would steal the movie, if so many other's weren't doing it already.
Bill Nighy (center, left), as an over-the-hill rock singer trying for a comeback by changing an old hit of his into a "new" Christmas" song. Oh, yes: the movie takes place in the weeks leading up to that holiday -- which makes it both a memorable rom-com and a memorable Christmas movie. There's Alan Rickman (shown at bottom, right) and Emma Thompson (bottom, left) as a married couple about to be jolted by the specter of adultery; Laura Linney and Mr. Santoro (the latter will have gays and girls fainting when he disrobes); and Keira Knightley, Mr. Ejiofor (both below) and The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln (two photos below) in a lovely, funny/sad, unrequited triangle.
Liam Neeson (below, left) must deal with, along with the budding romance that his stepson (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, below, right) experiences? One of the reason this movie works so well is that the filmmaker offers so many kinds of love -- from lost love to first-love, love in danger to love between the classes and/or races. (The only thing missing is any trace of GLBT love. Were Curtis to make his movie in this decade, there's hardly a way he could leave that out.)
here. Though I must say, comparing this movie, as Ms Williams does, to the work of Garry Marshall indicates that she has never sat through the likes of Valen-tine's Day nor New Year's Eve. Sure, Marshall was trying to come up with another movie as successful as Curtis', but he set the bar so low in terms of intelligence and class that comparisons are anything but apt.
Netflix streaming, on DVD and elsewhere, too, I am sure. Universal, the studio that released the film, is offering a new Blu-ray/DVD combo -- to appear mid-October -- as a special holiday "ornament."