Fans of the 2003 holiday themed romantic comedy Love Actually finally got to see what the beloved characters in the movie have been up to for the past 14 years. The 16-minute sequel was created by the writer and director responsible for the beloved original, so every story remained true to the original film.
Love Actually, A Quick Recap
The movie was a star-studded affair that featured the likes of Alan Rickman, Kiera Knightly, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, and a pre-The Walking Dead Andrew Lincoln. It told the story of a diverse group of people who were all connected to each other in far less than six degrees of separation.
All of the stories tell tales of love from different aspects and of varying degrees and types. There’s the intense crush of childhood’s first love, told from the perspective of Sam (Thomas Sangster) and his father, Daniel (Liam Neeson). There’s a sacrifice of the potential for romantic love because of the responsibilities of family, told by Sarah (Laura Linney) and her mentally ill brother Michael. Harry (Alan Rickman) and his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) have been married for years, but he ends up emotionally cheating on her by purchasing an expensive necklace for his new secretary. Colin Firth plays Jamie, a novelist, who discovers his wife is having an affair with his brother. He goes on a retreat and meets a Portugese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) who doesn’t speak English. He doesn’t speak Portugese, but nonetheless, they make a connection.
Other stories are of a newly elected prime minister (Hugh Grant) facing off against a lecherous United States president (Billy Bob Thornton) over his treatment of Natalie, a newly hired staffer (Martine McCutcheon). Then there’s Mark (Andrew Lincoln) who plans out his best friend, Peter’s wedding. Both of them believe that Mark doesn’t like Juliet, Peter’s new spouse. It’s actually quite the opposite, and in a scene that’s spawned many memes, he shows up at her doorstep with large cue cards to tell her that without hope or agenda, he loves her.
Throughout it all, an old singer named Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is attempting to make one last commercial grab with a variation of the classic “Love Is All Around.” With some savvy promotion and some great one-liners, Billy Mack gets his song to be the number one Christmas song. As he celebrates, he comes to the realization that he is actually in love with his manager, Joe (Gregor Fisher).
Red Nose Day, Actually
Although Red Nose Day, Actually actually premiered in England in March for their Red Nose Day, it’s finally hit the states. And, there’s a new scene inserted in the middle just for us American viewers. Missing from the sequel is Harry and Karen. The director said that without Alan Rickman around, it just didn’t feel right to film Emma Thompson’s story without him.
The sequel opens with Mark showing up on Juliet’s doorstep once more, saying it’s been 13 years since he’s been there. Apparently, neither Juliet or Mark’s wife appreciates his beard. That’s right. Mark said he was going to get married to one of the girls on his cue card, and he ended up getting married to Kate Moss.
Flash to Hugh Grant, still the prime minister at 10 Downing Street. If he’s been in office for most of that time, that would actually make him the fourth or fifth longest serving prime minister (Robert Gascoyne-Cecil served for 13 years, 252 days), beating out Margaret Thatcher (11 years, 209 days) and Tony Blair (10 years, eight days). He was also still dancing, except this time a tumble down the stairs helped him realize he wasn’t quite so young anymore. And Nat was there to scold him for dancing on the stairs again.
Billy Mack makes an appearance and when asked where Joe is, he reveals that his manager has had a heart attack and died. He also reveals the best shag he’s ever had.
“Definitely one of the Kardashians. Which one though?”
Rufus, the world’s most exacting and exasperating counter person and gift wrapper, has moved to Walgreens, and is using the same precision to wrap gifts.
Jamie and Aurelia are married, and Jamie’s Portugese is still abominable. After an adorable speech that Aurelia gives, Jamie has managed to pick up that she might have talked about central heating and roasted potatoes. They do have three kids, all of whom are dedicated to helping dad learn Portugese. Which he needs, because he asks for rice with dinner when she tells him she’s pregnant again.
In the special scene inserted for U.S. viewers, Sara is hard at work when her phone rings. On the other end is not her brother, but rather her husband, played by Patrick Dempsey. She’s a little more willing to stand up for herself, which is a great thing to see.
Daniel and Sam reunite on the waterfront, and Sam asks his dad for some advice again. It’s more of a love thing, he says. And dad is ready with some advice, but Sam cuts him short. Joanna appears, and asks Daniel for permission to marry Sam. Daniel gives in eventually, but not without some good natured ribbing.
The sequel closes with Hugh Grant giving a touching speech much like the one that closed out the original film.
“Wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too. Wherever you see ordinary people in need, you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid. Today is Red Nose Day and people are giving their hard-earned cash to people they will never meet but whose pain and fear they feel and want to fight, so it’s not just romantic love which is all around. Most people still, every day, everywhere, have enough love in their hearts to help human beings in trouble. Good’s gonna win. I’m actually sure of it.”
You can watch the entirety of the Red Nose Day special streaming on Hulu, with selected clips available on YouTube. You can donate to Red Nose Day at their website here.