Love Actually

Love Actually (2003)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Emma Thomspon, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Music Videos

Universal Home Entertainment has released a new 10th Anniversary Edition of the romantic comedy "Love Actually, " and while I'm typically not much of a viewer of romantic comedies, the release caught my eye. I'm glad it did, because I found it to be one of the most refreshing romantic films in a long time.

The film is told through story lines surrounding a variety of couples that later mesh together one way or another with the other strands in the narrative.

One of the story lines surrounds aging rocker Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) as he tries one more time to land a #1 hit single. Outrageous and with no holds barred, Billy will do anything to get airplay without realizing how much he hurts the people around him.

Another storyline revolves around the new British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant), a bachelor who finds himself curiously interested in his coffee-serving assistant Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) and tries to make sense of his emotions.

Harry (Alan Rickman) and Karen (Emma Thompson) are a couple in another story line. they have two teenage children and have lost the spark in their marriage, each going their own way. When Harry is tempted by an office-beauty, his traditional world view changes as he asks himself if he should follow temptation.

There are many other plots lines – eight in total – featuring a first rate cast that includes Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Rowan Atkinson and many others. Distinctly different stories each, the strands cover a wide gamut of how love can – and does – look like in real life. It is a wonderful tapestry and each story line is filled with great, heartfelt moments.

What gives the film its ultimate zest, however, is the comedy aspect of it. Drawn with the concise pen of British Humor, the film is never silly, and yet it is laugh-out-loud funny. Whether it's a jab in the side, like Billy Bob Thornton's suave portrayal as the US president, or Hugh Grant's frenetic antics – not to mention his dancing through 10 Downing Street in his underwear – or Laura Linney's sweet happy dance, it is impossible not to love these characters and by association, the film itself.

For the most part "Love Actually" is a feel good film. It is never sarcastic but tries to take an honest look at how people deal with the love that surrounds them. Whether they are falling love, falling out of love, imagine love, find love or lose it, "Love Actually" is making the theme tangible and relatable for virtually anyone.

Universal Home Entertainment has prepared a great-looking 1080p high definition transfer for this Bl-Ray release. Free of blemishes or defect, the release is offering up an image that clean and clear and revels in detail. Lush colors, fine texture detail and solid black level, give the transfer a very natural look that makes the film even more relatable.

The release comes with a DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track that brings the quirky comedy to live with splendid surround usage and a balanced sound field that draws you in. Dialogues are perfectly integrated and always understandable, while the good frequency response of the mix makes sure all effects and the music come across as richly as possible.

"Love Actually" contains a number of bonus materials, such as 30-minutes of Deleted Scenes, all of which are fun to watch. A number of featurettes are also included, ocovering various apsects of the production, including the music, cast and crew. Music Videos are also included in the release, as well as a commentary track featuring director Richard Curtis along with actors Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster.

"Love Actually" was a wonderful and unexpected surprise for me. It is so charming, whimsical and full of the right sentiment that I could not help but fall in love with the movie, actually. With a uniquely British signature, the film is very different from the romantic comedies that come out of Hollywood and truly carries its heart on its sleeve. Make sure you will give this release a try!