Fourteen years after “Love Actually” won our hearts with its interlocking stories of people looking for “the one,” many of the cast reunited to make a 12-minute film for the Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day specials in both the UK (March 24) and the US (May 25). Writer/director Richard Curtis, who is heavily involved in this good cause, has crafted a delightful sequel.
In the opening sequence, Keira Knightley and Chiwetel Ejiofor are once again Juliet and Peter. As you’ll recall, in the original film the couple had just married when it was revealed that his best friend Mark (Andrew Lincoln) was secretly in love with her. After Juliet discovered this, Mark decided to confess his undying love to her via cue cards but then walk away. Well it looks like he has returned and he is carrying an even bigger supply of white boards on which he has written a message about finding out what happened to the rest of the characters in the movie.
The rest of the reassembled cast are then seen in vignettes. Among these is Liam Neeson who played stepfather to a boy (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) trying to come to loss with the death of his mother. Back then, he counseled the teen to try win over a visiting American girl with music. Jump ahead to today, and that little girl with the big voice who belted out Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is now all grown up.
Colin Firth is once again the hapless Jamie. In the original, he won over his Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia (Lucia Moniz) and the rest of us with his winsome ways. Fast forward to today and the couple is still together. But as he is still struggling to learn her language, her big announcement is lost in translation.
Tony nominee Laura Linney was appearing on Broadway in a revival of “The Little Foxes” so she couldn’t fly to London for filming. For the American edition of the sequel, Curtis came to New York to shoot an update for her character, Sarah, who gave up her office crush Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) to care for her special needs brother. She eventually found love with a new character played by Patrick Dempsey.
In the film, Hugh Grant played the newly elected prime minister. This singleton soon found himself more interested in affairs of the heart than those of state when he catches sight of a shapely assistant at 10 Downing Street, Martine McCutcheon. Fast forward to today, and it turns out his character is still the nation’s leader, but his wife by his side these days. And he ends this update, as he did the original, by voicing a message of hope.