Love Actually returned to Netflix for streaming on July 1st. This Christmas-themed romantic comedy is fortunately an easy one to watch at any time of year. The ensemble cast features many British actors, including Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Kiera Knightley, and Andrew Lincoln. One of the central connecting figures in the story is Hugh Grant, who plays the Prime Minister, narrates the beginning and end of the film, and helps bring together the themes of love and connection for the sweet and funny film. Be forewarned, it also has its more heartbreaking moments, so tissues may be required.
In 2003, Hugh Grant was still considered to be at the height of his rom-com career, after starring in movies like Notting Hill. We were used to seeing him fall in love on screen at this time, so he was the perfect choice to start the film off as he narrates an airport scene where he sees people meeting up, hugging and excited to see one another. He also points out the film’s theme and title, when he says, “Love, actually, is all around us.”
The movie cuts between scenes with all the different characters, telling their own stories of love, which eventually come together as we see how they know each other in the end. Hugh Grant plays The Prime Minister, and he’s just been elected to office. We see him arrive on his first day and shaking the hands of his house staff members. This is where he first meets Natalie, his employee who is there to bring him biscuits (cookies) and anything else he needs.
As she goes to shake his hand, she accidentally says some naughty words, more than once. To the Prime Minister. It was a bad first day at work for Natalie, but it is fairly adorable to watch. Then, Hugh Grant leaves her, goes to his office, closes the door, and cringes. “Oh, no,” he says to the empty room. “That is so inconvenient.” And now, we know, he likes her. It’s a classic meet-cute moment. Their relationship develops from there, with him struggling to avoid her as he works to run a country.
What is Hugh Grant’s best scene in Love Actually? To be fair, there are a lot of great moments for Grant’s character in this movie. A lot of them involve Natalie, of course, as he falls for her. There’s the moment right before his dance scene, where we see him stand up and truly become the leader of his country. But then there’s his celebratory dance scene, where he is just so happy and so dorky that he becomes instantly memorable. Jump (For My Love) by The Pointer Sisters has become linked to this classic scene for many. Though Grant has said that he hated filming it and that the entire thing was absolute hell, many would say it was worth it.
Every year around Christmas time, Love Actually comes up. This film has become a classic over time. Because it comes up so much, some people truly hate it. They say that it’s not upbeat, it’s not fun, and it’s not romantic. For others, it’s their favorite, whether that’s because of Hugh Grant’s story as the Prime Minister, or one of the other stories held within.
At the box office, Love Actually did quite well. On a budget of $40-$45 million, it earned $246.8 million at the worldwide box office. Outside of the finances, it ahs the rewards of being one of the classic movies people rewatch every year now, and one that gets referenced in other movies and tv shows often.
These days, Hugh Grant has moved beyond his romantic comedy streak. Rom-coms don’t do as well at the box office as they used to. On top of that, Hugh Grant may have tired out on them. That doesn’t mean he’s done acting, though. Currently, the star is tied to a Dungeons & Dragons movie. While those have not gone done well in the past, fans are hopeful that this time around the writing team involved will pull up something great. Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, and Regé-Jean Page are also currently tied to the project. Currently, we’re looking at a March, 2023 release date.
In the meantime, Hugh Grant can be seen on Netflix in Love Actually.