It was released in 2003 and has been ringing everyone’s Christmas bells every year since.

Yes, it’s corny, loaded with tear grabbing moments.

But let’s face it, that’s exactly what the good folks need right now, something to cry about that isn’t a screen full of horrid numbers.

AND it’s loaded with terrific actors.

Where else this Christmas week are you going to see Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”) as a Prime Minister falling in love with the darling Martine McCutcheon, his maid, and kissing in front of an audience of parents who came to see their kid’s Christmas pageant.

Be ready to rewind several times, Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister doing a song and dance version of the Pointer Sister’s JUMP.

Director Richard Curtis sends us once again the incredible Scene Stealers inc.

Bill Nighy as an aging, has been rock and roller, the late Alan Rickman, great Emma Thompson, comic Rowan Atkinson, a weeping Liam Neeson not killing anyone, and the very best scenes that include Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, and Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit”) falling in love with his costar while making an hilarious soft porn flick.

But from start to finale, it’s Bill Nighy’s movie as Billy Mack, making his come back on Christmas Eve to win the “rocker” song of the year, one he keep flubbing the title of (“Christmas is All Around Us”).

Curtis gives us 10 minutes of stone-faced Rowan Atkinson painfully wrapping a gold bracelet, for a nervous Alan Rickman who is surreptitiously buying it for his seductive secretary.

There are, I believe, 10 different plots woven into this Christmas blanket, and the best one may well be struggling author Colin Firth’s. Firth’s Jaime ventures alone to a cabin after finding his girlfriend and brother were having an affair. Only to find love with his charming Portuguese housekeeper who speaks no English.

In my house, “Love Actually” holds the Christmas Eve must watch, even before “The Bishop’s Wife” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

This is going to be a tough Christmas to get through, and other than a scotch-loaded egg nog, nothing will help more than “Love Actually.”

Now streaming on HULU.


J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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