Love Actually ★★★
This is a modern fairy tale, something that escaped the dim critics who tore it to shreds on first release. It’s a series of vaguely interwoven love stories, some happy, some not. Prime Minister Hugh Grant, for instance, falls in love with the Downing Street tea lady, writer Colin Firth with his Portuguese house cleaner and so on. Mostly it takes place in London, a London that, the critics complained, was quite unlike the one they knew. Well, of course it was, you fools – the writer and director were Richard Curtis and like all his romantic comedies the film is firmly set in Curtisland, a place where nobody has money troubles and it always snows at Christmas. OK, it doesn’t all work; there are some weak spots. But the message that, if you only look, you’ll find love all around you is a cheery one. And there’s a glorious performance by Bill Nighy as a drug-riddled old pop star.
For more of today’s free-to-air films, see our TV listings
Order your copy of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2017