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14 Movies like Love Actually: Satisfy Your Appetite

This article has been written by Paola Bassanese & Dale Barham.

If you liked this film but are left wanting more, don’t despair. There are a good selection of films out there to satisfy your appetite for romance with a touch of thirty-something angst.

Right, the Christmas party. Not my favorite night of the year, and your unhappy job to organize…

An ensemble cast and parallel story lines are both the film’s strong point and its weakness at the same time. As you start rooting for the characters in one story, you are then taken to a different story. You end up really getting into some of the plots and not really caring for others.

My favourite scenes are the ones with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) and Sara (Laura Linney): hopes for romance hang in the balance…

I also enjoyed the plot with Emma Thompson (who plays Karen) and Alan Rickman (who plays Harry) and the troubles in their marriage.

On the flip side, any scene that has Kiera Knightley in it is “avoid at all cost” for me.

Unfortunately, two actors I like, Andrew Lincoln and Oscar-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, are in the same scenes as Miss Knightley. In this storyline, there is a love triangle between the bride to be, groom, and best man.

And now, let’s look at some alternative titles that play along the same themes from Love Actually.


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Movies Similar to ‘Love Actually’…

`Four Weddings and a Funeral´ (Mike Newell, 1994)

I’ve got a new theory about marriage. Two people are in love, they live together, and then suddenly one day, they run out of conversation…

One of the ‘Feel Good’ movies Like ‘Love Actually’, is this well-received offering from Mike Newell.

If you want stories with winning subplots, of lovers destined to find each other if they just overcome the many obstacles thrown at them by the director, then ‘Four Weddings and A Funeral’ is one for you.

Based, as the title suggests, around five significant events in the lives of a group of the upper middle class, fairly dysfunctional friends, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ is a clever romp through chaos and confetti to match like with like.

With it’s witty script and a good dose of swearing, this is not an average rom-com and took the film world by surprise when it was released.

Hugh Grant is doing what he does best, playing the awkward Englishman, but it’s here he did it most notably. A confirmed bachelor, it takes someone a little special to get him to commit, and luckily, that woman arrives in the form of Andie Macdowell.

This film is elevated away from any hint of schmaltz…

This film is elevated away from any hint of schmaltz with some cutting dialogue, quirky supporting roles and an unexpectedly moving scene at the funeral mentioned in the title.

Here, John Hannah gives a film-stealing performance with his delivery of  W.H Auden’s ‘Stop All the Clocks’ and exposes an unexpected true love and relationship that was happening right underneath our noses.

Here’s the opening scene with the wonderful Charlotte Coleman as Scarlett.  How many times can the F word be used in three minutes?

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`Notting Hill´ (Roger Michell, 1999)

And don’t forget… I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her…

This little gem is set, as is suggested, in and around the unbearably fashionable Notting Hill area of London.

As in ‘Four Weddings’, its writer is Richard Curtis, and Hugh Grant plays another bumbling Brit – but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and in this film they’re a dream team again.

Hugh Grant plays ‘William Thacker’, a bookshop owner who, by a tiny twist of fate, manages to meet and fall in love with an international film star, played rather well by Julia Roberts.

I’m reluctant to say that ‘William is a simple man – he does own both a shop and flat in one of the most expensive areas of the city after all – but the premise is pretty much that: a quiet unassuming man falling in love with an A-list superstar.

It has some very sweet moments and as usual, the supporting actors are superb. The relationship between ‘Max’ and ‘Bella’ played by Tim Mcinnerny and Gina Mckee is really quite lovely.

But the star of this show for me is Rhys Ifans as William’s impossible flatmate, ‘Spike’. His performance is unrestrained  and contrasts nicely with Grant’s uptight English diffidence and he has some of the best and funniest lines of the film.

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`When Harry Met Sally´ (Rob Reiner, 1989)

Harry, you might not believe this, but I never considered not sleeping with you a sacrifice…

This little classic never fails to please and is arguably one of the first of The Feel Good Movies Like ‘Love Actually’.

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal put in stellar and memorable performances as friends to-ing and fro-ing from other lovers and each other, with the ‘will they, won’t they’ question forming the foundation of the plot.

‘Harry’ doesn’t think men and women can be friends. ‘Sally’ thinks they can.

Their inability to agree on this causes them to meet up, fall out and fall away from each other until fate brings them back together time and time again.

fate brings them back together time and time again…

They find themselves fixing each other up on dates, offering a shoulder to cry on when relationships fall apart and all the time wondering whether they can answer the question – can they just be friends?

It’s a comedy, and a very good one at that.

It also has a truth to it. Filmed in a documentary style, we are encouraged to identify with the realism and the awkward moments of love never running smooth.

It’s evenly paced and unusually the action takes place over a decade adding believability to the plot and increasing our enthusiasm for the couple to be united.

The humour is stand out. Dialogue rich it is Crystal who has some of the snappiest lines, but there is just one scene that is synonymous with the film, and that moment is Ryan’s alone.

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`The Best Man´ (Malcolm D. Lee, 1999)

I heard about your book, and I don’t think it’s cute Harper. You know, the next time you want to characterize me in one of your little projects, do me a favor…

Similar to the love triangle I just talked about, ‘The Best Man’ tells the story of the best man and his kiss-and-tell autobiographical novel which can have repercussions for the wedding he’s attending.

Starring Taye Diggs (‘Will’ & Grace, ‘The West Wing’, ‘New Girl’), ‘Nia Long’ (‘Boyz n the Hood, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’), and Morris Chestnut, the film is a portrayal of shining stars in the African American community.

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`Peter’s Friends´ (Kenneth Branagh, 1992)

It was 10 years ago! Christ, 10 years ago, you were married to someone else…

Now, this is a stellar cast and a half, and I guess not much acting was required for this group of actors pretty much playing themselves!

This is one of those gems from the 90s where all major stars were together and looked like they had a blast filming: there’ Kenneth Branagh, who stars and directs, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, Phyllida Law (Emma Thompson’s mother in real life), Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton. Most of the actors had met at the Cambridge Footlights Amateur Dramatic Club and the film captures that sense of camaraderie.

I am dying to tell you that I went to see ‘Branagh in Ivanov’ at Wyndham’s Theatre London in 2009 and he was amazing!

Back to the film: the premise is simple as it’s about a college reunion, people have changed in ten years, but some of the dynamics between them haven’t.

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`Sense and Sensibility´ (Ang Lee, 1995)

I was never so grateful in all my life as I am to Mrs. Jennings. Oh, Elinor, I shall see Willoughby and you will see Edward. Are you asleep?

There’s unrequited love, emotions run high, there’s dashed hopes.

Yes, this is a 90s love-fest! I mentioned Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman earlier on and guess what? They were paired up before ‘Love Actually’ in the movie Sense and Sensibility. Rickman plays ‘Col. Christopher Brandon’ and Thompson plays ‘Elinor Dashwood’.

There’s unrequited love, emotions run high, there’s dashed hopes. As you can see, there’s quite a few similar themes to ‘Love Actually’ in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, scripted by Emma Thompson.

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‘The Holiday’ (Nancy Meyers, 2006)

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet star as two women who are unlucky in love, so much so that they decide to do a house swap for the holiday season to get away from their sucky lives (and men) for a while. However, neither of them plan on bumping into two locals (Jack Black and Jude Law) who might just be their soulmates.

This is a real charmer of a movie held together by truly likeable performances all round. Heck, if you’re hating your love life, why not give it a go! After all, there’s someone out there for everyone, but they just might be on the other side of the world!

Similarity Match: 90%
You’ve got a similarly interlinked all star cast like ‘Love Actually’, but this is a lot smaller in scale with an emphasis on two couples rather than a plethora of characters.

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‘Serendipity’ (Peter Chelsom, 2001)

If straight up romance wasn’t enough for you, why not throw a little bit of fate into proceedings? That’s exactly what is on offer for John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale in ‘Serendipity’. When they’re out buying gloves for their lovers during Christmas time, the two bump into each other and feel that instant connection. However, just as Cupid readies his arrow, they decide to go their separate ways, and leave it up to fate to decide whether or not they’ll see each other again.

This is a rom-com after all, so I’ll bet my bottom dollar this isn’t the last time they’ll meet!

Similarity Match: 75%
Love is in the air at Christmas once again, but rather than rooting itself in all things charming and believable, ‘Serendipity’ takes a more wishy washy and fanciful approach.

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‘Sleepless in Seattle’ (Nora Ephron, 1993)

Has there ever been a more adorable on screen pairing than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?

Here they star in a movie all about finding new love and making the most out of life when there seems to be nothing left. Hanks plays a widow who moves to Seattle with his son to start afresh. However, he still finds himself unable to sleep and plagued with grief. With a little bit of prompting, he ends up pouring his heart out on the radio on Christmas Eve about how he feels and what an incredible relationship he’d had with his wife. It’s not long before a writer (Ryan) falls in love with him based on this alone, even though she’s stuck in an unhappy relationship herself.

Will they get together? WIll they even meet? Ooo, this is just like a fairytale! I feel all gooey just thinking about it.

Similarity Match: 70%
You could have easily swapped Liam Neeson for Tom Hanks in ‘Love Actually’, as they both play similar characters. However there’s less of an emphasis on Christmas and an extra dash of fate in this one.

***
‘While You Were Sleeping’ (Jon Turteltaub, 1995)

Sandra Bullock stars in this ridiculously cute movie about a lonely singleton who dreams of a better life for herself away from her dreary job at a ticket booth, hopefully with her secret crush in tow as well. Yet when she finds herself saving his life and getting close to his family while he lies in a coma, she finds that it may actually be his brother who is her soulmate after all.

Of course, things get a bit more complicated seeing as though she’s been pretending to be his fiance this whole time!

Similarity Match: 70%
Like many of the characters in ‘Love Actually’, you’ve got the soulmate who comes from completely out of left field, but this much more wholesome and a throwback to the 40s and 50s love stories as well.

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‘Just Friends’ (Roger Kumble, 2005)

It’s okay for a straight man to have a man crush on Ryan Reynolds, right? Okay, great! I mean how could you not when you see him in movies like ‘Just Friends’?

This is an underrated rom com that features Reynolds as the guy who’s living the high life with a fancy career and all the girls he could ever dream of, only to come back home during the holiday season and fall in love with his high school sweetheart all over again.

It might not have done well at the box office but this is full of laughs and even squeezes Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit. What more do you want in a movie?!

Similarity Match: 65%
This is a lot sillier than ‘Love Actually’, but once again, it focuses on what Christmas is all about: love, togetherness and an obese Ryan Reynolds.

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‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (Frank Capra, 1946)

Now, how about that? Look what movie has found its way onto this list.

Perhaps the definitive Christmas movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ stars the iconic Jimmy Stewart as the good-hearted businessman who always puts others before himself, falls in love and starts a family with the woman of his dreams.

However, when an incident involving misplaced money has a unsavoury consequences, he finds himself standing on the edge of a bridge on Christmas Eve, ready to kill himself. Enter ‘Clarence’, an angel from the Heavens, who shows Stewart what life would be like without him.

You’ll be hugging your loved ones close after this classic festive movie, just make sure you have the tissues at the ready!

Similarity Match: 60%
This is more of a fantastical tale of one man and his impact on his community, but you’ll still find all of that holiday romance you loved in ‘Love Actually’.

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If You Like ‘Love Actually’, You Will Like…

So, maybe you enjoyed the dry British wit and zany comedy in ‘Love Actually’ as opposed to its festive themes. Well, no worries, because I’ve got plenty of that for you as well in these next suggestions. Be warned, there’s enough Hugh Grant here to last a lifetime!

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ (Sharon Maguire, 2001)

After ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, I think Renee Zellweger became every girl’s hero.

As the eponymous luckless lady in love, she’s hilarious, clumsy and every bit as awkward as that nightmare where you turn up to school without your pants. But that’s all part of her charm as she goes back and forth between a disastrous fling with a slimy Hugh Grant and a possible romance with the forever sophisticated, ‘Colin Firth’.

Guys, forget everything you’ve ever heard about girly rom-coms, you’ll love this movie just as much as your partner!

There’s another love triangle like the several in ‘Love Actually’ (as well as plenty of the same cast), however, this is more about a girl trying to reinvent herself rather than a simple love story.

***
‘About a Boy’ (Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, 2002)

In ‘About a Boy’, Hugh Grant plays a shallow and irresponsible bachelor, living off his father’s royalties, who goes from girl to girl without any serious consequences. That is until he makes up a child to try and get with women at a single parents meeting. Normal? Not really!

But things are about to get a whole lot weirder when he bonds with one of the parent’s kids (a young Nicholas Hoult). Together the unlikely duo end up teaching each other some valuable life lessons about love, identity and everything in between.

Of all the British rom-coms and Hugh Grant pictures, this might just be my favourite. The talent show scene in particular lives long in the memory banks!

You’ve got an adult and child friendship of sorts like in ‘Love Actually’, but the romantic elements take something of a back seat to all the character development and self reflection. Mind you, it’s still just as hilarious!

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Time to Get Watching!

Which movies do you like the sound of and want to start watching straight away?

Still not sure? Okay, I have some more for you – have a look at these movies like ‘Stuck in Love’. They may have a different theme, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

Now I really want to know what you think of my recommendations and if you think I forget anything.

Please tell me in the comments!

itcher Mag is the place for entertainment recommendations across movies, books, music and games.
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