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There are two kinds of people. For Christmas, the former play the films Life is Beautiful from 1946, Three Nuts for Cinderella or Home Alone, while the latter prefer action titles such as Deadly Trap or Santa is Deranged. The first group was joined exactly 20 years ago by Richard Curtis’ unconventional romantic comedy Heaven’s Love, which is now returning to cinemas. How did it become part of the canon?
Hugh Grant as the English Prime Minister David and Martine McCutcheon as his assistant Natalie. | Photo: Profimedia.cz
A Christmas classic easily and quickly
Paradoxically, one of the reasons for the popularity of Heavenly Love, which was filmed by Richard Curtis and was shown in Czech cinemas for the first time on November 20, 2003, may be that its theme is not exactly Christmas.
When Bruce Willis was taking out terrorists at a Christmas party in Deathtrap, it could have happened any time and it would still be a similarly good movie in its genre. Likewise, Heavenly Love, where many couples get entangled in their relationship carousels, could work another time. It does, however, work with the beauty of London at Christmas – and more significantly with the message that the last holiday of the year is about love.
“If I can’t say it at Christmas, when else? I belong only to you,” writes an assistant played by Martine McCutcheon to the English Prime Minister, played by Hugh Grant, in the film. And he immediately confronts the American president, played by Billy Bob Thornton – not for political reasons, but precisely because of his love for his subordinate.
Richard Curtis, a native of New Zealand with Czech roots, was by then known as the screenwriter of Four Weddings and One Funeral or Notting Hill. In 2003, as his debut, he made a film whose actors act like real people and which is not afraid to take a slightly cynical kick at Christmas. It is even full of non-fairytale endings, although it also stars the best British actors of their time, from Liam Neeson to Emma Thompson or Alan Rickman to Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
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