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Film

Richard Curtis named his favourite Christmas film

Christmas is a time of love, companionship, and for the festive film, whimsical sentimentality. This is a sentiment that British filmmaker Richard Curtis nailed for his holiday favourite, Love Actually, released in 2003, a film with a divisive reception in the United Kingdom as audiences cannot decide whether it is indeed sweet and heartwarming or sickening and saccharine. 

Starring a ‘who’s who’ of British acting talent including rom-com staples Hugh Grant and Colin Firth alongside other national icons Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy and the late Alan Rickman, Love Actually remains a generational favourite. Speaking to Empire in 2017, Curtis told the publication: “[With] Love Actually, I’d worked out a whole film about the Hugh [Grant] story and another about the Colin [Firth] story. But I decided it would be fresher to weave a lot of storylines together. To just have the best scenes from ten films”. 

Though, when it comes to Richard Curtis’ own favourite Christmas film, as a purveyor of cinema and lover of romance, he prefers to go back to Hollywood’s glittering past, shortly following the golden years of the 1930s and ‘40s. As Curtis tells The New York Times, “If I could travel back in time to anywhere, I’d travel back to our family living room in the North of England, Christmas Day, somewhere around 1975…And we’d be watching White Christmas together”.

Predictably sentimental in his recollection, Curtis points to the familial communal experience of watching White Christmas as to why it’s his favourite Christmas film of all time. As Curtis recalls, “The plot is perfect…We sang along. We cried a lot. And as I grew older, I realised that the film was directed by possibly the greatest director of all time”. 

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Making reference to the iconic filmmaker Michael Curtiz, the Love Actually director points to the likes of “possibly the greatest romantic drama – Casablanca. Possibly the greatest swashbuckler – Errol Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood. Possibly the greatest melodrama – Mildred Pierce” as just three reasons why he adores the classic Hollywood creative. 

A nostalgic and soft-hearted individual, Curtis often channels such emotions into his feature films, with About Time, following a hereditary power to travel in time being one of his finest ever projects. Released in 2013, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson and is a strange hybrid of romantic comedy and science fiction, with an affectionate father/son relationship slathered in the middle and a shining supporting cast including Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie and Bill Nighy. 

Nostalgic of a time long gone and an ever-waning youth, Richard Curtis has mastered such sentiment, with the filmmaker clearly sharing such affectionate emotions in real life. In his concluding remarks regarding White Christmas, Curtis states: “Delight is one of the great undervalued joys of cinema — not comedy, not horror, not excitement — just something that produces joy…Definitely the greatest Christmas movie of all – White Christmas”.