The Love Actually script is full of vacation fun and writing lessons.
I was late for the party when it came to seeing Richard Curtis' masterpiece Love Actually. One of my college professors cited it as an example of a movie that took an interesting look at a multi-POV narrative. I have to admit I didn't have high hopes when she put it on, but I quickly found myself emotionally identifying with the characters on many different levels.
To this day, I look forward to seeing this movie every year and am often surprised at the new connections, cameos, and levels I find with every view.
I think there is a lot to learn from this beautiful look at love. So, get cozy with someone you care about and let's see what we can unpack this year.
Read and download the Love Actually PDF script here!
3 Lessons From Love Actually Script PDF (Free Script Download)
1. Characters with clear motivations
One of the most amazing things Curtis juggles with in this script is a huge list of characters. The cast in this film is incredible. And one of the reasons he was able to cast such an all-star cast is because each role has clear motivations.
There's a seduced husband, a tortured writer, a lustful waiter, a shy pornographer, a jealous pal, a nervous prime minister, a hopeful child, a grieving widower – and that's just the boys! We also have a disturbed wife, a desperate sister, a worried bridal couple, a hopeful secretary, a frustrated maid, and a Christmas lobster.
I know this is that CliffsNotes on most roles, but I think we can agree that every person in the film wants something tangible. These specific goals give us something to pursue across the many narratives and something to rely on so that we can be emotionally invested.
2. Conflict in every scene
We talk about it all the time, but you see that too often films fail because of it.
In this film, every scene has a conflict. Perhaps the best version of this is when Alan Rickman tries to buy a necklace and Rowan Atkinson prepares his gift wrap. We have a clear goal in this scene to get out unnoticed, and one clear thing that stands in the way, an employee who's a little overzealous with his customer review.
This conflict makes the most of something and makes us laugh. It also pays off later if his wife doesn't receive the necklace.
3. Did you get what you wanted?
When I work with beginning writers, I tell them that this is the most important question at the end of their scripts. Do your characters get what they wanted?
In a romantic comedy like this, that needs to be answered clearly. But it doesn't have to be the same for everyone. Sure, Colin Firth gets the girl, Liam Neeson gets Claudia Schiffer, and Andrew Lincoln gets closure, but Emma Thompson doesn't get that chain. In fact, she gets a close look at who her husband has become and gets someone ready to work it out with her. This goes hand in hand with motivated characters and specific goals.
Make it clear to the audience if the characters got what they wanted and how that changed them throughout the story.
So much of what we talk about at No Film School when it comes to screenwriting is wrapped up in our new eBook. It will also help you create a 10 week writing schedule that will actually finish your script.