Love Actually

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Short takes

Not suitable under 15; parental guidance to 15 (sex scenes and references, nudity, coarse language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Love Actually
  • a review of Love Actually completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 December 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to sex scenes and references, nudity and coarse language.
Children aged 15 Parental guidance recommended due to sex scenes and references, nudity and coarse language.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Love Actually
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references, nudity and low level coarse language
Length: 135 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Love Actually is a collection of vignettes of eight different couples’ love lives and relationships. Set in London and with five weeks until Christmas, aging rock star, Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), is forced by his manager, Joe (Gregor Fisher), to put out a cheesy rendition of Love is All Around, which he knows is a dreadful song. John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are porn stars who have to perform various sexual simulation scenes, all the while maintaining a friendly chit-chat. Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Juliette (Kiera Knightly) have just got married. Their photographer, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) appears stand-offish to Juliette which she puts down to having taken Peter away from him. The truth is somewhat different.

Jamie (Colin Firth) has just discovered that his girlfriend has been cheating on him so he takes a holiday in France to continue his writing. There he meets Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), a Portuguese housekeeper. Although they can’t communicate verbally, as neither speaks the other’s language, a bond grows between them. Daniel (Liam Neeson) has just lost his wife and is now the sole parent of his stepson, Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), who is going through the pains of adolescent love. Sarah (Laura Linney) is in love with Karl (Rodrigo Santoro) but is held back from forming a relationship due to the dependency of her mentally ill brother. Sarah’s boss, Harry (Alan Rickman), is in a long-term marriage to wife Karen (Emma Thompson) but is being seduced by his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch), and he must decide what to do. Meanwhile, Colin (Kris Marshall) thinks he’s not getting any sex because British girls are too cold and so travels to the US where he meets several girls. David (Hugh Grant), the new Prime Minister, is attracted to his secretary, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon), and must decide whether it’s appropriate to pursue a relationship. Over the following five weeks much evolves around each couple, by which time Billy realises that Joe is his one true love.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Adult relationships; Love and sex.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

One incidence of violence was noted in this movie:

  • Sarah’s brother goes to strike her forcefully but is restrained by an attendant.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • Nothing scary noted.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • A funeral is shown for Daniel’s wife.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are a lot of sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Jamie’s girlfriend can be heard saying, “I’m naked and I want you at least twice before Jamie gets home”.
  • Colin thinks he’s the God of sex.
  • Harry tells Sarah to marry Karl, and have lots of sex and lots of babies.
  • Billy gets asked who was the best shag he ever had.
  • Mia opens her legs provocatively and tells Harry he can have anything he wants.
  • Karen wonders whether she should get a transvestite Barbie or a dominatrix Barbie for their daughter.
  • Billy says that even Meat Loaf got laid at least once.
  • Billy strips for Michael Parkinson (shown from behind).
  • Colin takes a large bag full of condoms with him to the US and says he’s going on the ‘shag highway’. Colin hooks up with three women who invite him home to their place. They only have one bed which he’ll have to share. A silhouette is seen through the window of them all taking their clothes off.
  • Daniel tells Sam that if he gets to date Claudia Schiffer, Sam would have to make himself scarce as they would want to have sex in every room of the house, including his bedroom.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • John and Judy perform several sex scenes, simulating sex and oral sex. They are both naked and John is told to massage Judy’s breasts.
  • Aurelia strips off to her undies to jump into the water.
  • There is a large picture of a woman holding her own breasts.
  • Sarah and Karl kiss passionately. She undresses and is naked from the waist up while Karl just has underpants on. They are about to have sex but are interrupted.
  • Most of the couples kiss at some point.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking at various events and parties.
  • Daniel says that for all he knows, Sam could be injecting heroin into his eyeballs.
  • Billy says, “Kids, don’t buy drugs, become a pop star and get them for free”.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck, fucking, fucked
  • Wank
  • Bugger
  • Shithead
  • Shit
  • Bugger off
  • Piss
  • Crap
  • Arsehole
  • Bloody
  • Damn
  • Screw
  • Oh God
  • Christ
  • Jesus
  • Pricks
  • Son of a bitch
  • Arse
  • Cock-up
  • Shut your face
  • Some name calling such as:
    • Pervert
    • Prostitutes
    • Motherless mongrel

In a nutshell

Love Actually is a British comedy with a stellar cast. There is some loose connection between the eight couples but otherwise the film is a mish-mash of various stories. They are not all happy stories either, including subjects such as unrequited love, infidelity and death of a loved one. Due to the adult content of the movie, the nudity and frequent coarse language, the film isn’t suitable for children under 15 and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 15 years old.

The main message from this movie is that love transcends all.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Listening to your children and respecting their opinions.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Lust and love are often confused as the same thing, which they aren’t. While sex is an important element of a loving relationship it isn’t the only thing of importance.
  • The reasons why sometimes people stray from one relationship to another.