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I’m Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Boy….

Joanna Kelly ensures that the Tribune Art Section’s brave pro-Richard Curtis stance is maintained.

Four Weddings to About Time, illness Richard Curtis has captured the hearts of rom-com lovers for almost 20 years, viagra sale and with the announcement of his retiring from directing this year, I think it is safe to say that everyone who’s watched a bit of Bridget Jones and Notting Hill is disappointed, whether they’ll admit it or not. Curtis played as significant a part in defining “British humour” when it comes to 90s film and television, with his television work including Not the Nine O’Clock News, Blackadder, Spitting Image, and The Vicar of Dibley. It’s fairly obvious that Curtis’ humour is one we recognise and love because, well, who hasn’t sat down one evening and watched at least one episode of any of the above?

It’s this that is probably one of the most endearing factors of Curtis’ writing – the ability of his stories to be watched over and over again without getting too tedious.  I know that for me, whenever I’m not sure about what I want to watch, a good old Richard Curtis rom-com is my go-to quick-fix. Be it a bit of Bridget Jones or just any of the ones with Hugh Grant, I’m usually satisfied knowing I’ll be smiling once the movie is over. And I don’t even really like Hugh Grant. Honestly. But it doesn’t ever matter because the films are always so enjoyable in their entirety. Curtis has strategically experimented a little with his films too, jumping around from straight up fairy-tale-like stories like Notting Hill, to adaptation, like Bridget Jones, to quite a different point of focus, like The Boat That Rocked.

Ah yes, The Boat That Rocked. The film that is arguably the worst in Curtis’ career and regarded as a very serious mistake was slated by critics upon its release in 2009, despite its all-star cast. Personally, I don’t think the film is all that bad, but I don’t think it’s all that good either. This very mediocre film came at quite a trivial point in Curtis’ career. Was Curtis just writing for the sake of writing? Was he so comfortable with the success of his previous endeavours he just decided to throw a film as unnecessarily complicated as this into the mix, just to get his name mentioned again? The harsh reaction the film got was, in my opinion, undeserved, yet I suppose we can almost be grateful for it, because it could well have pushed Curtis to produce the masterpiece that is About Time. Released in September of this year, About Time ensured that Curtis retired as a director with a bang. So much about the film captured the innocence of love and family that always plays an integral role in Curtis’ films.

You know you’re watching a film written by Richard Curtis once you recognise the love storyline being central, the goofy side characters, probably a bit of Hugh Grant, also a bit of Bill Nighy, and you find yourself shedding a tear from both laughing and crying. One film that encapsulates all of this, is the one that is everyone’s favourite – Love Actually. Love Actually is the epitome of Richard Curtis’ writing, and it’s not Christmas until it’s been watched at least once. As a personal favourite of many, it often marks the beginning of the excitement for Christmas. The perfect balance of emotions in relatable situations is what Curtis nails here, and what makes it such an enjoyable film.

Curtis might be hanging up the director’s megaphone, but it doesn’t look like he’s planning on giving up writing any time soon, with an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot looking to hit our screens in 2014. Curtis undoubtedly has a knack for story-telling, particularly romance stories, so here’s hoping he keeps it up for another few years! Whether it’s viewed as a chick-flick, or a family movie, or just with friends, Richard Curtis nails and conveys the ethos of one of his own films; that love actually is all around.

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