What is ‘Love Actually’ about? Pain and suffering, according to Hugh Grant’s wife

A man in a black suit and a woman in a red coat smile and wave as fake snow falls around them
Hugh Grant as David, left, and Martine McCutcheon as Natalie in “Love Actually.”
(Peter Mountain / Universal)

Hugh Grant is just like us: ringing in the holiday season by “drunkenly” watching “Love Actually.”

In a Tuesday interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, Grant recalled viewing his 2003 holiday film earlier this year with his wife, Anna Eberstein, who profoundly reflected on the movie’s themes of love and heartbreak. Grant portrayed David, a fictional prime minister of the United Kingdom who develops feelings for a member of his staff (Martine McCutcheon), in the classic romantic comedy.

“I did drunkenly watch a bit of ‘Love Actually’ a few months ago with my wife, and she was the one who said ... ‘It’s all about pain. It’s all about suffering,’ ” he told Sawyer during “The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later.”

People seem to be divided into two camps: those who adore writer-director Richard Curtis’ 2003 holiday rom-com “Love Actually,” and those who can’t abide the film’s heart-meltingly grand gestures, wryly feel-good vibe and bittersweet, ain’t-love-grand charms (not to mention its pre-#MeToo boss-employee romances).

Dec. 21, 2018

Grant and several of his “Love Actually” co-stars recently sat down with Sawyer to reminisce about making the beloved film, which premiered 19 years ago. Also participating in the special was writer-director Richard Curtis, who addressed some of the criticism the movie has received as it’s aged.

“There are things you’d change, but thank God society is changing,” Curtis said. “So my film is bound in some moments to feel out of date.”


“The lack of diversity makes me feel uncomfortable and a bit stupid,” the filmmaker added. “There are three plots that have bosses and people who work for them.”

Curtis and Grant also discussed one of the most memorable scenes from the rom-com, in which the latter’s character busts a move to the tune of “Jump” by the Pointer Sisters at his official government residence. Apparently, the actor dreaded shooting that fan-favorite sequence and was “grumpy” the day he filmed it, Curtis recalled.

It’s possible that someone could respond with complete indifference to the news of a holiday production called “Love Actually Live,” opening Wednesday in Beverly Hills.

Dec. 12, 2018

“He kept saying no,” the director said. “I think he was hoping I’d get ill or something and we’d say, ‘Oh, well, what a shame, we’ll have to lose that dancing sequence.’ ”

“I saw it in the script and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll hate doing that,’ ” Grant agreed. “I didn’t fancy doing the dance at all, let alone rehearsing it. ... To this day, there’s many people — and I agree with them — who think it’s the most excruciating scene ever committed to celluloid. Then some people like it. But I will give myself this credit … it was my idea to have that secretary lady catch me. Genius.”

Though Curtis admitted to suffering secondhand embarrassment while filming the scene, he maintains that Grant “was just perfect” in it. Grant was a little more self-critical:


“I’m out of rhythm, by the way,” he told Sawyer. “Especially at the beginning when I’m wiggling my a—.”