The best films set in London to watch at home

As we all prepare to self-isolate, Luxury London picks some of our favourite, era-defining films set in the capital. Predictably, Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant clear up 

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

“You could choke a dozen donkeys on that! And you’re haggling over one hundred pound? What d’you do when you’re not buying stereos, Nick? Finance revolutions?”

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie’s first and finest feature film, just gets better with age. A sharp, stylish insight into London’s gritty underworld, the film made a household name of its director and kick-started the acting careers of ex-driver Jason Statham and a former footballer by the name by Vinnie Jones – who proved he could be just as intimidating on screen as he was on the pitch. Witty, pacey and packed full of poster-worthy one-liners – “If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain’t the kind of pussy to drink it. You know what I mean, Nick?” – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is the best British gangster flick of the past quarter-century – know what I mean, Nick?

Chosen by Richard Brown, editorial director

About a Boy (2002)

Having invented a son to impress single mum Rachel (Rachel Weisz), wealthy bachelor Will Freeman (Hugh Grant) faces a conundrum when she invites him, and his fictional child Ned, to a playdate. Enlisting the help of misfit teenager Marcus (Nicholas Holt), Will unwittingly enters into a relationship that forms the basis of this coming-of-age tale, which touches on themes of friendship, suicide and teenage anxiety. In Nick Hornby’s original novel, the story is set in Islington, but the film adaptation is shot across the capital, with Will’s apartment located in Clerkenwell, his local supermarket in Richmond, his hair salon in Westbourne Grove and his favourite restaurants (Otto Dining Lounge and Hakkasan) in Maida Vale and Hanway Place respectively. And let’s not forget Regent’s Park, the scene of Marcus’s accidental crime involving a duck and a stale loaf of bread…

Chosen by Ellen Millard, deputy editor 

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There’s a lot to hate in Love Actually. But it’s also the ultimate Christmas fantasy

Love Actually

Ignore the sexism if you can, and revel in a world of palatial flats where everyone adores the prime minister, says Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

By: Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

What is it about Love Actually? Richard Curtis’s ensemble Yuletide schmaltz-fest came out 16 years ago, and yet whether you adore it or despise it – for this has never been a film to provoke milquetoast emotions – you can’t deny that it remains a cultural touchstone.

The Christmas-centric plot facilitates the film’s annual exhumation by the sort of earmuff-sporting crowd who get excited about the switch to red Styrofoam cups in high street coffee chains, duly followed by its summary dissection by a bunch of misanthropic pseudo-nihilist killjoys whose concept of festive filmic fun is limited to watching the snowy bits in Andrei Rublev. No one comes out of this grudge match well. As I read on a desk once, the darkest parts of hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral conflict, maintain their neutrality (it was attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, but it seems it’s actually Dan Brown).

Surely, you are thinking, it’s just a Christmas movie? You are wrong. It isn’t just a Christmas movie. It is the Christmas movie that devours all other Christmas movies. Continue reading