Love Actually Might Be Classic, But One Divisive Detail Still Haunts The Director
This rom-com is just perfect for Christmas. Or is it?
If you're looking for a movie to watch this Christmas that will tear your heart into a thousand pieces, then put it back together and restore your faith in humanity, Love Actually is the movie for you. There are so many storylines that everyone will find something new in it, even if it is their tenth time watching the now iconic Christmas film.
The movie’s director, Richard Curtis, went to see Love Actually with his daughter and found something new in the movie as well, which was inappropriate humor.
The movie often focuses on the fact that Natalie, the secretary and love interest of Hugh Grant's character, is "overweight." Curtis shared the experience of watching his own brainchild at a literature festival:
“I remember how shocked I was like five years ago when [my daughter] Scarlett said to me, "You can never use the word ‘fat’ again." […] I think I was behind the curve, and those jokes aren’t any longer funny, so I don’t feel I was malicious at the time, but I think I was unobservant and not as clever as I should have been.”
Why is Love Actually still a Christmas favorite?
Love Actually works mainly due to the amazing combination of sentimentality with malicious and sometimes downright black humor, of which, it should be noted, not only Natalie was a victim. Remember, for example, the storyline involving a rock star, played by Bill Nighy, who swears on live TV and abuses his manager, who has apparently been in love with him for a long time.
The characters here – with the exception of the heartbroken widower played by Liam Neeson and his sister played by Emma Thompson – are not exactly flawless people. They cheat on their wives, destroy their friends' relationships, have affairs with subordinates at work, and even encourage drug use.
Is the humor in Love Actually really offensive?
Jokes aside, Love Actually is still being dismantled, brick by brick, to see if the movie conforms to today's moral and ethical standards. And generally speaking, there is something to complain about.
But unlike all the Hollywood rom-coms that are similar to one another, the characters in Love Actually are at least fascinating. They have flaws, bad traits, but they are understandable.
Most old comedies and rom-coms did indeed use offensive humor with no purpose or benefit to the plot, only to reinforce stereotypes. While it's important to remember that Love Actually is a so-called product of its time, it's still nice to know that even the director had second thoughts and provided some much-needed commentary.