Why ‘Love Actually’ Isn’t the Comforting Rom-Com You Remembered

sIf there’s a movie that doesn’t deserve to be seen from a gentle perspective, it sure is. love in truth🇧🇷

Things have changed since 2003 and, having rewatched the film, I can say: thank goodness, because few films seem as embarrassingly out of step with modern feminism as love in truth🇧🇷

Every Christmas, millions of people watch this film that has become one of the top romantic comedies and is considered a “Christmas classic” by Americans. Many fans are delighted with the idea of ​​seeing these characters again. But, to use a phrase that definitely didn’t exist in 2003, this favorite is toxic.

Even when it was released, there were some complaints about Curtis’ preference for extravagant romantic gestures over character development. But even though it proved to be quite popular, the film also aged quickly. More and more critics online are recognizing the haunting interpretation of the novel he offers (most famously for his hilarious depiction of Jezebel).

All the power and will belong to the male characters, while the females (usually younger employees) are quiet, appreciative and beautiful. Women who have concerns or responsibilities beyond pleasing men seem to be punished without love and having to listen to Joni Mitchell.

It also seems to be surprisingly heteronormative: nine stories, and all of them heterosexual. A slight mockery of same-sex romance is made, but it is never shown or celebrated (a lesbian scene was filmed but cut). Obviously, everyone hopes that, at the reunion, aging rock star Billy Mack and his devoted manager will end up together. I bet the lack of gay stories will be addressed in some way, at least.

Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) at their wedding in ‘Love Actually’

What will happen to the representation of women? We just have to wait. Obviously, love in truth It’s not the only film to feature female characters as pure wish fulfillment. Men have always dominated the industry. Most of the movies we see are filmed from a male perspective and place women as objects of desire to be acquired. But for a movie that’s so beloved, it’s not that old, love in truth seems particularly offensive, filled with examples of passive women catering to men’s needs and desires.

So, in an act of relentless cynicism against this sugar-coated, overly optimistic rom-com, we bring you all the reasons why relationships in love in truth they make watching the movie downright uncomfortable.

Mark and Juliet

The type of man who hires unwanted “surprise” hookers for his friend’s stag party may not be a man full of emotional intelligence. But Mark, played by Andrew Lincoln, becomes a deviant. Because he’s secretly in love with his best friend’s fiancée (Keira Knightley), he only registers her at the wedding. In many extreme close-ups and, of course, without saying anything, just a pretty little face appeared, over and over again. This masturbatory tape is an almost comic and brazen example of the male gaze in cinema: the camera literally frames his lust, the viewer presents Knightley through his adoring eyes. But it also seems to visually convey something about male control: in the scenes he cuts her off, holds her back, puts limits on the terrible object of desire.

Andrew Lincoln’s character Mark confesses his love to Juliet in ‘Love Actually’ and, of course, it doesn’t seem depraved at all

Because Mark is afraid: afraid of how much he likes Juliet. Even if he doesn’t even know her. Juliet says “but you never talk to me… you don’t like me”. Mark put her on a pedestal because of her looks, regardless of her personality or intellect. Maybe if he had bothered to talk to her, he would have realized that they had irreconcilable opinions about the Iraq war or the new Radiohead record or whatever else people were talking about in 2003, and he might have got over it.

Instead, we have the film’s most famous scene: Mark shows up to declare his love with handwritten cards, because it’s Christmas and at Christmas we tell the truth. Seriously? Isn’t it time for white lies like “I loved it, you wouldn’t have minded”? And, after all, who he considers “perfect” is his best friend’s wife. You better have it tucked away in your Santa hat, Mark.

Sam and Joana

Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is just a kid, but he’s tragically in love with Joanna (Olivia Olson), the coolest girl in school, who doesn’t even know he exists. But you are never too young to start learning how to “do” a woman like you. “I have a plan,” says Sam. “Women love musicians.” So he decides to learn to play the drums.

This plot is basically the story of Mark and Juliet in miniature. Why not try talking to her instead of just admiring her from afar? Maybe talking is better than pretending to play music to trick them into liking you? Be sure to be true to yourself, little Sam.

Jamie and Aurelia

Poor novelist Jamie (Colin Firth) is betrayed by his girlfriend and has to go to France to lick his wounds. His housekeeper is Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), a Portuguese woman who does not speak English. They fall in love despite being literally unable to communicate. In another grand romantic gesture (or cocky gesture of male privilege), he shows up at Christmas to ask her, his youngest employee with whom he’s never had a single conversation, to marry him. This comes across as perfunctory at best and deranged at worst. It’s a lazy romantic’s dream come true: getting the perfect woman without having to worry about meeting her.

Novelist Jamie (Colin Firth) and his Portuguese housekeeper who doesn’t speak English, Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz)

The other thing that is really annoying about this plot is when they jump into a lake to save the pages of their book. It’s a racy slow-motion shot that runs up and down Moniz’s body as she strips and takes a graceful dip, but Firth can throw himself in fully clothed and sneeze looking like a fool. Seriously though, Colin is famous for a wet shirt scene; if we’re going to lust after each other, can there be at least equal opportunity to do so?

Sarah and Karl

We know Laura Linney’s character Sarah isn’t going to end well: She wears scruffy skirts and oversized sweaters with creepy butterfly pins. She also doesn’t prioritize a man’s romance and sexual pleasure above all else.

After the office party, the primped version of Sarah finally hooks up with her crush of years, the handsome Karl (Rodrigo Santoro, whose torso shows the film doesn’t cater much to female lust). But Sarah’s phone keeps ringing and she keeps answering it. To be fair, it’s his brother who is mentally ill and he literally looks like he’s about to kill himself. I like to think most men would understand; they would agree to see each other another day. I mean, maybe they’d even ask a few questions, see how they could help…

Karen (Emma Thompson) and Daniel (Liam Neeson) in ‘Love Actually’

(Universal Pictures/Photofest)

But not Carl. Not in love in truth🇧🇷 In the land of romantic comedies, apparently a man can’t share a woman with another man, even if it’s his sick brother. And a woman cannot have her own life or responsibilities; she must be available at all times to meet the man’s needs. You’ll come back in woolen clothes, Sarah.

Colin and All American “Chocolate”

When we first meet Colin (Kris Marshall), he seriously insults a wedding caterer to her face. Instead of embarrassing herself and apologizing, she decides that her problem is that British women are vain. You need to go to America to flirt.

Right away, he meets three very attractive girls, who love his accent and end up taking him home for an orgy. Of course, they are pure sex objects and this plot is the complete satisfaction of male desires, but at least everything unfolds ironically and turns out to be comical and completely ridiculous. Or maybe by the end of the movie I was just too tired to care.

harry and karen

Alan Rickman is Harry’s mature and laid-back boss; his sexy young secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch) literally spreads her legs in front of him. She’s so seductively evil that she wears devil horns to a Christmas party. Do you think it’s Halloween? Who knows.

Rickman was best in Richard Curtis’ over-the-top movie ‘Love Actually’

(Rex Resources)

There is no doubt that the woman is the one hunting, but he still has the advantage of power and status. He’s the boss. She calls him “sir”, for crying out loud (did anyone call their boss “sir” in 2003?). And then there’s the matter of her asking him for a nice gift after the obvious offer of sex. Nauseous at best.

Finally, there’s poor Harry’s wife Karen, played by Emma Thompson in the film’s only truly human and multifaceted performance. She wears voluminous velvet, worries about being fat, and is a little tormented about chasing after children (no sign of Rickman helping to make her pastoral outfits, is there?). Karen is also the only person we see sad in the film’s final happy couples scene. Because? Why isn’t she a perky twenty-something hottie? Why do you challenge your husband for her behavior and make him feel bad?

The message certainly seems to be: only women who are sexy and make their men happy get their own happy endings. Fuck you, Richard Curtis. This is seriously not right.

Translated by Michelle Padilha

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