Love Actually (2003)

dir. Richard Curtis

There is very little to be said about Love Actually‘s many glaring flaws that hasn’t all been said before, but considering this vapid, cloying, frankly harmful film’s still-enduring popularity, much of it bears repeating. Love Actually is almost entirely hinged on the idea of self-deluded men being chronically arrogant, selfish, and shallow, and practically being gifted a woman as a result. There’s the foppish prime minister who stares at his employee, eschewing all problems of a power dynamic and instead manipulating her career as he sees fit (and the less said about the ridiculous fat jokes against this perfectly healthy woman, the better). There’s the company boss who has to do absolutely nothing at all in order to get his secretary leering at him every chance she gets. There’s the little boy who’s encouraged to learn an instrument just to get a girl he’s never spoken to to like him – and it works. There’s the creepy stalker man who’s obsessed with his best friend’s wife, and is for some reason rewarded with affection and sympathy. There’s the obnoxious, sexist, random annoying guy who whines that British girls are too stuck-up to like him, so he jets off for merry threesomes in the US instead. Perhaps most egregiously of all, there’s the husband who’s cheated on and finds refuge abroad, only to fall for his Portuguese maid. The fact they don’t understand each other at all is deemed totally irrelevant, as love apparently has nothing to do with conversation or communication. Then they get married. They don’t even go on a date – they just instantly get married, and it’s supposed to be a happy ending. In reality, the ending is about as far from happy as you can get. From start to finish, Love Actually is one of the all-time worst representations of love, sex, or relationships ever put to film.

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