Look, I love me some Love Actually. I await the month of December with bated breath and tingly feels of anticipation for Love Actually Season. I usually instigate my first viewing upon the first of the month and watch it an embarrassing number of times between then and Christmas when I force myself, a little heartbroken, to put it back on the shelf for another whole year. (Absence make crazymoviefeels grow stronger?)
I mean I love it. Actually.
But here's the thing.
Actually presents itself as a heartfelt romantic movie with someone for
everyone to relate to. It's characters range from older and married to
elementary-aged schoolkids and the relationships they stumble through
don't all end up happily ever after. That covers all the bases, right?
no. What it covers is romantic entanglements for upper-middle class
white people. Some of whom are over fifty! (No, no it can't be true!)
Take, for example, the relationship between Hugh Grant's Prime Minister and his (slightly pudgy) staffer. (Did you guys notice how pudgy she was?) He's a rich, white man with GOBS of literal power and she's... not even a political aide. ("Who do I have to shag around here to get a chocolate biscuit?" Get it? Cause she's fat.)
Their strife strikes in the form of another rich, white,
evenmorepowerful man who takes advantage of the staffer's shyness and
lack of self-confidence. (Why wouldn't she be confident? It's not like she's fat or anything.) I mean, it must have been her fault. Better punish her.
JUST KIDDING I WANT HER AGAIN LET'S SING CHRISTMAS CAROLS TO STRANGERS I BET SHE STILL LOVES ME. (Spoiler alert: she does.)
mean srsly. Besides the obvious power/gender dynamic at play here, the
comedy of this storyline falls so heavily on fat shaming that we're
supposed to think even higher of Grant's character because he sees past
her weight. (Except for, you know, when he teases her about it at the
end of the film. Because it's not a big deal, right?)
Okay, I know
what you're thinking. Enter Ms. Feminist Killjoy and, yeah, that might
be kinda true here but remember- I LOVE Love Actually and have no
intention of putting an end to my annual squealfest over Martin
Freeman's perfect perfect face. Maybe the crux of it comes down to this:
how do you reconcile escapism when the paradigms of that
fantasy are not based on a reality you support even if they make you
effusively, squidgily happy?
With that said, I present to you a proposal:
Actually Love Actually:
movie with the same concept- finding love all around us in the real
world- but one that actually shows diversity: age, race, class,
hetero/homonormativity, disability, weight, power/agency, etc.
premise of Love Actually (the original) is that "love actually is all
around us;" that within the thrum of mundane, regular life lies the
potential for drama, romance and, yes, love. How powerful would it be to
see that kind of casual acceptance, even exaltation, of individuals
outside the hollywood spectrum?
Somebody please, please, write this movie.
I'll help. By sending you chocolate biscuits. No shagging necessary.
Now excuse me, I have to go watch Love Actually and flail around my apartment.