Sunday, December 22, 2013

Love Actually: artistic low point of the 21st century

FINALLY! People are beginning to come around to the fact that "Love, Actually" is not a delightful classy-British romantic comedy, it's a huge reeking misogynist piece of shit.

I know people are coming around because Jezebel has published this accurate and hysterically funny review: I Rewatched Love Actually and Am Here to Ruin It All For You.
Although in my case she can't ruin it for me because I've hated this movie with the hater-heat of a thousand suns since I first saw it many years ago, although I can't believe I didn't blog about it until 2012.

The Jezebel piece contains the best, most righteous thing ever said about Love Actually:
I know it's early, but I'm calling it. Artistic low point of the 21st century.
I missed the Salon critique from last year, I have just discovered. Excellent paragraph from that review:
There’s also the Alan Rickman story line, about the married man tempted by the unbelievably predatory secretary, and the heartbroken wife (Emma Thompson) faced with the choice to “stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse.” There’s the Laura Linney one, about the noble woman who can’t be with the man she loves because she has to care for her mentally ill brother. And doesn’t that make an interesting contrast to the Liam Neeson plot, in which a very recent widower is rewarded for his emotional pain by hooking up with Claudia Schiffer. Claudia Schiffer!! There’s also Kris Marshall’s, in which a lonely, goofy-looking Brit flies to America to dazzle the ladies solely on the basis of his Britishness – and immediately scores a pile of insanely hot babes. And yet they call crap like this a “chick flick.” I’ve seen less depressing Michael Haneke movies.
Although as in every negative review of Love Actually there are invariably comments from absolute morons defending its hideousness.

This blogger also makes excellent points:
Along with the subservient and demoralizing messages about women, Love Actually also presents a warped and idealized view of romance, as demonstrated in the relationship between Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Mark (Andrew Lincoln). Juliet has married Mark’s best friend, Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Mark, who has always been aloof with her, is actually secretly in love with her. She realizes this by accident, and on Christmas Eve, he stands at her door, expressing his affection by holding up cards with words written on them, including the phrase, “To me you are perfect.”
This image has been constantly used in magazine articles about romance, presenting the unrealistic and idealized view of love that this movie perpetuates. Of course Mark thinks Juliet is perfect; he has never gotten to know her. He sees her as an ideal, rather than an actual person. No one is perfect and holding anyone up to that idea in a relationship is a recipe for guaranteed disappointment and disaster – not to mention the fact that Mark is very rude and unfriendly to Juliet for almost the entirety of the film, then attempts to redeem himself with one grand romantic gesture. And the gesture seems to work, given that Juliet chases him down the street and rewards him for his gesture with a kiss.
As in any "romance" written by misogynists, the only good women are Because...Um Girls, with no personalities or motivation, who deliver love and/or sex because it's required by the plot. So that men can get hot pussy without the tedious chore of getting to know another human being as a person. And that's what Juliet is. But all the desirable women in this movie (i.e. women who are under 30 and not fat) are Because...Um Girls. Because that's how assholes like their women.

There's nothing in media I hate more than smarmy, crass misogyny trying to pass as romantic love stories. That's why I also hate Talley's Folly and the far less-well known Compulsive Love.