Every year, as the days get colder and Christmas draws closer, “Love Actually” quickly becomes a festive favorite on people’s television screens.
But almost 20 years after the 2003 romantic comedy was released, the film has faced scrutiny over its story lines and lack of diversity.
“There were certain things that you would change but thank god the society is changing. So my film is bound to feel, you know, old in some moments,” Richard Curtis, the film’s writer and director, said earlier this week.
He was speaking to Diane Sawyer as part of a documentary on ABC News: “The Laughter and Mysteries of Love Actually: 20 Years Later.”
The story lines in “Love Actually” are intertwined following several romantic relationships. However, most of the principal cast is white and all of the relationships depicted are heterosexual.
When asked about any moments that might make him “wins”, Curtis said: “The lack of diversity makes me feel uncomfortable and a little stupid.” He added: “I think there are three plots involving the boss and the people working for him.”
The film stars Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman, Laura Linney, Martin McCutcheon, Rowan Atkinson along with many big names from the entertainment industry. and Thomas Brodie-Sangster all appearing at some point.
Nearly 20 years later, “Love Actually” remains popular, becoming a staple of the holiday season.
“The way it has entered the language is amazing,” Nighy said in an ABC News documentary.
“I’ve had people come up to me saying ‘this got me through my chemotherapy’ or ‘this got me through my divorce’ or ‘I watch this whenever I’m alone. ‘ And people do, and people have ‘Love Actually’ parties.
When asked if she understood why “Love Actually” remained popular, Thompson replied: “I do.”
“Because I think we forget, over and over again we forget, that love is everything.”
Curtis has written several other popular romantic comedies, including “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”
“Four Weddings and a Funeral” was released in 1994 and notably featured a same-sex relationship between Matthew, played by John Hannah, and Gareth, played by Simon Callow.
Writing in the Guardian 14 years later, Callow said: “It almost defies belief, but in the months following the film’s release, I received many letters from apparently intelligent, outspoken members of the public, saying What they never realized was that gay people had feelings just like normal people, until they saw the movie.”