Every year, as the days grow colder and Christmas draws nearer, “Love Actually” quickly becomes a festive favorite on people’s television screens.
But nearly 20 years on from the release of the 2003 romantic comedy, the movie has faced scrutiny over its story lines and lack of diversity.
“There were things you’d change but thank god society is changing. So my film is bound, in some moments, to feel, you know, out of date,” the movie’s writer and director Richard Curtis said earlier this week.
He was speaking to Diane Sawyer as part of a documentary on ABC News titled: “The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Later.”
“Love Actually” features interweaving story lines, following several romantic relationships. However, most of the leading cast is White and all the relationships depicted are heterosexual.
Asked about any moments that might make him “wince,” Curtis said: “The lack of diversity makes me feel uncomfortable and a bit stupid.” He added: “I think there are three plots that have bosses and people who work for them.”
The movie features an impressive number of big names from the entertainment industry, with Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman, Laura Linney, Martine McCutcheon, Rowan Atkinson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster all appearing at some point.
Nearly 20 years on, “Love Actually” remains popular, becoming a staple of the holiday season.
“It’s amazing the way it’s entered the language,” Nighy said in the ABC News documentary.
“I’ve had people coming up to me saying ‘it got me through my chemotherapy,’ or ‘it got me through my divorce,’ or ‘I watch it whenever I’m alone.’ And people do, and people have ‘Love Actually’ parties.”
When asked if she understood why “Love Actually” had remained popular, Thompson replied: “I so do.”
“Because I think that we forget, time and time again we forget, that love is all that matters.”
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 portrayed 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 after the release of the film, I received a number of letters from apparently intelligent, articulate members of the public saying that they had never realised, until seeing the film, that gay people had emotions like normal people.”