Love Actually: A Theory

The following exchange between Sam (the little Thomas Sangster) and Daniel (Liam Neeson) in Love Actually has, for me, always been at the very heart and center of the film.

Sam: By the way, I feel bad I never ask you how your love life’s going.

Daniel: Ha! No. As you know, that was a done deal long ago. Unless of course, Claudia Schiffer calls… in which case I want you out of this house straight away, you wee motherless mongrel.

Sam: Oh!

Daniel: No, no. We’ll want to have sex in every room, including yours.

As we all know by now (for we have all seen the film), Sam and Daniel are still reeling from the loss of Joanna, Sam’s mother and Daniel’s wife. So far as the sentiment of the film is concerned, the presence of actors like Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson give Love Actually a divine Beatles bassline and a big old Beach Boys sound. However, this really is a film where old men joke with young children who are recently orphaned about banging models in the child’s bedroom.

A throwaway bit of dialog? Perhaps not.

Given the presence elsewhere in the film of unrequited love and profound romantic disenchantment (Emma Thompson’s Karen), lonely pornographic actors (Martin Freeman, etc), a Lite FM soundtrack, uncouth sexual fantasies, orgies, casual references to drug use and pornography, campy humor (Rowan Atkinson), slapdash political commentary (Billy Bob Thornton, etc), and mental illness (Laura Linney’s brother), I am led to wonder if Love Actually was not originally intended to be…

happ-2

…a Todd Solondz film.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

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