Everyone, stop debating whether “Love Actually” is a good movie. It doesn’t matter anymore if this modern classic Christmas movie is quality cinema or not. It was a prophecy.
It all started with this. I’m not sure what uncredited genius on the Internet put this together, but behold:
How could I have not seen it before?
In one of the eight storylines of the 2003 ensemble rom-com, a little red-haired British boy, Sam, falls in love with his classmate, a spunky American girl. But the similarities do not end there.
Exhibit A: Sam & Joanna
We are introduced to Sam (Thomas Sangster) and his stepfather, Daniel (Liam Neeson), before we have any idea about his crush. We meet this young man at the funeral for his mother, who has died tragically young, leaving her widower and son to cope around the holidays. We are quickly and completely in the young chap’s corner as we watch him wrestle with the weight of tragedy faced too young as he says a final goodbye to his vibrant, beautiful mum.
Sam’s love interest, Joanna, is a spunky American girl distinguished by her natural charm and stage presence. She also happens to be played by L.A. native Olivia Olson, a biracial American actress whose parents are of Jamaican and Swedish descent.
Sam’s crush also shares a name with his mother, bringing all sorts of poignant and delicate issues of the loss of his mother into the relationship, which sounds a little like another romance in the news lately.
Exhibit B: Prime Minister David vs. The U.S. President
I used to think this particular plot line was British wishcasting. An assertive, young, handsome British prime minister (Hugh Grant) improbably stands up to a pushy, plainspoken American president in an extremely public way, dubbing the “special relationship” between these two important allies one he “fears has become a bad relationship.”
“A friend who bullies us is no longer a friend,” the prime minister says. “And since bullies only respond to strength, I will be prepared to be much stronger.”
Surely, no American president could act in such a way as to spur this kind of public dressing down from our closest international ally. And certainly there’d never be a sassy British PM (one you imagine might dance through the halls of No. 10 Downing) who would feel compelled to deliver it. Oh.
The president of the United States also sexually harasses a member of the Downing St. house staff, Natalie, seemingly thinking “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
Exhibit C: All the Problematic Workplaces
Is there any employment relationship in this movie not fraught with slightly inappropriate sexual activity or outright harassment?
The married Harry (Alan Rickman), head of a graphic design firm, is constantly being aggressively targeted sexually by his assistant, Mia, and seems bewildered as to how to draw lines. Culminating moments for office romances between Harry and Mia and two other employees of the same firm, Karl and Sarah (Laura Linney), happen at the office Christmas party, which is soaked in booze and takes place at a gallery full of titillating, partially nude Santa art. Harry also lectures his employee, Sarah, pretty explicitly about how to get some from Karl. He’s right on the merits, but I’m pretty sure that’s not in the employee handbook. Someone call HR!
The single, handsome prime minister of Britain has a romantic interest in a member of his staff, Natalie, but demotes her for being too attractive and/or being the target of the U.S. president’s harassment. He later uses state resources on Christmas Eve to go door-to-door looking for his former employee, and is caught making out with her in front of an elementary school crowd. Heartwarming!
The author Jamie (Colin Firth) moves to France and employs Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia. Despite not speaking her language, he becomes attracted to her, partly because she strips to her skivvies in front of him to rescue the hard copy of his novel from the cottage’s idyllic pond in the course of her work duties.
Rocker Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) is constantly whipping out his willie in professional settings and suggests to his longtime manager, Joe, that the two of them get drunk and watch porn together on Christmas. That after generally treating him like dirt, insulting his weight, and talking openly about all the other sexual exploits he’s giving up to hang out with him.
Add an automatic office lock or a potted plant, and you’re looking at an average half-day’s news cycle in 2017.
Exhibit D: ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’
In the innocent, young love story of Sam and Joanna, Sam learns to play drums to get close to his crush, who is the very talented lead singer on the final number in the local school’s Christmas pageant. Joanna belts out the finale, a rendition of Mariah Carey’s modern classic, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
I will leave you with this thought. Meghan Markle is an actress who was 13 when Mariah Carey’s hit Christmas single came out. Every woman of my age has sung this song at the top of her lungs while dancing around the house decorating the Christmas tree at some point. What are the chances there’s an old family Christmas video of Markle singing this song? The probability is high. The prophecy is real.
We are all Nativity lobsters now.