‘Love Actually’: The Creepy Age Gap You Never Knew About In This Christmas Movie

Even the best Christmas movies have their downfalls. Especially when taking into account the passage of time. From The Santa Clause‘s over-the-top fat-shaming to the ultra-creepy child Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the live-action version), we can all agree our favorites have problematic elements. But there’s one disturbing thing about the casting in Love Actually that you may not be aware of. Read on to learn more.

‘Love Actually’ was released in 2003

Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon at the UK premiere of 'Love Actually'
Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon at the UK premiere of ‘Love Actually’ | Alessandro Abbonizio/AFP via Getty Images

Love Actually is a British romantic comedy that helped to launch a popular style. The seemingly separate vignettes that are later revealed to be interconnected was later adapted by U.S. director Garry Marshall for his own series of holiday-themed rom-coms. But first, it belonged to Richard Curtis.

The Golden Globe-nominated film features a whole host of the U.K.’s greatest stars, including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, (the late) Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, and many more. It also featured quite a few up-and-comers, including Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

It has gone on to become a fan-favorite Christmas movie

Love Actually takes place at Christmas time. We meet a host of different people, all living in London, who are connected in various ways. All are preparing for Christmas and searching for love, in some regard. There’s familial love, platonic love, new romances, and plenty of missed connections.

Over the sixteen years since its release, Love Actually has become a popular movie to watch during the holiday season. And in many ways, it’s the perfect heartwarming Christmas movie. Of course, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t faced its share of criticism.

One scene in particular has been parodied many times

As the years have passed, many viewers have taken issue with certain themes and interactions within Love Actually. From the fat jokes to the portrayal of American women (and, let’s be real, women in general), it’s pretty messy, to be honest. But one “romantic” scene takes the cake.

Mark (Andrew Lincoln), is in love with Juliet, who just married his best friend. This is a crappy storyline, but it could be forgiven, if not for Mark’s beyond-creepy way of showing it — yes, I’m talking about the cue cards scene. As we as a society have recognized just how disturbing this is, it has become a frequently parodied moment.

The actor age gap that’s weirding fans out

In spite of the general strangeness of Love Actually, we can all at least agree that the actors are all pretty superb. But that doesn’t mean they were necessarily the right choices for the part. In fact, there’s one utterly baffling choice you may not have recognized.

Knightley, in 2003, was just 18 years old, meaning she was 17 or 18 during the filming of the movie. In comparison, Brodie-Sangster turned 13 that year. So there’s a very small gap there. And it’s pretty easy to see where the issue is here. While Brodie-Sangster was playing approximately his character’s age, Knightley is playing a newlywed. You’d assume her character would be, at the very least, maybe 20 years old.