Why The Bloke Who Fancies His Best Friend's Wife In Love Actually Is A Twat

It's Christmas soon which means, at some point during the festive purgatory, you will lie there in a food-coma and end up watching Love Actually...
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It's Christmas soon which means, at some point during the festive purgatory, you will lie there in a food-coma and end up watching Love Actually...

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Everyone’s looking forward to Christmas, but what all the adverts forget to mention is that the day itself is followed by that awkward period before New Year’s Eve, when you’re not really sure if you’re supposed to be back at work or not, and you spend the afternoons in a food-induced semi-coma on the sofa. During this festive purgatory, it’s guaranteed that, thanks to a powerful brand of roast meat and suet pudding-induced self-loathing, you’ll end up flicking through the television channels, settling on ITV2+1, and watching the entirety of Love Actually.

Although few and far between, Love Actually does have its moments. Laura Linney’s portrayal of a woman torn between her own happiness and caring for her disabled brother is sensitively handled. Furthermore, the scene where Emma Thompson, fresh from the realisation that her husband is potentially being unfaithful, listens to Joni Mitchell alone in her bedroom and sheds a tear before composing herself for a family outing to the school play, is beautifully nuanced and utterly heartbreaking.

Unfortunately for Linney and Thompson, their stellar performances are overshadowed by what must be the most terrible character arc committed to celluloid: the saga of Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightly.

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Their story begins with Keira Knightley getting married to Chiwetel Ejiofor. At the time the Love Actually came out, Knightley was eighteen and Ejiofor was 26, but no-one bats an eyelid at this, because it’s a film and men always have someone unrealistically young as their love interest. Andrew Lincoln is there too, videotaping the proceedings whilst playing a man who can barely utter two words before awkwardly staring at his feet. Partway through the ceremony, members of the congregation stand up in the pews and begin to play All You Need Is Love on instruments they’ve somehow concealed about their person. So far, de rigueur schmaltz, and nothing to get too angry about.

Later in the film, Lincoln goes to Ejiofor and Knightley’s house to drop off the wedding video, only to find her there home alone. Keira Knightley is busy wearing a beret indoors, but decides she wants to watch the tape there and then. She presses play, and we come to realise that Andrew Lincoln is so besotted with Keira Knightley – his friend’s new wife, lest we forget – that he’s spent the entire wedding with the camera zoomed in as much as possible on just her face. That’s right, the video record of the happiest day of her life has been ruined because her husband’s friend has the horn for her so much that he decided to make a highlights reel of her face rather than do the job he was there to do.

At this point, you’d expect Keira Knightley to recoil in horror, flip out, scream at him: “What the hell, Egg from This Life?! You were supposed to video my wedding but instead you were just voyeuristically filming me, you massive perv. Get out of my unrealistically lovely house before I call the police!” Instead she does nothing of the sort. They both look a bit bashful, he mumbles half an apology and leaves.

You then expect Andrew Lincoln’s future scenes to involve him being informed he’s the subject of a restraining order and having to sign some sort of register but, if anything, his next appearance is somehow even worse.

Seemingly undaunted by how incredibly inappropriate and creepy his previous actions were, he calls at the Ejiofor/Knightley residence again, and rings the bell. Knightley answers the door, only to find Lincoln holding a cue card which suggests she shout back to her husband that there are carol singers at the door. Rather than worry that she’s about to be kidnapped by a sex predator, she complies, and Lincoln then reveals he’s got a series of cue cards, which he drops one by one, explaining his unrequited love for Knightley, like some kind of pathetic, distasteful version of Subterranean Homesick Blues.

Normal procedure would be for Knightley to perhaps run in and tell her husband that his friend’s making her hugely uncomfortable again. Maybe this time she should call the police. How about she use some of the skills she learned on Bend It Like Beckham and hoof him in the clangers? No, again, she seems largely nonplussed at the turn of events, KISSES HIM ON THE CHEEK, and returns to watching television with her husband.

There are so many unanswered questions here, the most pressing of which is what was Andrew Lincoln planning to do if Chiwetel Ejiofor answered the door instead? Mind you, given what we’ve come to learn about his character during the film, he’s probably been camped outside the front door for three days with a set of binoculars, watching her shower and waiting for the perfect opportunity to deliver his unwanted doorstep moment.

Films don’t always promote the most rigorous accounts of real life, true, but Love Actually features characters so poorly thought out that they react in a way no actual human being ever would. That’s not to mention the underlying current in Richard Curtis films – it’s fine to pursue women in a way most people would find inappropriate as long as you’ve got an English accent (see also The Boat That Rocks, which plays an attempted rape for LOLs). Thanks to Love Actually, we get to see some pretty decent actors lower themselves to a baffling and awful storyline, and it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of all films, and I’m including Hulk Hogan as Mr. Nanny in that.