'Love Actually' creator responds to criticism over 'fat-shaming' jokes in movie

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By stefan armitage

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As we start to really get into the holiday season, most nights are now spent drinking hot cocoa, eating far too much chocolate, and re-watching some of our favorite Christmas movies.

From Home Alone to Jingle All The Way to Love Actually, it really is the classics that make us feel all warm and fuzzy during the festive period.

However, not everybody is too pleased upon rewatching some of these family favorites.

In fact, Love Actually is one movie that has repeatedly found itself facing scrutiny from modern viewers. Richard Curtis' 2003 romantic comedy tells the story of how a number of Londoners attempt to find love while having their lives intertwined with one another.

But, seeing as the movie was released two decades ago, it is unsurprising that it features some jokes and storylines that just wouldn't fly today -- especially in a warm-hearted Christmas movie.

For example, the movie has been branded "fatphobic" over the multiple jokes aimed at Martine McCutcheon's character, Natalie - whose body is commented on throughout the movie. Recalling the reason her last boyfriend broke up with her, she says: "Nobody wants a girlfriend with thighs the size of tree trunks."

Elsewhere in the movie, she's referred to as "the chubby girl", nicknamed "Plumpy", and described as having a "sizeable a**e and huge thighs".

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Martine McCutcheon, Hugh Grant, and Keira Knightley at the Love Actually premiere. Credit: Dave Benett / Getty

Well, it turns out Curtis' treatment of female characters is something that also didn't go unnoticed by his own daughter, Scarlett.

In an interview for The Times, the father and daughter sat down to discuss some of the filmmaker's biggest movies - such as Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Notting Hill.

During the candid chat, Scarlett told her father: "In the last few years, there has been a growing criticism around the ways your films treated women and people of color."

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Richard Curtis and his daughter Scarlett Curtis. Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Stringer / Getty

As well as the aforementioned treatment of the character of Natalie, Scarlett also highlighted the "multiple accounts of inappropriate boss behavior in Love Actually, including the prime minister, how in general the women are visions of unattainable loveliness, and a noticeable lack of people of color in a film called Notting Hill — one of the birthplaces of the British black civil rights movement."

But the filmmaker didn't shy away from his daughter's harsh words, recalling a moment five years prior when she called him out about using the word "fat" in his work.

"I remember how shocked I was five years ago when Scarlett said to me, 'You can never use the word "fat" again,'" Curtis said. "Wow, you were right. In my generation calling someone chubby [was funny] — in Love Actually there were jokes about that. Those jokes aren't any longer funny."

Responding to the lack of diversity in his movies, Curtis admitted: "I wish I'd been ahead of the curve."

"I think because I came from a very undiverse school and bunch of university friends, I think that I hung on to the feeling that I wouldn't know how to write those parts," he added. "I think I was just stupid and wrong about that. I felt as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn't look outwards."

Featured image credit: Kate Green / Stringer / Getty

'Love Actually' creator responds to criticism over 'fat-shaming' jokes in movie

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

As we start to really get into the holiday season, most nights are now spent drinking hot cocoa, eating far too much chocolate, and re-watching some of our favorite Christmas movies.

From Home Alone to Jingle All The Way to Love Actually, it really is the classics that make us feel all warm and fuzzy during the festive period.

However, not everybody is too pleased upon rewatching some of these family favorites.

In fact, Love Actually is one movie that has repeatedly found itself facing scrutiny from modern viewers. Richard Curtis' 2003 romantic comedy tells the story of how a number of Londoners attempt to find love while having their lives intertwined with one another.

But, seeing as the movie was released two decades ago, it is unsurprising that it features some jokes and storylines that just wouldn't fly today -- especially in a warm-hearted Christmas movie.

For example, the movie has been branded "fatphobic" over the multiple jokes aimed at Martine McCutcheon's character, Natalie - whose body is commented on throughout the movie. Recalling the reason her last boyfriend broke up with her, she says: "Nobody wants a girlfriend with thighs the size of tree trunks."

Elsewhere in the movie, she's referred to as "the chubby girl", nicknamed "Plumpy", and described as having a "sizeable a**e and huge thighs".

size-full wp-image-1263239951
Martine McCutcheon, Hugh Grant, and Keira Knightley at the Love Actually premiere. Credit: Dave Benett / Getty

Well, it turns out Curtis' treatment of female characters is something that also didn't go unnoticed by his own daughter, Scarlett.

In an interview for The Times, the father and daughter sat down to discuss some of the filmmaker's biggest movies - such as Love Actually, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Notting Hill.

During the candid chat, Scarlett told her father: "In the last few years, there has been a growing criticism around the ways your films treated women and people of color."

size-full wp-image-1263239993
Richard Curtis and his daughter Scarlett Curtis. Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Stringer / Getty

As well as the aforementioned treatment of the character of Natalie, Scarlett also highlighted the "multiple accounts of inappropriate boss behavior in Love Actually, including the prime minister, how in general the women are visions of unattainable loveliness, and a noticeable lack of people of color in a film called Notting Hill — one of the birthplaces of the British black civil rights movement."

But the filmmaker didn't shy away from his daughter's harsh words, recalling a moment five years prior when she called him out about using the word "fat" in his work.

"I remember how shocked I was five years ago when Scarlett said to me, 'You can never use the word "fat" again,'" Curtis said. "Wow, you were right. In my generation calling someone chubby [was funny] — in Love Actually there were jokes about that. Those jokes aren't any longer funny."

Responding to the lack of diversity in his movies, Curtis admitted: "I wish I'd been ahead of the curve."

"I think because I came from a very undiverse school and bunch of university friends, I think that I hung on to the feeling that I wouldn't know how to write those parts," he added. "I think I was just stupid and wrong about that. I felt as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn't look outwards."

Featured image credit: Kate Green / Stringer / Getty