Love Actually has become one of the more beloved Christmas movies. I mean let’s be honest it rates right up there with The Grinch and Die Hard. But just like in those movies, a good plot needs a good villain. In the Grinch, you have the main man himself and in Die Hard you have Hans Gruber. But what about in Love Actually?
The Devil incarnate
Love Actually has Mia! For those who haven’t seen the film a quick update. Love Actually is a smorgasbord of several different stories cleverly interwoven together. In this particular plot, there is a married couple. Harry and Karen. They have kids, he works hard, she’s a good mum. On the face of it, it’s marital bliss. But Harry has a job and at that job a new secretary. The sultry and seductive Mia. Mia’s character is easy to dislike. She is overtly sexual and predatory in nature. She knows that Harry is a family man and makes moves on him anyway. This has led to swathes of people despising her character.
But why is she so hated?
That’s an interesting question. She isn’t the only character in the film that commits acts that aren’t particularly pleasant. Colin Firth’s character, Jamie finds his wife sleeping with his brother. While the audience feels a great deal of sympathy towards Jamie we don’t really get the hatred for his cheating partner or his brother. Perhaps it’s the screen time they are afforded? Maybe that is deliberate? I think it’s Mia’s overtly sexual nature that does it and actually, that opens up another, far more profound question.
Do we find women who enjoy sex a threat?
In another scene in the movie Mark (Andrew Lincoln) declares his love for his best friend’s girl, Juliet (Keira Knightly). This is considered by most people to be sweet and romantic. But actually, the guy tells his best friend’s wife he loves her. Why don’t we all hate him? Is it because his advances are based on “love” rather than a sexual urge? And are we just assuming that Mia just wants to “bang her boss”? Perhaps it’s the implied nature of the advances. After all, on Mark’s boards, he does state that he says what he does “without agenda”. Or maybe, it’s because of her gender? If a woman was holding up those boards to a man while his wife sat upstairs watching TV how would we feel? It’s a question worth asking yourself.
Why don’t we hate Harry more?
Well, he is Alan Rickman for starters! One of our countries most beloved actors. To be honest, most of us low-key like him when he’s playing Hans Gruber. But actually, it’s partially to do with his character. It would be easier to find him abhorrent if he was rude or callous towards Karen. (Wonderfully played by Emma Thompson). Generally, his character is warm and affectionate. He is also portrayed as a loving father and a hard worker all traits that seem pretty positive. So apart from the wandering eye, he seems like a stand-up guy.
So we are right to hate her and not him
Well, let me ask you this: Who is more at fault? Sure Mia isn’t backwards about coming forwards, but she’s not cheating on her partner is she? If he rebuked her advances and she was still laying it on then perhaps you could blame her. She likes him and he doesn’t shoot her down. A good man would. Even if he were to do it gently. So from this point on, I’m going to hate on Harry at Christmas (and while I’m at it, Hans Gruber too!)