Caroline Goldstein
December 17, 2019 7:56 am

We thought we knew everything about Love Actually, the 2003 holiday rom-com featuring Hugh Grant, the British Prime Minister (oh, if only), dancing around 10 Downing Street to the Pointer Sisters. But this week, our lives were turned upside down. Our confidence was shattered. We were, in a word, shook. On that day, British actor Madeleine Lloyd-Jones tweeted that Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played the film’s resident small child, and Keira Knightley, who played a newlywed, are only five years apart in real life. Excuse me. What?

If you, unlike us, have not seen Love Actually about 347 times, here’s a reminder. Brodie-Sangster plays Sam, an elementary-school-aged boy who tries to win the heart of an American girl with pipes to rival Mariah Carey. Knightley plays Juliet, a recently married woman whose husband’s best friend is unhealthily obsessed with her. These characters are in very different places in their lives. But the actors? Maybe not so much.

“Yearly reminder that there is only a five-year age gap between Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Keira Knightley in Love Actually,” Lloyd-Jones tweeted.

She also posted a side-by-side picture of the two actors to highlight just how absurd this fact is. Brodie-Sangster looks very much like a 10-year-old, and Knightley looks very much like a person who could conceivably be married to a then-26-year-old Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played her husband. But in reality, Brodie-Sangster was 13 when Love Actually was filmed, and Knightley was 18.

We were not the only people on the internet who were shocked by this revelation.

This discovery makes the film’s other age gaps clearer, too, which casts a few of the romances in an unnerving light. One person commented that at the time of filming, Colin Firth was 16 years older than Lucia Moniz, who played Aurelia. Grant was 16 years older than Martine McCutcheon, who played Natalie. And Andrew Lincoln was 12 years older than Knightley.

Even more unnerving than those age differences, though, are the obvious power imbalances here. Aurelia was a housekeeper, and Firth’s character was her employer. Natalie was a junior staffer at 10 Downing Street, and Grant played the PM who pursued her. Shouldn’t we be talking about that?

Anyway, sorry to ruin your holidays. Maybe give Let It Snow a shot?

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