In Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China, it was known that some children had been so heavily brainwashed by state propaganda that they betrayed their own parents to the secret police as subversives. The children would actually feel self-worth and virtue as their parents were dragged away to the gulag for thought crimes against the ruling party. Anyway, where were we… ah yes, Richard Curtis.
The celebrated British filmmaker, and master of the whimsical rom-com, is famous for writing and/or directing movies like Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Notting Hill.
He recently appeared at the Cheltenham Literary Festival where he was interviewed by his own daughter, Scarlett. She criticized her father over the lack of people of color in Notting Hill, the inappropriate behavior of bosses in several of his movies, and lines that made negative comments about women’s bodies.
Scarlett Curtis was born in the summer of 1995. The most recent of the movies referenced – Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason – came out 20 years ago when she was nine.
Like all metropolitan bourgeoisie, terrified that the mob will come for them next, he sniveled:
“I came from a very un-diverse school and a bunch of university friends. [With] ‘Notting Hill,’ I think that I hung on to the diversity issue, to the feeling that I wouldn’t know how to write those parts. And I think I was just sort of stupid and wrong about that. I feel as though me, my casting director, my producers just didn’t think about it, just didn’t look outwards enough.”
When taking him to task over Love Actually, she accused him of fat shaming the Natalie character, played by Martine McCutcheon, and he responded:
“I remember how shocked I was like five years ago when Scarlett said to me, ‘You can never use the word ‘fat’ again. And wow, [she was] right. I think I was behind the curve, and those jokes aren’t any longer funny, so I don’t feel I was malicious at the time, but I think I was unobservant and not as clever as I should have been.”
Even the sensitive inclusion of a gay romance in the early 1990s in Four Weddings was not enough for his daughter. It’s not enough, as that character is one who ends up dead. Scarlett has previous. Despite using his name, she once referred to her famous great-great-grandfather Sigmund Freud “sexist and horrible”.
Remember when we thought Millennials were the worst thing that could happen to humanity? Before we met Gen-Z?
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