For “Love, Actually” fans: A detailed network analysis
I like Love, Actually, and I found this analysis by Walt Hickey and Gus Wezerek, published in McClatchy, quite interesting. It begins:
“Love Actually,” the 2003 film that launched a generation of cinematic hottakes [and do click that link: very interesting commentary on the move – LG], is the story of nine interconnected relationships in the weeks ahead of Christmas in the United Kingdom. They’re united not just in their relationships but also by Heathrow Airport, a third space that bookends the film and is used by lowly tourists and prime ministers alike. It has a plotline for every moment in your relationship, from first crush to the grave, and the story covers all the holiday season staples: the Christmas party, the school pageant, the holiday songs. Plus, the cast is great, and the performances are solid — there’s a lot to like, actually. Yet by the time the credits roll, you may not have learned much about the titular emotion.1
To get to the bottom of this intricately structured Christmas classic, we watched the film and ruthlessly coded scenes — how long they were, who was in them, who spoke to whom — and pulled a big pile of box office data to figure out what happened to all of these nice, attractive actors after they wrapped up this movie that makes us all cry. Then we diagramed all of that using network analysis strategies recently applied to “Hamlet” and “Les Misérables” — you know, “Love Actually’s” literary equals — to find the most important character at the core of the film. (It’s not the manic pixie dream Mr. Bean played by Rowan Atkinson.)
The film has launched careers. Thomas Brodie-Sangster — who played Sam, the precocious kid who falls for the girl with the same name as his recently deceased mother — has gone on to appear as a regular character on “Game of Thrones” and as a lead in the ongoing Maze Runner franchise. Still, it’s the actor who played Sammo’s step-father whose post-“Love Actually” movies have made the most money. Liam Neeson’s parenting in the movie was questionable — encouraging a child to sprint through security toward an airplane post-9/11 is never good fatherhood — but Neeson’s later attempts at parenting were even worse, oftentimes resulting in the child being Taken. That awful parenting, though, led to an outstanding and lucrative franchise. . .
Charts and network graphs at the link. Worth reading if you’ve seen the movie.