It's that time of year for fans to re-watch their favorite classic holiday movie, such as Love Actually, and in some cases, discover shocking new things about it. One Twitter user this shared something alarming about actors Keira Knightley and Thomas Brodie-Sangster — they are only five years apart in age. The realization upended Christmas for some viewers.
Love Actually follows a big ensemble cast living out different kinds of love stories, some of which intertwine in ways. Knightley plays Juliet, a newlywed who has a complicated relationship with her new husband's best man, Mark (Andrew Lincoln). Meanwhile, in a nearly unrelated story, Brodie-Sangster plays Sam, a young boy whose mother has recently passed away, and who will now be raised by his stepfather, Daniel (Liam Neeson).
Juliet's story follows her slowly learning that Mark loves her, and processing her own feelings about him, while still revelling in her new marriage. Sam's story is about his crush on one of his classmates at school, and David's attempts to connect with him by coaching him through this first romantic courtship.
Shockingly, the performers behind this new bride and innocent schoolboy were not so far apart in age. At the time of filming, Knightley was around 18 years old, while Brodie-Sangster was around 13. They both may have been a little off from the ages of the characters they were playing on-screen, but the reality had some fans horrified.
Writer Madeleine Lloyd-Jones pointed out the age gap in a now-viral tweet, which has over 109,000 likes and nearly 20,000 retweets. In an accompanying blog post, she broke down more problems with the film — including Mark's "borderline stalking" behavior, which is portrayed as romantic in the film.
Compounding the creepiness for some was the fact that Lincoln was 30 years old while playing Mark. On the other hand, this is far from the only big age gap between actors who are supposed to be peers on-screen. Lloyd-Jones' followers even shared some more in the replies.
It’s true!! Holy crap! pic.twitter.com/n2PwkO63km— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) December 14, 2019
A big one was Brodie-Sangster's more famous role on Game of Thrones, where he played the enigmatic Jojen Reed. While he was helping Bran trek north to find the Three-Eyed Raven, Ser Gregor Clegane (Hafthor Bjornsson) was beheading enemies in southern Westeros. It turns out that Bjornsson is only about a year and a half older than Brodie-Sangster.
To many fans, however, these were all nothing more than neat behind-the-scenes facts that did not distract from the movies themselves. Some argued that it was a testament to the actors, in some ways, that their age differences were so hard to catch. Either way, it did not take away from the holiday magic of movies like Love Actually.