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“Love Actually” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” Term Paper


The topic of choice picked is types of love. There are different types of love according to Eddy (28). Sociology acknowledges these types. The essay will use two films, Love Actually and Mrs. Doubtfire to prove that indeed there are different types of love. Love Actually, as the name suggests, is a romantic film. It highlights several love relationships and in so doing, it also highlights the different types of love. On the other hand, Mrs. Doubtfire is a comedy that revolves around relationships that formed among family members. The movie also highlights the relationships that are formed between family members and outsiders. The two films were chosen because they bring in different aspects of love, which is the main topic of the essay. The essay will also apply the films in the analysis of those types of love that will be mentioned later on.

Outline of the topic

As mentioned, there are different types of love. Sternberg and Weis (7) explain that the most common types of love are the platonic love, romantic love, agape love, and storge. Platonic love is defined as a love that has no romantic feelings attached to it. The love between two very good friends is considered platonic love. Platonic love has more often been interchanged with a less known philia type of love. However, as Eddy (29) explains, the two are very different.

Whereas platonic love involves loving a person with no type of romantic feelings associated with that love, philia love involves loving a person one has shared experiences with. For example, when two people meet on a tourism adventure and realize they have the same things in common, the probability of them becoming friends is very high. Similarly, when one watches television, he or she is likely to pick the characters they love from the movies shown. They have never met any of these characters, but they love them because they feel like they have shared experiences with them.

Romantic love has been described as the type of love that is strongly associated with sexual contact and physical attraction. Sternberg and Weis (8) reveal that there have been several debates on the importance of sex in a romantic relationship. However, one thing that is very clear is the importance of physical and emotional attraction between the romantic people in the relationship. Halwani (20) also reveals that romantic love can turn into other small types of love, for example pragma. Pragma is love that has developed over a long period of time. Romantic love changes to pragma if the couple involved gets married. They have time to learn more about each other through their marriage; if their love endures, then what they experience is pragma.

Eddy (29) asserts that agape love is the love for God. This is common among religious individuals. The scholar explains that religious individuals create a personal relationship with God that has similar characteristics to romantic love, but without the sexual contact. The scholar explains that agape love can at times appear to be fearful due to the amount of respect that is attributed to God. On the other hand, storge is the love of family. Individuals are normally very loyal to their family members. Even when family members disappoint the individual, he or she will still care for them. This type of love is very different from the rest because it is bounded by blood.

These are just the major types of love that are currently recognized by a majority of sociology scholars. However, there are other types of love that either lead to, or are a result of the major types of love already discussed. Self-respect, also referred to as philautia has been acknowledged by some as a type of love. Other scholars argue that it is a result of a combination of the other types of love already discussed. It is important for an individual to love himself or herself first before they can form other love relationships. In addition to philautia, there is also ludus. Halwani (21) explains that ludus is flirting affection. It is the type of affection that happens quickly, might have a form of reciprocation or not and never lasts. These, together with pragma and philia are considered the results of shared love between two or more people, regardless of whether the love was romantic or not.

How films illustrate the topic

As mentioned, two films will be used to explain the discussed types of love. In addition, the two films will prove that the types of love mentioned exist. Love Actually is a film about different people and the relationships they have formed. The first type of relationship depicted in the movie is storge, or family love. Hugh Grant, who acts as David, states that he gets happily nostalgic when he remembers the Heathrow Airport where loved ones wait to greet their family members who have just flown back home.

According to David, this type of love is uncomplicated. Eddy (31) agrees with this premise and argues that storge is the most natural form of love in the world, for human beings. This is why it becomes shocking when children denounce their parents, or parents mistreat their children. They are all expected to tolerate; above all, they should love each other unconditionally. It suffices to mention that the same scene depicts the existence of ‘brotherly love’, or platonic love. Platonic love is love between friends and Grant thinks of how wonderful it must feel to have one’s friends wait for him or her at the airport with joy in their hearts.

Love Actually also shows the presence of romantic love. Juliet and Peter are a married couple and there is a scene that even shows their lovely wedding. The film shows that romantic love is disastrous through the relationship between Juliet and Peter. Peter’s best friend falls in love with Juliet and this complicates the relationship between the three characters. Sternberg and Weis (7) assert that romantic love has been proven to the hardest love of all. It is mired with heartbreak and disappointment.

The film also highlights agape love through the introduction of a Christmas theme. The characters, and their families, go to the church and other social events that urge people to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is interesting to note that some relationships are formed in that ‘Christmas spirit’. John and Judy, two characters who are sexually involved in porn movies, officially start dating during the Christmas pageant. Similarly, David and Natalie share their first kiss during the Christmas play. It suffices to mention that other types of love bud during the Christmas events. For example the relationship between Sarah and her brother Michael is highlighted on Christmas Eve when she goes to see him in a mental institution.

The second film picked was Mrs. Doubtfire, a film about a man who pretends to be a woman in order to be a part of his children’ lives. Whereas the film is purely comical, it highlights some of the different types of love that have been discussed. The first love displayed is storge love, the love of family. Daniel Hillard, who acts as the father of three children, is irresponsible, but still loves his children dearly. He gives them what they want and this leads to a strained relationship between him and his wife. His wife decides to divorce him, and takes custody of their three children. However, the love that he has for his children does not let him agree to be limited in interacting with them. He decides to be ridiculous just so that he can be with them.

It is interesting to note that the children in the movie were at first not impressed with Mrs. Doubtfire. They did everything that they could to frustrate her. This heavily supports the premise that family members support each other no matter what comes their way. When one child started treating Mrs. Doubtfire with respect, the rest also followed suit.

In addition, the same film also brings out pragma. Hillard and his wife are sharing pragma and not romantic love. They have been married for a long time, and their lobe has developed. The major part of the mobile, their love is strained, but they remember the challenges and difficulties they have gone through and come back together. Eddy (28) reveals that pragma that is strained is usually relieved by shared memories, experiences, and children. However, through the movie, one learns that forgiveness, and asking for forgiveness is a major part of resolving romantic love gone sour.

Mrs. Doubtfire also highlights platonic love. This is the love that blossoms between Mrs. Doubtfire and Miranda, Hillard’s wife. Indeed, it is true that Mrs. Doubtfire was actually Hillard. However, Miranda did not know this and thought that she was conversing, and sharing experiences with a friend. To Miranda, the relationship was purely platonic as she did not have any romantic feelings for Mrs. Doubtfire. Additionally, there was no sexual contact between the two until when Mrs. Doubtfire revealed who ‘she’ really was.


In conclusion, there are various types of love. The most common are platonic love, romantic love, agape love and family love. It is, however, important to note that there are some other smaller types of love that arise from the four mentioned types. Platonic love is the love shared between friends and has no romantic or sexual ties. On the other hand, romantic love has sexual ties and depends, to a point, on physical attraction. Agape love is the love and fear or God and religious issues while family love is the unconditional love shared between family members and people who treat each other as family. Two films can be used to show the existence of these, and other, types of love. Mrs. Doubtfire, a family about a man who does everything he can not to lose his family and Love Actually, which shows the different types of love that different people experience at certain points in the lives.

Works Cited

Eddy, Faye O. A Harold Kind of Love. New York, NY: Xulon, 2010. Print.

Halwani, Raja. Philosophy of Love, Sex and Marriage: An Introduction. New York, NY: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Sternberg, Robert J., and Weis Karin. The New Psychology of Love. Binghamton, NY: Yale University Press, 2006. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 1). "Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/love-actually-and-mrs-doubtfire/

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"Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire." IvyPanda, 1 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/love-actually-and-mrs-doubtfire/.

1. IvyPanda. "Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/love-actually-and-mrs-doubtfire/.


IvyPanda. "Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/love-actually-and-mrs-doubtfire/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/love-actually-and-mrs-doubtfire/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"Love Actually" and "Mrs. Doubtfire"'. 1 July.

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