Keira Knightley with her arms raised in Silent Night

Silent Night: Keira Knightley Combines Her Christmas and Apocalypse Movie Chops

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Keira Knightley might currently be coping with COVID-19 (don’t worry, she’s double vaccinated!), but the star is also in the midst of promoting her film Silent Night, which touches on a worldwide catastrophe that has many of the white, rich, and “elite” citizens taking pills to end their lives peacefully instead of letting the toxic air consume and kill them all.

A movie about our need to pay attention to ecological disasters right on the heels of a global pandemic is a hard pill to swallow, and yet, there’s something about Silent Night that works and captures your attention and the fear for the future that exists within us all.

Starring Knightley, Matthew Goode, Lucy Punch (who we have an interview with coming out later today), and more, the movie is about friends coming together to spend the last night of their lives with each other, but what happens when their children start to question the unknown and force their parents to grapple with their own trust in the government and the world at large.

It is a very strange movie to watch knowing that this was written and filmed prior to the pandemic, because there are moments and themes throughout the movie that almost parrot what is happening in the world today, even if it is a different issue. (Environmental versus viral disease, but still.)

Talking with Yahoo!, Knightley talked a bit about her movies that have become a staple for fans of the Pride & Prejudice actress—namely another holiday film known as Love Actually and another movie about the apocalypse called Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. When asked about why she continues to come back to the apocalypse in her films, Knightley had this to say:

“Well, I mean, it’s pretty dramatic, isn’t it? You know what else I find interesting about those two films is it’s two female writer-directors. And I feel like there’s something incredibly female about this way of looking at the apocalypse. Nobody can run, you have to sit in this moment and deal with it. Cause I feel like often, not always, but the male version of this would be that you’d be trying to fix it, you’d be trying to not die. And in both of these, you’re going like, “This is it” [laughs].

With this one in particular, I think it’s taking that kind of dark side of the maternal psyche… I was incredibly pregnant when I first read this script and I found it absolutely hilarious. There’s this extraordinary thing when you’re pregnant or where you first have a kid where, obviously you’re bringing life into the world, but you become incredibly aware of death. And you become incredibly aware of how fragile that life is and that responsibility that you have to protect that life and how easily you could lose it. I feel like this really spoke to that… But I also loved, being a parent, that you’re having your last night on Earth. Yet you still have a responsibility as a parent and you’re still stuck in your family dynamic.”

But Knightley isn’t just known for the end times. As I previously stated, she’s also known for her role as Juliet in Love Actually, a Christmas movie that has received acclaim throughout the years and turned into a Christmas favorite for many. While it wasn’t initially a hit, throughout the years it has grown into a movie that many (myself included) watch every holiday season, and Knightley has had her fair share of questions about the movie and meetings with fans because of it.

Knightley talked a bit about an encounter she had in traffic once. “You know, I did actually get stuck in traffic once [in London] and someone in the car next to me did the whole sign thing. It was quite creepy, but it was also quite [laughs]… It was a bit awkward being stuck in traffic next it. But it was also quite sweet, there was nothing [scary]”—which, okay, it is surprising that more people don’t just hold up signs to Keira Knightley.

Silent Night is now in theaters and on AMC+.

(image: RLJE films)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.