Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leap Year *

Director: Anand Tucker
Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode
Adam Scott, John Lithgow, Kaitlin Olson

Why are current romantic comedies so chauvinist? Even if they pretend to be about strong, independent women who take the reins of their lives in the face of adversity (which usually comes in the shape of a charming, detestable and often sexy man who they inevitably fall for), the truth is that they serve only as vessels of pent up anger and extreme gender polarization.
In Leap Year, Amy Adams plays Anna, the control freak interior designer with an agenda: marry her boyfriend Jeremy (Scott).
When he presents her with a small jewelry box, before he parts on a business trip, she is sure he's finally proposing; but when the contents of the box reveal to be earrings, Anna takes charge.
She decides she will travel to Dublin and propose to him herself! After all an old Irish tradition establishes that it's acceptable for women to propose to men on February 29th.
So, not only is her empowerment limited by an ancient tradition that happens only once every four years (like presidential elections), it also forces her to act out of pure despair and surrender her self control to irrational behavior.
For starters, you never believe that someone like Anna would take on such an insane enterprise (especially when she's supposed to be on the hunt for a new upscale apartment) but also Amy Adams is just too likable for us to think she's a total bitch like the screenplay suggests.
Then again she obviously isn't flying to Ireland just to be with her boyfriend, she also is meant to meet, hate and then fall for an obnoxious local.
This time it's Declan (Goode) a pub owner who's a bit rough around the edges but has a killer smile and sensitive eyes that capture Anna's heart despite her original mission.
All along of course, it's the woman who seems indecisive, it's Anna who thinks of cheating and flirts with a handsome stranger while her boyfriend cures hearts (he's a cardiologist).
It's only when the movie's ready to give Anna a new male reason to live, that Jeremy's ugly nature begins to surface, but only when the movie's sure Anna will now have a new male figure to torment.
The film gives her a facile Freudian excuse by showing us a glimpse of her dad (Lithgow): an unstable, irresponsible man who made his daughter fear spontaneity and poverty; but when the movie suggests that Anna's materialism in a way will come bite her in the ass, you can't help but realize there's really no way this woman will be able to please this plot.


Castor said...

I will be watching this only so I can tear into it in my review despite my love for Amy Adams... But yes, most of today's romantic comedies are incredibly chauvinist under some false pretense of femininity. There is nothing wrong with the fact that a female protagonist needs a male companion (there would be no movie otherwise) but why is it that she has to be portrayed as dysfunctional because he is not with her. Why have her go through all sort of incongruous and unrealistic hurdles while having lost every ounce of common sense? These fluffy, obnoxious rom-coms are really getting to me :(

Anonymous said...

I saw something entirely different in the movie. There were a lot of formula romance elements true but so much more meaningful than that. Most romances are a woman falling for a guy and then wishing and waiting for him to grow up and appreciate life/love. This one the guy is thr sensitive, serious type who's waiting for a sign that the girl is anything more than shallow. Maybe Anna wasn't a strong empowered woman (at first) but at least the guy in this romance wasn't a jerk as usual. And the movie was worth watching just to see Matthew Goode's amazing acting ability.

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Seems to be nice, I love romantic comedies even, thanks for share, I will look for this one.