There are two facts that have prompted me to post this review. The first being that 2012 is a leap year and I thought it perfectly appropriate to share my review on this film, and the second is that Valentine’s Day is on the horizon which means that stores and movie theaters alike will be hawking all sorts of romantic fluff. Leap Year fits that latter description like a glove.
Anna Brady has little trouble accomplishing what she wants. She has the perfect job staging apartments for perspective buyers – especially those who just are a bit reluctant and cannot see the potential in a place long on the market and the perfect boyfriend. After four years together, Anna (Amy Adams) and boyfriend Jeremy (Scott) are finally taking a step towards achieving their dreams by applying to move into one of Boston’s most prestigious apartment complexes. Planning dinner to celebrate, Anna has the promise of another surprise when a girlfriend sees Jeremy leaving a high-end jewelry store: she is about to become engaged! Only instead of a diamond ring… the gift is a pair diamond earrings! A cardiologist by profession, Jeremy is called back to the hospital leaving Anna disappointed and alone with her thoughts… which eventually turn to the long-standing Irish tradition when every four years on Leap Day, a woman can propose to her boyfriend. Since Jeremy has a convention in Ireland that overlaps the famed day, Anna decides to hop a plane and pop the question. Had she known the exhausting trials she’d be forced to experience in getting to Dublin, Anna likely wouldn’t have bothered with such a scheme. To add insult to injury in order to accomplish her feat of arriving by said day, she must rely upon a local Wales bar owner named Declan (Matthew Goode) in order to make her final destination. Needless to say, their journey is anything but a simple road trip.
In a nutshell that’s the basic premise of this romantic comedy -- seems vaguely familiar, right? There have been dozens of titles nearly the same as this (all that is ever different are the faces). Even still, such movies never cease to draw in certain audiences (myself included). Many in this genre share a common thread thanks to overused gags that are meant to be funny but rarely end up that – movies that can pull that feat off while still managing to contain variations of their own are unique. It might not be clever but Leap Year is a funny, delightful Irish piece of filming projecting more than just a sweet story.
From the opening, smart-style credits something sparkles about this. Perhaps its most impressive achievement is the gorgeous, green rolling scenery, some of which was shot on location in Ireland. (These sequences alone make for a fantastic backdrop.) Certainly they are lots better than the hustle, bustle of the busy streets of NYC. It was, plainly put: breathtaking. Setting the characters smack dab in the middle of such surroundings makes the movie pretty to look at, while being a nice balance of scenic awe and character-driven narrative, and most particularly I enjoyed seeing Declan and Anna trudge up the hill to the ruins of a castle – regardless of the sappy accompanying story having been oft told.
Amy Adams brings a bit of brilliance to any role she embodies. She just lights up the screen, no matter the character. Anna may be one of her less challenging personifications but because of Amy’s acting, the character is interesting. I “like” Matthew Goode, however, I’m not entirely certain his “rough” appearance was completely called for or at least in some of the areas they used his “unpolished” manners. I’ll concede, they wanted someone completely different than Jeremy… still some mannerisms were just a little too ridiculous. These instances are few and far between, so nothing of any consequence ever really becomes so annoying that we begin instead rooting for Anna to end up with a different Prince Charming (*gasp* perish that thought!). The characters can be identified with on certain levels, even when they seem too perfected or too “Hollywood-ish,” something remains endearing about them. It always helps when there are sparks between the leading man and lady – something that unfolds nicely in Leap Year.
Sometimes, the dialogue in movies spurs conversations about “awkward” moments and sometimes the conversation just doesn’t seem to “fit” the context of scenes. This is true to some extent in Leap Year, but then that is… life. It isn’t always smooth sailing or filled with witty dialogue – it is “messy,” or can be depending on your situation. Moments of absurdity do “intrude” -- such as a wedding where the bride earns a “souvenir” from a shoe (it had been sort of a neat scene in a sentimental way). Later on, another adorable scene happens with Anna’s proposal; it’s so cute (right down to the chicken reference) and the reply just as sweet. The sequence that takes Anne and Declan into the country is likewise, nicely done. This film stands out as a lovely alternative to the normal Hollywood filth and doesn’t require you to pretend you never saw it, because it was just that bad. Instead it reminds us that once in a while something special may come into our lives that may change the happy medium of “comfortable” when its least expected – even if it is only in the loosest sense of the principal.
- Review: Monte Carlo
- Review: Letters to Juliet
- Review: Love, Wedding, Marriage
- Leap Year (Ruth's review)
(Leap Year is rated PG because: profanity includes one exclamation of “Jesus!” plus h*ll and sh*t. Declan sees Anna through a sheer shower curtain. There is some mild “violence” when Declan defends Anna and punches some drifters. Anna becomes drunk [and physically sick], Declan is constantly drinking.)