Tuesday, October 11, 2011

review of 'leap year'

or, what we learn about women and their predilection to romance via the 'rom com' genre

Leap Year (2010) stars Amy Adams as Anna, a successful and driven woman living in Boston. It's February. Her current employment is as a person who makes houses on the market look desirable for potential buyers. She says that her job is to make people aware of the 'potential' of new houses. Her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott, from Parks and Recreation, Party Down) is a cardiovascular surgeon. She is very proud of him even though he constantly has to leave her at dinner and is fairly absent. They have a stable relationship and are applying to live in a very reputable apartment building. One night at dinner Jeremy gives her earrings instead of an engagement ring and then he has to go to a conference in Dublin. Anna remembers this old Irish tradition where women are allowed to ask men to marry them on February 29, so she hops a plane and decides to go do that. Of course things go awry and she has to get this handsome handsome man Declan (Matthew Goode, the babe who plays Colin Firth's boyfriend in A Single Man) to drive her there before the 29th.

This morning in the shower I was thinking about the themes in the movie. Anna's job, for instance, is indicative of the way she knows that things just seem okay. You can swan into an empty building, dress it up nice with various fabrics and ornaments, then take it all away again. Trinkets and other nice things are impermanent and thus unimportant. She is at pains to insist that her job has worth, the way she tells people that it's about showing the potential of a house, a life etc. This repetition becomes a farce and reveals that she does not actually believe in what she is selling people, that she knows her job is superficial.

There is a scene early on where Anna is talking to her friend about how stable and reliable her boyfriend is and how great their relationship is. She mentions something about how romantic movies have always led girls to believe that they should want something more mysterious or unusual or difficult, but she likes Jeremy and what they have and they seem to be 'on track'. But of course, after her crazy journeys with sexy Declan, she wants nothing more than adventure with a temperamental Irish man. I don't really like Amy Adams at all and maybe this is why I don't like Anna, but when I was contemplating this I realised that her character - the type who has 'always known' what she wants from life and her path - is just taking away one more man from the girls who already know that they want Declan types.

Another meaningful scene is during their road trip where Declan asks Anna what she would take if her house was on fire. Anna doesn't know. She legit can't think of a damn thing. When she is back in Boston and engaged to Jeremy, they are holding a party at their beautiful new apartment and she pulls the fire alarm. Jeremy hurries around getting laptops and phones, but Anna just stands there. At that moment when I was watching I just thought that I would be getting my laptop too, and wondered what the hell Anna wanted. But really this scene means that she is totally detached from that entire type of life and she wouldn't save anything, not even herself in that context. Also that she is rich enough to pay the fire department thousands of dollars for coming to their place without an actual fire scare.

So basically
-earrings and rings come in the same type of box
-women who appear to be satisfied with their job, their long term boyfriend and their life are actually not
-an Irish accent and a bit of stubble can make you forget that noise


  1. "-earrings and rings come in the same type of box"

    really good moral. laughed at that. kind of spat out some cake.