Monday, June 14, 2010

Leap Year

Leap Year I can't believe this movie worked. It shouldn't have worked. It doesn't have much star appeal, any unique plot elements, or real surprises. Rottentomatoes.com hated it.

I loved it. The scenes in Ireland captured a sort of comfortable European-ness. Although really witty dialogue is obviously out of fashion, the writers of this script managed some truly lively conversations and memorable moments without doing any uncomfortable calisthenics.

I think my love for this film stems from the just-off moral tightrope the characters walk. Anna (Amy Adams) never cheats on Jeremy (Adam Scott). Declan (a scrumptious Matthew Goode) never hits on her. Jeremy seems to be an innocent victim of circumstance (eventually! Amy and Matthew did a WONDERFUL job pretending to be truly spiteful to each-other), until Anna discovers Jeremy's true character, and realizes why she has fallen in love with someone else. It made sense.

I think I was won completely over when both characters were finally willing to let go of their personality flaws in order to achieve marriage.

Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac
Gerard Depardieu handled his part brilliantly until the final scenes. His deep-set eyes and expressive shoulders carried the manly poet character clearly. Unfortunately, his death scene/scenes felt protracted and almost comical. They remained true to the nature of his final injury, though. He certainly seemed almost completely delirious.

I feel certain from the tone and overall plot that this story is mean to be a tragedy, or at least a tragic farce. I felt that had Cyrano's character been better written (better translated? I was, after all, stuck reading the subtitles due to the almost *ahem* decade since I last studied French), the romantic potential would have been almost boundless. I feel about Cyrano much as recent writers feel about Count Dracula. The romantic potential is simply unfulfilled.

This version of the film had extremely disappointing English subtitles, as if someone who didn't speak a word of French or Spanish used a computer program to translate. The words didn't quite match the meaning, and yet didn't quite catch the mood of the scenes either. The great "twenty ways to make fun of my nose" speech barely translated at all; I expected wit, or at the very least, the verbal calisthenics I could hear Mr. Depardieu reciting, but instead I got babelfish. My fault for not studying.

Anne Brochet played well the silly girl who mistakes beauty for intelligence, and although her character can't be entirely to blame for her cousin's deceit, I cannot help feeling that she should not have been so stupid, or if she were truly that naive, perhaps her cousin should have loved someone more sensible. Poor Cyrano - to die with only his panache.

The comic scenes were played with good timing, but I'm afraid the tragic scenes lacked some of the visual or auditory cues I have come to expect. I don't know if that makes it refreshing, or confusing. As an American audience member, have I been ruined for real cinema? Have I come to expect everything to be neatly canned for me? THAT's tragedy.