Monday, 29 February 2016

Leap Year (3½ Stars)

Call me sentimental if you must. I decided to watch this film because of today's date. After all, February 29th doesn't come around very often, does it?

"Leap Year" is a double genre film. It's a romantic comedy and a road movie. It's about Anna Brady, a successful career woman in Boston, the daughter of poor Irish immigrants. She's been dating her boyfriend Jeremy, a heart surgeon, for four years, but he's showing no signs of wanting to marry her. Some men enjoy their freedom too much. He travels to Dublin for a medical conference. Anna's father tells her about an old Irish tradition that women can propose to men on February 29th in a leap year, which is only three days away. Anna jumps on a plane to Dublin.

That's where her problems begin. First the plane is forced to land in Wales due to bad weather. Rather than wait two days for the next flight she catches a ferry to Cork, but the storm is still raging and the boat is redirected to Dingle. The only solution is to enlist the help of Declan, a local public house owner who offers to drive her to Dublin. His laid back small village mentality clashes with her big city efficiency, and they argue from the start.

Looking at the map, I have no idea how the boat ended up in Dingle of all places. How did a boat from Cardiff to Cork end up in Dingle? You can click the map to enlarge it. Anna and Declan have to struggle to make their way north-eastwards towards Dublin. As they travel the scenery becomes ever more beautiful and the comedy becomes ever more bizarre. I suspect that one of the intentions of the film was to overwhelm American viewers with the quaintness of Ireland.

As a romantic comedy, the film offers no surprises. The story follows a strict formula, and you can guess from the beginning what's going to happen. That doesn't make it a bad film. Despite my relatively low rating it's a film that I'll probably watch again, every leap year.

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