The story follows Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) over more than two decades, checking in with them every July 15th. Their turbulent friendship is fraught with flirting, feelings, fallouts and ultimately romance as the years flow around their intertwined lives.
I must reveal that I have not read the book that, by all accounts, sounds fabulous and has garnered rave reviews. I wish I had read the novel – I surely would’ve enjoyed it more than this maudlin film. Unfortunately the movie has now tainted the plot. I’ll gladly mail my copy to the first person that DM’s me on Twitter with his or her address. The book deserves a good home.
Nerds can be cute!
The lack of enjoyment I experienced had nothing to do with the lead actors. These are both talented thespians that can hold their own, even when they’re given trite dialogue. Anne Hathaway used to be referred to as “the poor man’s Julia Roberts.” She’s long ago outgrown that insulting tagline and is a beauty in her own accord. Jim Sturgess is also a handsome and engaging actor – one I’d like to see used more often. I say more Jim Sturgess, less Ashton Kutcher please!
I can only assume the real person at fault here is author/screenwriter David Nicholls. The director and the actors were obviously faithful to his vision. The only problem is that his vision sucks.
John Waters once said something to the effect that even while watching a bad movie, you can still find things to enjoy about it. I kept reminding myself of that as I clutched my seat in agony. I took a deep breath and I watched until I found that one thing. And that one thing was the gorgeous scenery. The movie was shot on location in Scotland, England and France. It was like a free travelogue – well a travelogue for the price of a matinee.
And yet, I still couldn’t get past the storyline itself. I grew angry when I realized I’d been suckered into seeing this generation’s version of Bridges of Madison County – a novel so schmaltzy and overrated that it made me want to punch someone. A trucker would’ve blushed with the swear words that formed in my brain after I made the connection.
Is it love? It sure looks like it!
One of my pet peeves when it comes to plotlines is laziness. And this film hit all the low marks. Cancer, infertility issues and a fatal accident were all devices used to show “growth” within the oft shallow characters. I’ve had the misfortune of sitting at my sister-in-laws’ bedside as she passed from cancer, as well as recently losing one of my dear friends in a fatal accident – needless to say, I have a pretty low tolerance when screenwriters resort to these kind of tearjerkers.
All in all, not my cup of tea. I’m giving it 5 instead of 6 beers due to Anne and Jim’s competent acting abilities. And that gorgeous scenery.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Dex picks up a hot girl.
Take a drink: every time the screen reads “July 15th.”
Take a drink: every time Emma looks prettier as the years progress.
Take a shot: when you think “something bad is going to happen” – because it is.
Do you think a film that takes itself so seriously is going to gift you with a goofy scene during or after the credits? It’s not.