Monday, December 27, 2010

Leap Year the movie

I have fallen in love with a movie and a movie character. Of course I love Amy Adams. I have been watching her movies so much lately I feel as if she's my new best friend. My BFF? She's always good. I love her acting. However, I am talking about her co-star "Declan O'Callaghan."

I admit I am a bit obsessive compulsive but the movie I am fascinated with is Leap Year. You might say I am addicted to it since I watched it on HBO every time it was on, then bought the DVD and have been watching it ever since. I'm getting' my money's worth out of that DVD, diddly-eye.

I have never seen Matthew Goode in a movie before this one. Never even heard of him. (In fact, when I saw this movie in the theater it didn't really impress me. Where was I? DUH.) But what I am sure of now is that his acting is absolutely amazing. I am just blow away by his portrayal of Declan O'Callaghan in Leap Year. (I joined NetFlix so I can see all his other movies.)

What makes it even more amazing is that Matthew Goode is completely submerged in the character he creates. Declan is scruffy, quiet, distant and then open with his feelings. Plus those expressive eyes and looks, and the facial expressions!?! OMG. There is just no Matthew Goode showing through the role. Declan is a real and unique person.

I assumed Goode was like other actors--playing a role and bringing a good deal of himself into it. But the character in the movie is absolutely not Matthew Goode! Now that I have seen interviews of Matthew Goode online, seeing how he looks,how he sounds, I simply cannot even imagine that Matthew Goode is underneath the guy that's Declan O'Callaghan. Goode is a master and a genius at creating a film persona. He loses himself and becomes the role. If he keeps it up and they give him some good scripts, he might just be one of the best actors ever.

It's not just good acting, it's a conjuring trick, a feat of magic. I have rarely if ever seen such a thing. For instance, I used to love Gerry Butler movies. I didn't fall in-love with his characters, I fell in love with him. In all his pictures I could still see the actor under the costume and underneath/within the role. In fact, I think he often just pays himself with a different name. Even as different as he was in 300, I still knew it was Gerry. Even when he does Irish, British or American accents instead of using his lovely Scots accent, he is still and actor in a role.

This is so not true with Matthew and Declan. Matthew is in a class by himself. A magnificent actor. I am so going to join Netflix so I can see all his movies. (I assume he is a fabulous actor in all of them.) And he's a cutie. Especially those big blue eyes.

It's still amazing for me to see Leap Year and read all the meanings I find in it (whether they are there or not or it's just me, I don't know. I'm a Gemini. We see meaning in everything even when it's not there.) I think it's absurd that critics criticized Leap Year. What the heck? The fans love it and it has developed a new following from the DVD than there was for the original movie. People are still talking and writing about it. And of course, like me, watching it again and again.

One of the things I like about the movie is technique employed similar to that used in The Sixth Sense: skipping from scene to scene obviously leaving things to the imagination as a way to advance the plot and create some mystery into the story. For example the first time I saw Leap Year on HBO, I assumed, along with other viewers,that Declan and Anna slept in the same bed in the B & B and avoided temptation. That's how it appears.

Later, it dawned on me that they DID do it, and the whole movie became much more understandable. I have written a list of 38 hintsin the movie that prove Declan and Anna, OF COURSE, made love at the B & B. I put these in a more recent blog entry. (Please send comments...even if you want to argue about it.)

Everything after that point in the movie make a huge amount of sense. Look at the eyes, the looks, and the dialog, and you'll see what I mean. (One big reason is that he's a guy. He's a guy. Duh. And she's an American girl. And he wanted to win the coin toss so that he could have the bed, and she would have to get into bed with him. And listen to the words of the song. There are numerous clues, before and after the "event."

Other things in the movie that have double meaning: At the castle, was he or wasn't he hitting on her? He was telling a legend about the original couple that came to that castle and finally consummated their love after a time of not wanting to two-time the man she was betrothed to. I think Declan was admitting how he didn't want to betray the other man in Anna's life, and how much he valued love and the consummating of it.

He also revealed his values and integrity when he said in the garden, "A father is someone you can rely on."

The story might be formula romance (like in the romance novel genre.) Except this story has a few switcheroos. In a romance it is usually the girl that takes sexual relations seriously and feels sad that the guy doesn't. In this story it's Declan that takes the love making seriously and was hurt that Anna didn't seem to take it as seriously.

Remember the scene in Dublin on the bridge? Declan was talking about his feelings (do guys only do this in romance novels and movies?) When he said, "I thought me and Kaleigh were mad for each other." Then he turns to Anna and says, "Apparently not." His face, eyes and demeanor are really saying, "I thought our love making at the B & B meant something. Did it mean anything to you?" He held himself back from speaking his mind frankly to her until he saw she was open to a relationship.

It wasn't his male ego that was hurt, it was his heart that was wounded, maybe his whole life. He didn't want Anna to "fix" him, he just wanted a sign from her that she was becoming a real person, willing to really value things in life like he did, seek true love instead of just romance, willing to be seek something other than material riches.

Diddly-eye ( i.e., dance your way along in life in foolishness? No one is sure what this means. It could be a reference about her way of making plans and being in control of things. In several instances he seems to mean that.) I believe he wanted a sign from her that she was something beyond shallow. He was waiting for an indication from her that she was willing to become sincere, genuine and caring. If she didn't show that, he didn't really want her. That's one reason he walked away when Jeremy proposed to her. She appeared to be still attracted to that big ring and a life of security with a man that she didn't love. Materialistic and a high society life style. He probably felt he couldn't offer her that type of life and wealth.

Read his facial expressions. Remember the scene when Declan's patrons/friends toss in extra money to save the pub from repossession? Declan puts his head down and give a half smile and shakes his head. This, to me, indicates that he was pleased and surprised to see people loved him and he's getting something he wants and needs. (His self-esteem might have been damaged when Kaleigh left him?) So when Anna is speaking to him in the pub near the last scene, and he lowers his head, gives that half smile, and shakes his head, it means the same. Not, "no, I don't want you" or "No, it's too little too late." It means, "I don't believe this. She loves me and I'm getting what I want." When she came back to him with a new appreciation of what life in Ireland with him, it was the sign he had been waiting for that she was ready to be a real person and live a life other than diddly-eyeing. He could then take strong positive action and move forward confidently.

The story is told in the facial expressions. And the key to the story is the recurring themes. The screenplay is great, the acting and direction are great.
Formula romance is pure fantasy, but Leap Year, while fun and funny, has serious,complex, and touching aspects that goes way beyond typical romance. It's a shame that romantic comedy isn't taken very seriously by critics and many viewers (they won't even look at them, dismiss them as "chick flicks." But Leap Year is a good movie not just a good chick flick romantic comedy. The caliber of Amy Adams and Matthew Goode lift this movie way beyond where it could have gone with two other actors.

Oh, another thing I like about this movie, it keeps changing or I notice more every time I see it. I noticed that Anna was the one approaching Declan. I am sure he thought she was a control-freak and was avoiding that. But she leaned into the kiss at the dinner table. She was the one approaching him to talk about personal things like on the bridge asking him about "chancers & cheaters." She was the one that stood in his face and pushed her body up against him on the beach at the wedding and told him what a lovely, lovely lion he was and tried to kiss him (even tho she was drink and puked. She was the one moving towards him and not being "sincere" about it. He was the one disappointed and waiting for her to grow up and wake up and admit she wanted him. So she came back to Ireland and "proposed" to him. It is the reverse of a typical romance where the guy is taking the girl for granted, coming on to her yet keeping his distance and the girl is the one who wants a more serious relationship and is hurting until it unfolds. In this switcheroo it's the guy in that role. Hmmm, clever.

In other words, Leap Year is worth seeing. Do it! And now that I have studied the movie to death, it's time to write my own romance novel. I have to do that while I am single because I plan on getting a new true love one of these days even if he's an old geeZER.

I have found a couple of downsides to watching good romantic comedies: You fall in love with a guy young enough to be your son, and find out again that the man you want doesn't really exist. (SIGH)

Okay, I gotta stop writing for tonight and watch a little Leap Year before bedtime. Declan is whispering in my ear, "Dream a little dream of me..."


Anonymous said...

I think I have found someone who loves this movie as much as I do!!! I have never considered that they "consummated their love" at the B&B though!! I would love for you to post the 35 points that you think show that it happened!! Matter Goode is extremely good looking! It keeps me watching this movie over and over!! Can't wait for you to post!

Sandy Schairer said...

I don't particularly like Matthew Goode, tho is acting is amazing. But I have fallen in-love with Declan.

Heidi said...

Fantastic post. I totally agree on so many points but the jury's still out on the B & B thing LOL. Love, LOVE the movie. Love, LOVE< LOVE Declan too - sigh :)))) Off to read your 38 points now! Cheers Heidi

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE this film, ive seen it over 50 times and i find it hilariously funny eveytime i watch it!!! Declan O'Callaghan has got to be one of the most sweetest, down to earth and most complez characters i have ever come across in a film, i think deep down he is still hurting from his split with Kaleigh but slowly he grows to love Anna and she 'heals' him again and gives him the power to love, which i think is an incredibly sweet sentiment. I agree with you when you say he thinks she is shallow, for example when they are walking towards the castle and he talks to her about shopping, he asks her why she shops and what she does for a living, like he is trying to find out whether she is more in-depth than she comes across.
I would love to read the 38 points! Please post! X