Romance/Drama, 107 Minutes, 2011
It’s a high concept kissy-face movie! With the ups and the downs, and the highs and the lows, and the will-theys and the won’t-theys! There’s smoochin’ as well, lots of it, but this is a serious kissy-face movie, not a laughy kissy-face movie, so there’s some sad stuff too.
We first meet the adorable, serious Emma (Anne Hathaway [IMDB]) and the flippant, impulsive Dexter (Jim Sturgess [IMDB]) as they meet each other at their university graduation. The high concept is that we then leap forward and revisit them on that day each year, for twenty years. Sometimes there’s kissy-face (but often not with each other). Sometimes there’s sad stuff (life does happen to you, after all). Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t.
The obvious issue is that each of these actors is in their early thirties. Their advanced aging is done almost exclusively through wardrobe changes. It’s not completely unsuccessful, but some additional effort might have sold the concept better. There are other cues, such as the evolution of cell-phones, but nothing that dates the movie too explicitly.
Of course the point here isn’t selling the passage of time, but the evolution of the relationship. On that score the film fares far better. It’s a romance, so its far from a spoiler to reveal that, yes, these two end up together. The road to get them there has many detours and cul-de-sacs; at least a few of which should be familiar to most people.
Both Hathaway and Sturgess are likeable actors and the script offers them depth that’s rare in most romances. Both characters are flawed, to a greater or lesser extent. Both are clearly better together than apart. There’s good chemistry between them; an honest warmth that goes deeper than the cliché of opposites attracting.
There are issues. Hathaway is an amazing actress, but one who has trouble maintaining an accent, it seems. Some may also find the pacing slow and others may be outraged at the ending. It kept my attention well enough, and I usually don’t go in for those kissy-face stories. Fans of the genre may well find much more to like.