A Single Skip For Joy
, 30 Sep 2012
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
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Henry has problems, not just that he is the most bitter yet successful children's book author, but also he has issues with his mother, his father, he can't turn metal objects clockwise, he likes to place heavy objects on him when stressed and the only friend that he has ever had in the world has just died. His friend, was also co-author and illustrator of the successful series of books, the series of books that he is contracted to carry on writing, or face being sued for a few million dollars.
This is not a happy ever after romantic comedy, Henry is the antithesis of the great romantic hero, he has problems, and not just the lukewarm problems of the somewhat ordinary folk, real problems, which is only alluded to in the film, which I for one prefer, they don't try to explain away his problems or why Henry is the way he is. This is just who Henry is and the character doesn't really change throughout the film, you just get to understand him a bit more. Billy Crudup in the role on the misanthropic character is excellent and understated, his conveyance of grief is simple and moving. He also gives a convincing portrayal of such a complicated character as Henry.
Lucy has broken up with her thesis advisor/ boyfriend, her mother is trying to get her evicted from her apartment, she has no money, and she has just been offered the job of a lifetime, but it means one thing, working with Henry.
Mandy Moore is the love interest of Lucy, and okay it does follow the somewhat formulaic pattern of boy meets girl, boy and girl don't get on, and then do, but it brings a fresh perspective to this narrative, perhaps its the small revelations between the characters of family history, perhaps it's that these characters are not so much cookie cutter people that we see in other films, perhaps it's the direction by Justin Theroux in his début film that brings a sense of reality to the characters and the situation even with the sense of the fantastic firmly set in place.
The film is rounded off by supportive performances by Dianne Wiest, Martin Freeman and in the role of Henry's best friend and confidante throughout the film is Tom Wilkinson.
There are many reasons why I love this film, I love it for the dialogue and the simpleness of tone, where so many films can get over blown in set pieces and special effects this takes a step back and just sets the film in as few locations a possible, which gives it an air of believability that no amount CGI will ever achieve, its quite easy to see this as play as a film. I love the direction especially between Henry and Rudy, when Henry is trying to talk himself through his grief and the situation that he has got himself in with Lucy, as he is still need of the council of his friend.
It is possibly one of my favourite films, joining the ranks of Stranger than Fiction and The Apartment, because it's the only one like it.
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