Making the Grades
After a four-year relationship, Anna (Amy Adams) and her boyfriend Jeremy (Adam Scott) are buying an apartment together in an exclusive, upscale neighborhood. But what Anna really wants, in addition to the real estate, is a marriage proposal. So after Jeremy gives her diamond earrings instead of an engagement ring, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Booking a flight to Ireland where he is attending a medical conference, she plans to put into play an ancient Irish tradition that allows women to propose on February 29th of any Leap Year.
Anna is a house stager who organizes her life with the same precision she employs when preparing an apartment to sell. When her trip to Dublin is interrupted by a fierce storm that forces her to make a detour to a tiny coastal hamlet, she is not about to be undone. Pulling her expensive luggage behind her, she sets out in a pair of ridiculously high heels for the country’s capital.
However, the laid back but superstitious Irishmen she meets in a village pub, including the reticent bar owner Declan (Matthew Goode), are more amused than impressed by her determination. When she bursts through the door of their establishment looking for a ride to the big city, she is met with bemused smiles instead of the kind of hop to it action she is hoping for. Finally agreeing to give her a lift (for financial reasons), Declan loads up the impatient redhead and heads for Dublin.
As to be expected the trip is fraught with disasters and setbacks. But compared to the clinical relationship Anna shares with her boyfriend, even the traveling companions’ arguments seem charming. (The most endearing comment Anna makes about Jeremy is that he’s a cardiologist.)
This movie scores positive points for families for what it doesn’t include as much as what it does. Even though Declan and Anna are forced to spend a night in the same bed (under the pretense of being married), sexual activity is not part of their slumber. And although we see Anna wearing only her underwear at one point and the outline of her showering in another, the scenes are done mainly for comedy. Even a fistfight between some men is motivated by chivalry. Unfortunately, there are plenty of pints in this production and characters drink frequently both at home and in social settings.
The film’s biggest fault may be its proclivity to predictability. The movie poster alone gives the ending away. However, even if the outcome is certain, this romantic road trip through the cinematic Irish landscape is an amiable one despite the contrasting values of the two main characters. As well, the script introduces some interesting locals and positive messages. Initially motivated by the accumulation of possessions and achieving the perfect presentation, Anna discovers the real value of things and, more importantly, people in her life. Then, with the kind of passion that causes her to walk down the back roads of Ireland in stilettos, she sets out to pursue them.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Leap Year.
Although the film’s timeline is only 2 1/2 days, this unlikely couple forms feelings for one another by the time they reach Dublin. Do you think two strangers could fall in love in that amount of time if they shared similar experiences as Anna and Declan? How do the two main characters in this film help one another to overcome personal issues?
The men at the local pub are particularly prone to superstition. Check out this list of Irish notions.
The tradition of women proposing to men originated in an old Irish tale about a deal struck between St. Bridget and St. Patrick. However the intercalary day has other practices associated with it as well.