INITIAL RANTING I am very excited to be reviewing a film when its yet to officially come out at the cinemas in Australia. It was out in the US in October last year, but still, this is a first for GOLD STARS.
I’ll be very careful not to give anything away.
So clearly if you’re a fan of Pieces of April, you’re a fan of Peter Hedges and will hopefully like this film too.
Its definately one of those films where the trailer does not do it justice, its really funny, clever and heartfelt without being sentimental, this ability is a gift of Hedges.
THE SET UP? Dan Burns is a widowed father of three. At the beginning of the film he and his three daughters are setting off to a family weekend at his parents house. The audience is introduced to his warm and caring but embarrassing family. Soon after arriving at the sleepy seaside town Dan is instructed (by his parents) to go out and have some time alone to himself. On his time alone he meets the vivacious Marie, they spend hours talking (Dan talks – here the audience gets some useful insights into the absence of the mother of his children). Marie gets a phone call and quickly, but politely leaves. But not before Dan gets her phone number – convincing her its not for any romantic notions – just so they can finish their one-sided conversation.
Dan returns to the family home glowing, its not before his family squeezes the details about the wonderful “hottie” from the book store out of him. Moments later the “hottie” is in the room and Dan is being introduced to his brother’s new girlfriend Anne-Marie. Twisted romantic happenings and comedy good ensues.
THE CAST? Steve Carell is Dan Burns. This is Carell’s first serious turn in a film and he does not disappoint. Carell pulls off the heartfelt emotion of slowly falling for your brother’s girl and the conflict with his growing daughters beautifully. When I initially saw the trailer (like, six months ago) I wasn’t convinced Carell could break away completely from his bread-and-butter character in the American Office, Michael Scott. But it was nice to him once again be able to embody a character drastically different to the annoying regional manager of Dunder Mifflin.
Juliette Binoche can really do no wrong, and is fabulous as Marie. I wondered if she would have an American accent for this film, but its more of an….a…universal accent (why am I even mentioning this). I do have to mention though, and this is very unusual for me, but Binoche looking GREAT in this film. The 43 year old is in amazing shape. (Glad I got that off my chest.)
Dane Cook is Dan’s brother dating the “hottie”, Mitch. Having only ever seen Cook in the atrocities Employee of the Month and Good Luck Chuck both verging on unforgivable train wrecks (the latter being the worst offender) I was rather peeved he was cast in this promising film. But I happily can announce that the boy can act! And pretty well too, there’s this one scene in a bar where he gives so much away about the turnings of his characters thoughts with a few fleeting glances – I was surprised and impressed. Far from my favourite actor, but Cook is one step closer to redeeming himself from the aforementioned “films”.
The cast is given depth with the family ensemble (find full list at imdb)
But I will give special mention to Dan’s middle child – Cara Burns (Brittany Robertson). The sassy young beauty plays with brilliant charisma and fully embodies the overwhelm and devastation of teenage love felt by Cara. She’s the scene stealer. Hers is the best line in the film… I won’t give it away but after you see it let me know what you thought it was…
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE THIS FILM? Dan in Real Life is a beautiful and unique story of mixtures and methods of love. Hedges has produced an affecting and well-composed script and drawn out heartfelt acting from his adorable cast. The film is definitely a comedy so expect some great laughs. Oh, and there’s a cameo with the glorious Emily Blunt.
WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Your boy/girlfriend/husband/wife. Failing that, a good friend would do just as good. (I went with my lovely cousin, Marita – who has yet to comment on GOLD STARS…)
ANY BITS TO KNOW ABOUT? None that I can recall. I would even go as far to say its a good family film! – Perhaps not for the littlies (they’d get bored) but the films about a memorable family so it could be just the ticket! For any further notes see here.
THIS FILM GETS 4 GOLD STARS