Leap Year (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 97 minutes
OK for children.
What makes a great actor? Is it taking
Shakespeare and doing well with it? Is a great actor someone who takes
great material and gives a good performance? Or is that a competent
actor, not necessarily great?
Given a terrific script and a good director, a
competent actor should be expected to give a good performance. That
doesn’t make one great. My feeling is that a great actor is someone who
can take inferior material, who can work with mediocre directors, and
still give a compelling performance.
Is Amy Adams competent or great? If you have any
doubts, this is the movie to see. The material (Deborah Kaplan, who was
responsible for “Made of Honor,” a screenplay with a ridiculous premise,
& Harry Elfont) is derivative and banal. The directing (Anand Tucker) is
clumsy. But Adams shines up the screen. She takes control of your
emotions. She takes you to the top and to the bottom. You feel her
emotions. Despite the drivel she was performing, she brought tears to my
eyes when the story called for it. The Academy can award all the Oscars®
it wants to actresses who are given great scripts and act for wonderful
directors, I will give my Oscar® for 2010 to Adams for her performance
in this film that would be instantly forgettable without her incredible
She is helped by Matthew Goode, a British actor
playing an Irishman, who also makes the most of the hackneyed material.
Goode is believable as the man Adams instantly dislikes in her journey
to propose to her cardiologist boyfriend, Adam Scott, who has been
fending her off for four years. Scott is a quintessential Chardonnay (a
self-centered, superficial preppie jerk). The only problem with Goode’s
performance is that his feigned Irish accent is so full of brogue that
he is often unintelligible.
The production values are very disappointing.
Although the locale of the movie is on the Dingle Peninsula, it was
actually shot in Dun Aengus on the Aran Islands. I had a flat tire right
by the sea on the Dingle Peninsula several decades ago. I had to wait an
hour for another car to come by to help me. It was really desolate. This
film captures that. But, even though there are some scenic venues, the
cinematography doesn’t adequately capture the breathtaking beauty of the
The first hour is so trite and bromidic it makes
one cringe for the actors having to actually mouth the lines, truly
dreadful. Even so, Adams is so captivating that it was worth watching.
During the last half hour it does pick up. I attended with three people.
They all gave it a 5. I give it a 7 because Adams is such a talent it
was a joy to see her try to turn a sow’s ear into something resembling a
silk purse, and succeed with a performance that sparkles.