‘Not Another Happy Ending’ movie review

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A very capable comedy actress before her breakthrough role in the sci-fi show, coupled with her rather obvious beauty made her choice of female lead in the romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending quite a confident decision. Certainly one that paid off, as Gillan’s performance and the film itself are fantastic.

The film tells the story of novelist Jane Lockhart (Gillan) who, having had a successful first novel, suffers a crippling case of writers block when finishing the final chapter of her second book. With her publicist Tom (French actor Stanley Weber) needing her to finish her latest book in order to save him from financial ruin, he sets about dismantling all the positive aspects of Jane’s life, in an effort to make her miserable enough that she will finish the book in time. Of course, this being a romantic comedy, the duo realise their mutual attraction in amongst this comic high-jinks.

For such a small cast, director John McKay paints a very colourful picture, not just with the characters in the film, but with the city of Glasgow itself. Filming a romantic movie here feels like a gamble, but certainly one that pays off with it having a stylistic tone reminiscent of a Woody Allen movie. It’s beautifully shot, deliberately colourful and makes great use of the distinct surroundings: tree-lined walkways, cemeteries and over-lit apartment spaces. The influence is obvious, yet complimentary to the tone of the film. Similarly, David Solomons’ script is a funny, witty and at times very poignant one, with notable points for its poking fun at Scottish culture and its laugh out loud offbeat comic moments.

Gillan shines in the lead role; more adult in tone and more genuine in feeling than Amy Pond possibly allowed as her character deals with her parental abandonment issues, her creative blockage and a directionless relationship with her screenwriter boyfriend Billy (Henry Ian Cusick). Gillan and Weber share a simmering chemistry that aids the film tremendously, as you will the couple to get together despite Jane’s baggage and Tom’s comical plan to upset her. Weber displays a strong sense of comic timing and is brilliantly aided by The Fades star Iain De Caestecker (who plays his sidekick Roddy) in a bromance worthy of Hollywood.

If we had to quibble, we’d say the secondary cast, including former Skins actress Freya Mavor and legendary Scottish character actor Gary Lewis, are not given enough to do, but one could argue that this film isn’t really about them. Secondly, the development of Jane and Tom’s working relationship and blossoming chemistry is glossed over, effectively being reduced to a montage in the film’s first 15 minutes. Despite this initial lack of connection, Weber and Gillan’s natural chemistry pulls them through this aspect almost immediately. As we said though, these are minor quibbles.

A tight script, likeable leads and a subtle yet commanding performance from Gillan make this heart-warming comedy about opposites attracting a must see.

Released in UK cinemas on Friday 11 October 2013.

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