Leap Year , released 2009 (May 4, 2010 for DVD), is a very charming romantic-comedy movie that primarily takes place in Ireland. This delightful film directed by Anand Tucker gives a positive portrayal of Ireland brimming with the quaint traditions, superstitions and legends that go hand in hand with the Irish culture. In Leap Year one hears much Irish Gaelic including a traditional Irish wedding toast that any husband or wife would love hearing from their spouse.
Leap Year was filmed in Wicklow, Dublin and Galway Ireland, including near the Aran Islands, Connemara, Temple Bar, Georgian Dublin, Wicklow National Park and Olaf Street in Waterford, Ireland. The Irish sights shown are definitely authentic Ireland. They are gorgeous and one feels as if they are traveling Ireland with Anna; well worth the 1 hour and 37 minutes just to see these great Irish places.
Leap Year begins with Anna Brady (eloquently portrayed by Amy Adams) living her life in Boston as an American career woman with her live-in cardiologist boyfriend Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott). Both she and Jeremy seem content in their chosen fields, but there is just one problem as far as Anna is concerned with their four year relationship. It does not seem to be progressing toward matrimony. Jeremy seems to like their life exactly as it is. Anna wants more in life, marriage and a family.
One day, unexpectedly to Anna, while she is getting a dress fitted for her dinner date with Jeremy, her older sister Libby Brady (Kaitlin Olson) cannot wait to tell Anna she spotted Jeremy coming out of a well known jewelry store with a small gift box the perfect size for an engagement ring. Libby voices her elder sisterly jealous delight over Anna beating her to become engaged. Anna is pleased. She allows herself to believe Libby even though Libby did not know for a certainty.
Same day, seven in the evening at an Irish pub in Boston, Massachusetts, Anna meets with her father, Jack Brady (John Lithgow). Her father is ecstatic about Jeremy finally after four years coming to his senses and offers to buy champagne to celebrate Anna's engagement. Anna neglects to point out that Jeremy has not actually proposed. That the soon-to-be proposing is mere speculation. Jack Brady thoughtfully points out that it is good for Anna that she is engaged and does not have to do what her Grandma Jane did. He recounts storyteller fashioned Grandma Jane's story about how on a Leap Year, February 29th, she proposed to Grandpa Brady because she was tired of waiting for him to propose marriage to her after years of exclusively seeing him. Anna makes light of this reminder about a romantic Irish tradition that allows women in Ireland every Leap Year to propose in order to wed their sweethearts who seem to be taking their time toward matrimony or are too shy to propose.
After her brief visit with her father, Anna barely makes her dinner date with Jeremy. As predicted, Jeremy produces the small gift box and it is indeed the correct size for an engagement ring. Anna smiles and then opens the gift box. Her face changes slightly as she tries to hide her disappointment when she sees a pair of solitaire diamond earings and realizes Jeremy is not about to propose matrimony. Jeremy receives a work related call and has to immediately leave for the sake of a patient. Anna does not mind being left alone at the restaurant.
After deliberating about their four year relationship, disappointed over the earrings, Anna decides (since she was scheduled to be vactioning with Jeremy while he is participating in a Cardiology Convention in Dublin, Ireland which happens to occur during February 29th for it is a Leap Year) to do the Irish tradition of proposing to Jeremy on Leap Year. She secretly happily begins planning every minute detail. She does not want to leave anything to chance.
Feeling satisfied all arrangements have been made and nothing can go wrong, Anna, alone due to a scheduling problem regarding Jeremy's work, flies on the airplane to Dublin, Ireland. Due to a severe storm, the airplane has to make an emergency landing in Wales. Anna tries to find alternative travel measures, but because of the severity of the storm only a fishing boat captain agrees to take her as far as Dingle, Ireland.
Alone, unhappy and drenched from the stormy boat ride, Anna finds her way to the only inn Dingle has which she mistakes for being solely a bar. Completely out of her element, she asks the locals questions about obtaining transportation to Dublin. All present enjoying their pints make jokes at her expense, their way of welcoming this American to Ireland. The bartender and owner, Declan O'Callaghan (Matthew Goode), hands her his card claiming she can call its number for a taxi and shows her where the phone is since her cell phone needs recharging. Not realizing this is another joke being played upon her, Anna goes over to the phone and calls the number on the card. A few minutes later, she realizes why everyone in the bar is laughing as she turns around and sees Declan on the phone talking to her. He basically tells Anna she is on her own to get to Dublin. The other patrons point out how dark it is. When she asks where she can find a place to stay, they all laugh, and that is when she embarrassed realizes this is an inn as well as a bar. Declan tells her there is a room available, gives her a price which she readily agrees to pay.
Her stay has none of the amenities she expects an inn to have. The room is extremely tiny with the bathroom down the hallway. The bed is barely twin size. Anna still determined to go through with her proposal tries to make the best of her situtation, but causes much breakage as she tries to move the bed in order to plug in her cell phone recharger. The recharger upon being plugged in a socket not made for American electrical devices short-circuits, causing the electrical to short out throughout the entire town.
The next morning, Declan changes his mind after discussing financial matters with a lender to drive Anna to Dublin for 500 Euros. Anna's agreeing to pay Declan's price precipitates very unexpected travel events which force Anna take a good long serious look at her life and future plans. Their journey filled with a bunch of mishaps and challenges as they travel from Dingle to Dublin, Ireland takes days.
Afterwards Anna catches herself missing her new friend, Declan, after she is reunited with Jeremy who upon seeing her proposes. Anna agrees to marry Jeremy.
Leap Year does not end at the expected place most romantic comedies end where all viewers can see the story-line's allusion to the standard "happily ever after" ending for the characters. Instead, this film's plot surprisingly continues past the awaited for "yes." Jeremy is not the kind man Anna believes him to be. Jeremy has a sneaky side. Anna does not find this out until after they return to Boston and have moved into their new apartment. She has already begun their wedding plans. While they are having their house-warming party at the new apartment with their friends, Jeremy slips out that he asked Anna to marry him in order to get the apartment.
Anna in shock, while noticing the fire alarm, does something very extraordinary to test Jeremy's love for her. Jeremy's actions help Anna decide between her perfect life with Jeremy where she will never want for any material thing and the possible turbulent romance with Innkeeper Declan who will never make a cardiologists salary. The rest of the film is about how Anna, following her heart, goes after what she truly wants and needs in her life to make her happy.
Leap Year is rated PG. There is some adult subject material to the plot and scenes where parents might feel parental guidance should be implemented for their under eighteen year old children. This parent and grandmother recommends parents view this movie first, especially for children under thirteen. I was surprised Leap Year did not receive a PG-13 rating. Guess those who currently rate movies are being lenient.
This film was special to me because of the Irish legend known as "The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne" from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology, even though abridged, was wonderfully told by the character Declan. Matthew Goode did an excellent performance as Declan; perfectly flawless. Hats off to entire cast and crew!
Do recommend watching this movie. It is not one of those solely made for women. My husband found it similar to the movie The Quiet Man that starred John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. He enjoyed Leap Year without any male suffering because this film is a people story that could happen for real.
© 2010 Alicia Rose Harrell
Alicia Rose Harrell (author) from Central Oklahoma on July 29, 2015:
Thank you Mills P for the 1997 movie tip. Janeane Garofalo is a good actress, and I look forward to viewing The Matchmaker. Thank you for making certain I knew about this movie and for your insightful comment.
Pat Mills from East Chicago, Indiana on July 08, 2015:
Another one that might interest you is the 1997 movie The Matchmaker starring Janeane Garofalo. She plays an American campaign worker assigned to look into the Irish heritage of her candidate, and finds a charming guy in the process. The Quiet Man is a great choice in this category.