Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Lazy Netflixer Review: Not Another Happy Ending

by Nani Lawrence, Writing Intern

Netflix doesn’t always carry great or popular films and TV shows. Contracts and other legal mumbo-
jumbo practically guarantee that. However, you can find little-known gems if you’re willing to really look.

Not Another Happy Ending is an independent film largely shot in Glasgow, released in 2013. Jane Lockhart—played by Karen Gillan—has submitted her manuscript to another publisher. This time, she gets a meeting. The publisher agrees to publish Jane’s book, after it’s been fixed.

Tom Duvall—the editor—spends time with Jane, making suggestions to improve her story. When the final draft is submitted and all is said and done, Jane finds out he changed her title. She throws a bit of a fit, but her book is wildly successful and award-winning.

The contract between Tom’s publishing company and Jane is set for only one more book beyond the ironically titled Happy Ending. They’re okay with this because they can’t stand each other.

There’s one problem.

Jane can’t rid her writer’s block to finish the final chapter. Tom figures out that Jane does her best writing when she is sad. (“No misery, no poetry.”)  Now that her work’s been published, she’s reconnected with her dad, and she found a fellow-writer-boyfriend—Law and Order: SVU’s Henry Ian Cusick. She’s stuck.

Jane’s imagination materialized her writer’s block in the form of her spunky protagonist, Darsie. She shows up first at a shop as seemingly just a friendly passerby. When she shows up again at a local pub, though, Jane knows something is up.

Tom’s independent publishing company is floundering. Jane’s books keeps them “in the black.”

What to do?

Tom and his assistant-friend, Roddy, hatch a plan to make Jane miserable once more. The trouble is, as Roddy says, they’re both actually nice and decent people.

Roddy. He’s played by Iain de Caestecker—Fitz in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The character is quite adorable. In one scene, he re-reads Happy Ending for the third time, and sobs. Tom tells him to get his stuff together, and that “Jane says hi.” He starts sobbing again. Roddy is also a teacher, and his funniest moments are telling his students improbable and hilarious “facts.” Caestecker is the gem inside this gem of a movie, and it’s too bad he didn’t receive more screen time. Plus, he wasn’t even properly introduced until almost half-way through the film.

Not Another Happy Ending has some great qualities to it, namely the acting. But, it has its issues too.

In the beginning, when Jane edits her book, releases her book, and meets her boyfriend, it all goes by quickly. The moments seem purposeless outside of the fact that they’re probably meaningful to her. Near the middle, when Tom and Roddy decide to sabotage her happiness, they barely even completed two tasks, but somehow that’s malicious. The reason is sweet, though, especially since Tom is a huge asshole publisher—which is why Jane can’t stand him.

All in all, the movie is entertaining, with great comedic lines, mostly by Caestecker. Closed captioning is highly recommended, so you don’t miss any of them. Scottish accents are beautiful, but confusing at times. And, of course, the dialogue is much quieter than the music . . . . Enjoy, if you haven’t already.
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