Film review: Leap Year (2010), directed by Anand Tucker
When Dr Jeremy (Adam Scott) fails to propose to girlfriend Anna (Amy Adams) and then shoots off to attend a medical conference in Dublin, Anna decides to go after him. After all, when it’s a leap year women can propose to men on February 29th! (Like you can’t any other day of the year? Seriously? Do we live in the same century?)
The plane gets diverted to Cardiff in Wales because of a great, big storm. All planes are grounded. So are all the ferries across the Irish Sea. Anna, on the other hand, is a very determined lady. She has got to get to Dublin, pronto! She manages to get a fisherman to take her across the stormy sea on his fishing boat, and he has to land her on the beach outside Dingle.
Dingle, as it turns out, is a very small, backwards Irish village. The village pub is the only place where she can stay over, and publican Declan (Matthew Goode) is the only one who can drive her to Dublin. And off they go on a road trip across the country so Anna can get to her boyfriend and propose on that very fateful day. Will she get there in time? Or will the charmingly laid-back Irishman steal her heart?
Also featuring John Lithgow as Anna’s father Jack, and very briefly Sarah Hadland (Horrible Histories) as a Gaelic Air Rep.
Okay, perky American finds her direct opposite in the relaxed Irishman. It’s a love story waiting to happen, and it plays out in much the same way you’d expect. It’s cute. It ends the way you expect it to end, and all is well.
BUT THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS THAT MAKE YOU WANT TO HOWL.
First off, as far as I can tell, there are no ferries to Ireland from Cardiff. The most common crossings are Liverpool or Holyhead (not far from Liverpool) to Dublin or Dún Laoghaire, which makes sense, because that’s a lot closer to Ireland than Cardiff. A closer Welsh alternative would be Pembroke to Rosslare in County Wexford. (Yes, I checked.)
Second, both seaports and airports are closed due to bad weather, and a fisherman in a TINY BOAT still agrees to take an obnoxious woman across the Irish Sea. Because that’s not SUICIDAL?
Third, they’re on the way to Dublin, and the fisherman says he’s sorry, but he can only take her as far as Dingle. Sounds legit. A very quick look at a map will make you go “What. The. Fuck?!” because they must have been blown wayyyyyyyy off course for him to say that. Well, either that or he decided to take the long way around to Dublin – i.e. going around the entire country. Dublin is on the east coast – Dingle is on the south west coast (County Kerry). Map:
So how the hell did they end up there? Welsh fishermen can’t navigate? Then again, if they agree to go out in a storm like that IN FEBRUARY because some woman just has to get to Dublin before the 29th, it’s not too far-fetched to suppose that he doesn’t. If he had said, “sorry, I can only take you as far as Rosslare” that would’ve made more sense. Dingle doesn’t.
To anyone either side of the pond who knows anything about geography, these “geographical liberties” film makers constantly take are ridiculous and insult everyone: those who know the difference think the film makers are idiots, and to those who don’t know the difference are obviously idiots according to the film makers.
Also, Pembroke to Rosslare takes four hours on “one of Europe’s largest, modern and best equipped car ferries”. (Again, I checked.) I daresay a little fishing boat would take considerably longer, and that’s just to do that particular ferry route crossing. After all, we’re going all the way from Cardiff to Dingle in a winter storm. Surely that would be something more like 12 hours at least, in which case, she would have been better off sitting tight in a hotel and wait for the airport to re-open. You know, like a normal person would. Especially considering she apparently has SEVERAL DAYS to spare before it’s the 29th, so the whole “OMG I’m in such a hurry I won’t make it in time” is bull. It only makes sense if she touches down in Cardiff on the 28th, which she apparently doesn’t.
Considering one of the main industries in Dingle is tourism, odds are there are plenty of accommodation options around, and I very much doubt the validity of how backwards and out-dated as this film makes it out to be.
Ireland is a relatively small country as well – it’s about the size of the US state of Indiana. From Dingle it’s a four hour drive to Dublin if you take the direct route. 4.5 for the scenic. Or you can go the 50 minutes or so to Tralee and catch the train from there. (I’m beginning to feel I did more research writing this review than the person did writing the script.) Either way, you’re not quite as much in the middle of bloody nowhere as Leap Year would make you believe.
But aside from that …
Lovely scenery. Because they take the really long way around so they can make sure to bond and fall in love, yes, Ireland is stunningly gorgeous. That’s the biggest plus of this film. Plus Matthew Goode is cute. (Not 100% convinced by the accent, though. And that’s after you take what I suppose is a Kerry accent into account.)
Anyway, again, why are these romcom women always so damned desperate that they throw themselves willy-nilly on a transatlantic plane to chase after men? If anything it’s both disturbed and stretches disbelief to breaking point. And no, it wouldn’t be better if the gender roles were reversed, because that would be creepy too.
Oh well, over-analysing things here again, I guess.
3 out of 5 plug sockets, because Irish scenery porn will always make up for a lot in my book.