By Liz Tobin.
Jane (Karen Gillan) is a burgeoning novelist who manages to land a big book deal – a two book deal in fact – with an independent publishing house in Edinburgh run by an attractive and impassioned french man and you’ll never guess what happens next. Well, they have to work together, edit her book and heck, sparks fly, tensions are rife and the first book is a runaway success.
The main characters in this feature film directed by John Mackay are Jane the novelist, her hot french publisher, her user boyfriend who’s taken it upon himself to write her now famed book into a soul destroying film script, her dad and a dead plant acting as a metaphor for her ailing relationship with said dad – the first book is about her relationship with her somewhat absent father. In essence, this is a film about Jane and her problems with men.
And, as with all problems they must be addressed and redressed so that Jane can reach a new equilibrium and we, the viewer, feel like we’ve progressed far enough along this linear plotline to wrap it up and leave the theatre without yelling ‘what the fuck was that!’
One of the key plot points is that Jane’s second novel is destined to be utter shit and incomplete unless her publisher can surreptitiously re-create the unhappiness and angst that went into her debut novel. What a nice guy! you should date him! Yeah! Ultimately, Jane can only move forward with her personal and professional life by forgiving, dumping and dating the various men in her life.
For a film with a strong female lead, the narrative still seems to orientate exclusively around men, which is just a bit disappointing. The one saving grace is that Jane does get to talk to Darsie, the leading lady in her new book, so we do get past the Bechdel test but then again she is talking to a figment of her imagination.
In summary, if you want an unchallenging, knowable, run of the mill rom-com with a twist of highland fling running through out then this Scottish number is a wonder to behold. After all this is what we sign up for when we venture into the romantic genre and we’d all be pretty upset if a flying tardis we’re to land in the middle of the plot and fuck up all our expectations of resolution.
In the end, this film is happily not just another London-centric brit rom-com but it is just another happy ending which also happens to be good for the diversity of the UK film industry, good for ex Doctor Who stars and good for those looking to relax in front a screen, switch off and probably feel a little bit uplifted afterwards.
If nothing else, it’s worth watching the film just to see Karen Gillian’s particularly great wardrobe.
Not Another Happy Ending out on DVD now.
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