April is just my month for liking movies that other people don’t like or that at least aren’t championed by many. That said movies like Jupiter Ascending and Longest Ride I enjoyed for what they were but didn’t love them. Now let me get behind a movie I really love that nobody saw called The Rewrite. It is exactly the kind of movie I LOVE.
Nora Ephron is my literary muse. I love her writing. The little moments of commentary about books, movies, Starbucks, New York, whatever it is. I love how funny her scripts are and yet her characters feel real and have moments of depth and compassion rarely captured in a light comedy. I mention Ephron because The Rewrite was as close to a Nora Ephron movie I have seen since her passing in 2012.
Since 2012 very few romantic comedies have even been made let alone good one’s and for a huge fan of the genre it has been very sad. I miss going to the movies to feel good and be with people that I liked and who made me laugh. I sincerely miss it, so that is part of the reason The Rewrite made me so excited.
It is perhaps appropriate a return to the romcom would star the key of the genre, Hugh Grant. In The Rewrite he plays Keith Michaels an Oscar winning screenwriter who has fallen on hard times after the luster of his youthful career has faded (and his wife leaves him for the director of his big hit…). He doesn’t have a relationship with his son, has no creative energy, can’t get a script sold and is even considering a sequel to his Oscar winning film- something he said he would never do.
His agent played by Caroline Aaron convinces him to go and teach in a small town called Binghampton and having little else to do he agrees. Naturally he starts out feeling that teaching is beneath him and he dismisses class rationalizing that ‘talent can’t be taught so why waste everyone’s time’.
The cast is uniformly excellent with Marisa Tomei, JK Simmons, Allison Janney, Chris Elliott, Bella Heathcote and more.
I particularly loved Janney who is an English professor who loves Jane Austen and has some very funny dialogue with Grant on that topic and many others. It is especially funny because Hugh Grant was in a Jane Austen movie (Sense and Sensibility) so there are more than one winks to the audience in the script.
Simmons and Elliott are a lot of fun as fellow teachers. Simmons is in love with his family. He cries every time he mentions them. Elliott is Grant’s neighbor and he has a lot of funny observations of those around him.
I loved the students and even though they are tropes they are well written tropes. There’s the feminist girl, nerd, slut etc but they are funny and the scripts they are writing have a lot of good jokes that made me laugh (like the Bar Mitzvah gone wrong crossed with Dirty Dancing…).
Tomei is lovely as an older student in Grant’s class who is writing a script based on her life as a single Mom. They have terrific chemistry which is essential in this type of movie.
I have mostly male readers of this blog for some reason so I am sure most of you will probably discount this as a ‘chick flick’ and if you do that’s a shame. It has so many funny lines about work, entertainment, pop culture, movies, writing, education etc. It really reminded me of a Nora Ephron script and maybe even a lighter Woody Allen like Midnight in Paris.
All I know is this is exactly the kind of movie I love. You might say it is the Rachel hat trick- funny, romantic, with a nice heart to it. If you are a writer or love movies I think you will particularly enjoy it. Have an open mind and give it a shot. If any of you do see it let me know what you think.
As far as content there is a little language and talk of an affair with a student although nothing is shown.
Overall Grade- A+ Content Grade- A