02 November 2016

Not Another Happy Ending (starring Karen Gillan)

This isn’t a film I’d ever heard of, but our son is quite a fan of Karen Gillan - probably best known for her role as Doctor Who’s companion Amy - and brought it with him on a recent visit, so we could see it together.

‘Not Another Happy Ending’ features Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan) as a successful writer who has been published by a small, almost unknown agency. Unfortunately, she’s the agency’s only success, and she’s so pleased with how popular her book is that she’s become, apparently, too happy to write.

She’s living with a rather arrogant screenwriter (Henry Ian Cusick) who is going to write the film of her book, and I found it a bit confusing that he looked rather similar to Tom (Stanley Weber) who clashes so much with Jane at the start of the book that he’s evidently going to fall for her…

The story is about Jane’s block and the tension in the publishing house, enlivened Tom’s efforts to try and make her unhappy to prompt her to finish her second book. There are brief forays into Jane’s difficult relationship with her father, providing some thoughtful background, and some surreal scenes when Jane’s protagonist apparently comes to life and starts hassling her…

The style was confusing to me, with some strangely angled shots that - so I was told afterwards - should have forewarned of what was coming, and some rapid passages of time to move the story forwards. There were mildly amusing sections, mostly involving Tom and his mate Roddy (Iain de Caestecker) as they came up with increasingly dubious ways to try and make Jane miserable.

It gives a few insights into life in a struggling publishing house, and the problems of an author who is feeling blocked, and the acting is mostly good, although some might struggle to understand the often rapid and quite strong Scottish accents (switching, a little erratically, to a French accent as far as Tom is concerned).

The storyline is predictable, which isn’t a problem with this kind of film, and the humour mostly understated, which is also fine as far as I’m concerned. Bad language is minimal, and there’s nothing explicit, although one rather unexpected nude scene (tastefully done) is probably what took the rating to 12 (12A in the US).

We didn’t dislike it, and it made a pleasant evening’s viewing, but it was nothing special. If you like Karen Gillan it certainly involves her and she plays the role well, but unless you’re interested in the inner workings of a writer’s mind, it might leave you a bit bemused.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's DVD Reviews

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