THE BOYS ARE BACK ***

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Loss is one of the inexorable inevitabilities of existence.

It will come to everyone – in some form – whether you’re properly prepared for it or not. The way you weather it can conceivably make or break the remainder of your time here on earth.

Such is the lesson that JOE WARR (CLIVE OWEN) is about to learn.

In the opening scene, Joe drives his Range Rover swiftly through the pounding surf at the edge of the beach near his home. The other visitors are exasperated with him. They aren’t especially tolerant of a large vehicle in their vicinity.

But Joe doesn’t care. He’s been through enough. He feels that he’s earned the right to enjoy himself.

Perched on the hood, with his back against the windshield, is Joe’s six year old son ARTIE (NICHOLAS McANULTY).

The bountiful paradise that they’re a part of is south Australia. Everything by the water is golden except for the sky – the leaves on the trees, the burnished sand, the luscious rolling hills, the fields that stretch out forever…

Joe and Artie live in a spacious home with a wide veranda that looks like something out of ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST. Until a recent tragedy, Joe’s second wife KATY (LAURA FRASER) shared the same residence with them.

Joe is a decent man who tries to do the right thing. But he’s flawed and all too human. This also extends to his relationship with his boy. He’s a generous parent. But with a career as a sportswriter, he’s often out of town or even off the continent.

He and Katy have a solid, loving partnership. She’s independent and has her own particular method of doing things. It’s fine that Joe has his work. But for Artie, it’s more about gift giving and waiting for his father to come home.

Katy takes care of the difficult details and all of the essentials. Joe’s an exciting dad. When he returns from a trip, it’s wall to wall fun for days on end.

One evening at a party, Joe teasingly tells Katy how beautiful she is. She laughs knowingly and then falls to the floor.

She’s taken to the hospital and, after a thorough exam, her family is told that she has cancer. It’s serious. It has all ready spread throughout her body. No treatment can help.

Her life is about to end shortly.

This is devastating news. In mere weeks, Joe watches his fiery, vibrant, dark haired spouse become a pale, fragile shadow of herself.

Some time later Joe tries to explain to Artie that his mother doesn’t have much time left. That night, in the bed that they share, Katy succumbs to a deep sleep from which she will never awaken.

Now it’s up to Joe to take full responsibility of the household and Artie as well as his job. He is clearly not ready for it. His transition from good time dad to caring disciplinarian is overwhelming for him.

He attempts to watch over Artie and set various boundaries but the boy knows exactly how to get around him. The son is aware of his father’s triggers and delights in pushing all of Joe’s buttons.

Easily.

Most days the house looks like a hurricane hit it.

But this is not an uncommon scenario.

Some males are great nurturers and parenting comes very naturally to them. They’re better at it than the majority of women.

However, lots of men are exactly like Joe. They have enormous difficulty dealing with unforeseen disasters and the vicissitudes of life. Many women are stoic pragmatists. They understand instinctively that the only way to get from Point A to Point B is to live though it.

Males don’t deal well with illness, death or anything horrendous – especially if it comes directly out of left field. Joe is fairly typical in that regard. He grabs a bottle at Katy’s wake, takes it outside and sinks to the bottom of it.

For months, Joe struggles to cope. Then HARRY (GEORGE MacKAY), his teenage son from his first marriage, arrives on his doorstep from England.

Harry not only misses his dad but he has a full blown case of virulent adolescent angst going on. His mother’s new boyfriend has just moved in. Harry thinks that it’s about time that he got reacquainted with his father and tiny half sibling.

But life is only becoming more complicated for Joe. Behind every day of sunlight there’s a dark cloud ready to burst. He has to reconcile his career demands with the attention he must give to his two sons. He also has a potential romantic interest in LAURA (EMMA BOOTH), a young divorced woman whose daughter is a classmate of Artie’s.

Everything is hard. But the rewards make it all worthwhile. Joe gets through it all relatively unscathed.

He has the best of intentions. But will it be enough?

The film is a true story, based on the memoir THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN by SIMON CARR.

SCOTT HICKS is a director with an understanding of the complexities of human behaviour and the shifting dynamics of family life. He does have a tendency towards sentimentality that can be cloying. But here he explores the depth and richness of the father/son connection without becoming excessively maudlin. Its emotional core is pure and genuinely heartfelt.

There are some scenes that could have gone overboard. But instead they were deeply touching and wonderfully realized.

Australia has rarely looked this glorious. Its monumental gorgeousness is captured by cinematographer GREIG FRASER, who did equally impressive work on BRIGHT STAR. The shots he composes are ecstatic candy for your eyes.

All of the acting is extraordinarily well done. But CLIVE OWEN is the best thing about this picture.

He can be seductively smooth or rough around the edges. But there is often an element of roguishness or hardness to the men that he portrays.

JOE WARR is a completely different character. He is an average ordinary man who is trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and go on from there. CLIVE allows you to see the great vulnerability and soulfulness beneath the charismatic exterior.

This is the third powerful lead role that CLIVE has completed this year. It would be a travesty of immense proportions to have him overlooked for 2009 awards recognition. He really deserves it for any of those films.

But particularly for this one. He is simply incredible.

THE BOYS ARE BACK acknowledges that life is relentlessly challenging. But there is always hope.

Broken hearts do mend eventually. For we must endure. All of us.

There is no other way.

6 Responses to “THE BOYS ARE BACK ***”

  1. Thanks for this Miranda.

    You’re the first person I know to review this one…I mean yeah, there are plenty of reviews from strangers, but you’re the first from someone I chat with about movies.

    I’ve been hesitant about this one because it’s the kind of feel goody melodrama that is so often done so badly…But then there’s Clive whom we both agree rules.

    And as I’ve said elsewhere the trailer wasn’t as bad as I’d have expected it to be if I’d just read the synopsis of the movie before seeing it.

    I haven’t sat down and really started to think about awards yet…There aren’t a ton of male performances that are jumping out at me, so maybe there really would be room for Clive. I’d like to see that. The guy’s career as a leading man type hasn’t seem to have taken off like people anticipated it would…

    That’s not to say he hasn’t done great work in great movies, but he isn’t pulling in Brad Pitt or George Clooney kind of money. (Funny since Clooney isn’t exactly sitting on top of a mountain of box office hits.)

    Maybe this is finally the film to put him over to a bigger audience?

  2. You are so very welcome, Craig.

    There are a million specific points that I need to address here. Just a wide ranging cornucopia of stuff.

    So I may as well get to it now…

    As friends, you and I go back a long way. Two whole years, to be exact.

    You are one of the reasons that CP exists in the first place, my dear Mr. Kennedy. Your support that existed presite (when I was just bouncing ideas off walls) up until the present day has proved invaluable.

    Remember when I said that, regardless of the romantic relationships that we may become involved in, that we would always be good friends?

    I was totally sincere about that.

    I also recall that you said to me, “Don’t ever give up. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re doing this for a reason. Continue to blog and good things will happen.”

    You were absolutely right about that. The site has enriched my existence in so many ways that it’s actually hard to grasp. And now, after approximately 18 months of this, my life is starting to get really interesting.

    A lot of the things that have happened would certainly never have taken place if it were not for the existence of CP. The site exists partly because of you.

    So I will be eternally grateful to you for that. Forever.

    I think that TBAB might resonate with you the way that it did with me. I know about your family and you’re aware of what I’ve been through.

    But the worst is over. For good.

    Yeah, this decade has been wild for me. Just like DICKENS said: It was the best of times and the worst of times. But the highs have been pretty spectacular. Even before all of that hit the wall.

    But I knew that I could sort it out and then things would go my way eventually. I’m so content and serene. Never dreamed I would be to this extent.

    But there it is. I didn’t see SUMMER HOURS but I know that you adored it. TBAB explores some of the same themes. I think you might really like it a lot.

    I’ve been a big fan of CLIVE long before his OSCAR nomination for CLOSER.

    Have to say this now. I adore MORGAN FREEMAN. He’s a very big favourite of mine. But CLIVE WAS ROBBED. His performance in CLOSER is one for the ages. He’s just the quintessential alpha male – brooding, tough, hard.

    But when JULIA’S ANNA leaves him for JUDE’S DAN he breaks just like a little boy (as BOB DYLAN would say).

    I saw CLOSE MY EYES on TV during the 90s and thought: Now here is someone who’s going to be a big deal. He’s masterful and he really commands the screen.

    So I paid to see him in CROUPIER and I was NOT disappointed. AT ALL. The man has earth shattering star quality and wondrous charisma. You can’t buy that at the grocery store.

    Then I saw him in GREENFINGERS, GOSFORD PARK, BEYOND BORDERS and then the dark valentine – the masterpiece CLOSER.

    I honestly think that there isn’t much that CLIVE can’t do. He’s mesmerizing and his work is always unbelievably nuanced and true.

    As for the ACADEMY AWARDS this year…

    I hate to say this. But it may be a losing game mired in wishful thinking. As far as I’m concerned, he SHOULD be under serious consideration for DUPLICITY and THE INTERNATIONAL. He will never make it with either of them. He hasn’t got a chance in hell. It’s terrible. But that’s the way it is.

    TI hasn’t gotten any buzz at all. Does anyone really understand how bloody hard it is to make that 40s screwball comedy style banter look easy? It’s incredibly difficult – and he and JULIA were both fabulous.

    But the ACADEMY will think that it’s not serious or weighty enough. The actors branch (the biggest voting bloc) has some fairly goofy ideas about performance. They don’t value comedic work, which is much harder to pull off in any case. Plus a lot of work that they nominate is BIG SHOWY ACTORY type emoting. Always have to have one scene where they chew up everything in sight.

    Yes, some of those performances are excellent. But a lot of them are hammy as hell. Subtlety and restraint on film are much more difficult to put across effectively. But they generally pass by a lot of it in favour of the flamboyant.

    I don’t think some actors know much about their profession or what they’re suppposed to be doing.

    That may very well sink CLIVE’S chances in TBAB. He is beautifully subtle and he has a wonderful grace to him. I don’t know if they’re gonna go for it. But it’s probably his only shot this year.

    *sigh*

    A few people around the net feel that BEST ACTOR currently comes down to DDL, COLIN FIRTH, GEORGE, MATT DAMON and MICHAEL STUHLBARG.

    Hmmm…I don’t know.

    Well, Mr. Stuhlbarg’s not doing press. That’s bound to hurt him. He doesn’t care about playing the game, which probably means that someone is going to waltz in and take his spot.

    I’d be very surprised if GEORGE didn’t get in. DDL seems extremely likely. COLIN FIRTH (finally) has a good shot. Much as I found MATT DAMON terrific, I have some doubts about that. But that’s just me….

    I think CLIVE is almost done unless he gets a lot of industry support. But it COULD happen.

    As for the film itself…

    I thought the trailer was fine. But that’s it. I was going to give it a pass. But then I was over at EW where they’re gearing up for the awards season all ready. They have their resident OSCAR expert DAVE KARGER over there (who is just as knowledgeable as Sasha). He was talking to MISSY SCHWARTZ about CLIVE and TBAB. They loved the performance and thought he had a reasonable shot.

    And frankly, once I saw the gleam in MISSY’S eye, I knew I had to see this.

    TBAB feels real and you get a good sense of the people and their relationships. It is touching and sweet. But it never gets blubbery and foolish.

    Here’s an example….

    An event happens in Australia that is eventually taken care of. It could have been a huge disaster but it has a workable outcome. Harry (the older boy) is front and centre in this drama. He feels so guilty and traumatized that he goes home to England before Joe has a chance to tell him that he doesn’t blame him for what happened.

    Joe feels so strongly about this that he and Artie hit the road. They show up in Britain at Harry’s school. Harry is so upset that he doesn’t want to see his father. Little Artie has been carrying Harry’s childhood teddy bear around with him. Presumably for comfort.

    Joe has no conception that Artie is actually carting that around to give to his older brother as a peace offering. That kid is cagey.

    Regardless of Harry’s standoffishness, the two of them have come a long way and they must say something to him. They find out that he’s playing rugby at an adjoining field. They speak to him briefly and then follow him to a pub where he goes with his friends later.

    Artie has the bear and he’s determined to give it to Harry. (One thing to know: Artie’s the wild one. Harry is much more sensitive.) Joe tells him no. Harry is there with his buddies and it will only embarrass him.

    Instead the kid defies his dad (nothing new there…) and runs up to his big brother with the bear. Harry’s soft. He’s very moved and he melts. He grabs the bear and gives his tiny sibling a big hug.

    Now that wasn’t sloppy. It was adorable. If that doesn’t get to you, your heart’s made out of stone.

    Katy also appears to Joe periodically after her departure. He’s just imagining her presence and what she would say because he doesn’t have many people to rely on. She doesn’t pop up often. When she does surface on screen, it’s never jarring. It’s almost like a play.

    But it works extremely well.

    In the film, Joe has been sussing out this luxury car. It’s highly impractical and extravagantly gorgeous. Certainly not the kind of automobile that a single dad of two should be buying. But Joe really, really wants it.

    Just before the movie ends, Katy shows up, smiling ear to ear. What does she say?

    “Oh…and buy the convertible.”

    Hey, he may be a father. But he’s still a guy.

    You and I have had some detailed discussions about film today as opposed movies of yesteryear and their impact on the culture at large. Well, just as a lot of motion pictures are relegated to a niche now that would have been enormous life changing hits decades ago, I think that the concept of stardom has changed drastically as well.

    I’m sure that film stars and recognizable personalities will NEVER go away. Some fans still go to see films made by their favourites. That’s what the industry is all about – creating brands.

    But I think that the amount of audience members that follow particular movie personnel (performers, directors etc.) is probably the lowest since the era of modern talkies kicked off almost a hundred years ago. There will always be film aficionados. But I think the vast majority of the audiences out there are nearly finished with sitting through screenings of endless crappy movies just because they like a film star.

    The general public recognizes these people and they’re intensely curious about them. But do they automatically rush to all of their movies now? No.

    Seems to me that good old fashioned word of mouth (or the net, Twitter or YouTube) is what’s making waves these days. People seem to go to movies for THE STORY now. The stars are almost incidental.

    I’m sure the pendulum will swing back and forth on that one. People need entertainment in some form. Actors and films will always be with us in some respect. But that’s the way it strikes me today.

    As of this moment in time.

    TBAB is in 16 theatres right now. It’s only made $120,000 in limited release. I’d love for anyone that’s reading this to check it out and boost those totals. But I can’t see this developing into any kind of a sleeper.

    It would be wonderful if it would. But I know about this stuff. I am the ultimate realist.

    I guess that’s it for now. Think I’ve covered all the bases.

    Craig, we’ll always be good friends.

    You’re welcome at the site for as long as I have it. You were my very first commenter here and I owe you big time.

    Feel free to swing by whenever you want…

  3. You don’t owe me a thing Miranda.

    I offered a bit of encouragement here and there, but Cinematic Passions is all your doing and you should be very proud of yourself. Sometimes all it takes is a little support and a person can do wonders.

    I’m glad to see you still going strong and more importantly that you’re still enjoying it.

    If TBAB is still kicking this weekend, I’ll make an extra effort to see it. I first discovered Clive in Croupier and I thought: Ladies and Gentlemen, the next James Bond!

    But in retrospect I’m glad they didn’t pick him and I wonder if he would’ve been interested if they had.

    I had a few problems with Duplicity, but he and Julia were terrific together and I hope they work together again. The movie didn’t do that great so probably not, but you never know in sequel happy Hollywood.

    Where did you hear Stuhlbarg wasn’t going to campaign? He still might get a nomination, but if he doesn’t suck up, he’ll never win.

    Damon was solid in The Informant, but like you say the Academy doesn’t favor comedy and this really was a comedic performance more than dramatic.

    I don’t know. I’m useless at predicting Oscar even after the nominees are lined up before me, let alone when it’s still wide open.

  4. Well, this is the way I see it, Craig.

    Sure, CP is my creation and my personal labour of love. Certainly I could have done it completely alone.

    Support in any new endeavour means the world to someone. Uncharted territory in any sense of those words is always fraught with risk. It can be a little scary.

    I always knew I could write and act since I was a little firecracker with a ponytail.

    But to have someone helpful to count on – to give you advice, to listen to your stormy rants when you don’t know where else to turn – is a very big deal.

    I had some support off the net. But of all the people in the treasured circle (and of course you are DEFINITELY ON THAT LIST), you were one of the few individuals that I knew that blogged. So your precious input was absolutely golden.

    You’re a great guy and very modest. You don’t want to take any of the credit, I know.

    But the fact remains that you did a lot to assist me. I’ve got an exceptional memory. BOTH WAYS. I never forget a kindness or (on the other hand) any sort of slight.

    So anything good that happens from this point on is partly due to your generosity and good will towards me.

    Just accept that, Monsieur Crabcake.

    I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends like you, Craig.

    I honestly can’t remember where I heard that Stuhlbarg was refusing to campaign. I look at so much potential content for the site every day. But it is a reliable source.

    I know you adore the Coens. But I think they were reasonably blase about awards long before FARGO and NCFOM. I don’t think that’s what they’re in it for. So it wouldn’t surprise me that the lead actor from their new film possesses the same sentiments.

    I hear MONIQUE doesn’t want to do anything to promote PRECIOUS either. Apparently she just doesn’t care. She’s going to have a talk show that will offer her significant financial security. I guess she’s likely done with serious performing.

    I can understand why actors feel that they’re above it all. Some of them want the work to speak for itself. I think a number of them are principled and they feel that it’s really not very important.

    BUT if you want to stay in the business, prestigious awards (even with all of the politics and endless PR) are definitely worth something to a career – especially long term. You can’t discount that. You are perceived as an artist with some prestige and substance. Opportunities certainly change.

    And when you’re done and they tell the world about it, they’ll refer to you as an Academy Award winning actor in the obits.

    People should think very, very carefully about their choices. But they’ll do what they want in any regard.

    Yeah, there is no doubt that CLIVE would have been the quintessential JAMES BOND. As you know, I have a certain affection for both PIERCE and ROGER.

    But my faves were always Mr. Dalton and Mr. Craig.

    CLIVE would have been a worthy successor to TIMOTHY – hard, ultramasculine, lethal, ruthless. They’re cut from the same cloth. But CLIVE always insisted that he was never offered the part. Would he have been a bigger star if he had taken it on? I’m sure he would’ve. No question.

    But it doesn’t seem that most of the guys that played JB (barring one notable exception) really had a great career after their time in the franchise elapsed. Granted, DANIEL and PIERCE are doing quite well. But I think that the jury is still out on that definitively.

    I’m NOT knocking them. It’s a great iconic part (though certainly limited in its scope) and to go down in history as JB is certainly not a bad legacy at all. I think it’s rather cool.

    But it is surprising that, with that kind of international exposure, that these men didn’t get offered better film roles.

    CLIVE has a thriving career. DANIEL’S a fabulous JB. I think it’s shaking out the way it was meant to be. I don’t have any real complaints in that regard. I agree with you. I think it’s better that CLIVE isn’t locked into that series. He’s doing a lot of excellent work as we speak.

    They don’t usually make sequels to films that the bean counters consider box office disappointments. I saw DUPLICITY twelve times. But it apparently still never came up to scratch financially.

    (Well, I tried…)

    My theory is that it was too smart for a lot of people out there. I swear. I don’t want to sound elitist. But I strongly suspect that at least some of it could be laid at that particular doorstep.

    I do recall running into two middle aged women in the ladies room after one screening. They were very nice. But one of them had seen it before and didn’t even remember. They spoke to me briefly. But during the course of their conversation they claimed that they found it much too hard to follow.

    I was able to comprehend the twists and turns easily…and of course I said nothing. But if you want to think of them as typical audience members then perhaps that’s it.

    *********MILD SPOILERS*************

    I did hear from one critic (I wish I could remember who…) that it didn’t come up to expectations because CLIVE and JULIA’S plan blew up in their faces.

    Didn’t bother me. Life is like that. One day it’s hot and sultry. The next day it pours like hell. Though they were effectively foiled, I’m sure that those characters would definitely triumph in the future. NEXT TIME they’ll know exactly what they’re doing. They will learn from their mistakes.

    And even though it didn’t work out for them, the denouement was hilarious.

    ***********END SPOILERS**********

    Well, I don’t think CLOSER was a huge box office bonanza either. Plus a lot of straight laced types didn’t like the language or the tone of the relationships. I think that people like that should just relax their boxers, girdles or chastity belts.

    Or something…

    People do say terrible things to each other when they’re breaking up. I’ve never cheated on anyone or had anyone do that to me. Wouldn’t happen. The men I’ve been with all knew what side their bread was buttered on. They were all much too tired.

    Where would they get the strength?

    I’ve only had three people leave me. All of them wanted to come back.

    Still, that sort of thing is pretty bloody common. People are awful to each other. Life can be bleak. I guess some people don’t care for the truth.

    But I would like CLIVE and JULIA to work together again as long as it’s a good project. I think they’re terrific together.

    I hope you dig TBAB, Craig.

    You have the run of this place. Make sure and come back to tell me what you thought of it.

    I’d like to hear your impressions…

  5. Well, I’m happy to have been a help to you. I had a couple of patron saints myself when I first started, so I well know the value of even a little moral support.

    I know you adore the Coens. But I think they were reasonably blase about awards long before FARGO and NCFOM. I don’t think that’s what they’re in it for. So it wouldn’t surprise me that the lead actor from their new film possesses the same sentiments.

    Their disinterest in playing the game and just sticking to their art is one of the things I admire about them most of all. They pull no punches and suck up to no one.

    Honestly that’s one of the things I admire about Clive too. He seems to do the projects he wants to do with little regard for anything beyond his own tastes. People can take it or leave it.

    I think the ending was the biggest knock against Duplicity. Ironic because for me it was the ending that put it over for me. Up to that conversation they have after the plot has all gone to hell when they acknowledge that they’re simply right for one another, it was routine stuff. The ending though made it kind of memorable. Life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to.

  6. Yeah, Sasha is the bomb.

    Of course you know her much better than I do. But she has always been exceptionally gracious to me. You couldn’t possibly have a better mentor than Sasha.

    CLIVE strikes me as fairly independent. He’s been acting forever and he didn’t rise to this level of fame particularly young. I think that often helps. If you’ve all ready had a full life by the time your career skyrockets, then you’ve been to the puppet show and seen the strings.

    Whereas people that ascend to great fame young (as in under 25) seem to have a tough time dealing with it. Not all of them of course. But what you’re essentially doing is growing up in the public eye.

    If you’re not centred and have your wits about you, it can mean a mythic meltdown of unbelievable proportions. So it’s good that CLIVE wasn’t a kid when he hit big.

    Sometimes if you’ve been around the block a few times all of that adulation is a lot easier to handle.

    As for DUPLICITY…

    I thought it was fantastic.

    Here you have this woman and this man that are nuts about each other. Just wildly heartstoppingly in love.

    Most normal people are aware that there are lots of individuals that are not worthy of your trust. All of that has to be earned. So the only way to get to the bottom of it is to let your potential darling prove themselves to you.

    If they do, fine. If not, turn out the lights. The party’s over…

    But CLAIRE and RAY are both in a business where they have double dealing jackasses of high rank constantly betraying each other over the slightest thing. They KNOW even in an ordinary person’s reality this stuff is all over the place.

    But for them the stakes are much, much higher…

    There is a real connection between them. It’s deep and irrevocable. But they’ve both been through so much in terms of their work that they can’t resist testing the other.

    When something happens, it’s: “I KNEW that it would be this way. I KNEW that you weren’t for real.”

    But I think deep down they’re aware that this is something that they can’t let go. It’s too big, too significant – and they would both be paranoid in any case. Too much water under the bridge.

    I dug the time shifts. It was great fun puzzling it out during the first go round. I liked the way that they had that dialogue at the beginning and, as normal audience members naturally would assume, I thought that PROBABLY it was legit.

    When the scene shifted back to Rome 18 months before and he chased her around using EXACTLY the same dialogue, I realized that I had better start paying close attention.

    So they have that little back and forth and she’s trying not to laugh. This infuriates him because he hasn’t seen her in A LONG TIME and she’s never left his memory – and it was only one night.

    So finally she says: “What would be your idea of vengeance?”

    Cut to the luxurious hotel room where they’ve spent the last THREE DAYS without coming up for air.

    That’s my idea of a level playing field. DAMN.

    But I’m certainly cerebral enough to enjoy the fact that this wasn’t some formulated junk. It had wit and style and you had to keep up with it. Otherwise you’d be lost.

    I don’t need anything spoon fed to me. Sometimes I like to contemplate the whys and wherefores.

    So JULIA and CLIVE had this great engine that they were driving. Both of them are so powerfully attracted to each other. But they’re scared to death and trying desperately to figure all of it out.

    I found that any time I saw it the ending sparked some of the biggest laughs. They don’t know until the last few minutes that the jig is up. Then the champagne gets delivered and they realize that they’re done.

    So she leans into him. It’s like all the stuffing has been knocked out of her. They don’t get the money. It’s over.

    He says: “At least we have each other.”

    She says: “It’s that bad, is it?”

    That’s usually about the time people start to die. She reassures him that she didn’t mean it LIKE THAT and he tells her soothingly that he understood.

    She says that she’ll be thinking about Rome for a long, long time. They’re depressed. But it is hysterical the way the whole thing played out.

    And so what? They’ll live to fight another day. They’re smart. They’re resourceful. They’re gorgeous.

    They’ll do it. It just won’t be that particular day.

    Plus their relationship felt very real to me.

    Just before the final act when she’s waiting for him at the airport, he finally waltzes in with the stuff that she’s been wanting.

    As they talk, she looks him square in the face with her big dark eyes and says, “I know who you are…and I love you anyway.”

    Kill me now. But I thought that was very profound. The two of them have such magnificent chemistry (and such great talent) that they can sell lines like that and make them sound poetic.

    So people didn’t appreciate this film? You know, it’s still my #1 for 2009.

    I suppose it’s their loss.

    Hah. Patron saints.

    I guess that Irish Catholic thing never goes away, does it? For either of us.

    Thanks for everything, Mr. Kennedy. As long as this plantation exists, you will remain one of my favourite visitors.

    And that will never change…

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