THE FILM: Leap Year
THE PAIRING: Anna Brady (Amy Adams) and Declan O’Callahan (Matthew Goode)
THE MOMENT: “Making Plans.”
There are a lot of romantic comedies out there. Some are good for a night’s worth of laughs. Others are the kind we never tire of, no matter the clichés. For me, one of those movies is Leap Year. Cute in a more wholesome way, the plot is also darling. With 2016 being a leap year, I figured there was no better time than now to revisit on of my favorite romantic moments among the ranks of contemporary romantic comedies.
The Lead-In: Leap Year
A Boston girl through and through, Anna Brady has everything; the perfect career and boyfriend. Her dream shatters a little bit when, after four years together her boyfriend gifts her with earrings rather than the shiny engagement ring she was expecting. When he leaves for a conference in Ireland, Anna learns of the Irish tradition that allows a woman to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day. Not about to be dismissed, Anna takes charge and books a flight.
Unfortunately for her, her journey is fraught with transportation snafus. Complications that lead her to a small village, and in that village, at a small pub with a “funny name,” in search of a taxi to take her to Dublin. That taxi driver turns out to be Declan O’Callahan, a man who seems to bring out the worst in Anna; the pair of them cannot seem to stop bickering. But as they journey to Dublin, Anna’s opinion of Declan changes from bad to curious and from curious to something else entirely. Likewise, Declan slowly begins to fall for the opinionated Anna.
Following a series of misadventures, this leads us directly to the conclusion of their story and the subject of today’s romantic moment feature. Because of this, beware there are spoilers below!
The Romantic Moment: Anna and Declan
Following Anna’s return to the states and her fiancé Jeremy, Declan returns to his pub which is now bustling with customers. On this busy day, one of them, much to his dismay, is an unsatisfied customer. In no mood to have his cuisine insulted, he marches out to the restaurant and demands to know which of his patrons doesn’t like his food!
With his back to the door, behind him, he hears “me!” spoken in a soft but familiar voice. Turning, he sees Anna with a hesitant smile. Wondering what she’s doing there, he asks if Jeremy is with her.
Confused she says no. Furthering her answer, she tells him Jeremy and she broke up.
Walking towards her, he offers his apologies they didn’t work out. Then, recalling Declan’s question of what she’d do if there was a fire in her home and she had a mere 60 seconds to take something, she explains the reason she has returned to Ireland.
Timidly, she begins. “When my 60 seconds came around I realized I had everything I ever wanted… but nothing I really needed.” Bolstered, despite being stared at and not getting a response from Declan, she admits, “And I think what I need is here. And I came all this way to see if you maybe think so too. If you do, well…” Letting her string of words trail off, she realizes she hasn’t made any plans past that.
“I don’t really have plans past that,” she says and softly, and then continues, “Which is new for me.” Seeming to like her newfound sense of freedom, she smiles happily and proposes the following. “So, Declan O’Callahan and I should probably learn your middle name, here is my proposal; I propose we not make plans, I propose we give this thing a chance and let it work out how it works out. So what do you say, do you wanna not make plans with me?”
Her final plea falls on deaf ears. Silence reigns as she nervously searches his face, eager for clues about his response.
Declan remains standing in the silence, a kind of half-smile on his face. He then turns and to a slamming door, Anna winces. In the dead quiet of the minutes before the bustling restaurant, Anna seems to suddenly realize that she’s not alone. With a sad smile on her face, she says to no one in particular, “I guess that’s an Irish no.” With a nod, she quickly turns and hurries out the door.
She runs to the edge of the cliff in front of the restaurant looking to heal her wounded heart and pride.
Behind her, she hears a voice. It’s Declan.
Referring to her by a name they made up while traveling, he asks, “Mrs. O’Brady Callhan. Where the hell are you going?”
At the sound of his voice, Anna turns to face him. Feeling wounded and not at all like being toyed with, sniffling Anna replies, “You said no.”
Defending himself, he says gently, “I didn’t say no. I didn’t say anything.”
Still trying to remain aloof, she maintains, “You walked away.”
With a knowing smile, he informs her, “I was getting something.”
“Really?” Finding some of her sass, Anna gives him a saucier attitude. “That was a good time to go get something?”
Not about to let her have all the fun, he continues. “Yeah, it was actually.” Pulling something small out of his pocket, he presents her with the ring he once told her he’d save when his 60 seconds came around. The ring his mother once wore. The ring he wouldn’t even have back were it not for Anna encouraging him to find his ex-fiancée and ask for it back. Not yet through, Declan continues with his proposal. “I reject your proposal. I don’t want not to make plans with you. I want to make plans with you.”
Stunned and amazed, Anna breathlessly asks, “You do?”
Confidently, he simply says, “Yeah I do.”
Bending down on one knee, he offers his mother’s ring to Anna. Asking the question Anna didn’t expect. “Will you marry me?”
Happily, Anna retorts, “In all my life I never thought I’d see you down on one knee.”
Playfully he replies, “Yeah, it’s getting sort of damp down here, so what’s it to be, Anna from Boston?”
In earnest joy, she replies, “Yes. Yes, I will.”
Rising, the two stand together and come together for a kiss. Standing on the cliff, they stand there, in each other’s embrace as the sun sets.
When they break apart, Anna remarks, “I’m so relieved. For a minute there, I thought I wasn’t going to have a place to stay tonight.”
“You’ll stay with me,” Declan counters. But, he continues teasing her that it’ll cost her, referencing the fact that she owes him for taxing her across the countryside.
As she leans in for another kiss, she smartly returns, “Put it on my bill.”
Have you seen Leap Year? It’s one of the cutest romantic comedies in recent years, so if you like that sort of thing, I recommend seeing it if you haven’t yet! It’s got more swoony romantic moments than just this.
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