THE FILM: The Proposal (2009)
THE PAIRING: Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) and Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock)
THE MOMENT: Andrew follows Margaret
In 2009, something unusual happened. The talented Anne Fletcher (known for one of my favorite chick flicks, 27 Dresses) directed a romantic comedy that was a global box office success. Romcoms aren’t exactly known for their prowess at the box office these days – likely due to the undeserved ridicule they receive from critics. Fortunately, The Proposal had something good going for it which probably is also a result of the talents of its leading lady.
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THE LEAD-IN (Be aware, SPOILERS)
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, The Proposal is about a loathed book editor (seriously, her entire office issues IM sightings as a warning the moment Margaret is spotted in the building) living in New York. Her success is never questioned, but as a Canadian citizen, her visa is. This prompts her to bully her harried (and younger) assistant, Andrew into a faux engagement.
Things grow complicated when, in order to sell their ruse, Andrew takes Margaret to Alaska to meet his family. While there, Margaret takes the time to get to know people on a one-on-one level and the relationships she forces take on more meaning. Of course, romance really does begin to blossom between the straight-laced Margaret and her underappreciated assistant.
During their stay, she begins to let her guard down, and in an attempt to make his grandmother happy, the couple begins planning a wedding. Throughout the process, Margret almost begins to believe their fantasy is a reality, almost…
The Romantic Moment – The Proposal
Having been unexpectedly changed while living with the Paxtons, Margaret leaves Andrew behind (to let him live his life without her complications) and heads back to New York. Once there, she sets about settling her affairs in anticipation of her deportation to Canada.
As she’s packing her office and does what she does best (giving orders), an out-of-breath Andrew rushes into the office. Seeing the person she’s talking with look beyond her in surprise, Margaret turns and spots the distressed Andrew. Surprised to see him in front of her, she asks, “Why are you panting?” referring to his flustered state.
His reply, “Cause I’ve been running?”
Smartly, Margaret replies, “From Alaska.” Rather than continue their conversation and think about the implications of Andrew’s presence, Margaret calmly turns to her employee and continues her instructions.
In response to Margaret’s dismissal, a frustrated Andrew finally insists that Margaret listens to what he came to say. After all, this is his speech and he’s not letting her derail it.
He begins by telling her he once dreamt of her, well, dying. He admits, “Three days ago, I loathed you. I used to dream about you getting hit by a cab. Then we had our little adventure up in Alaska and things started to change.”
Watching her reaction, he sees that his words soften and affect her, and so he continues on, “Things changed when we kissed…”
He recounts their antics even as Margaret (again) makes an attempt to silence him. He presses on to reveal his greatest disappointment, “…But I didn’t realize any of this until I was standing alone… in a barn… wifeless. Now, you could imagine my disappointment when it suddenly dawned on me that the woman I love is about to be kicked out of the country.”
Facing him in uncharacteristic silence, Margaret’s eyes well with tears.
“So Margaret, marry me because I’d like to date you.” Genuine and to the point is Andrew’s simple proposal.
Nervous, Margaret tucks her hair behind her ear and steps closer. Afraid someone will see her vulnerable, she softly tries to convince him he doesn’t really want to be with her. “See, the thing is, there is a reason why I’ve been alone all this time,” she says. “And I think it would just be a lot easier if we forgot everything that happened and I just left.”
Andrew’s honest reply, “You’re right.” He verbally agrees, but his action of taking a step closer say otherwise as he finishes with, “That would be easier.”
Vulnerable for the first time, she whispers, “I’m scared.”
“Me, too.” He replies. Not to be swayed, Andrew ignores her warning and reservations and closes the gap. Hands gently on either side of her cheeks, he pulls her close for a kiss.
Dazed and happy, she whispers, “Aren’t you supposed to get down on one knee or something?”
With a smile, Andrew states, “I’ll take that as a yes.”
An office full of people surrounds the couple, but their gaze is only for each other. With smiles and love in their eyes, they kiss again.
For me, this moment is one of the sweetest the genre boasts. I love the fight for “control” between the pair, to say nothing of the (surprising) chemistry. I love Andrew’s speech, and how it plays. Both of the characters are loveable, and of course, I appreciate the journey that brought Margaret full circle. There is a reason why this film was a smash success within its genre. The Proposal is one of those movies I indulge in again and again and don’t mind admitting it.
Have you seen The Proposal? Do you like it or dislike it? What is your favorite romantic moment in contemporary romance? Comment down below with your thoughts!
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